Posted by: Corri van de Stege | October 8, 2008

Write on Wednesday – Words in action

Today, tonight for me, Becca poses a different challenge, almost a throwaway, as if she is curious how we will react, how we will take up the gauntlet.


Words are a form of action, capable of producing change – a quote from Ingrid Bengis.




Well, I’m thinking about lots of things, I’m writing about lots of things and of course I hope these strings of thoughts, these words on the page, are somehow or other an action that might actually produce a change in that they suddenly make me or you sit up.  Writing a poem is an action, and yes, a poem could create a change in the reader or the listener.


But what do I do with that challenge?  I look up the definition of ‘word’, as if that might be of any help, somehow or other the day does not want to remove itself from this thought process and the quote is quite meaningless.


Definition: a word is a unit of language that carries meaning and consists of one or more morphemes which are linked more or less tightly together, and has a phonetic value.


Meaningless gobbledygook the way I feel.


Then, of course, Barak Obama used that phrase in one of his campaign speeches: ‘For me, words are a form of action, capable of producing change.’  And of course a politician, an aspiring president, could use this expression as no one else could.  We all would like our words to produce action, changes, and who else more than an aspiring world leader?  Words are thrown at us, in all combinations and forms, all the time, and the producer would like these words to have an effect, somehow, make us laugh, cry, believe, disbelieve, listen, understand, all of these things and more.


I’m reading ‘The Technique of Modern Fiction’ by Jonathan Raban.  Why am I doing that?  Why not simply read a novel, listen to the story, and absorb the story?  In fact, reading one of these essays, these words that are there to help me look at reading and writing in a different way, have the effect that I want to write differently, or have a sudden ‘aaahhh, this is how I want to rewrite my character’ effect.


Words are very powerful, but their different combinations have quite different effects on people. 


I think that’s all the words I have tonight about this.  Thanks Becca, I feel quite tired now!



  1. You wrote it so well. Mine is short and succicnt!

    Here is mine!

  2. You nailed it in your last sentence — the combinations make a great deal of difference! And, when spoken, the way they are said — interesting to think that you can say “What did you mean by that?” and it can be curious or hostile!

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