“Words, words, words, I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through – first from him, now from you!”
— My Fair Lady
This week, I totally agree with Eliza! Words are overwhelming me, pouring into my ears, around inside my head and out of my mouth (and fingers, in this case.) This journey on The Artist’s Way (see previous posts) has me dealing with words on an almost constant basis! Between the mandatory Morning Pages’ three-page daily requirement of written thoughts, my own personal daily journal, responding to emails and homework for my spiritual growth – I’ve just about reached my limit. It’s a lot. A lot of writing. My hand hasn’t hurt this much since my 18-hour semester undergrad note taking days and I’ve even started to get my oh-so-lovely writer’s bump back on my left middle finger. Ouch. I’m starting to wonder if ink fumes can be hazardous to your health, or if side stream ink is only a figment of my imagination…
Don’t get me wrong. I love words. I’ve always loved words. Being somewhat introverted, my words usually came to me from books. Loads and loads of books. I admit it – I’m a reader. An obsessive one. Right now I have three books on deck that I’m attempting to make time for – but it’s becoming more and more of a chore after all of the personal writing that I’m required to do for my Artist. Right now I’m sitting in a library as a matter of fact. Surrounded by words, writing words. Well, typing, but the outcome is the same. Anyhoo, libraries have always been a safe place for me. I love libraries almost as much as I love words. In college, I’d often go camp out at the library when I had absolutely no studying to do at all. I can still remember my favorite secret places in both the Evans Library at A&M and the Willis Library at UNT. Those places were my refuge, my secret hideaway from the world. I would peruse random shelves for interesting titles, smuggle them to my secret place and spend hours just skimming, reading, thinking – you name it. And OF COURSE I really did have studying that I ‘could’ have done – but the lure of words was overwhelming. Forbidden Fruit. Best of all was taking a stack of books up to the 4th floor listening library at UNT and enjoying non-required music while reading. Awesomeness.
But I digress. Yes, I’m weird. I’ve never known another human being who would spend hours reading the encyclopedia (that shows my age right there.) These days I’m more likely to get sucked into Wikipedia for remote ramblings that veer far from my intended searches for information.
So in thinking about all of this and having to compose so much of my own stuff lately, I have a renewed appreciation for the power of words. We are overwhelmed with words today. They’re everywhere and easily accessible – even if we don’t want them around. Text, email, web – heck, you don’t even need the library to get them. Words are tossed around so carelessly between and among people. In many ways, we’ve lost our awareness of the power of words. Why? Because technology has made it easier. How many of you are guilty of multi-texting? Come on, be honest… It’s easier than email – faster too. And a phone call? Forget it – instead of spending an hour on the phone in an actual conversation I can simply text a quick question and get my answer.
But all of this under emphasizes the power of the word. Words, so quickly tossed off and forgotten, have the power to help and heal – but also to cut and bruise. Emails and texts lose the tone of voice and face that are so essential to human relationships. I admit it, I’m guilty. Reading between the lines could actually be a career pursuit, I am so guilty. So here’s my message today: TALK to someone – face to face – or over the phone if you can’t physically see them. Read ALL of their words – facial, physical and verbal. We all have relationships that could possibly have gone in other directions if we had only used our words differently – or taken the time to really read them.