Cookies fresh from the oven. A cold glass of milk. Freshly baked bread. These are only words, but the images that they evoke also stimulate other senses as well. Can you smell the cookies? Can you hear the sound of the milk splashing into the glass as it is poured? Can you taste the chocolate chip morsel that is melting against your tongue?
Every day, words are used to evoke our emotions. Sound bytes and news advertisements draw us in with powerful words, words that sometimes frighten us, like assault or attack or abuse, when those words could actually convey any of a wide range of behaviors. When we actually see the clip or watch the show or read the column, the overall impression that we get can feel pretty watered down in comparison with the build-up. On the other hand, the writer did his or her job. The words that were carefully selected drew us in, had us waiting for the big story.
The flip side, of course, are the cookies, the bread, the turkey roasting in the oven. Lazy summer days. The last day of school. The sense of an infinite summer. Words that take us back to childhood days. Words evoke memories. Memories provide us with a break from our daily lives. They serve as reminders of attitudes we may want to recapture. Relax more. Chill. Repose. Laugh. Play.
Freud said that words were originally magic. He was right. And, they still are.