I think words are shape makers. Communication at its core impacts us in so many ways. A great conversation engages my thinking and energizes me. So does a great book or article. The words of some of my favorite African female writers like poet Patricia Jabbeh Wesley and Chimmanda Ngozi Adichie create a complex tapestry of imagery around the colorful, exotic energy that is the African diaspora experience..
Nigerians in particular are known to be expressive word shapers. Even our phone calls are not quiet. It is as though our words must be enunciated clearly and loudly enough to ensure they travel through invisible space without unraveling.
Growing up, I found it amusing to listen to supposedly private conversations which were more like big box expressions of large sound waves splashing against the ears of just about anyone who cared to listen.
Words punctuate, truncate, elongate, morph and dilate around our personalities creating context and flourish. Conversations which are inspirational, encircle me with warmth and gratitude. Angry words pierce my soul like sharp arrows.
I think the best conversations occur in the wide open space of the unexpected. When I am open, curious and accepting, all sorts of opportunities for interesting interactions emerge. I enjoy in depth grown up conversations, but find that some of the most interesting shapes of dialog swirl around kids whose world view is not yet neatly formatted. Conversations with truly curious people (including kids) are like squiggly lines. They're fun, refreshing and thought provoking!
The best word shaped space for me is the cloud. There's something about the curves of a cloud which engages the nuance of communication in an interesting way. When I'm in that 'cloud space' with an audience, I know that what is being created is unique. A point in time which will never be repeated, but is savored, and animated not unlike the quirky energy within a squiggle - creating an experience which energizes and transforms myself and the audience in some unique way forever.