Saturday, 5 November 2016

BOOM! by Janey Clamp

"Boom" is a brilliant word, isn't it? It's my favourite of all the onomatopoeic words (slight pause while I wait for you to come back with the dictionary) and I also love the way it's crept into the language as a way of acknowledging the punch line of a joke. If someone says "Boom!" to me, I feel endorsed as a funny woman - in its better sense of the word. Plus, saying boom saves all that unnecessary energy usually expended by laughing.

Today is Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night, Putting The Cat Safely Out Of Harm's Way Night. How ever you describe it, we are remembering the point in history when everything could have changed had the Gunpowder Plot not been foiled. Boom is what Guy Fawkes et al intended everyone to hear that night, and in fact for many, many years after its failure, that is exactly what we hear.

At our last meeting of the ACW group Brecks, Fens and Pens, our writing exercise was centred on a wine glass (empty, natch...) which was placed in the middle of the coffee table. Our task was to use it as inspiration for a devotional piece, and our ideas included 'the sacred among the ordinary', the light that was reflected in it, thoughts regarding communion and so on. The one which struck me most powerfully was considering what it might hold, and to extend that to us and what we carry.

That set off a chain of thought in me, especially when I saw that my blog was scheduled for November 5th. As writers, we carry something potentially explosive. We know from the book of James that there is power in the tongue to build up or destroy. Although a word spoken carelessly can sting a bit, I suggest that the written word carries even more power. Its ability to be re-read, re-quoted, literally held onto, can mean that what was intended as a throw-away line
does not get discarded at all. In a court of law, written evidence is admissible, whereas the spoken word can be dismissed as hearsay.
Only yesterday morning while getting plastered plastering at her house, a friend told me about a fridge magnet she'd been given. "A clean house is a sign of a wasted life." It was supposed to be funny (boom!) but every time she looked at it she felt insulted and misunderstood because although her home is not spotless, she actually takes a great deal of trouble creating a good environment for her young family to live in. If her friend had simply said those words to her, she might well have been able to explain herself, or laugh it off or, better still, to forget it. Having it "writ large" was much more damaging.

So...I sit down to write. And I am aware of the huge responsibility of what I produce. May my words be written for the benefit of others, and for His glory.

Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She has just completed the editing of her first novel and is embarking on another for NaNoWriMo.


  1. Thanks Janey, a really thoughtful post.
    (And I chuckled over the words you'd crossed out.) x

  2. Thanks Mandy. It was fun to have a little break from my NaNo novel yesterday!

  3. I really enjoyed this. You make me laugh. Boom!

    1. Thanks, Fran. I'm missing your monthly blogs 😔