Tag Archives: words

Sometimes words aren’t the messenger

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For me, words have been the tool I use to share my ideas, feelings and emotions. But when I received this e-mail, forwarded to me by my sister, Anita Boles,  Executive Director of Society for the Arts in Healthcare http://www.thesah.org I learned there are some other amazing ways to do this.

But before you watch it (the link is at the bottom of this post – if you can’t click and get into it just copy and paste the URL into your web browser) please read the preamble:

This video shows the winner of 2009′s Ukraine’s Got Talent, Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected on to a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about $75,000.

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.

She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.

This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the  glass, saying goodbye.

The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.

Click on this link and be part of the magic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOhf3OvRXKg&feature=player_embedded.

Ghostblogger – help me write that blog!

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By nature, entrepreneurs love what they do. They own their own business. What could be better than that? But technology is making new demands on business people. In addition to looking after your business, you have to keep in touch with your clients online via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and, for some, “the dreaded” blog.

With 140 characters, Twitter is doable. LinkedIn can be linked to Twitter (#in) so you kill two birds with one 140 character-posting stone. Facebook can be a quick look each day, some comments and/or “thumbs up” and a brief status update. Then there’s the blog.

This is a much bigger piece of writing and, let’s face it, not everyone likes to write. Then there are people who say “I can write” but wonder why their words aren’t resonating with their readers.

As any professional writer will tell you, writing is hard work. Professional writers meticulously choose our words, cut back our copy until it’s half the original size, then we edit some more until it sounds just right. But we’re not done yet. We rely on editors, friends, family – or any objective eye – to read our copy and ensure that they understand and enjoy reading it because, if they don’t get it, then it’s not going to be clear to the reader. So it needs to be refined, yet again, until it hits the mark.

Writers also need to find topics to write about. By nature we’re full of ideas. We have files overflowing our desks or in boxes. We watch everything with a focused eye and eavesdrop more often than we like to admit. We ask too many questions (according to our family members who often think we’re just being nosy). We take notes (literally and mentally) and refer back to them for more ideas.

Sound tough? It can be. But professional writers love the challenge. For us, working with words and the process that goes with it is a labour/labor of love.

But if you’re not in love with writing, or you enjoy the process but aren’t getting what you want from your blog, here are some tips that might be helpful, in no specific order:

1. Make it relevant. Everything is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. Make your topic enduring (like a suit that doesn’t go out of style for a while), so it’s relevant to anyone who drops by to read it today, or a year from now.

2. The first few words are key. Every writer knows the lead (or lede) has to grab the reader. When it comes to online posting, you get a few seconds for the reader to decide to stay or move on.

3. Keep up the momentum. Your first sentence or paragraph could be the best thing ever written. Great! But keep that momentum going so the reader wants to stay with it until the final sentence.

4. Keep it simple. Get rid of the jargon (words that are tossed around in your professional area of expertise but mean nothing to your target market or the average reader). Use plain language (bloated sentences filled with lofty words only make people feel uncomfortable and aren’t going to endear them to you or your product/service).

5. Speak with a friendly voice. Just like the way we talk, everyone has their own “writing voice.” Read what you’ve written aloud. Listen to the words. Do they sound like you’re talking directly to the reader and making them feel comfortable? It should.

6. Don’t overdo the tech stuff. It’s great to link to a YouTube posting that fits perfectly with your blog posting, but readers will soon tire of watching  those clips that aren’t always that professional. Same thing goes with fancy flash files that take a while to download. If the reader can’t get into the blog quickly they won’t wait around.

7. Had enough of the writing? Let someone else take this job off your plate so you can do what you love best. Hire someone else to do it. I call them the “ghostblogger.” Whatever they call themselves, they should be a professional, published writer.

A personal connection with words

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old dictionary seriesWords, put together to create a phrase. It may resonate with you, but might not be the same for others. But, for you, it is that “Ah Ha!” moment. “That’s how I feel, or should feel,” or, “Now I understand.”

I am not a religious person. I balked when my parents wanted me to go to attend religious services with them. Now I go on my own and not because someone forces me, but because I am drawn there from time-to-time. Perhaps I’m seeking an answer for my mother’s death, which I still can’t come to terms with.

I am still not sold on the validity of a higher power, but do believe something out there guides us. It’s our choice whether or not to follow. And where else are you supposed to turn to try to find answers to questions that no one has the answer to but inside a sanctuary of peace?

So yesterday, as I sat through a service, I read a passage that resonated with me. I was so drawn to it, that I wrote it down.

It doesn’t matter what religion it was applied to, or where the words came from. It isn’t anything new. It’s a universal idea that’s been discussed and written about many times before. It’s about dealing with forgiveness to those who wrong us. It’s about focusing on the positive rather than dwelling on that one negative instance. And it was the wording that made sense to me.

This spoke in a concrete way to me. It said that I should not let rage overpower me when I have been wronged. To some it could be a longer form of “what goes around comes around,” but not written in a cliché way.

“…give us the grace to show forbearance to those who offend against us. When the wrongs and injustices of others wound us, may our hearts not despair of human good. May no trial, however severe, embitter our souls and destroy trust. When beset by trouble and sorrow, our mothers and fathers put on the armor of faith and fortitude. May we too find strength to meet adversity with quiet  courage and unshaken will. Help us to understand that injustice and hate…; that righteousness and mercy may triumph in the end.”

I hope that everyone finds the words that they connect with and that give them strength, solace and enjoyment. Long live a well-wielded phrase.