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Words of Steel

Hickman 1

Words of Steel: 3rd draft


Damon Hickman
Antioch University Santa Barbara

Commented [1]: You need the Running head part of


the header (in accordance with APA conventions).
Google CCC + APA paper to find that resource we
checked out in class.

Words of Steel

Hickman 2

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what if those thousand words create a
more beautiful, vivid image than the picture itself? What if those words could pack more
meaning and detail within them and paint a picture so detailed that even the most gorgeous of
photos wouldnt even come close in comparison?
Language allows you to think outside of the boundaries of what your eyes can see,
opening up the opportunity to discover what your mind can see. There is a reason weve all heard

Commented [2]: Love the start, Damon (By you


starting it like this, though, I'm expecting that
photos/visual literacy will be a major component of your
paper.)
Commented [3]: I'd keep the paragraph rolling into
"Language allows..."

people say the book was way better than the movie! Its the same reason that typically only
childrens books have illustrations along with text: because once you gain an understanding of
words and their meanings, your imagination becomes the only illustrator you needgiving you
the freedom and the ability to create your own mental images, tailored exactly to your own
interpretations.
Within our language, whichaccording to Merriam Webster dictionariesconsists of
nearly half a million unique words, the possibilities are seemingly endless. The palette of colors
with which we may paint our pictures pales in comparison to the combinations of words we may
use to describe the beauty of said pictures, or ones we create in our minds. Humans are very
visual creatures, but due to the vastness of language and the endless ways to use words and
figurative language, I believe words can be just as strongif not strongerthan images.
Firstly, a brief look at the history of language showsmuch like how most people learn
language as children with illustrations and visualsthat the natural transition of language from
images to words is not only innate, but also symptomatic of the overall strength of wordsand
their (potential) superiority over images. This transition from the beginning of language to the
vast vocabulary we now have was definitely not a quick one. Research from Spar (2004) shows

Commented [4]: I think you might be "over-intro'ing" it;


it's getting a bit fluffy. You hooked me, now give me
some context for your paper topic and then lay down
the thesis!

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that thousands of years ago, written language came about in its earliest form: the pictograph.
These pictographs were typically created using sticks on damp clay or wood, and served as literal
representations of everyday thingssuch as fish, grain, and animals. They alsoas
sophistication increasedserved as a means of record keeping for economic and bureaucratic
reasons. Spars research also indicates that these early forms of written language trace back to

Commented [5]: OK, a few things:

the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamiawhich is the present day Middle-Eastern region

1, Most/all readers are expecting the thesis statement


at the end of the 1st paragraph. Here I am, in the 2nd
paragraph and I'm wondering: what, exactly, are you
going to be arguing here? And what specific points are
you going to use to make that case? What
genres/documents are you going to be analyzing?
What audience(s) are you/they focusing on? Who did
you interview?

consisting of Iraq, Syria, and Kuwaitdating back as early as the middle of the fourth
millennium B.C.
These archaic forms of written language serve as the foundation for what we have today:
very modern and sophisticated languages filled with many, many words and many, many ways to
use them. When you consider how far language has come since those very first pictographs, it
truly is remarkable, and representative of the true strength behind words. These days, there are

2, This paper isn't a historical research paper on the


origins of writing. Don't get me wrong, this is superinteresting, but remember what the assignment is
asking you to do: gather *DATA* (interview and
documents), analyze it, and then formulate an
argument about it.
I don't know if any of this is relevant (1) b/c I don't know
what you're arguing and (2) b/c it seems so far
removed from an interview-based research paper.

more than 7,000 active languages world-wide (Noack & Gamio, 2015) each with their own
unique set of words and rules to make up the breadth of that particular language. In addition to

Commented [6]: Ditto, above. It's interesting, but I


don't think it's relevant (at all) to this assignment.

this, there are countless concepts pertaining to writing that also help to create strong messages
and visualsfor example the use of rhetoric, which is described as the spaces in which we
write, converse, debate, and share ideas (Alexander, Losh, Cannon, & Cannon, 2013, p. 44). If
words are in fact not stronger than images, why has language come such a long way from where
it began? Why arent we still drawing our thoughts and ideas instead of expressing them with
words? And lastly, why are there so many concepts and tools in writing that make it easier to
write very well?

