Power Tripping on Too Few Words, by P.L. Cobb
General Writing, Short Stories

Power Tripping on Too Few Words

I like to be vague. It’s a bad habit, really, but it’s a delightful one–on paper. I’m talking about the written word today, not the world that goes on outside of our heads. Reality is another subject, and dealing with people is certainly no piece of cake. Not very good cake at least. I’m what you call an ambivert, and when my cup is empty I withdraw. There are too many people running amok, but I digress.

Words are the magics which transform minds, forging new ideas. Words can also be used to destroy … I’ll trust that you can guess the rest. I’d hate to repeat old information–

–And with that I return to the topic at hand: vagueness.

There’s a certain power associated with what hasn’t been said. Simple periods, Oxford commas, semi-colons, catch my imagination. Often I find myself falling in love with random words, sentences, paragraphs and their loaded meaning. It’s intoxicating.

What hasn’t been said, the space in between each line, is a vast unknown rich in possibilities. Not everything can be said, and not everything can be articulated well. And maybe not everything should be. As much as I hate having to re-explain myself to people, as much as I hate them jumping down my throat for a perceived slight, I can’t help but shake them up with this power. Vagueness. Even in the spoken word, punctuation acts as the catalyst for my spells, while my words give them strength!

Why do I do the thing I sometimes hate? Perhaps it is a means of release, for forgiveness even, of all the years people have done this to me, out of disrespect. Or could it be that I just like power?

Well, damn this power, but bless it too!


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Notes: I was inspired by my dislike of having to repeat myself, especially in situations where I just can’t hear what the other person is saying. Have you experienced this before? Sometimes it’s a drag.

I was also inspired by a conversation that I had with a friend a long time ago, in college. I was too vague in my stories, which of course made me think. When do you simply show something in the writing, and when is it appropriate to tell? If I gave everything away at the beginning what would be the point in reading, but if I gave too little it would starve the reader of knowledge … You can see where that led.

Thoughts or suggestions?
Let me know in the comments section!
Thanks for reading!

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