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Words have power. They can make someone’s day. (“You have beautiful eyes.”) Or, they can break someone’s heart. (“I don’t love you anymore.”) We writers know about proper sentence structure and how to place our carefully chosen words within a sentence to create the effect we want. And we strive to do that in our novels.
But what about in our daily interactions with others? Do we stop and think how we want to phrase something before we open our mouths or type a quick reply to an email? Sometimes, it’s not what we write or say but how we do it. Communicating our thoughts to others so they understand exactly what we mean can be difficult; misunderstandings happen all the time and, occasionally, despite our best intentions, people misinterpret our words. It happens; we can’t control the world.
There was a forward going around online a while back which suggested there should be a font for sarcasm. Who knows? Maybe there should be. I do know that a lot of people use the smiley face symbol to lessen the impact of words which are blatantly sarcastic, instead of taking responsibility for what they mean. I prefer honesty; say what you mean and mean what you say. :) (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
A few days ago, I had the radio on while I vacuumed and dusted my apartment. I like to hear lively music when I clean house. A commercial came on and I only caught a couple of words. I distinctly heard “lighthouse keeping.” Now, I happen to love lighthouses so my interest was immediately piqued. I had watched a special on TV not long ago about an old lighthouse in Maine where you could pay to stay there and assume the duties lighthouse keepers used to perform in the days before lighthouses were automated. My first thought was that maybe there was a lighthouse closer to home, which offered the same opportunity. I was intrigued.
I stopped what I was doing and listened to the rest of the commercial. Turns out it was an advertisement for a local cleaning service which performs light housekeeping. I laughed out loud. Was it the way the announcer emphasized the words or was it my subconscious hearing what it wanted to hear?