Now as a writer, I enjoy playing with words and learning the history and nuances of words — not only in English but in other languages.
Words have value, and most people regardless of language have a lexicon — a mental dictionary — that is used with familiarity and frequency.
Because I used to work with non-native speakers of English, I understand how difficult English can be because we have one word that can mean dozens of different things — the meaning based solely on the context. Think of the word draft — a word which can mean a beer, a copy, a horse, an assignment to the military, a money-making deal for a sports team, or a gentle breeze.
None of these meanings are even related, so paying very close attention to the entire sentence is vital for comprehension. That’s why I love adding emojis to my writing because when I send a mug of beer emoji, that mug cannot be confused with a cloud blowing in the breeze or a horse. I am here to tell you that emojis are the way to go.
Do you know emojis? It’s those little pictures on the cell phone or in email that express emotion — or a thing/idea — with a picture/symbol. Kate Grisdale enjoys emojis just as much as me because Kate can write an entire title to a book with only pictures of little dogs and autumn leaves.
Now that’s artistic expression — who needs words?
Okay, I admit some emojis just have no purpose, and I don’t know what all the little symbols mean (though I have learned in the most embarrassing of ways that the little pile of poo with eyes is not the beehive that I thought when sharing), but I love emojis because I like the color and shape the emoji adds to the page.
Emojis turn the black and white into a colorful extravaganza of expression.
As part of that color extravaganza, I am guilty of sending random emojis like blue dinosaurs, a saltshaker, green underwear, someone doing a handstand, a ladder, a tongue, or a spoon (why would anyone need these emojis?), and for a while there, I made every effort to send as many odd emojis as possible to my brother, Bill, because I knew when he got the long list of emojis on his phone he would be totally perplexed at why anyone would send him a picture of a lobster, a woman’s shoe, or a unicorn.
Since the point of emoji discovery, I have changed my emoji habits and try ending most messages that contain words embroidered with many smiley faces, several hearts, or the surprised face that tells the reader how I feel at the moment.
A friend of mine recently made a comment about how my emoji use is too often and very silly.
I won’t deny the fact, and this obsession makes me wonder what would happen if next week, my column is nothing other than 500 emojis — no words.
Welcome to the discussion.
We will consider two submissions per writer per month. Letters: 250 or fewer words. Commentaries: Under 500 words. You may submit a photo with a Commentary if you like. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.