Malleable Language

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October 9, 2017
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Malleable Language

I hate public speaking.

I hate standing in front of people and telling a story. It’s funny that I hate doing that, but I spend my time reading stories, writing stories, telling stories. I’m a writer, so no matter what, I’m telling stories through my work.

Maybe it’s the act of standing. Standing in front of people, feeling like they’re scrutinising me. Maybe it’s because I’m self-conscious about my body. I’m short,  but my body is not petite. I often feel out of touch with my own skin.

In the past two weeks, I have told stories, publicly.

I stood in front of a group of my peers in my co-working space and told a story about myself. Then, I listened as other people told theirs. I often wonder if people know they are telling a story when they speak of something they’re passionate about.

Maybe people think that stories are works of fiction. Fairy tales, fictional tales, made up tales. Tales are all stories, and we each have one.

Maybe I love stories because of the imagination people have. Perhaps this is why I love fiction so much. But, real stories are normally more far-fetched than anything people could ever dream up.


I’ve spent my life reading and writing stories. I like to write my own story, because it helps me to understand what’s going on in my life. I love the way words, which stand alone, can be put together and come to mean something entirely different. I love how these words are made of characters, symbols, which alone mean nothing.

I guess that’s why I have such a love of language. There are so many different ways to say things, small changes in vocabulary, the choice of words. The choice of punctuation. The way the formulation of a paragraph can emphasise different things depending on nuances that might go unnoticed.

I think that’s why I’m a copywriter. I play with words and their meanings. I started out writing poetry, spoken word, prose. Whatever you wish to call it. I always found it funny that I’m so pedantic about grammar, but I also like to play with it.

I like to use it to highlight pauses, emphases, changes. Discourse is one of the things I’ve always enjoyed, but never enjoyed formal debating. Formalities restrict creativity. When interviewing, the production of a microphone or camera brings about anxiety, self-consciousness, overt self-awareness. Often, these things are detrimental to the interview itself.

The reality is that language is malleable, and our use of language is often one of the things that makes us self-conscious. When we are excited or anxious or upset, our ability to perfectly and seamlessly communicate our thoughts is often a struggle. The problem is, it is during these moments that it is more important to communicate our thoughts clearly.

I use writing as a way to formulate my thoughts, to try to reach a deeper understanding of my emotions. Spoken communication is something that I struggle with. I dislike sharing feelings, talking about emotions. Writing is often the only way I share my feelings.

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