Column to Follow: Summer Brennan on Language and Power

“On language and power” has been the tagline of How Did We Get Into This Mess? for years, so I’m always excited when other writers focus in on that specific issue. Here’s Summer Brennan, with her new twice-monthly column.

I would like to invite readers to join me in doing this. Get a diary or journal and write down as many words as you can that relate to the things that you value. Fascism favors sameness; it represents a desertification of language and thinking. You can fight sameness with diversity. Inside this thought-desert, we must learn to be jungle oases. If you plan to defend nature, write down the names of birds and landscape as a start. Write phoebe, warbler, wren, heron, starling, swift, swallow. Write dale, dell, coppice, coomb, swale, swarth. Let your language soar and spread. Get closer and write root, leaf, stem, stamen, stigma, filament, sepal, pistil, petal. Write down how the world and words around you change.

We all need our hills to defend. As I intend to chronicle in this twice-monthly column, language will be mine. I’ll be here, wielding pen or laptop under the eye of Big Brother, repeating that two plus two equals four.

Lots of new writers out there and newly elevated writers, as publications invest to cover Trump’s America. I really like Brennan’s, “We all need our hills to defend” line. Find your lane, whatever it is and whatever you can do (which honestly may be – try to survive, which is enough). Then do it.

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