Use your words

November 25, 2013


To write, or not to write? What to write? How to write? Without sounding like an illiterate little ignorant girl? (my greatest fear, and probably what holds me back, at many times)

When using another language – english instead of swedish – my way of writing, and even thinking, changes. Who am I in English? Who am I in swedish? My writing sounds different. Not better, not smarter, but different. Maybe it is not as scary to write in your second language, as in your native tounge? You have a mask on (or gloves on), to make your writing transform, through the adaptaion of a language that you have learned later in life, and not from your family, you can become someone else.

Writing makes you transport yourself, transcend yourself, go through yourself, lie to yourself, or be more honest than you could ever be with yourself. When you let your thoughts flow, it is unorderly, it is sometimes chaos, you never know where to end up, but once the thoughts gets written down, they become real.

The spoken word has never been a strength of mine. I rarely speak if not spoken to. I wouldn’t say I’m that skilled in writing either, but the only one listening, is the page that receives the letters in order to keep my words, for at least a while. I can always erase what I have written. I can throw away the pages. But you can never erase what has once been spoken outloud. Writing is safer.

Writing is slower, and silent, but a text can also be the most powerful tool on earth. A text can be transported, unedited through time. Through space. What changes are its settings, its context. It can change people, change history, without ever changing itself.

Names give things life. Words give thoughts life. A picture is more than a thousand words. But a word, can give you endless pictures, through association, through translation, through context and across time.

Use your words!


/ Klara


After reading: Hélène Cixous, ‘Coming to Writing’ in Hélène Cixous, Coming to Writing and Other Essays, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.


One Response to “Use your words”

  1. Katla Maríudóttir Says:

    We had a discussion yesterday in a workshop that I am in, about writing as a powerful design tool for architects. What the writing often allows us has a lot to do with the gaps that are left in them. Those gaps allows the reader to fill in with his own experiences, feelings and memories, to add his/her own. I am not saying images cannot do that, if the ‘image-maker’ is skilled, it can be done.

    But in certain circumstances, using texts can be useful when describing architecture related topics to people who have not undergone architectural education. And using texts in those circumstances is like tapping into a source that is already there, since most people that I know are more skilled reading a text and understanding symbols and references in it, than trying to figure out symbols and references in an image.

    But this is probably changing, and at a very fast pace, since our culture is very visually-oriented today which it wasn’t only 30 years ago.

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