Dancing with Letters

People who love books are people who love words. They like the sounds of them. They have favorites. They like how some are spelled, and how some look. To a lover of books, finding the perfect word that says exactly what you mean and had not been able adequately to express is thrilling.

While reading, we are captured by a perfectly turned phrase, an exquisite adjective, a flowing adverb. We feel often that we are engaging in some hidden pleasure, and we feel a mite guilty, but never for long. The seduction of the text calls us back.

I can remember a whole lot of the books I read as a child. I recall, for instance what could only have been one of those cardboard like child’s books of twenty or fewer pages. With bold colors and big type, and made of heavy paper, it contained wonders unthought. How the moon became our moon. That was what it was about. Though the science was entirely faulty, I recall clearly one picture of a prehistoric earth and a bulging pimple that grew and stretched until it *snapped* and became a separate orb in a succession of drawings.

I recall starting again and again Alice in Wonderland, only to throw it aside in disgust. Talking rabbits were simply not my thing. It says a lot about me, of that I am sure, but fantasy left me quickly. As still plenty of my friends waiting for Santa, I was busy trying to figure just how one person could visit even every one in my neighborhood, let alone the state, country and world. Which also speaks volumes about how and why it took me forever to get to faith itself.

I confess that for most of my life, I have considered myself rather smarter than most. I was led to that conclusion by early IQ tests, and I was the first in my immediate family of cousins to go to college. I certainly met people who had things to teach me, but I didn’t infer that they necessarily were smarter. Of all the men I dated, I always felt smarter than most all of them, or at least that they were no smarter.

Until I met my husband.

Finally I met someone smarter than myself, and frankly, it did not sit well. I knew for the first time the fear of inferiority. I did not like it.

My husband is a veteran of Vietnam, and like many he came back with hellish images and experiences to live with. It has cost him much over the years. It made him eligible for full disability through social security and just recently entitled him to a partial disability through the VA. Finally doctors have unraveled much about the causes and managing of PTSD, and what once could almost never be “documented” is now a much easier case to make.

Which all leads to a point in time before I met him, when to keep himself clinging to sanity, he wrote. He wrote for months. Poetry, short stories, and articles about anything that came to mind. Some of it was so sad it hurt to read, some so funny you laughed out loud. It’s when I realized just how smart he was, how utterly gifted a thinker.

At a point in time, he collected and printed out all his writings, and indexed them, and named them, ORDINARY WORDS.

I’ve often threatened to edit them and seek a publisher. But he doesn’t much care for my tinkering, and I can appreciate that.

Extraordinary Words, is, I hope a place where you may find some extraordinary writing. Mostly not mine, but perhaps occasionally I may inadvertently reach a star and grasp it for a moment. The more I write, the more I write, and I certainly like my writing, though I suspect most writers would say that about themselves.

That of course doesn’t speak to extraordinariness. No, and seldom is an entire piece of writing so entitled. Usually it is a phrase or an unusual grouping of metaphors, or an idea that causes you to beg for more, and remember it years later. It makes you grab a pen and copy a few sentences so that you might never lose them.

If quanity leads to quality, then perhaps I shall make some mark of note on the world of words some day. It won’t be for lack of trying. Writers are driven, like all people who have found their place in the world. They must do what they do.

And that is what I wanted to say–today.


2 comments on “Dancing with Letters

  1. Dear Sherry,

    I’m trying to locate the owner of the attached image you used in this post. I’m working on a doctoral dissertation and want to use the image in a collage I created as part of my writing process. Do you know who created and/or owns the image? If so, would you please reply with their name so that I can ask for permission to use the image in my dissertation? If not, thank you for your time and consideration in responding to let me know. Either way, I really appreciate it.

    Kristin Rivers

    • Sorry, I can’t help you, I got it off google images. If you page through from where you originally found it, you might track to another user, and that might help. Sherry

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