Annie Lamont is my hero. She is fearless, funny and vulnerable. It’s more than she is a good writer, or writes well, she is…. the teacher, the healer, a mother and a best friend. If I could write and live half as well as she does I would be successful beyond my wildest dreams.
For now I will be humble and learn from the words I write. I will ask good questions, participate in the discussion, and remember that I am the student not the teacher. I write to define myself. I really do pull words out of thin air and put them on the page, hoping I can put them in the right order. Initially I may write nonsense, but I keep going and wrestle with the sentences. Sometimes it looks like All-Star wrestling —lots of hype but no substance. When I least expect it my words begin to dance, pirouetting across the page…got a little carried away …clogging or crawling, not pirouetting. Whatever the style of dance, my words got rythym..
What’s the word I am looking for? What do they call that? Words are labels, they name people, places and things i.e. table and chair,Tom, Dick and Harry, Paris and Iowa. We identify these words as nouns. Then of course we have verbs, the “doing” or action words: walking, thinking, laughing, yelling, etc. Adjectives describe nouns: i.e.red table and chair; Tom,Dick and Harry are gay; beautiful Paris, green Iowa, etc…. Those of you who loved to diagram sentences know that we still need adverbs to express “how” : running quickly, walking slowly, swearing loudly, etc…. So isn’t it a miracle that words can create sentences, sentences become paragraphs, paragraphs fill a page and pages can be put together to make a book? I appreciate this miracle even though I have never gotten past the paragraphs on the page level.
We communicate with words, but the problem is that words can have emotional meaning too. Words are very powerful. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” is an alternative fact: definition, a lie. Labels are very dangerous when negative adjectives are associated; cheap Jews, stupid blacks, sinful gays etc…. Personal relationships are full of land mines that can be detonated with angry, judgmental words. Loving and kind words can disarm some of the land mines, and build connections.
Mean what you say, and say what you mean. Ronald Dahl said, “Don’t gobblegunk around with words.” Good advice.