Thursday, January 2, 2014

Words are Powerful and Persuasive Tools

Words can inspire, persuade, promote, and bring about change. From political speeches to ordinary conversation, words have been and continue to be powerful communicators of thought. Elegance is often noted in the way some words are conveyed while other strings of words are short, clip, and meant to be pointed. Especially appealing are inspirational words that allow for reflection, introspection, and the creation of extended thoughts.

At the close of each December, columnists, bloggers, and newscasters search for quotes that highlight the year. On August 28, 2013, the 50th celebration of the March on Washington, Twitter and newspapers focused on the powerful words of Martin Luther King, Jr. His words have not only resonated with Americans throughout the decades, but brought change in America.  
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now.
Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. 
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice 
to the solid rock of brotherhood.

Writers use literary devices to craft their written texts, making their messages more potent. King's repetition of the single word, now, presumed that time in history to be momentous and that change was forthcoming. Indeed it was. Fifty years after the March on Washington, at the "Let Freedom Ring" Ceremony, President Obama recognized the power of Matin Luther King's actions and words as a change maker. 
His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time...The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.

Words float, surface, reverberate, and deepen our understanding of various topics. President Obama used the rhetorical device of alliteration to strengthen his ideas and delivery, while Pope Francis in an audience on April 24, 2013, utilized the device of repetition to philosophize on life by emphasizing the word, ideals. 
Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart, 
the ideals of service that make your talents fruitful. 
Life is not given to us to be jealously guarded for ourselves, 
but is given to us so that we may give it in turn.

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani advocate for girls' rights, provided a twist on the word weapons to make her point to the United Nations General Assembly on July 12, 2013. 
So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up on books and our pens, they are most powerful weapons...
One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world."

Upon Seamus Heaney's death, the New York Times.com stated Heaney was "often called the greatest Irish poet since Yeats." In the poem, Digging, Heaney's use of an extended metaphor furnished readers with a glimpse of a path chosen by the author. 
But I've no spade to follow men like them. 
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.

On December 7, 2013, the esteemed American poet, Maya Angelou, honored Nelson Mandela in a video message, His Day is Done. In her tribute poem, Angelou used allegory to give credence to the notion of Mandela as a mighty warrior who freed the South African people. Lastly, at the end of the month, an interesting word arose from the Nerdy Book Club. Recognizing the importance of January 1 resolutions, nerdlutions were created and recognized by the Twitter hashtag, #nerdlutions. It will be interesting to see if this term will become a trend and recognized as one of those game changing words. 

Agreeing there is both beauty and power in words, a nerdlution for 2014 can be to make words compelling tools to inspire, persuade, and bring about change. To give tribute to the written word, Twitter beckons writers to embody a single thought in a mere 140 characters. Visit #nerdlution to find quick thoughts and interesting links to what writers would like their paths to be in 2014. There is no denying that language, whether is is written or spoken, plays a significant role in political, personal, or professional arenas, so note that every person has words within that give voice to new ideas or springboards for future thoughts. 


In 2014, allow your inner writer to come forth. Join me to celebrate the power of language that affects change.