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It's Our Turn: The power of words

I love words. I love putting them together and rearranging them in ways that they share powerful messages or flow eloquently or make an impact.

I admire some of the world's greatest writers. In the same way a painter creates a masterpiece with paints on canvas, a writer creates a masterpiece with words on paper.

• • •

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players...(Shakespeare)

• • •

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both...(Frost)

• • •

Once upon a midnight dreary,

while I pondered, weak and weary...(Poe)

• • •

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise...(Angelou)

• • •

Now I make a leaf of Voices,

for I have found nothing mightier than they are,_

And I have found that no word spoken,

but is beautiful, in its place...(Whitman)

• • •

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...(Browning)

• • •

Words have such power. When put together creatively, you can feel the emotions - love or hatred, anger or joy, pain or pride. Words can paint pictures - you can see colors and landscapes and faces simply by reading detailed descriptions.

Personally, I've always appreciated written words more than spoken ones, probably because I am much more comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings through writing rather than speaking. It seems easier for me to get my point across clearly by writing it.

Writing also gives that much-needed reflection time - you can reread what you've written to make sure it sounds the way you want it to and reflect on the tone: Does it sound too angry? Too accusatory? Too condescending?

Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury with the spoken word. Once something is blurted out, you can't "rewrite" it. You can't change the tone, or the meaning or even change your mind. What's said is said.

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Yeah, right. We all know that statement is not true. Everyone's been hurt at one time or another by words - and often, that kind of hurt is far worse than any physical pain one can suffer.

So while I love words, I also agonize endlessly over them. I analyze my own words, rereading them numerous times (or rethinking the spoken ones over and over in my mind). Was my point clear? Can they understand my feelings? Was the tone right?

I also wonder about the intent of other people's written or spoken words. What did she mean by that? Why did he say it that way? How should I take this?

Words, and - more importantly - how they are shared, can make or break a person. You look terrific today! Where'd do you get "that" outfit? You can do anything you set your mind to! That will be too hard for you. Great job! How could you have screwed this up?

Words can lift us up or beat us down. They can cut deeper than any blade, or mend some wounds faster than any medicine. Words can make or break friendships or bring families closer or tear them apart. Words can make a person successful or cause them to fail miserably.

Words are powerful. How are you using them?

Follow #AlexMN @EchoPress Life Editor Tara Bitzan on Twitter at @TBitzan.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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