Philip Bone

The Written Word

Philip Bone portraitThere is a power in writing. The spoken word becomes tangible. Ideas take form. Relationships are forged between the author and the audience, the past and the present, and among the head, heart, and hand.

There is a certain security in writing. Agreements become contracts. Plans turn into blueprints. Documents exist for research or reappraisal.

There is a vulnerability in writing. The creative process is exposed; confusion or clarity is there to be seen.

To achieve desired ends, human beings rely on clear communication. Sometimes, though, we are not sure of what we want, or want to say. Writing focuses our thoughts and feelings. When words become visible they take on new relevance. Random ideas become organized. The process opens unexpected channels of self-awareness. Subconscious ideas surface. The act of writing creates a visual link with memory, making it easier to articulate ideas later--on a test or in a job interview.

It has been suggested that a person’s upward mobility is a function of his or her competency in the use of language. The ability to utilize the complete richness and  texture of language can only be considered an asset. When assembling a résumé, applying for a scholarship, or petitioning for a cause, one will certainly want to be viewed in the best possible light. If a writer’s intention is buried in poor sentence structure, bad grammar, or inappropriate vocabulary, the reader quickly loses interest.

The popularity today of digital venues like Facebook, Twitter, and texting suggests a need. Humans are social creatures. When someone “likes” our post, we are flattered and encouraged. When writing has an impact, it generates a response. A relationship is developed between author and audience. These forms of writing are not necessarily trivial. Contemporary uprisings in the Middle East (The Arab Spring) have been, to a large extent, orchestrated on social media. The electronic audience is massive.

In spite of electronic communication’s tremendous appeal, sometimes a hard copy is indispensable. There is a reason people say, “Get it in writing.” Verbal agreements are fine while parties are in accord. When there is a dispute, a contract settles it. If, by some misfortune, one ends up in court, thorough documentation becomes imperative. Credibility still leaves a paper trail. Our personal freedoms and civil liberties are protected by profound documents like The Bill of Rights. We can be thankful our forefathers took writing seriously.     

The spoken word is not without its immediate potency; to soothe or to wound, to convince or confound. But, the written word can reach through time and even prison walls to say, this is what I have thought , this is what I have felt, this I submit, wrought from my hands, up to you.