ah the beauty of a well turned phrase, one that soothes, perhaps one that captivates. Not so much one that convinces you or motivates you, but one that steals your attention. We need this sort of beauty in our lives, desperately. This is why so many turn to scripture, poetry or music (or any combination of all of these! )to begin their day. Sound is everything, and it can rescue you. Sometimes a series of sounds can take you out of your deepest depression. Indeed, when words fail to soothe, that is when I despair. This is why I stake almost my entire identity on the creation of words that paint images, comfort, excite, cast a spell, and more importantly, stay in one’s memory long after they are read. At least, this is always my intent. When I am not producing any words is when I am my most miserable, unfulfilled, self.
This urge towards crafting a harmonious appeal out of words began when I was very young. I somehow began to write AFTER I began to draw, and I remember drawing when as young as four or five years old, certainly kindergarten age (though neither my twin nor myself ever attended it; we were just too much to put in a place that didn’t even keep us as long as a school day!) and definitely by first grade, where I remember entering (and winning) a drawing contest to promote a play ‘The Three Little Horses”. Somewhere (and I have no idea where) is a piece of paper with that very poorly executed design on it. And I remember even then that I wasn’t satisfied with it, that was NOT what a horse looked like; somehow I was trying to portray a horse when it was truly a person wearing a horse costume. No wonder I was frustrated!
AND-maybe in reality a writer is nothing more than a frustrated artist-unable to get the correct image on the paper or canvas, unable to make the dream spring into reality, she begins to paint with words with only nominally more success.
AH how I love this glorious sort of rambling, where one thought meanders down a parkway and becomes another, entirely unrelated thought.
But the urge tow rite persisted through the decades. I used to be a person who actually wrote letters and wish that I still were. I am considering reverting to this practice. I really miss getting them and emails are a very poor substitute. The population at large is not even writing THOSE anymore, fixated instead on TikTok or some other idiotic video variety. So ant-like are our brainwaves now that anything which requires more than five minutes of thinking fills us with despair, so we scroll away on the phone to something more maddeningly transient. And, in this shameful manner, entire hours and days slip from our fingers.
So, these attempts at rich portraiture remain with us still and urge us onward, even the memories of letters received. I used to have lots of packets of airmail letters, tied with ribbon. What a treasure-now crammed int he bottom of some plastic box in my closet and disrespectfully labeled ‘epherma’ so I can figure out where, when and how I can consigni them to the trash heap or the shredder without feeling guilty about it. My twin, true to her own writer nature, faithfully retains and hoards all manner of mysteries, childhood memories, and documentation, is the Keeper of History and Secrets for our family writ large. Every once in awhile she will send me a text or a photo with a plaintive ‘remember’? written underneath. Thank God for her squirreling tendencies. They will save us all some day with an important document-an idea-an attestation as to who one of us really was as a person, a witness in some court, perhaps?
My, I have distanced myself greatly from the beginning title, haven’t I! But the wandering is ok, because what is not mellifluous if a stroll in the woods, a sun-kissed Spring walk, the sibilance of rushing creeks or rivers, the roar and wash of the tide? The entire beautiful world is just waiting patiently for us to capture it and most of the time, we do not bother.
Here’s to being deliberately observant of small things, meandering walks, rattling on (to yourself or anyone who will listen), and the creation of lyrical interludes, melodious poetry, pleasant phrases, whimsical people sketches.
All this-the only antidote to the endless bullets of our lives.