Monday, August 11, 2008

Jim's (Grin)

I’d been getting e-mails from Jim lately, now that he was elected president of the local computer group. One identifying mark of most every note from him was a notation: (grin). He was not one to put on airs, as we used to say. A down-to-earth guy he’d put you at ease, and he did pass on information with a friendly humor and that (grin).

The usefulness of a (grin) became evident now. I promised myself to try to remember to identify my humor, as well as other pertinent emotions. That’s one advantage a phone call or a conversation in person, or even the writing of a story or an article has over just sending a quick e-mail or letter. The recipient can hear the tone of your voice or see such helpful words as “she gasped” or “she giggled” or “he smiled.”

Identifying emotion is a valuable skill. When you’re watching a play the actors are adopting a stance or a tone of voice to get across to the audience the importance and meaning of their scripted words. When you’re writing a poem or story or article the choice of words either assists or confuses the reader.

Maybe there should be more “what I mean to say is” or “the gist of the matter to me is.” Would an introduction of “I thought this was funny” or “this is a serious matter” help the recipient of the letter?

What terminology are you comfortable using? What little hints or outright labeling would help you be more specific when you write?

We might write one thing quickly and send it off, without giving the words a second look. Perhaps there’d be better words to use, better phrasing to compose. Perhaps in our haste we haven’t given any thought to the emotion we wish the reader to comprehend.

A clear notion of emotion may be what’s missing in our writing, as well as in our reading of letters and notes.. Now, for friends and family I’m latching on to Jim’s (grin) and enjoying a new awareness of helpful notation.
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