The world is made up of words. Words describe our environment, our feelings, our views of life and death and everything in between.
Language skills, however, are underrated. Words are given as little thought when exiting a person's mouth, as taking the next breath. It seems curious then,that the singular most significant event in a human's life is his first utterance as true language.
Every parent seems fixated on listening for any chatter that could possibly resemble recognition of them as mother and father. Cute, endearing even, but unfortunate when they answer back using the same baby babble.
Why do some adults insist on using a vocabulary that would be more appropriate to a gerbil, than a growing human? The cadence of words used properly and in context will surely leave a mental impression on a young brain. Isn't that what learning how to communicate is all about?
I've been asked on occasion if my books would be too difficult for younger children to read. My suggestion to any parent of kids younger than ten or eleven is to read it with them for some closer family times. Baring that unlikely event, put a dictionary by their side and show them how to navigate that treasure of a book if they haven't learned that skill.
Language should not intimidate the reader, but neither should it become a thin gruel, made for toothless gums to consume.
The adage "Think before you speak" has likely been bandied about for centuries. I don't know the author of that subtle wisdom, but certainly the endless resources of the Internet would credit its owner.
The message is quite relevant today, as society morphs into what looks more and more like the Global Village. Words need to be chosen carefully, understanding their power to create harmony or distrust. It isn't the words themselves that can be twisted, but the interpretation of them as they are read or leave the speakers mouth. A twisted meaning is a lie that serves only its author and never the listener.
I love words and see them as a sculptor might see his clay. I try to choose them carefully to convey my thoughts. I respect their innate power and that they can be misunderstood, becoming a fog covering my true meaning.
As a writer, my books are informed by my own use of words. I will always seek to perfect that use, to create better stories for my readers. To be understood as a storyteller is like hearing "Mama" or "Dada" for the first time. Really!