Commented [7]: OK, this is great! Working in the


course readings and using them to define/describe
terms is huge!

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Another important aspect of language is figurative languagewhich includes the simile,


metaphor, hyperbole, and personification, in addition to several other devices. Figurative
language allows you to describe in a non-literal sense; using words to not only tell, but also to

Commented [8]: Is this what you'll be focusing on in


this paper? Are they in all genres? Some?
(And what genres did you analyze?)

show.
For example, when telling somebody about a warm day at the beach, one may simply say
the sun was shining and the water was cold. But for those who realize the true power of words,
one may choose something a little more descriptive to paint a picture, such as: my skin was
scorching from the intrusive rays of the beaming, golden sun, but the crisp, cerulean ocean water
was refreshing and cool like a tall glass of lemonade.
Once you harness the power of language and learn to use it to the best of your abilities,
youll soon realize that words are extremely powerful, and they empower you to not only tell a
story, but to also create images that may rival those of beautiful photographs or drawings.
Within the thousands of languages on the planet and all of the words within eachas
well as the rules and concepts that allow you to use words in many different wayslanguage is
not only powerful but also fascinating. The history that went into the development and creation
of modern writing and language is also very special. The amount of time it took to build
language as we know it serves as proof itself as to how important, necessary, and useful words
are. Similar to how children are introduced to reading and writing with accompanying pictures,
the history of our world languages began on a similar note, but transformed into what we have
today.

Commented [9]: This is totally hypothetical. You need


to base everything here on empirical data.
(What happened?)

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With this, despite humans being very visual creatures, we live in a world dominated by
words, and many choose to learn early on the many amazing ways to use them and further
themselves and their passions with them. Lunsberg, Ruszkiewicz, & Walters state that, in the
chapter on research and arguments, some evidence is best obtained through direct interviews. If
you can talk with an expertin person, on the phone, or onlineyou might obtain information
you couldnt have gotten through any other type of research (2012, p. 404). So, what better way
is there to understand the power of words and writing than to discuss the topic with somebody
who has a solid foundation in it?
Anne-Marie Charest, an educator, author, writer, and all-around knowledge-seeker, has a
strong background in writing, marketing, psychology, and education, as well as more abstract
areas such as spirituality, mindfulness, and meditation. With her degrees in Therapeutic

Commented [10]: OK, so this should be, like, your 2nd


paragraph... :(
Commented [11]: The assignment is, more/less, what
is "good writing" to Anne Maria and in her field of work?
What documents/genres does she participate with on a
regular basis? And how? And why?

Recreation, Gerontology, Clinical Psychology, as well as Transpersonal Psychology, her


endeavors are great to say the least. Her expansive knowledge has taken her in many different
directionsfrom a marketing career, to conducting research on mindfulness in schools, to
authoring her book titled InnerU Ocean Adventures, Embodied Mindfulness, to teaching at
Antioch University Santa Barbara: all of which have somehow been furthered by the power of
words, and the power of writing.
When asked about her background in writing with respect to the many different kinds of
writing she has experience with, she had this to say:
Writing is like any other skill: its the same thing as learning how to ride a bike, or
learning how to skate. At first, its a little bit challenging and youre all over the map, and
you fall, and it looks pretty clumsy. And the more you practice your skill, the more

Commented [12]: Writing *what*, exactly? Did she get


into specifics? Did you ask her any follow-ups that
connected this to actual documents/genres?

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youre polishing yourself up and gaining the inner writing muscle in order to do it in a
good way, and become more eloquent at writing.
The beginning of Anne-Maries career was in marketingas a Director of Marketing for
several large corporations in the fields of telecom, beverages, as well as non-profit organizations.
She experienced first-hand one of the many ways in which words can be just as strong as images:
in the advertising industry. She described this form of writing as drier than other forms of
writing she has done, including academic writing and authoring.
At first, it was the drier approach with marketing and communicationsthat was

Commented [13]: OK, so this can be the focus of your


paper, for sure --- and if it is, I think you should
articulate that in your thesis statement.
Remember: (academic) readers like to know what's
coming up so that they can anticipate the flow/structure
of the piece. Tell me where I'm going right from the
get-go so I can have an easier time getting there.

impersonal. I feel like the academic writing solidified another dimension of that. Youre
making points; instead of selling points, youre making arguments. Where in marketing
youre saying, Hey, look at this product! This is why its so cool. The other dimension
would be, as an author, youre talking from more of a personal voice. Its a different
language. Each has a different feel to it. Youre learning to be comfortable just by doing
it. It all goes hand in hand: if youre writing and doing a brochure, or writing a poem, or
writing a songtheyre all facets of expression that emerge from within yourself.
Anne-Maries multi-dimensional career is a testament to the power of language, and also
to the fact that not only are words powerful tools, yet they are also the foundation of several
industries that further prove words arein factjust as strong as images.

