Monday, June 1, 2015

I've Been Reading

I've been able to start reading again.

"Read," is the advice always given to budding writers. Actual practice helps your writing improve too, but reading... It seems to train your mind to Hear and See the world with capital Hs and Ss.

When your car rushes through a rain puddle, the sound registers as "a lush hiss" instead of not registering at all. A dance recital audience reaction becomes "an appreciative rumble of laughter" instead of just "chuckling." You have conversations and naturally detect things like others' "clunky giddiness"or "apologetic authority."

To me, words give the world more substance. When I read a lot, I start to sense the depth in the molecules around me. It's not like the world is brighter; it's like I start to see new colors. Everything isn't more beautiful, but everything is more intentional, specific. I'm not sitting on my couch; I'm sitting on My Couch, where I had a kiss that tasted like ramen, where I first fell asleep on Gem, where I once cried a tear stain into the cushion.

When I immerse myself in words, everything feels more real. It's like tapping a secret source of energy.

I guess this makes sense, seeing as the entire world is Words. "In the beginning...the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep... And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

This entire world is literally words. There was nothing, and then God spoke, and from His words came the existence that I now try to describe with my own words, like "lush hiss" and "appreciative rumble." Is that redundant? To use words in an attempt to express/describe/create a reality that is already so perfectly linguistically expressed that it is actually tangible?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."

Jesus is--maybe literally, maybe figuratively, maybe spiritually (which is probably some inexpressible middle ground there)--Words. God is Words. He made our world of words with His words. We are in this world, made in the image of God. We are spoken. We are words. The light is words; the water is words; the land is words; the day and night are words.

So yes, it makes sense that everything gets more beautiful and more real when I connect with words. Don't you understand the ocean better when you jump in?

Words are fun and powerful and persuasive and enduring and endearing and funny and piercing and beautiful and satisfying and frightening and dangerous. I like words, on principle, because I am a writer and a reader and I like to reason and persuade. But even deeper than that, I like words because I think they are cosmically important. When it all comes down to it, the world is just atoms and energy and space.

But when atoms and energy and space come down to it, they are all words.



  1. you just made my mind do the most amazing backflips inside of my skull and you verbalized all my feelings towards the words in all their wordiness. just, yes on so many levels with this one. two thumbs up!