In the beginning there were no words

Today I sat at a cafe. My youngest daughter a mere infant waved her hand and grunted at me. I had failed to feed her the next bite of food fast enough and she was letting me know. I began thinking about the saying, “actions speak louder than words.”

Historical evidence seems to lean towards the idea that he earliest communications never included any words at all. There were gestures and sounds combined together to convey a meaning. This is how my infant daughter communicates and most of the time her gestures and sounds are understood. I am not saying that words might not have prevented frustration or helped a great deal of situations but they did not need words to survive. 

“You look pretty.”

Mere words with no meaning until spoken.

“You look pretty,” she sneered.

Words can hurt.

“You look pretty,” she said as her eyes shone with pride.

Words can help.

Without tone or body language words are just words.

This made me think of my writing. Sometimes I obsess over words. I gush out lengthy paragraphs full of them. I change them. I add more. I delete some. I am guiltiest of this when writing dialogue. Perhaps I need to stand back and simplify. I need to get more tone and gestures into my writing to make it have more meaning and realism. Ironically I need to use words to do this.





About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three who doesn’t really know what she wants to be when she grows up.
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