Where do words go?

Calder mobile, found on tumblr.com


Where do words go once realized into life by a mind and a consciousness, only to be looked at but never whispered, never said, never released? Are they forgotten? Neglected? Swallowed, digested, flushed down a toilet into the sewer, through the water pipes and land in the cesspools of the filtration plant to be cleansed of grit, power and meaning?

When words form and swim in your brain and trigger chemical reactions and electrical impulses that jump across synapses triggering a reaction, a feeling, a thought, an involuntary blink of an eye that lets you know you’re holding words inside, in your brain and in your body and you ignore them, push them aside, what happens? What chain reaction holds hands with the law of unintended consequences when you don’t breathe the words to life, don’t say them, don’t yell them, don’t let them tumble out into the air, don’t pour them through a pen onto a page, through your fingers onto a screen, through a brush onto a canvas, through the nozzle of a can of spray paint and out onto the side of a building…where do those suspended words go? What sounds do they make? What do they do to you — mind, body, heart and soul? What engines do they run inside you that drive your dreams and visions and wishes and hopes and feelings, tears and laughter? Do they play over and over and over, a private concert, just for you in that bandshell of memory? Do they disappear into the sediment of irretrievable moments, not worth digging up?


Where do edited words go, those words searched for and plucked from their cosy homes to be used for their unique properties and meanings, words used to say something a writer thought important to say that way with those words but which are deemed unnecessary words and so are removed, erased, sliced, diced, cut, crossed-out, written over, condensed, collapsed, replaced or hacked off by Red Pencil, Space Requirements, Readability, Confuses the Storyline, Clarity, It Sounds Better This Way, and, I Can’t Read Anything Without Editing It. Where do those edited words go?


Where do old words go? Where can they go to bump into other words, some old, some not — words that still have currency when mixed in with groups of words to form sentences, create a story, giving back purpose and meaning to old words? Some of them are landing here and there.


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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6 Responses to Where do words go?

  1. Scribbler says:

    Lovely Post! If kept back or hidden, I venture to say the words explode. If they are “cut from their homes”, then they roam our minds until they slowly fade away. I don’t think it’s words wasted, just words saved for another day.

    I just re-read my post to check for editing, and realized it kind of rhymed. 🙂

    • FS says:

      Dear Scribbler; Thank you. You gave words a wonder profile: exploding, roaming, fading and being saved. Hmm. How human a story ;-). And yes, there’s a rhyming there.

  2. DD says:

    I’m guessing some words go out on limb, are etched on stone, or someone’s skin or even the leather jacket of a really dusty book and come back, years later, with a really cool new outfit and a whole new meaning.

    Words do that you know! They can be really sneaky that way….

  3. Ms. Nine says:

    Where do those words go? Why, the recycle bin, of course.

    • FS says:

      Indeed. But what if there isn’t one of those..? Or someone is not a good or consistent recycler..? Or the racoon word thieves like what they sniff..?

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