Man Builds No Structure Which Outlives a Book
The Written word. The stunning, awesome power of the written word. All of our history, all of our collective ideas and creativity, all of our stories and our folklore are recorded and kept alive within the magic of the written word.
You and I are a part of that magic. Those of us, who dare to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, those of us who open our minds day after day to see what lies within, and doing so, summon the courage to transcribe it for the scrutiny of others; we, by the very action of writing, create magic.
As a very small child, walking into libraries, I was acutely aware of the magical presence that books held. I have had a love affair with books since I can remember. There was a reverence in my heart that most people reserved for the House of God, but to me, I was quite sure, God lived in Libraries. I would walk up and down every isle, running my little fingers slowly on the backing of all of the adult books, inhaling the fragrance of leather and old books, long past their prime, mingled with the exciting freshness of the new arrivals waiting to be opened.
I could be found curled up in little corners, stacks of books piled high, pouring through classics, poetry, new works of fiction, absorbing the words, lost in new worlds.
Reading was my life. I was a shy, withdrawn girl, with imagination for a best friend. We moved every few years and books were friends you could pack in a box and take with you.
It wasn’t long before reading expanded into writing as well. I discovered that I had the power to not only read about new worlds, but to create my own and bring them to life on paper. I could create new people, find new friends, have adventures. I had the power to invent any world I wanted to live in. I was still a child, yet I understood a lesson that would stay with me all of my life.
There is amazing power in the written word.
It has the power to comfort me and listen when I flee to the privacy of my journal and tell it secrets that I could share with no human being. Sometimes secrets that I haven’t even yet figured out for myself.
It has the power to counsel me, as I brainstorm a difficult situation, working out solutions and ideas with word associations and free-flowing thoughts. The combination of my subconscious and the written word can form a bond that can answer many difficult questions.
It has the power to entertain me. To whisk me away to tropical places in the middle off frozen winters. To relieve my stress with a new adventure, to make me laugh, to make me cry, to make me feel alive again when the world has become dull.
It has the power to educate me. Between libraries, bookstores and the Internet, the entire world’s knowledge awaits me if I will take to time to read it. I have an infinite ability to grow and expand my world, on a whim, for work or just to keep my brain young.
It has the power to share my thoughts with others and touch their lives. Share my intimate, authentic truth with candor and heart. I can send a note of sympathy, share a moment of gratitude, or remind a dear one how much they are loved. In this impersonal age, a written note can sometimes be the only true personal moment in someone’s day. With words, we can make a difference.
It has the power to meet new friends. The written word sent out to others, especially in our Internet age, brings people together with like-minded thoughts and interests who may never have met each other before. It builds connections and bonds that create communities. With communities, change can happen. With change, anything is possible.
It has the power to evoke the deepest emotions. It is not a magic power to be taken lightly. Written words sent out can never be taken back. Words written in love, words written in hate have made marriages, ruined friendships, started wars. A writer must understand the weapon of the pen in their hand.
It has the power to change the world. I have often wondered if the writers of the Constitution had any idea what the ramifications of their pens truly would be. Do they look down upon us now and wish they had changed their words just slightly, were perhaps a little more clear, wrote a few more paragraphs? Are they happy with their document? Once out there, it has set the course of not just one nation, but all others affected by it.
There are debates and more debates about who is the most qualified to call themselves a writer.
You are a writer only if you are published…
Or…only if you are paid. Or if you cross the threshold of making “this” much. Or only if you are paid by this type of person or in this format, or this genre or if “that” audience deems you worthy.
In my mind, these are Star-Bellied Sneetch arguments.
A writer is a writer if they write. There is no test to pass that allows you the privilege of picking up a pen and putting your hopes, dreams, thoughts, ideas and imagination on paper. The only way to be a better writer is to write. Write and write often, fail and keep writing and improve. Do it some more and do it from your heart. Don’t ever let anyone tell you not to write.
One of the magical things about words is that they belong to all of us.