Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I met someone...

It has been quite a while since I last posted.  Well, enough of stating the obvious...

I met someone.  I thought I would share that with the whole world.  I met someone... three words that can inspire joy, anger, sadness, bliss, tingles, etc... but what do they really mean?  Language is wonderful, and powerful.  The right words can inspire a nation, or bring joy to the hearer, and the wrong words can destroy hope, or fan the flames of hatred. Words, and knowing how to use them, are powerful gifts/talents.  There are many out there who use words to weave a spell over any who may dare to read, or listen to those words.  As the great Stan Lee once said, "With great power, comes great responsibility", and writers, wordsmiths, authors, etc all have great power.

I told my students that I met someone.  Here are the reactions I received to that comment:

     "But you're married!"
     "Eeeewww, you're old!"
     "Is she cute?"
     "So.  I meet people all of the time."
     "Does your wife know?"
     "What do you mean by, 'you met someone'?"

There were other comments, some of which were rather silly, or rude, or actually were answers to questions I asked yesterday... 

The point is, that most of my students assumed that the phrase, 'I met someone' meant that there was some sort of romantic attraction, or at least something more than just meeting another human being.  We meet people every day.  However, we rarely mention the run of the mill meetings, or meetings that don't have a significant impact on our lives.  Since some of the most significant relationships we have are of an intimate, or romantic nature, when we use the aforementioned phrase, the assumption is almost always 'you met someone that you have a romantic interest in, otherwise you wouldn't bother telling me/us about him/her.'

We as thinking, speaking and assumption-making people have learned, for the most part, to be careful with what we say and/or how we say it.

As writers, we need to be aware of the unwritten rules behind our language use.  We need to be aware that although being able to craft language is powerful, if we don't know the social/cultural connotations, assumptions, etc. we can end up holding onto the tiger's tail and find ourselves the authors/creators of something that we neither intended, nor control.

So, go ahead meet as many people as you want, but be careful when you tell the world...