I love words. And, I love to write. I would rather write a letter or email than talk on the phone. Some people, like President Obama, are masters of the spoken word and quick to respond with a full grasp of the facts and the words that convey them. I'm not one of them; I like to have time to think through my response. I enjoy my friends and I like to talk to them, but for things of substance I like the written word.
But - as much as I love words and a well constructed letter, I sometimes completely miss the mindset and nuance that a reader might ascribe to them. I've been called to task twice in the last two weeks for my choice of words or the way they were delivered. It has made me acutely aware of the power and multiple meanings that some words carry and how they are strung together.
Marilynn took umbrage the other day when I blogged that "she works slowly and thoughtfully..." To her, the connotation was negative. "Slowly" was the objectionable word. When I said that I worked "quickly" it made her feel like she was being set up as a drudge. I deemed "thoughtfully" the operative word in the sentence, but she focused on "slowly". She wanted me to change it to "methodically." I said "Write your own blog if you don't it." Not a very thoughtful response probably. It was all lighthearted fun for us, although she still wanted me to change it.
The other instance of umbrage was not so lighthearted. I wrote a comment to a "friend" on Facebook that I intended as a joking rebuke for his long silence. I hadn't heard from him for a long time, so I told him that if he wanted me to support a cause he was involved in he needed to ask me directly i.e. call or email me and make the request. He did not like my "comment" and told me it was snide and unwelcome. I tried to apologize, but it was not accepted and I am now "hidden" on his Facebook page. Was it the choice of words or something smoldering between us? I don't know. I feel awful for the misunderstanding. I guess I'll have to work a little more slowly and thoughtfully in the future.