The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD – March 27 – Unused Words


Sometimes we bite our tongues because we know the words we would say could change everything.

Everyone has a lot of unused words. They are the ones that get stuck deep inside your brain. They typically cause you anxiety – either good or bad. They make you ache. They eat away at you, and keep you up all night. There are times when I can’t sleep, because words might eat me. They burrow in my brain, until my head feels like Swiss cheese. A few years ago, I tattooed “Rule #13” on the inside of my left wrist; it’s a reminder to “omit needless words.” I enjoy the Strunk and White rule, and it’s a nice way to not-over-speak at times. That being said, those words are still there. My conversations may at times be more concise, but those words don’t just disappear. I don’t do well without closure – or at least a strong metaphorical period or exclamation point.

My “notes” function on my phone is filled with unused words – drunk on them, in fact. They eventually get used – or at least modified – into songs, or poems, or stories, or something that will at least ease the hangover. Then they don’t all go unused. Then I feel a tad bit better.

So, what do you do with your unused words?

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

One comment on “QOTD – March 27 – Unused Words

  1. kiwiskan
    March 27, 2014

    I’m probably not as good at omitting them as you are…

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