I find myself writing in patterns lately. Creating word strings that lay in precisely the same way as the last set of strings I’ve created. What is it about patterns that we love so much? Is it the comfortable glow from something we know and understand? Are they like warm fuzzy slippers that you wear in time and time again until they’re molded so perfectly that you can’t imagine that any other set of slippers in the world exist? Words. Those comfortable little pearls where I spend my days…
Someone once asked me what writing felt like. I told them it felt like the sun. Another person asked me a little while later. I had a completely different answer. It was a completely different day, after all….
Words have been the soul of my existence for as long as I can remember. I collect favorite words. Words like lovely. Love is such a beautiful idea, and how perfect it is that such a concept could take tangible form into something described as “lovely”. Notebook. An unopened stack of clean paper, all smooth and unblemished, with an uncracked spine. Potential in its purest form, the promise of things and ideas just waiting to be fleshed out and breathed into life. Ocean. I like the way it tastes when I say it. Silvery. I love the way it shimmers in my head, like silk caught in a cool breeze. Platypus. Because it makes me laugh. A lot. Five words out of thousands. Millions, maybe. And there are so many more.
I love when collections of words are so perfectly arranged that it seems like music playing in the air, light as a feather, dancing together, folding back on themselves to create this work of art. I love even more when those collections create meaning, strung together not just for their shape and taste and novelty, but strung together because these words in this specific moment could be the razor’s edge between life and death.
Without words, I’d never know what another person had experienced. I’d never know their thoughts on the matter, whether they loved it or hated it or mildly disagreed but had been dragged along by their great Aunt Mildred and so had been forced to show some sort of positivity about the whole thing. I’d never know what it looked like to live in “the best of times and the worst of times.” I’d never experience the joys of Elizabeth Bennet or Henry DeTamble or Cecelia Tallis.
How does one exist without words?
And so I’ve found myself writing in patterns lately. The same subjects. The same verbs. The same adjectives, though I’ve nearly worn out my thesaurus. I feel the words breathing inside of me, and it’s all I can do to get them out. Maybe the patterns are helpful, like pre-dug rows of dirt, which I can run past and quickly drop all the vegetable seeds in, in the hope that come fall harvest, something will be there that was worthwhile. They are never perfect. But maybe there will be words for that imperfection too.
But maybe those patterns I’ve found myself returning to again and again and again and again and again are so worn down that they’ve become completely unhelpful and I don’t even know it. Maybe I should write new words. New words that thrill me or scare me or make me hope for a much more beautiful future.
I think I’ll take an adventure of words and see what happens.
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