Are you a Wordsmith?

Anyone who journals or is working on writing a memoir is a wordsmith. Today’s blog is about my love of juggling words in the quest for an accurate expression of thoughts and feelings. I am sure many readers share that love, and have also experienced the frustration when the words don’t come together easily, and the joy when they do.

The Maker of a Sentence

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  John 1:1.  We are image bearers of the One who revealed Himself through the written word, sacred writings that are as relevant now as they were eons ago.  God chose the written word to communicate and put that same desire in my own heart as I strive to be understood. Whether it be a mundane grocery list or the tender words of a love letter, my ideas form themselves into written words as I convey my thoughts to others.

My thoughts define who I am and what I’m all about. My true essence is forever trapped without the words that give flight to the thoughts that are uniquely mine. Of course, I can speak words, strike up a conversation, but often my thoughts are foggy and vague until I fetter them to ink and paper first.

CloudsSunriseLarryAnchoring my scattered thoughts is like holding my hands up to try to shape a cloud in the sky. I can sight down my fingers and see the shapes, but they’re fleeting, always forming and changing, with a strong breeze threatening to blow them away. That’s what happens when my conversation tapers down to, “I lost my train of thought”.  Sheepish grin, wheels spinning as the thought I wanted to express blows away to the next county!

When my spoken words fail me, the written word brings clarity. The act of writing slows the flow of thoughts, giving time for them to fully form after the sluice of my tripping tongue caused a logjam of flotsam, meaning shifting, ideas unfocused, the frothy scum needing the filter of pen to paper. Murky thoughts transformed, one word after another like the drips of clear filtered water, into coherent prose.  How often do I wish I could take back the words gushing from my mouth without the benefit of a thoughtful filter!

Words tumble around in my head seeking release. I hope the process will be wild and spontaneous, giving sweet relief when my thoughts find written form. When I know I’ve finally nailed a coherent thought to paper, it just feels right and my soul reverberates with a YES. It’s a sweet eureka moment, vague feelings crystallizing into words that convey that subtle meaning I’ve been striving for. Finally I sit back and revel in the moment which I know will soon pass as the next seeds of ideas struggle to become fully formed.

Nebulous feelings lurk on the tattered edge of consciousness. The thoughts take shape like a Polaroid picture swimming up from nothingness, the final image surprising in its clarity. I hope for clarity, strive for clarity. If my trembling hands jar the camera the image will be blurry. Do I feel a tremor in my mind? Each thought a fragile tendril, some fledging thoughts becoming stronger and others mere cobwebs swept away, up and out, or submerged in the detritus of my brain. Lost that thought! But if the tendril becomes fully formed, that lovely eureka moment returns, my eyes see the results racing across the page, fruit of my fingers, each keystroke a delayed reaction of neurons firing, synapses flowing data and letters following each other dutifully across the page.

letter-writingThe sweet reward comes when someone reads what I’ve written and I get the feedback of understanding.  Once I wrote an email and my friend wrote back sharing that she’d had a glimmer of understanding, and felt privileged for that glimpse into my soul. Those words deepened our friendship as we both basked in the pleasure of being understood just a little bit better.  On a personal level the written word, ordinary, sublime, triumphed in connecting two friends.

In the grander scheme of things, the written word wends it way from one person to the next, a speech, a letter, a proclamation. Revolutions ignited, hearts of kings turned, passions stirred, crowds persuaded, all by the power of the written word. Words give birth to the thoughts of genius, the wild flights of fancy fettered by ink and paper. Through the ages the one true thing fighting for expression is the heart of man, the heart of woman. In the beginning was the word, and the words go on; from your heart, and mind, and soul to mine, and the gift returns multiplied down through the ages.

The maker of a sentence launches out into the infinite and builds a road into Chaos and old Night, and is followed by those who hear him with something of wild, creative delight. 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson