Words and Deeds of Power

There was a great article in the paper yesterday by Harvey Mackay headlined “Aspire to use the hidden power of words”. I encourage everyone to read it. If the link takes you to a pay-to-view archive today, Google his name and the headline and see if you can find it free elsewhere.

In the article, Mackay explores and affirms what writers hope they know: that words have the power to open hearts, minds and worlds.

The particular word Mackay cites is genshai. I point you to The Body Blog for an excellent definition and extrapolation, one which fits beautifully with Jack Hardway’s concept of careware. It also fits beautifully with Chef Joe Barkson’s Nice Is Good campaign. Click on the Nice Is Good link and get some cards to pass around–it’s fun! I gave some to a lady who said, “I’d give them to the people I work with if any of them were ever nice.” Then she said, “You know–I think I’ll give them to the people I work with anyway. It might give them the idea.” πŸ™‚

WRITING PROMPT: Somebody gives a character a Nice Is Good card. How does that make your character feel? Does he/she pass it along? To whom, and with what result?



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Words and Deeds of Power

  1. KK Brees

    October 25, 2010 at 11:11am

    Words are definitely powerful, as every writer knows. I think I’d be leery of passing out cards to folks, though. You never know how they’ll take it!

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  2. Nancy Williams

    October 25, 2010 at 11:38am

    Hmm…my character wondered what was up with the person passing out the card. Then she discarded it before reading it. Her life is extremely busy, last year in college with double credits.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  3. M. T. Logan

    October 25, 2010 at 12:59pm

    I’d also be very leery about passing out cards to actual folks. But I do think it’s a great idea as an exercise in discovering what a character would think and why. It strikes me that context is very relevant here along with what has happened just before the character received it.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 25, 2010 at 3:12pm

      Thanks, KK, Nancy and M.T. It’s interesting, your and Nancy’s character’s responses to the idea of these cards. I’ve never had anyone be anything other than pleased to be given them! I wonder if that’s because I live in a small town. M.T., you’re right–context is key.

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  4. Mary Montague Sikes - Monti

    October 25, 2010 at 6:10pm

    Nice cards! That’s an idea.
    We’re working on character building at our school this year. This week children are being rewarded with “paws” (they can use their paws to exchange for prizes on the paws cart every couple of weeks) by teachers who hear them giving someone a compliment. That’s a little bit like a nice card!

    Night Watch

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      October 26, 2010 at 7:25am

      Monti, I like the paws. πŸ™‚ That is a bit like the nice cards. What I like about the cards is that they’re made to be passed on to others, so one card could go around the world!

      Enid, that could certainly work. Chef Joe, originator of the “nice is good” cards, would like the idea of turning hypocrisy into reality. As a writer, I like it, too. Words are powerful!

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  5. Enid Wilson

    October 26, 2010 at 6:23am

    I will have the villain acting nice, and suddenly he will get an Eureka moment and understand that nice is good.

    My Darcy Mutates

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