get the job done
There’s an old song from the eighties about words getting in the way (Words Get in the Way, by Gloria Estefan)
Gloria says, “…There’s something I’ve been trying to say to you / But the words get in the way / There’s so much I want to say / But it’s locked deep inside…I tried to say ‘I love you’ / But the words got in the way…” – and so on. I understand the sense of this song; that sometimes gathering the force and eloquence to say what we truly want to say is impossible.
But it seems the ‘words’ are just the scape goat here, getting the blame for the singer’s (obviously difficult struggle, but also) detrimental resistance to simply spit-it-out and say what needs to be said. Because if we’re really honest about it, is there really any better way to be clear about something other than by simply using words?
Text, email, newspaper (online or in print), magazine, books, blogpost, film dialogue, telephone & dinner conversation, please & thank you at the grocery store- words are everywhere. Words, words, words.
They’re everywhere, they’re common and they’re (fairly) clearly understood. So why don’t we use words and only words to communicate in a complicated world where honesty and understanding pave the most efficient, effective road to forward movement? Why are we ( and by ‘we’ I mean ‘all humans in general’) so hung up on imagery?
Everyone wants pictures. On walls, phones, shirts, pillows; in books, magazines. They, like words, are everywhere. But why?
What do images provide for us beyond brief suggestions of meaning or ambiguous senses of intention? Do they drive us to moments (fleeting or monumental) of understanding or clarity? Are we driven (ever) by imagery to epiphany, comment or action?
Why do we choose imagery when words are so much more effective at getting the job (of communicating) done?