One word could have a thousand stories inside it, all smiling and never-ending like the Russian matryoshka dolls you always somehow managed to stumble upon when you were little. Where did they come from? There was always no reason to ever get your hands on a set, yet they were always in your hands. Popping and surprising and boring all the same. They were like the words that told stories every time you sat by the window sill to play. And when you got frustrated with the game, you resorted to sitting and staring with painted faces.
But you were on to those Russian dolls. Never satisfied with their hollowness, always tempted to fill it with something. Perhaps another version of itself. Perhaps shedding instead. Synonyms and antonyms work like this. Terrifying similar or terribly unfit. Choosing the right words are important if we want to share our stories. We must line up our dolls accordingly if it’s to make sense. And when it doesn’t, a doll is still hiding.
Pop it open.
See its expression. Let it breathe.
This is how our sentences and paragraphs work. This is how a single word can carry a thousand stories. This is what’s in a name. It’s when we stop popping and start putting everything back together that we start running into trouble. Don’t be satisfied with the Russian dolls sitting neatly, content with their sense as they sit on the window sill and stare. You’ll never be able to see the little one that slipped and fell onto the ground by your feet. You’ll never be able to throw him some rope, cut him some slack, and pull off the greatest Russian doll rescue in the history of playing with Russian dolls.