As much as I love words, they do not need to be written down and read or spoken aloud to be communicated with power. But their idea must be seen or felt in some way. Think of Helen Keller and the breakthrough that Annie Sullivan achieved with her that day at the water pump. Imagine the power of that word “water” spelled out physically in her hand as the cold liquid dripped down her other hand.
My daughter and I recently saw the amazing Oscar-winning animated film The Triplets of Belleville and, while it was feature length, there was practically no dialogue. Still, we were able to follow the plot by piecing together all the visual cues. (The fact that it took a bit of mental effort and seemed slower than most regular films with dialogue only proved to me that I’d allowed myself to get lazy in the way I watch films.)
Here’s another powerful (and much shorter) film practically devoid of dialogue featured recently for NPR’s Radiolabs Words episode. Watch it once for the beauty and power, and then a second time to form the individual words being visualized in your mind. I count nine different words.