Tag Archives: words

Write a Letter

To an old friend:

Remember how often we’d write to each other, pen-pal? Your letters stamped from exotic places, arriving in the mailbox on sunny mornings. I would trot down the driveway to check the mail, sometimes disappointed with impersonal printed business, sometimes cheered with a wrapped message that promised to be a delight to read.

Remember how easily the words came in those days, before there was such thing as a word count, a “good story”, structure, and grammar? Pooh. In those days there were books. In those days we told each other true stories, and wide-eyed we’d read them like the most gripping young-adult novel, except- these were real, written just for us, for our eyes only.

We wrote to each other. We wrote freely, as we were moved to. Unsupervised, unrequired writing, pure joy. Before I knew that “it’s” isn’t possessive, and before I knew what paragraphs are good for. It didn’t matter. I learned, and my letters were plenty readable.

For years I wrote to you. You wrote to me. Preferring paper and pen to face-to-face talk, I would wander the hillside like Frederick the mouse, gathering colors and sounds, images of plants in the sunshine. I would bring them back, in my mind, my camera, my words. Forest air in my lungs, forest dirt on my boots, blackberry scratches on my knees, sweat on my forehead. Alone, I would gather words for my next letter, and when pen met paper I would tell you stories of the places I’d been.

Write back soon!

Your Pen-Pal


Hungry for Words

It’s a tough world for a writer. For one thing, chances are slim you’ll make any money writing. For another, you’ll probably be too busy to write as often as you like. But here’s the upside of both of these hard realities of putting words on a page and experiencing the magic of capturing formless thoughts and keeping them like fireflies in a jar.

1) No money? No problem!

Well, you’ll have to get a job. Which leads to problem #2. But at least you won’t be that tempted to write “for the market.” (Don’t do this! Don’t! Write for yourself first.) It’s so much more fulfilling to write a story you actually might enjoy than to try to write one you think someone else might enjoy. As an added bonus, authors or usually better writers when they’re writing for themselves.

“First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience.” -Stephen King

2) No time? That’s okay.

A busy writer is, well, a busy writer. I find being busy provides all types of great inspiration for my writing. Being surrounded by people with their crazy ideas, their moments of wisdom and insight, their passions and hopes, their everyday trials and frustrations—this is pay dirt for a writer. Nothing makes me want to write more than being confronted with ideas I find ludicrous (and real respectable people who believe them), talented wannabees who aren’t living up to their potential (that’s all of us), and encountering situations that leave me awestruck and thoughtful. A busy writer always has words, and, best of all, has no time for Writer’s Block.

Stay hungry for words. Read and write when there’s no time and no money in it. Write for joy and refreshment. Writing is its own reward.

Words Fall Short

To me, the centuries are yesterday’s wind
I’ll show you the thoughts of ages past
of people gone
of weak and strong
of all who wield a pen.

I am the language of the mind
I am the road thoughts travel down
ideas and feelings
reasoning and reaction
through me is the closest minds can come.

I can’t show you everything.

I can’t bring you the sweet spicy scent of sensitive fern in July sunshine, a smell that is summer and woods and past and light and life.

I can’t bring you the feeling that comes when you hear the wind whisper through a million pine needles in a forest of ancient evergreens.

I can’t make you understand the peculiar squish of moss between your toes, the weird fuzzy sharpness of astringent chokecherries in August.

But I am the language of the mind. A dark, silent, scentless, sensationless inner world that is alive with more than senses could give. I am the bricks and mortar of your world. I am your stories, your thoughts, your memories…

Memories. Those strange things I never quite understood.