Thursday, 16 July 2015

When words fail or flounder…

I never thought that I, of all people, would say it, but lately there are just way too many words. 

We’re bombarded by them on all sides. 
And yet, none of really them seem to say anything.

I’m in Athens, for heavens’ sake. The stage against which an epic saga of betrayal, ruin, dashed hopes, possible redemption, crime, punishment and the flaying of the human spirit is being played out before our very eyes, pages and screens. 
Where stereotypes speak louder that facts, and the roar of incensed coffee-shop debates drown out the buzz of summer’s cicadas.

But, instead of wallowing in the soup of syllables, I find myself in a state of linguistic paralysis.

You’d think that one of the benefits of these ‘interesting times’ we’re living through would be plenty of material for a word nerd like me. 

The problem is that there so many talking, shouting, screaming, pontificating about the situation here in Greece that I’m reluctant to dive in and add my few drops to the raging maelstrom of comment, analysis, observation, drum-banging, agenda-pushing and downright propaganda.

What, after all, can li’l ole me add that hasn’t already been done ad nauseum (in most cases) or much better (more rarely) by so many others?

That’s why, dear readers, things have been rather quiet over at Shemeanswellbut… Central lately.

That paralysis has even crept itself into my story-teller alter-ego. Like some kind of spiteful incubus sitting on my shoulder, whispering sour nothings in my ear about why anyone would want to read the narcissistic burblings of a mid-life scribbler. 
Assuring me that no idea I have ever had is original and that if I were to bump into Stephen King or Victoria Hislop with a sample of my stories, they would urge me – no, BEG me – not to give up my day job but to cast aside any creative writing delusions I may have.

I’m ordinary, boring, with nothing new to offer the world of readers, according to the hisses of that fiendish imp. 

About as fresh and exciting as a Marks & Spencer six-pack of white cotton high waist knickers. 
Practical, certainly. Functional, for sure.  Comfortable, probably. 

But comfortable is the last thing that anyone with literary pretensions should aspire to, surely?

OK, you can relax. I’m not about to launch a literary assault of fetish thong proportions to rival ‘Fifty Shades’ (even us cotton briefs of the linguistic underwear drawer have standards – and they’re about quality of writing, not salaciousness of subject material).

But, there is a little part of me that is thinking of 'going commando' for the rest of the summer. 
Instead of gathering my words safely together under the secure caress of cotton comfort, I’m thinking of letting them all hang out and damn the consequences.

I’m going to need your help, though. 

I need YOU to give me the push, the prompt, the shove, the challenge.

Give me a word a day, and I’ll try to repay with a few hundred, hopefully arranged in the kind of order that might make you laugh, cry, nod in agreement, shout in protest - or even just think a little bit.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you about the ‘commando’ bit.

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