I had the idea for the word bin almost three years ago. It was one of those ideas that came out of a relaxed conversation with friends. I think I first said I wanted to remove the word perfect from the dictionary – because it is so impossible to achieve it – and without a bit of imperfection the Universe would never have come into existence. Another time I remember saying that I wanted to get rid of the word nostalgia. I feel nostalgia is very dangerous… as it is a sentimentally imagined view of the past (my opinion!): I recently shedded myself of a lot of “stuff” – one of the things I got rid of was all my photograph albums. I took them to the recycling centre and flung them into the appropriate space – it felt very blasphemous but it also felt very freeing. I hadn’t thrown any memories away – I had just thrown the photographs which were always false depictions of the moment – as I only kept the photos of me that I approved of and the photos of nature spots without pylons or people in them. These were albums that I never looked at, that cluttered not only my house but my mind for being there. Stuff that held me to the past while I very much aim to live my life in the present – without the guilt and regret of the past – or the fear of the future.
I find it odd though how exact I can try to be with my word choice – but people can still misunderstand: I used to work as a doctor and when I was a junior in hospital I remember this patient thinking they were going to die of an incurable disease. The doctor had said your skull x ray has shown that you have Paget’s disease. The patient had asked what the treatment was – after all he had just been told he had a disease. The doctor had said there wasn’t a treatment – because he knew that this was an incidental finding on the x ray – something you get tested about as a medical student but no one knows why it happens and it doesn’t cause the owner of the skull any problems at all – but he didn’t explain this bit to the patient. Over and over I saw patients who had either misunderstood what had been said to them, or hadn’t had it explained properly in the first place. Words can damage your health – or at least your perception of your health!
I have written and published poetry, as well as other books since I first formed Fair Acre Press in 2011.
I am very aware of how words can be misused – especially by politicians – but I also love them. We all know how effective the word Brexit was in the Vote Leave campaign.
Anyway – we all know how important words are. And how damaging and limiting they can be.
I just thought it would be nice to explore the idea of binning words – and our reasons why – in a podcast.
I thought I needed to be there though – interviewing the person: and it was only during lockdown I realised DOH! most people have smartphones and so have ways of recording themselves. This means I can reach out not only to people anywhere in the UK, but the world.
Each podcast is 5 minuteish long. I put three people’s audios in each podcast with some music inbetween to give the listener a moment to think about what they have just heard. It is a simple format because I like it like that – but also so, if I keep getting recordings in, it is manageable for me to keep producing the podcast alongside my other work. I hope each podcast will earn its air space – but also that the collection of podcasts become more than than the sum of its parts.
I would love it if you fancy joining in.
Say your first name, where you live, and what your job or hobby is. Then say “The word I’d like to bin is… because…”
Then send it to me at [email protected] And please share this with anyone you think might be interested – they do not need to write; they just need to have an opinion.
Nadia Kingsley has conceived and project managed 5 Arts Council England-funded projects that have involved poetry, art, music, astrophysics, naturalists, and podcasts. She runs Fair Acre Press single-handedly which has published award-winning and shortlisted books and been featured on Radio 4, in the Guardian and at festivals.