Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Power of Words

I love words, I started collecting them when I was little girl. Some girls collect dolls or stuffed animals. Not me. It was all about words.

As a kid, I had 2 notebooks with me at all times. In one notebook, I’d record new words that I heard or read. If I didn’t understand what the word meant, I’d look it up and write down the definition. Then, I’d try to use the new word casually, in conversation. My (mis)use of these oversized words was hilarious to the grown-ups in my life. In fact, we still laugh about a few of the golden nuggets I stiltedly pushed through my kid-mouth to form an awkward sentence. We call those comical phrases ‘quotable quotes.’

Still, I persevered. Words held power. I wanted to know words, to understand them, to use them properly.   

In the second notebook, I collected quotes. I was (and still am) moved and amazed at the power of the right words strung together to express the perfect thought.

My love of words, quotes, song lyrics and poems comes naturally. My paternal grandmother was a published author and poet. Her first gift to me was a rhyming poem. I still have it, in her handwriting. What a treasure.

Now my 11-year old niece is keeping the tradition alive. She uses the funniest words sometimes, struggling to work them into a cohesive sentence. She has her own notebook full of favorite words. When she grows up, I hope we’ll laugh together about her ‘quotable quotes.’ I hope she’ll use the power of words in a positive way.
Even as a kid I knew that words have power. I wanted to understand the power, harness it and use it well. 
I still want all that.
The pen is mightier than the sword. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." ~Rudyard Kipling


This post was written for The Writers' Post group on Facebook, and this week’s topic is The Power of Words.  If you want to connect with other bloggers and join the fun, go to The Writers' Post Facebook page and request to join the group. Everyone is welcome.




  1. This was an awesome post--on Words and the power they hold...when used correctly of course!! I think we all have quotable quotes from childhood. I'm not so sure I looked my words up first before "hearing" them then trying to "use" them. Yes it makes it quite funny!!

    I'm a word person too--I love to try to say something profound and meaningful with just the right combination.

    Cheers!! Jenn

  2. I know exactly how you feel towards words. I have a huge collection myself in various languages. The only drawback I find about collecting words is how intimidated many people react once they discover your little hobby. Honestly, some people react to word collectors the same way they react to firearm collectors. Don't believe it? Try visiting a Tea Party forum and brandishing the expression "equipollency legislation" in front their computer screens, and they may react as if you were brandishing an AK-47 assault rifle.

  3. Enjoyed reading this. I still collect words and quotes. I can't say how many notebooks I have accumulated over the years.....

  4. You and I were very similar as children--little wordy girls. :O)

  5. There is nothing funnier than misused words. I used to have an arrogant parent who would purposely drop big words so we'd all know how smart he was; however, the idiot buried himself when he called our parent/teacher meeting a tryst!


  6. Brilliant post. I especially loved the story about your grandma and the handwritten poem. That's the sort of memory I would love us all to have. A treasure in the form of words. I'll leave one for your notebook today (although you probably have it!) - grandiloquence. A fabulous word with great image-creating ability :) *Hugs*

  7. What a wonderful idea to collect words!!!

  8. That's great. What a wonderful idea and it's so nice to be passed to the next generation.

  9. I with you on this one. Among my favorite things in school were spelling and vocabulary. I would often pass time in my youth reading the dictionary. A dictionary and a thesaurus are always on my desk and referred to often. I like to know that I have the best word for what I'm trying to say.

    Tossing It Out

  10. I enjoyed this post and agree completely. I love how you talk about the power of words strung together properly. Sometimes when I write and words come together in the perfect pairing so as to produce a glorious emotional response...ahhhh, glorious!! Of course, then, you can also tell when your words fall flat. ugh.

    I'd like to steal your idea of collecting words. I have mommy brain. It's fried. I need to clear the cobwebs, wake it up and get those juices flowing!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  11. Now the question is, is it because of genes or environment? Does the niece have a natural attraction to language that she is coded for in her DNA that maybe her Aunt Langley has, or is she simply emulating her Aunt Langley? Hmmmm?

  12. Nice post. Thanks for sharing it ... loved the fact that you still have the poem from your aunt.

  13. what a great idea! I love words as well, but I never seem to have a paper and pen around whenever I find some new interesting word. Thank God for cellphones. Now I can just take a picture of the thing that inspired the word or save a copy in my messages folder.

  14. That is really cool that you guys have passed down this love of language. My mom passed down a love of reading to me. :-)

    Thanks for linking up for Flashback Friday. Link up every Friday at


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