The power of a good speech can rouse me, but an oustanding speech astounds me.
I’ve never been someone who listens deeply to language, but that changed not too long ago. It happened when I learnt of the power of a word, of a phrase… of the right suggestion.
Sometimes the greatest speeches are great not just for what they call for… but for all they leave out.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech calls for a better future but does not detail the current difficulties. Mr King does not demonise the white man, but he dreams of a better world for all their children, regardless of creed.
Even in fiction, Shakespeare’s Henry V cries “Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends!” and calls for all the struggles that unite him and his men.
…and then again you hear a real speech. Winston Churchill’s “We will fight them on the beaches!”. Or “Mr Gorbachev, tear down that wall!”
I used to think that words were fairly meaningless. Now I probe for a deeper meaning. A salesman once said that a single word can change the response to an advertisement by 10 to 30 times. A single word. A turn of phrase. A colloquialism.
Words that tap into a deeper symbolism draw their strength from the tides of culture, our experience of life and mythology.
I once heard someone ask, “Have you heard of the boy who cried wolf?”… and quite the cutting remark it was.
…and what about the myth of the phoenix, of second chances?
Whether your art is in fine sculpture, or crafting the right word, the meaning is something deeper. The right word is like a sail, and it needs the winds of meaning behind it for it to truly have an effect.
Regardless of your art, how you say it matters most… but most don’t think it matters at all…