Expression (Painting with Words)

Every one of us has the ability to use words to communicate.  Sometimes we simply build a wall around the thoughts that want to be set free into the world.  I believe the secret to expression is how you chose to emote ‘yourself’ through the words you use.

Think of each word as having an individual, unique life to share with the reader.  For example, ‘Idiosyncrasy,’ is a twelve letter word.  As a word, idiosyncrasy is spelt this big: hold your hands shoulder-width apart.  Yet the definition of idiosyncrasy is, regardless of how you try to bend the word, simply a noun meaning peculiarity.

The word ‘no,’ n, o, on the other hand, is two letters.  Not spelt this big, hands shoulder-width apart; but, hold your hands about two inches apart.  However, it is you, the communicator that has the marvelous ability to use the full breadth, the depth of a two letter word.  You have the ability to release ‘no’ into the world as an adverb, an adjective, or as a noun.  And, if capitalized, ‘No’ is a spelling variation of N-o-h, a classic Japanese dance-drama having a heroic theme.  Yes, ‘no’ can be a heroic word.  I admire country music writers.  They can take a simple word and befuddle your mind; as Lorrie Morgan sang, “What part of no don’t you understand?”

I write free form and free verse prose because of the freedom of structure.  For me, traditional poetry is at times too rigid in meter, in rhyme.  As a photographer, black and white is my medium of choice, because it demands that I communicate without the assistance of vivid, self-expressive colors.  In the realm of black and white photography I am forced to be truly creative.  One day, through comparison of my writing and photography, I recognized the freedom from the ‘rules’ I gained in my prose was, to me, a freedom to be sloppy with my writing; a reason why I was having trouble communicating through my writing.

What I propose to each of you, is to analyze your writing; but not vertically – not as an entity unto itself – but to look horizontally.  Compare and contrast your writing to the other ways you express yourself.  If you want to write a love letter, try to envision how you would compose a photograph or a painting of that person; a mental picture that reminds you of how you feel in your heart about him or her.  Try to imagining how you would express your love through the sense of touching.  Let the feeling of touching the softness of skin on the neck just below the earlobe, or the feeling of warmth of a kiss under the summer’s night sky, guide your words.

Writing is art; paint with your words, don’t just type them out.

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9 thoughts on “Expression (Painting with Words)

    • You’re welcome. Sharing my thoughts, ‘encouraging’ too…guess it does read like ‘teaching.’ ? OK, how about ‘student teaching’ or ‘show and tell’ 🙂

  1. You do have a nice way of encouraging and teaching, Steve, and I think you are one of the best I have ever read who can write beautiful scenes that can take your breath away. I do have to admit to giggling aloud when I compared the two lines I shared from my new series idea to your artful guidance to painting with words. You’re enjoying the touch of the soft skin of a neck, while I’m bouncing a butt off a dead body. 😉

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