I am always hungry for marginalia. Are you, like me, 73% more likely to purchase a used book if there are interesting asides and scribbles? Recently, while paging through a colleague’s book of voice and speech techniques, I was rewarded with all-caps declarations such as LOVE IT! and YES! — small, hearty words floating in a soup of white space.
But most wonderful was this gem of a scrawl: IN A NUTSHELL, EVERYTHING. I stared at the words and read them aloud. When I asked my co-worker about them, he couldn’t fully explain or recall what the note meant and, unsatisfied with this, I decided to take them on as poetry. They have since become a secret rallying cry, meant to spark a small fire in me when feeling blue or complacent.
What am I thankful for? IN A NUTSHELL, EVERYTHING!
What do I love about life? IN A NUTSHELL, EVERYTHING!
What am I going to eat for lunch? IN A NUTSHELL, EVERYTHING!
The application of the phrase is limited, you can see. But this is what I’d like to know about every person I meet: what are the words to which you march? What phrases rattle around the boot of your brain like a stubborn pebble? Surely being latched on to by words is one of the best things about being alive, the joy I try so desperately to awaken in my students. Maybe some of them just haven’t found the right word soul-mates yet.
What is there to love about language? IN A NUTSHELL…you know.