TEXERE: Latin. verb. 1. to weave, to plait; 2. to compose; 3. to create.

It was Quintilian in the first century CE who used the metaphor of weaving to describe the act of rhetoric and composition. This is why the word “text” means something written, while “textile” refers to something woven. I spent most of my academic career (including a drab dissertation) researching and writing about the medieval versions of the classical character Philomela, a woman who wrote her own story by weaving words and pictures into a tapestry on her loom. There are other heroines in classical literature who became writers and creators through weaving: the ever-suffering Penelope, who unraveled her text every night to keep her unwanted suitors at bay; the clever Ariadne, who composed what she thought was her own future marital bliss by weaving the labyrinth with a ball of yarn; the talented Arachne, who was doomed to forever spin webs as punishment for her insolence in writing the truth on her loom.

As a literary critic and teacher, I was fascinated with the concept of writing as weaving, of the loom supporting the weft (forma) while the woof is guided through to create meaning (subtantia). This really could be applied to all acts of communication and creative expression, I would tell my students, for what are we really doing when we pull together related or disparate ideas, concepts, textures, and colors to create meaning?

Even though I left academia years ago, I find myself still returning to the word texere when I think about what I do now as a professional. Building relationships with prospects and solving their pain points, creating marketing plans, planning and managing a major project, analyzing the administrative fabric of an organization — all of these tasks require the ability to weave together different elements of an organization to create meaning, to analyze both the form and substance, to conceptualize what the finished product should be and should communicate, and be able to foster its creation from inception. I also believe that it is vitally important to recognize the symbiotic relationship between business development, communications, and marketing.


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