The fluidity of words

We can’t hold up a word and turn it around for all to see like a piece of granite.

Words aren’t like that, except the little ones that make bridges. And even those are not so boundaried that they mean the same thing every time.

One persons but, is another persons BUT!

This is because words are imbued with layers and layers of meaning and resonance. When we hear or read a word our senses can bring up all sorts of memories and associations.

This is both gloriously wonderful and rich. And a minefield for the unaware.

Two things have particularly brought this to mind during the week.


The first is poetry.

In many respects, poems by definition set out to be multilayered. They are not written to be absorbed in their entirety at first glance. If ever.

The way that words are arranged provoke enquiry and curiosity. They give implicit permission to be vulnerable and invite us to pause and take the layers off.

In last weeks reflection, Digging deeper – for joy, I shared a beautiful poem by Derek Walcott – Love after Love – recognising that I had not sat with it long enough to form a level of understanding.

That prompted Susie Q to share her reflections, below:

We lose our true selves in life for many unintended reasons. We’ve had to accommodate others (parents, relatives, partner) to keep the peace, fit in, etc.
Along with social constraints and expectations, we are often forced to abandon our true selves.
As we grow, and evolve for those that do, we find what we’ve been missing all along. The relationship with our lost self. The real me. You. Us.

The stranger has been hiding waiting. For the time when s/he would be found again. And now s/he is, they all can commune together fully accepting one another.

Each part is equally valued.

I wonder what your reflections were and whether the words on the page took you in another direction?

Rural creatives

The second prompt to think about the fluidity of words has been my exploration of rural creatives during the week.

In using the phrase ‘rural creatives’ this has been my shorthand for designers, makers and creators who are intentionally operating their business in a rural setting. In part, this has been prompted by the recognition of the predominant city-centric focus for creative industries support.

As I’ve used the phrase rural creatives it has elicited a gloriously wide range of responses.

Again it has made me realise the fluidity of words. How the same phrase can take people in significantly different directions depending upon their own layers of meaning attached to the words.

Interesting isn’t it?

It both reminds us of the fantastic intricacies of us each as individual human beings. And it warns us to be aware. We cannot assume that we share the same meanings and associations when we use words that appear to be so simple.

Today in the UK is the first time that Parliament has been convened on a Saturday for 37 years. It’s Brexit. But we know that words will be exchanged with very different meanings attached, as they fly across the airwaves of the House of Commons.

In our complexity, we need to find a way of holding words well. Recognising that they are fluid, and can change, and are not bricks to be thrown at each other.

Thanks for reading


This week

As well as the personal journeys we go through over seven days, we also walk in the context of the world around us. And certainly this week the space in the UK has been unlike anything else I can remember…