The absence of tone in today's rushed forms of communication is where the trouble lies. Tone is as important as words themselves when it comes to clear communication. The problem with texting and emailing quick notes is that tone is often left up to inserted smiley faces or punctuation (often misused), which hasty readers may overlook or misread, resulting in misunderstandings galore! What we can’t hear, even if only in our heads, often hurts us in terms of understanding the intentions of someone’s words. Thinking about the many “insert-cursor-in-mouth” moments I’ve encountered or heard about from others, I decided to post the following poem to illustrate how specific words are the key to understanding the tone behind the message.
Aah, It’s All in the Tone
by Susan L. Lipson
Slurping hot chicken soup on a cold day, or…
Spilling hot soup on my lap;
Pulling a muscle, or…
Having that sore muscle massaged;
Feeling inspiration strike for a new story, or…
Typing “The End” after the rush of inspiration wanes;
Basking under a hot shower after a week of camping in the wilderness, or…
Discovering that the water heater broke while you were camping—no hot water!
Enjoying a gorgeous view a forest, or…
Watching, horrified, as fire consumes the forest.
Swaying in a hammock between fragrant pines, or…
Falling out of the hammock onto the hard ground.
It takes more than sound to hear tone.
Writers: To meet our goal of affecting and connecting with readers via memorable words, we must not leave tone to the white space between the lines; we must create tone via imagery.