Strange title for today’s post, I know. I’ll let you know in a minute or two what I mean by it, but in the meantime, read this short passage from “Man Changing into Thunderbird,” by Armand Garnet Ruffo(published in the summer 2013 edition of The Malahat Review):
The room is cramped with people. an assortment of bundles and boxes stacked along the walls, packsacks hanging from hooks. The smell of tobacco, sweetgrass, damp canvas. To perform the Ritual of the Shaking Tent is illegal. The Government of Canada has banned it along with other ceremonies and everyone in the room is afraid of going to jail. Indian Affairs officials have posted signs warning of the consequences. The RCMP have already made arrests. They announce they are doing it for their own good. Like the Church, the government is determined to rid the people of superstition.
Now admit it–you’re more than a LITTLE curious about what this is all about, aren’t you? I mean, a gathering based on “superstition” is deemed illegal by the Canadian government and the RCMP are cracking down on it? Just what era in Canadian history are we talking about here? And what is THE RITUAL OF THE SHAKING TENT?
It makes you so interested in it that you want to Google it, right then and there, to find out more. A touch of specialized language, a bit of jargon we’re unfamiliar with, can make us curious enough to push on. In case it’s hooked you enough to make you want to read the rest, here’s a link to the article in its entirety:
Find a bit of jargon, a bit of specialized lingo that only people “in the know” for that particular topic have a clue about. It doesn’t matter if it involves fixing a butterfly valve (mechanics know what I’m talking about), popping an Ollie (yo, skater dudes), or creating the perfect anticipatory set (shout out to all those Saskatchewan teachers!), including a BIT of jargon can raise the interest level in readers just enough to make them read on. Use it and create the perfect opening to your next piece of creative writing!