I love the beauty of language. I love the weaving of words into sentences and paragraphs that form a literary tapestry to make you laugh out loud, shed a tear or maybe even inhale sharply, look up from your book and say, ‘Wow!’
However……there is surely something to be said for the simple phrases in life – the ones that bring a smile to your lips (or to your heart) without metaphor, comparison or any mention of tapestries of any sort.
The American writer and grammarian (now there’s a great word!) James J. Kilpatrick, who wrote a lot about writing, advised, “Use familiar words. When we feel an impulse to use a marvellously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away.”
I’m all for the exotic (and now aim to use the word marvellous wherever possible) but for writing to be understood, it needs to be simple, clear and sincere. Otherwise, all the multi-coloured jewels you use to adorn your thoughts will smother them into oblivion. In other words (that I am borrowing from an expert because I’ve just smothered my thoughts), “eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” (Hans Hofmann, abstract expressionist painter, on the ability to simplify.)
So, going back to basics – in the style of Winnie the Pooh who likes short, easy words like “What about lunch?” – here are some of my favourite phrases:
‘I’ll bring dessert’
‘How can I help?’
‘Let’s start by lying on our backs’ (I feel the need to qualify this with the context of a yoga class.)
‘Washed and ready to use’ (Again, to qualify, I’m talking pre-washed salads. Yes, incredibly lazy. But also marvellous.)
‘I love you.’
No adornment needed. Enough.
©2018 Seetha Dodd