“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union…”
The gym was crowded with the morning noise of kids eager to learn (or perhaps just to see their friends). Few of them were probably paying any attention to the Preamble to the Constitution… but within the first three words
my mind was already humming the tune: you know the one… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHp7sMqPL0g
I don’t know about my readers, but for me Schoolhouse Rock was formative. Not only did I learn important history lessons (I particularly love ‘I’m Just a Bill’ about how laws are created:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyeJ55o3El0&feature=related– though nowadays they would have to add some lines about earmarks and lobbyists;)
But I also learned about math:
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUHFzH06HqU&feature=related), and science:
Most importantly, though, I learned about grammar. Here are a few of my favorites:
These shows are worth re-watching even now as an adult. It is truly amazing the knowledge I have forgotten, and what better way to remind myself than to bring back the songs that taught me to begin with (apologies to my teachers here, but this is pretty much true). These songs were clever, succinct and catchy… something that is clear when you see how many people still remember them. Schoolhouse Rock was broadcast on Saturday mornings beginning in 1973 and ending in 1985. Many were re-aired between 1993 and 1999 and in 2009 there were some additional songs made for direct to video.
Many parodies and spin-offs, such as Jack Johnsons’ 3R song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSM2riAEX4U) have been released on albums and YouTube since then and point to the perseverance of the tunes and topics. Like nursery rhymes, Schoolhouse Rock formed the cultural backbone of a generation of young children. We can only hope our words as writers, as moms, as teachers and friends will ever have half as much impact.
I’ll end now having relearnt name of my most used word: an interjection. As they say on Schoolhouse Rocks…
DARN! That’s the end.
“Yeah… so it turns out we have bedbugs. I’ll be boiling all my stuff.”
I shifted my chair a couple of inches away from the girl talking on the phone near me but still ended up feeling itchy all over. I don’t even know if bedbugs make you itch… but all it takes is someone talking about insects and I begin to feel like scratching my legs and arms.
This is the power of suggestion (or maybe just a case of ADHD). But anyway… the power of suggestion can be amazing. There are so many stories of the crazy way it can be used. Hypnosis is in fact one form of it. And the idea
of leading a witness is an everyday situation where the power of suggestion plays out.
In another example, a TV show called People Watchers on the BBC tested the power of suggestion by opening an empty bottle and then asking the audience to let them know when they could smell the powerful odor inside. Pretty
soon people were raising their hands… though when asked they all smelled something different.
Every day we repeat messages to ourselves, some we even believe are meant to help us. I want to lose weight; I am not going to worry. I won’t write a bad story. But when these messages are framed in the negative that is was our brain holds onto. The power of suggestion is the reason why life coaches recommend framing things in a positive way. Exercise will make me feel good. I am strong and courageous. My story is going to be great.
On a personal level I am sure I can improve what my subconscious gets from me (though usually it is something like…. Yummmm, cheese, mmmm or wine…. Ohhh, or chocolate.) As a writer I wonder whether I can use the power of suggestion in my writing. Have you ever done this? Framed a written message with the express purpose of a specific reaction? Are there words we can use that would trigger, like the bedbug comment an actual physical reaction in our readers?
Let me know what you think… I love to read your comments. I’ll even comment back, once I have to go shower the imaginary bedbugs off me.
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