Commented [14]: Id advise you to refrain from using


free-floating quotes (ie, sentences that start and end
with a quote). The reader is probably going to be left
wondering, Who is saying/citing this, and how/why is it
relevant? Wheres it coming from? Try to introduce
the quote and give it context.
Commented [15]: This is basically a big "data dump."
You've got to explain to me what I need to take away
from this -- you've got to analyze what's going on here
and how/why it relates to your thesis statement.

In addition to marketing, advertising, and communications, another industry that utilizes


the power of words is journalism. When scanning a newspaper or magazine articleor even
listening to the radio or watching it on televisionthe stories are told, and not shown. The

Commented [16]: Are these the artifacts she handed


over to you? (What are the artifacts she handed over
to you?)
Remember: *stick to your data.*

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headline must be sufficient enough to not only engage the reader, but to also allow the reader to
create a mental image of what the news story is going to tell them. Take for example this
headline in a college newspaper: Preoccupied drivers risk others safety with electronic
devices. In my head, I see a teenager fiddling with their white Iphone snapping selfies on
Snapchat and searching through their Itunes library for what song they will play next; a stark
difference to what the attached photo actually depicts. The photo shows in black and white a
cars steering wheel and dashboard with hands on the steering wheel with a phone in them.
Exciting, right?
Then, once you make it past the headline and begin reading the actual article, it takes
good story-telling and a strong understanding of writing to not only tell, but to show what is
going on. Even when articles or news broadcasts are accompanied by a visual, the main
attraction is the words: you are given the facts and the details of a given situation, and it is up to
youthe readerto create mental images to go along with the words you are reading. If the
writer has cultivated enough writing skills, the end result is a clear, vivid mental image of what
happened or is happening, all without having to be shown. Your mind is the illustrator, and is the
only tool you need to visualize. Strong words create strong images.
If words are not as strong as images, one must question how journalism, marketing,
poetry, and every other writing-dominant field successfully conveys images through words
without excessive use of images. When analyzing artifacts for the artifact analysiswhich
included television news scripts and newspapersit became evident that one convention of this
kind of writing style was the use of powerful words to create powerful images. Without words, a
newspaper would simply be grey paper with random images without any context.

Commented [17]: What's this got to do with AnneMarie?

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Miller states that a rhetorically sound definition of genre must be centeredon the
action it is used to accomplish (2010, p. 252). When it comes to journalism and the genre itself,
the goal is always to tell a story and to allow the reader to be presented with enough facts and
evidence to create mental images in an effort to form an opinion about the relevant news story.
The reader is given information, context, quotes, and details which allow the reader to paint
pictures within their minds and turn the text into images. Unlike a childrens storybook, the text
isnt reliant on an image or illustration to complete the idea: the words suffice.
The words will always suffice. When you consider the amount of time and effort it took
for language to transition from pictographs on clay to the sophisticated language of today, in
addition to the different word and language-dominant industries present in the world, as well as
the plethora of ways and methods you can use words to not only tell, but to also describe and to
showyoull understand that words, when used effectively and creatively, can in fact be just as
strongif not strongerthan images.

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References
Spar, Ira. "The Origins of Writing". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/wrtg/hd_wrtg.htm (October 2004)
Noack, R., Gamio., L. (2015, April 23). The Worlds Languages, in 7 Maps and Charts. The
Washington Post. Retrieved from
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/04/23/the-worldslanguages-in-7-maps-and-charts/
Losh, E. & Alexander, A. (2013). Understanding Rhetoric. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins.
44.
Lunsberg. A. A., Ruszkiewicz. J. J., Walters. K. (2012) Everythings an Argument. Boston, MA:
Bedford/St. Martins, 404.
Dirk, K. (2010). Navigating Genres. Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. Parlor Press. 252.