Celebrating Words

I believe that I am now on #35 of my Celebrating 45 list. Peppered throughout the list you will see my love of reading/writing/and language of all sorts.

Today, I want to celebrate the importance of words in my life. It has taken me a long time to admit this. I still blush or stumble when I try to claim it in person, but here goes . . .

I am a writer!!!

My love of words goes beyond written language. I love hearing and seeing language used with power and flexibility. I am addicted to Podcasts and TED talks, where master’s of the arts of writing and speaking fascinate their audiences with perfect phrasing, eloquent language, and an ability to manipulate language for sound and meaning A memorable phrase that lives beyond the moment of reading or hearing it, gives me chills. I thrill in those rare and wonderful moments when my own words–through some source outside myself–come together to create that indescribable perfection of consonants, vowels, and phrasing.

I just finished reading Don’t Let Me Go  by Catherine Ryan Hyde (excellent book with wonderful characters and plot that makes you want to know more).  Two sentences of hers made me yell (in my mind) “That’s it!!!”:

“Hard work can sometimes substitute for natural ability, but natural ability almost never makes up for not being willing to do the work.” (pg. 149)

“Sorry doesn’t mean shit. Not if you don’t plan to stop doing the thing you’re so sorry about. There has to be more to amends than just a word.” (pg. 406)

However, this post isn’t about celebrating other people’s words, as fabulous as they may be.

This is about celebrating words in my own life.

In 1978, when I was 10 years old,  I sat mesmerized and terrified by the television mini-series The Holocaust. 

This was in the midst of my own Hebrew School years, and the crucial years leading up to my Bat Mitzvah. Although I have since lost some of the religious beliefs, being a Jew was (and to some extent still is) an important aspect of my life at that time.

At a Hebrew School meeting after the series aired, the Rabbi met with all the classes to discuss what we had seen. I raised my hand and said, “It made me scared to be a Jew, but prouder than ever to be a Jew.”

On Saturday morning (I’m told–I would have been at the children’s service if I was there) the Rabbi used my words as part of his reflection during the service. This was the moment that I became aware that the right choice of words–even when you don’t know that they are the right words–can be magical, powerful and reach beyond the pages or the circumstances where they’ve been created.

My journey through writing started in school, with my first poems written in 1st grade along with a puppet play. My first book was a collection of poems and short stories that I hand-lettered and illustrated as a project in sixth grade, for another fabulous teacher who influenced my life named Mrs. Jorgensen. My first published work was a poem written bout a piece of art in a museum, that then got placed into some kind of literary magazine someone put out.

I have numerous starts and starts of stories, novels, poems etc. scattered throughout journals and gathered in three-ring binders. Throughout my life I’ve found solace and friendship in words, probably more than anyone even knew. Because of this it makes sense to me that when life began to fall apart around me (for reasons I won’t go into here) I turned to words–writing my first real book, joining a book club, and creating  a small writing group. The two women from that writing group convinced me to take the step into a then unknown world, the one of blogging. Over 756 posts (spread across several blogs) and thousands if not millions of words later, my life is filled with words. Some of them sing with the beauty I yearn for, but most of them are mundane and some are even cliché. However, words fill my life and sustain me, so a celebration of my life would not be complete without celebrating the words that fill it.

What are some of your favorite words? What quotes live on in your memory?


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CMSmith
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:36:19

    I can see I’ve missed quite a bit by jumping in mid-stream. I’ve got some back-tracking to do. At least I jumped in on the most important one. 🙂


  2. Lorinda J. Taylor
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 10:45:37

    I don’t know that I was so fascinated by words in themselves (although I was introduced early to languages by my Romance-language-major mother) as I was with the process of story-telling and world-creation. I think people fascinated by words in themselves (like you) are where poets come from. I never was much of a poet, although I wrote poetry as a child and learned to appreciate great poetry as an English major.
    My favorite quotation? A line from Evangeline Walton’s Island of the Mighty (which retells the 4th Branch of the Mabinogion), where Gwydion ap Don, the god/magician, sets out to destroy the flower-woman whom he had created as a mate for his son but who betrayed that son: “Gwydion rode on alone toward Dinodig, going forth, after the fashion of all orthodox gods, to damn the creature that he had fashioned ill.” I think that line has so much power and suggestiveness.


  3. Andra Watkins
    Mar 15, 2013 @ 20:12:42

    I think ‘hello’ is my favorite word, because it is the first thing MTM ever said to me. 🙂


  4. 4amWriter
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 13:17:26

    Right now, my favorite word is “Spring” 🙂


  5. Kathy
    Mar 16, 2013 @ 15:44:40

    You ARE a writer! It feels like you have the soul of a writer, Lisa… It’s interesting. The Holocaust (the entire happening) is what launched my desire to be a writer, too, from the age of nine onward.


  6. nrhatch
    Mar 18, 2013 @ 17:33:13

    I read an article on Playwrights the other day and thought of you. Writing plays would be a great way to share your love of words.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Mar 18, 2013 @ 17:35:32

      It’s weird though, I have no desire to write plays. I guess for me the joy of theatre is the collaborative element, and the joy of writing is the more private process. That said, Nathan and I are collaborating at the moment in the hopes of creating a series of puppet plays . . . more info to come.


  7. Trackback: Dark Reality and My Writing Journey | Woman Wielding Words

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