“The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up”*
Here’s a thought. The one weapon that I have when trying to attract customers to the Admiral Storage Facility is language.
Yes, of course design and pictures can play a part, but design has far less ability to draw pictures in the brain and stimulate the mind than mere words.
Words can take us anywhere within a trice. “A horse goes into a bar…” is obviously the start of a silly joke, but even so those six words create images – different images for each person in fact. What sort of bar? What sort of horse? What era? Who else was there? Any other horses? Were the horses being ridden? Only you can tell.
So I can use the phrase “The garage got flooded” and I don’t even have to tell you about what was stored in the garage or why I should have stored it with Admiral. It was flooded, you assume I had something of value in there, and you can imagine the disaster.
Language is the way we communicate most of the time. OK, I can show you pictures of the Admiral Storage Facility, but in essence the key point is that your stored items will be safe, secure, and dry.
The problem is that everyone wants to use pictures these days because it is easier to take a picture (often a very tedious and dull picture) with the mobile phone than it is to string a dozen words together.
Hence Facebook. Facebook loves pictures (preferably of cats and dogs) and doesn’t really like words too much. Try advertising on Facebook and you will see what I mean when their regulations come along.
But the world should not be like this. Words can be fun. Writing can be fun. Writing because you like the feel of the words pouring out of you can be fun.
OK, some of the writing that we store at Admiral (particularly the legal stuff) isn’t fun, and of course we are happy to store pictures as well as writing, but my point is that we are moving into a world where writing is seen to be not something we do.
But we should all try writing more, in my opinion. Writing humour, writing adverts, writing threatening letters, whatever takes your fancy.
Now if you really want to have some fun, go back, remove a word or three from anything you have written, and put in something else. Suddenly everything changes direction. Play games. Take words at random from the dictionary. No one will understand what you write, but then, I’ve lived with that for years and it hasn’t affected me.
Do anything you want, but for goodness sake do not give up on writing. Writing should be as much a fun thing to do in your spare time as watching TV, going to the football match, playing tennis, listening to music or throwing stones into the sea.
Writing should be inventive and not pored over too much. It should not be treated logically, pulled apart, or judged by the same criteria through which one might judge a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel or the ingredients list that is to be found on a tin of bake beans (“Contents: beans, baked”).
Writing should enter the mind of the reader and then be dissected, desiccated, and quite possibly drowned in a bottle of wine.
Writing allows us to indulge in frippery, and as such it should slap the reader around the face in order to grab attention (or at least give a tickle up the little finger) and then take the dear reader on a journey within the likes of which it really doesn’t matter if the reader falls asleep or not.
It was indeed with such thoughts in mind that I got on a Eurostar train and read the terms and conditions of their wi-fi service. This told me that I agreed, at my own cost, to defend and protect the wi-fi service of Eurostar and all its offices, employees and directors, against any costs, damages and legal costs, resulting from any damage claims made through the use of the wi-fi service which may have violated the rights of any third party or any law.
So I chose not to use the wi-fi, since to do so would mean that if a man in Russia claimed that an email sent out via that wi-fi system by someone other than myself had caused him to drop a hammer on his toe, I would be guilty of aggression, and I would have to pay to defend the case and pay all costs.
That isn’t quite what I meant about using writing creatively, but I hope you see my point.
Or maybe not.
*G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)
Admiral Self Storage Ltd
Tel: 0800 810 1125