Finish the Sentence

5 06 2008

This quote has been sitting in my email box for a few months now, a sort of “this week’s quote of the day”. It is from Anne Bogart’s “And Then, You Act”, published in 2007.

One of the most radical things you can do in this culture of the inexact is to finish a sentence. Notice what a vibrant act in the world this can be. Feel the power of finishing a sentence. And yet, it is difficult to finish a sentence. Worlds conspire against it. Listen to people speaking around you. Inarticulate people are not dangerous to any political or societal systems. Political agenda has conspired against a citizen’s ability to speak. Words are dangerous and they can be powerful. It takes effort and stubbornness to finish a sentence.
[snip]
Learn to be articulate, discover your own words, and describe what you believe in. Stand up and articulate what you are rather than what you are not. These activities will give greater force to the way your art meets the world; it alters the way you frame the world and it will help to define and describe what could be. The performance of articulation is a positive action in the world. It will cause change.

On the one hand, this fits into the same category as deleting “like” and “you know” and “uhhh” from the vocabulary. Doing so will increase our vocal maturity by ten years. But more importantly, it simply speaks to having the strength to stand up and express yourself. It is taking acting, which takes a manufactured script that has been edited, honed and perfected (sometimes), and applying it to your real life. Public speaking is difficult for most, but this kind of speaking is even more effective in conversation. A thought, fully formed and expressed? How nice. How powerful.

Bogart calls it radical. Unfortunately this is probably true.

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2 responses

7 06 2008
gorky

“Like” and “you know” are deflections. They are used to soften the thought and keep it from hurting anyone. It’s verbal flinching.

8 06 2008
teastiles

Which means not convinced that what you’re saying is important or coherent. I’m guilty of it all the time.

They can also be tics, which are also meant to make the comment or the sentence more familiar and softening it from that angle.

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