A word about words.

Words matter.

Words inspire.

There is something primal, something viscerally magic about ink on a page.

Words matter.

By which I mean there is or can be a transcendental element to putting thoughts to a clean paper. Despite my dodgy orthography and horrific chirography, I keep a fountain pen at home along with a solid stack of clean parchment. Whenever I must convey something especially important, something lasting, I inevitably turn to my writing desk. I laboriously shape each letter in a cursive script that belies my best efforts and confirms my grandmother’s beliefs that a lifetime of preaching penmanship has been in vain.

Still, there is something beautiful about watching thoughts take action in seeping ink on a page. I suppose the fact that it is often an exercise in humility helps as well.

I think, and this is unvarnished opinion rather than scientific fact, that there is value in being quiet on occasion. Unplugging, unwiring, and simply thinking deeply.

Shaping words to thoughts is no simple task. It must be nurtured and supported. I find reading the best authors of the past to be quite helpful – they created beautiful collections of words that are well done. As an aside, I’ve recently started to explore text mining statistics – their works are not only philosophically beautiful, they’re mathematically breath-taking.

Nevertheless, time spent reading old things is time well spent.

Time spent writing quietly can pay rich dividends in the most unexpected of places. The written word is not only historically valuable in this age of multimedia data-glut. It offers insight into character. At Victoria College, we still often have a writing skills test as part of our application process, and I hope that never changes.

In all the hustle and bustle of a semester, in all the things that we need to accomplish and goals and objectives we want to check off our lists, giving yourself permission to find some quiet time to reflect is not only perfectly fine, it is perfectly brilliant.

Treat yourself to some words today, ones better written than mine. Think deeply. Write well.

If you have a favourite novel, please feel free to share it in the comment-space below. I’ll look forward to reading it sometime.



Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.

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