When we write, or paint we need to think sometimes of all creative people; young people, people of color, people of different gender preferences, even pale older women like me. We need to come to the point where there is no “other,” no “them” or “they.” For you know we are all really the same soul. The creative soul.
We bequeath our culture to the world, handing down family traditions, or creating our own celebrations and rituals. In TS Eliot’s “Notes Towards the Definition of Culture,” he saw the prospect of “centuries of barbarism,” related to the coming dominance of technology. A degraded society.
Eliot sees the core of the problem in the corruption of language, the basis of thought, which is in turn the basis of integrity. His target was those who use words for base purposes, for their emotional effect upon themselves, or on an audience which suffers passions, but does not think. Therefore, our own ability, not merely to express, but even to feel any but the crudest emotions will soon degenerate.
Eliot said that the poet and writer is the bastion against this abuse. Without the preservation and renovation of the language, civilization will decline. I believe this is true and that it is happening.
I am not asking for censorship, or to limit us in how to tell our story. AN EXAMPLE: I was told by a publisher not to use the word malevolent in a poem because it is too hard to pronounce. Well, I like to roll that one around, Mal ev o lent. If you read Virginia Woolf, it pays to keep a dictionary close by. Isn’t it great to find a new word tha will express exactly the thing you want to say?
As I view film and read novels, poems, etc., it seems language is being reduced to the level of recess in the 3rd grade. One syllable, four letters. Who are these writers? Where is the creativity? So when we are tempted to speak or write like they do in prisons, films, politics, or 150 Shades of Puce, I challenge all of us to remember that when language in schools, business and the home degrades, so do we all.
But, I’m told, that is real life. MAYBE. As film critic, Rex Reed said, So is diarrhea, but who wants to watch it for 3 hours?
Be careful with your words, they are powerful. Keep in mind the vision of an embracing, creative world, step up, reach out you hand to me and invite me in. I will do the same for another person, and she for another.
Together we can use language to be a truly, creative force.