This is the way I have always viewed the writing process – words are bridges. I have always seen them that way. Maybe it’s the poet in me, but whenever I hear or use the phrase “Don’t burn your bridges behind you,” I often picture words on fire.
A bridge over a river or some other geographical feature shares several aspects in common with one constructed of words. I become a little annoyed when people express the sentiment, “Oh, they’re just words.” The nursery rhyme that claims “…But names will never hurt me” has always left me baffled. I’ve always known their power to build up or tear down. Words, like bridges, connect us physically to people and places.
Bridges made out of steel and concrete are built by design and with purpose. While they are sometimes created to be esthetically pleasing, bridges are always functional. Aside from looking ridiculous, one leading nowhere would be a waste of time, money and resources. They come into being on paper, then work their way through various planning stages until they are transformed into concrete and steel – fashioned into a structure that can bear weight and weather the elements.
Like a well-designed bridge, a well-crafted sentence, that succinctly expresses the precise thing you want to communicate, should take you somewhere. A bridge made of words conveys new ideas, diminishes the distances between two minds and creates an environment for dialogue or a place to start anew.