That was a great line from the movie “Roxanne” made back in 1987. It is a charming comic re-mix of the old Cyrano de Bergerac tale with Steve Martin in the lead. Cyrano is the greatest swordsman and rhetorician of his day who lives by a rigid code of honor. But he also has a terrible temper and … an enormous nose. Cyrano finds himself in the impossible situation of having to give his friend the words to woo the heart of the lady that Cyrano loves. This image gives you the basic idea
In Roxanne, Steve Martin updates Cyrano to play a charismatic fire chief in a small Colorado town. Here he is
Hiding behind a bush in the dark, Steve Martin coaches his idiot friend on what to say to win the heart of his love interest, played by Daryl Hannah. She comes to her bedroom window and asks why he didn’t talk to her. Steve whispers “Tell her that you are afraid of words.”
But this may be more true than we think. How much attention do we give to how we express ourselves? In his book, “Words Like Loaded Pistols”, Sam Leith argues that it is too little. Laura Miller gives the book a rather glowing review for Salon.
Think of it this way. A love of words flows from a love of conversation. Not just demonstrations of high feeling (speech making) but a love of exchange, dialogue. A love of dialogue needs respect for introspection. And how much is introspection valued these days? Well … Susan Cain thinks not enough.