I shouldn’t be surprised when I notice the persistence of the written word, and of language itself. It’s something we all use all the time, naturally, and it’s the medium in which I’ve chosen to try to express myself more than any other. Even these words, sent off to into the great wild to make their way on their own, will carry a force and a diligence greater than that which I gave them, or intended them to have.
They’ll live on, it seems: recently I’ve had some interesting comments and messages, both here and on Facebook, about words that I wrote a long time ago. And then, so unexpectedly that it made me squeak out loud, I was told that my novel had been referred to in a sermon about the power of silence. Those ancient words of mine, printed in black and white, then given colour in a sermon.
There have been some more reviews, some appreciative and complimentary, some less so, and so far the book’s sold more than I thought it would. But now it’s been used in a sermon…how do I know this? Simple – the vicar in question blogged his sermon, as he always does. A piece of oratory, crafted with rhetorical skill to be heard and received directly, is then sent off to its own wider world, and that world interacts with mine. Needless to say I’m now reading these sermons regularly, and you can too, at http://www.reluctantordinand.co.uk/.
So our words outlive us – or outlive the directions we gave them, for sure. I shouldn’t be surprised, yet when you think how many words are sent off on missions every second, it’s still enjoyable to see and hear them coming back to say hello once in a while. I recommend you tell yours to stay in touch next time they leave home: you’ll be glad to bump into them again someday, if only to remind yourself why you sent them out in the first place. And if you’re worried that you won’t like what you once said then listen to the persistence of the sermon, and only use words when absolutely necessary.