If I were a sapiosexual, I would marry Lydia Forson in impatient haste. Well, I am actually a sapiosexual; that is, I am a person who is likely to fall in love with another because of their intellectual capacity. I find Lydia Forson quite intelligent. She may have what fashionistas and trend watchers call the BBB (Beauty, Brains and Brawn).
Last week, the ‘bubbly plumpy’ actress penned an intelligent missive to NDP/NDC apparatchik Dela Coffie, who had earlier written a ‘whorish’ letter to former Deputy Chief of Staff Dr. Valerie Sawyer. As if it was a contest for rhetorical fireworks and bombastic diatribes, Dela and Valarie employed bad metaphors to foul the Ghanaian media space with raw putrid, insults and sarcastic language. Citizen vigilante Martin Amidu had waged in, describing Valerie’s agitations as drunken diatribes.
Fools and Ignoramuses
To douse the fire, Lydia Forson remembered an old fight she had with Dela Coffie and resolved to scoop her pound of flesh from Dela’s chest. Her letter to Dela was appropriately titled “Dear Dela, Remember me?” Like a good play, Lydia’s rising action is a harmless introduction that masks the conflict at the heart of the drama. Soon, the curtain is lifted for a dramatic showdown of what was in the womb of time.
Lydia lifts off with a roar: “putting a bunch words together don’t constitute an intelligent piece.” That is a truism, Lydia. And your example is quite apt: “The boy is a fool” and “The boy is an ignoramus” mean the same thing. Well not quite. No two words in the English language always have the same meaning. I start my car every morning. ‘Start’ here is not used in the same sense as ‘begin’ or ‘commence.’
That is just by the way. Lydia makes some very important revelations about writing. Most of us put a bunch of words together to prove that we are intelligent. Men often fall into this trap; we needlessly employ big vocabulary to impress needlessly. Men infest their sentences with new words, including words whose meanings have long eluded them, to show a masterful understanding of the meanings of big words.
I have been guilty of this since I was 17, when I wrote my first love letter to Ms. Asubonteng, now Mrs. Somebody. I was happy when she responded to one of my long letters, lauding my poetic and flowery use of language. Her friends had nicknamed me Mr. BBC. I would use what Lydia Forson calls ‘dictionary reaching words’ to communicate my ‘connubial felicities.’ Often, I strung together jargons and incomprehensible phrases that meant nothing or meant the same thing.
Whores and plagiarism
Lydia doesn’t fall into this trap. She communicates her thoughts quite beautifully. There isn’t a deliberate effort to impress with words. Instead, she points to Dela’s ‘self-plagiarism’, exposing him for using the same words he had used for her three years ago to describe Dr. Sawyer in his recent write-up. Dela appears consumed with sexual metaphors and proceeds to borrow words such as ‘whores’, ‘menopausal’ and ‘brothels’ to show how ‘crass and classless’ his female subjects are. In the end, he falls on his own sword by acting really whorish by repeating himself.
Our style gives us away when we write: The style is the man, observes French naturalist Georges Louis Leclerc Buffon (1707-1788). We communicate our peculiar linguistic traits and other idiosyncrasies when we set out to describe the events of yesterday, or attempt to ascribe meanings to present happenings.
When we summon the appropriate vocabulary to tell the story exactly as it happened, language lovers call it sprezzatura. We toast to the joy of good writing and celebrate the power of words when the adjectives and adverbs seamlessly weave into each other, as naturally as the way leaves come to a tree.
Good yarns and good styles
Good writing sinks in; bad writing sucks. When the writing is so good, you pop your head up to confirm the name of author (byline in journalism). You would do this at least three (3) times before the dénouement (end of the story). The very emotional people cry as they flip the pages. You wish you had met the author for an autograph.
Like my friend Prof Felix Odartey-Wellington, I enjoy a good yarn; I never get tired of reading great piece of writing. I have read ‘Never Say Die’, a collaborative enterprise between Dr. Nyaho-Nyaho Tamakloe and Prof Odartey-Wellington, three times since it was published a few years ago. The style is inimitable, the language is impeccable. The two authors write like men, and you can tell by their diction.
How do women write? Without her name or any association to her, I could tell the person behind the phenomenal piece of writing was a lady. I could tell it was Lydia Forson when I had not even consumed a morpheme of that delicious piece of writing. Women have a peculiar way of expressing their thoughts. They are simple to follow and usually avoid complex syntax. You will find a generous use of the conjunction ‘and’ in women authors. Sometimes, they write the same way as they speak. Brilliant.
Writing like a woman
Maybe Otto Jesperson was wrong that “women are linguistically less innovative and less adventurous than men,” reinforcing the traditional view that women are less forceful and also less logical in structure. Lydia Forson implodes these myths in her bold and declarative writing style. Women write better than men. My friend Akosua AB in Atlanta is one of the best I know. Her greatest strength is her ‘register’. Spot on.
Besides her style, a few things give Lydia away. The words are cooked and fried in a soggy pool of emotion, revealing a bitter lover out to destroy a rival. About politicians she writes: “Our silence endorses their bad behavior, and it’s only when they turn around and bite us do we see the depth of their infection. And rabies infected dogs don’t discriminate on who to bite, everyone’s a target especially their master.”
Here, she nails it: “If you give a person enough rope, they will hang themselves.” She offers Dela Coffie more rope, comparing his consistent inconsistencies with a notorious fifth column in the NPP who sidesteps decorum to speak away.
When is Lydia writing again? Let’s hope another Dela Coffie provides the opportunity. In the meantime, I am prepared to offer her a love column in my new magazine. What are lovers for? I remain a faithful sapiosexual. Let’s have lunch.