Friday, March 9, 2012

View From My Window--Words

A couple of days ago, Laury forwarded me this quote that she received from a friend.

Like Stones, words are laborious and unforgiving, and the fitting of them together, like the fitting of stones, demands great patience and strength of purpose and particular skill." Edmund Morrison

Since we are both writers, Laury thought I might find the quote interesting. I found it thought-provoking in a way that has had it niggling my brain ever since I read it. I think this viewpoint does words a disservice.
For me, words are not heavy stones, but are vibrant points of light and color. Instead of the stone fitting metaphor, I submit that words are more like the tiny dots of color in a pointillist painting. Each can stand alone as a speck of turquoise or ruby red or deep ochre, but placed side-by-side with others, these dots shimmer as an image or an emotion. They can make an idea crystal clear or can conjure up a deep mystery. To describe words as 'laborious and unforgiving,' drains them of any joy and makes the process of putting them on paper feel heavy and hard
.Finding the right words to make a thought or a feeling come alive is an act of pure joy, purely creative. I don't feel as if it takes either great skill or great patience. What it takes is the willingness to let yourself explore the choices and delight in the process. It takes putting each little point of light, each speck of color on the page with courage and then trying them out. Maybe even reading the words aloud to see how they roll off your tongue. Does that word feel right? Does it shimmer with its neighbors to paint the right picture in the reader's mind?
The writing of words should not be a labor-intensive ordeal  Words are how we writing as well as verbally. While I take nothing away from those who earn their living writing (they do work hard), making words feel like a burden and endowing those who write them with special skills and strengths only makes people afraid that words can only be written by special people, not every day folks like you and me.

Words are not things to be feared and dreaded. The words you write might not lead you to a book deal or secure your place in a book of great American quotations, but they will enrich your life just a little.And perhaps give you the courage write even more words.

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