The Power of 26 – Worth a Million?

Did you know every day there are approximately fifteen (15) new words created which are added to the English language.

Each and every one of the 26 letters of the alphabet have formed our learning and our lives and our communication.

Considering as a species we are ever evolving, it only makes sense our communication keeps pace and reflects how we express ourselves. Many of the same letters used in this e-mail have themselves found their way into the great missives of history.

Not for a moment to suggest these few lines compete with epics of the past. Not by a longshot. But it continues to intrigue me that those same letters available to poets William Wordsworth and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, songwriters Lennon and McCartney, and prodigious writers Gene Roddenberry (StarTrek) and JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit & The Lord of The Rings) are available to me. And to everyone who conspires to string letters together to make words. Words of  Power. Influence. Persuasion. Compassion. Tenderness. Sensitivity. Rage. Anger. Violence. Upheaval. Chaos. Reconciliation. Good. Bad. Purity. Evil. Dark. Light.

One would think that the full complement of words has been reached by now. Hasn’t every human condition been experienced? Hasn’t every conceivable birth, death, richness, poverty, exhilaration, tragedy already been lived and recorded. Do we not have enough written witness to the passage of time?

Yet we constantly crave more. We want to experience it all…well if all means always having the good life. Everyone is lining up for those experiences. The poverty, pestilence, and tragedy are typically not on the wish list to Santa.

When you read works from any of the preceding names I mentioned, you can’t help but marvel at their incredible gift of painting vivid pictures with how they assembled letters. A new portrait is revealed to every reader as they all experience the same words through the voice in their own head. The story is always constant but always changing. The letters and the words and thoughts and ideas all remain the same. The experience received by the reader is likely never duplicated by any video or movie which comes after.

Some are very good at a retelling or distilling a story to its essence, but the words are what move the story along and give it life and vibrancy. The talent which smolders under some fingertips is delivered with fiery ferocity when keys strike the page.  Clearly, and it took me a long time to get this – the power of the words is welling up within the soul of the writer. The letters are simply the tools the wordsmith uses to bring his thoughts and feelings and inspirations to fruition.  Never, ever give up on the power of words.

I initiated this post asking Worth a Million. While many writers and publishers correctly seek a dollar sign beside that, I approach this from the staggering influence and power of 26 simple letters.  There are more than 1,013,913 words in the English language according to the Global Language Monitor, and even that number may be an understatement as it’s increases each day. Genuinely I think I’d be hard pressed to incorporate even 10% of those into my vocabulary.

I share this for those who moan there is nothing new to say. It’s been done. Don’t dismiss or diminish any writing. You may not agree with the content or the motivation, but looking past that, I implore you to marvel at the dexterity of the words the writer used to work you into such a state. What else but 26 letters, woven by skillful design and mastery, could awaken such intense feeling within you.

That is The Power of 26.

Dennis Kelly
dennis@firstimpressionsmedia.ca
http://www.firstimpressionsmedia.ca

 

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