From Things You Carry in Your Mind
A Chinese proverb extols the strength of the written word: “The palest ink is better than the best memory.”
“Ah, yes, Xiao,” (Shee Ow, ‘Little One,’) “but the written word has no meaning until it has been translated into the spoken word it represents.”
The second chapter of the book of Genesis tells us God created all the animals and then, “brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”
The gift of God to you and me – the thing that facilitates our ability to transfer knowledge across time and space – is our capacity for attaching complex meanings to sounds. The deepest meanings are attached to special types of sounds called “words.”
We, the People, invented the written word only to make the spoken word more durable.
When the spoken word becomes permanent, it is a powerful thing. Ink on paper creates a plastic explosive. The eyes of the reader ignite the page and BOOM! images fill the mind.
“The soft blanket of Summer wrapped them all in her warm embrace. Around the swimming beagles, bright stars danced on rippling waters like a thousand little fishes of light scurrying in a sea of darkness. Night is a time of reflection. Not of stars in water only, but of times past and times to come. And such a night was this.” – Destinae, book 2, chap. 4
Just behind your left ear is Wernicke’s area of the brain. This is where certain sounds called “nouns” are attached to the mental images they represent. Slightly forward of that ear is Broca’s area, where verbs become actions on the projection screen of imagination, the mind’s eye, called the “visuospatial sketchpad” by cognitive neuroscientists. The movie projector we call consciousness, they call “working memory.” The high-bandwidth neural pipeline that connects the two is called the “arcuate fasciculus.”
Toss these words into the mix at dinner parties and everyone will think you’re smart. Painfully dull, but smart.
A second function of Broca’s area is to coordinate the diaphragm, larynx, lips and tongue to create a whole range of vocal phonemes: vowels, diphthongs, closures, plosives, nasals, flaps, fricatives, affricates, liquids, dentals, glides, velars, palatals and labials; the sounds you make in rapid succession every time you speak. The rest of us interpret these sounds to see exactly what you want us to see in our minds.
I remember the day my friend Michael Zaplitny, an excellent writer, told me about a particular bar in 1970’s Saskatoon:
“It was where loose women in beehive hairdos met guys in two-tone shoes.”
Michael’s words make you see and feel.
Made in God’s image, Michael and me and you speak worlds into existence.
And Michael said, “Where loose women in beehive hairdos met guys in two-tone shoes.”
And Roy said, “Bright stars danced on rippling waters like a thousand little fishes of light scurrying in a sea of darkness.”
And You said, “Finish the tower.”
Yes, language is an amazing thing.
I’m taking off work the next 2 months to write a couple of books and groom half a dozen apprentices. They’re going to need real businesses for whom they can write real ads.
Would you like us to isolate your core message and turn it into advertising copy for you? I’m going to edit all the ads written by each of these apprentices but there’s nothing I can do to bring sparkle to a boring message. That’s why you’re going to need to allow my apprentices to extract from you the very best message that’s in you when they call to interview you about your business.
We can definitely give you better words than the ones you’ve been using. Donate $500 to help finish the tower at Wizard Academy and leave the rest to me and my apprentices. They’ll call you, interview you, craft the message and give it to me, I’ll edit it and give it back, they’ll send it to you, you’ll use it to grow your business.
Each of these apprentices paid $6,000 for 7 weeks of detailed training. You can bet they’re taking it very seriously.
Want to read the details of this opportunity?
Aroo and aroo.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Remember the measurement thing we talked about in last week’s MMMemo?
Measurement and the Mind: Where Art Meets Science – Oct. 12-13, is a 2-day class that will leave its mark on you forever. John Davis, NY Times bestselling author Jeffrey Eisenberg, Dr. Richard Grant, teacher of Consumer Behavior in the MBA Program at the University of Texas, and Mark Huffman of P & G, the biggest advertiser on earth, are coming together at Wizard Academy for 2 unforgettable days. Remember, Tuscan Hall seats only 100 people. This class will likely sell out quickly. This is not hype, but a word to the wise: It’s extremely unlikely that we – or anyone else – will ever again be able to assemble this team of superstar instructors. Register before midnight Monday, June 21 and we’ll pick up the cost of your hotel room. (The 14 rooms in Engelbrecht House were filled within 8 minutes after this class was posted online. Several dozen more seats were snapped up within the following 72 hours as word of the class spread through social media.)