“Action is eloquence.” William Shakespeare
What mastery is packed in these three words! How the Bard aims arrows at our hearts with the swift, jolting speed of a handful of words hurled at us, their very spareness forcing us to stop ad ponder their meaning. “Action is eloquence” – what a perfect sentence. “Action” and “eloquence” are like two perfectly balanced weights, poised in midair and “is,” that most innocent of verbs, forms the scale where they reside, waiting for someone to tip the balance and do something. Fantastic!
“Action is eloquence” – what message does this elegant challenge hold for us as writers? There are so many ways in which we can act and move from inaction into the realm of eloquence – or toward it. A few spring to mind:
We can write: The very act of writing is a form of eloquence, isn’t it? It’s an act of faith –- a testimony to the fact that we have something we must say because we can’t keep silent and because saying it, getting it down on paper, will help ourselves and others. And simply writing is a way of saying to ourselves and the world that we believe what we have to say is worth saying and worthy of being heard.
We can shape our words: We can invest time and energy into making sure that we write with style and muscle, that we our strength into our words and give them the power to strike at the heart and move our readers. We can revise and edit until our words sing and dance off the page – until they speak eloquently, with flair and courage.
We can share our words: This is often a challenge. But if we don’t take action and share what we’ve written, there’s no chance for eloquence. There’s only silence and witholding. There’s only fear of being judged and found wanting. So when we take action to share what we’ve written through open mikes, in critique groups, and by submitting our work to the wider world, we give those words a chance to shine.
“Action is eloquence.” How can we act through our writing today as we all write on?
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