My thanks are overflowing this year, as it is most years. I am thankful for my family, my friends and words. Yes, words. I love how they come packaged in stories and books. I love how they change and combine. I love that they have nuance and texture.
This Thanksgiving I am committing a few words of thanks for the things I love the most and sharing some of my favorites:
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
― Anne Lamott
I had a conversation with a writer friend the other day that saddened me. He has just started his journey. While we talked about writing, he kept justifying his right to write and apologizing for how badly he did it. Now, I have never read any of his work, but I balked at his attitude, mostly his justification for pursuing this craft.
Why is it that we question our desire to write? Does the gardener question her right to plant flowers? Does the golfer justify his right to play the game (not counting to his wife, which is another matter altogether)? No. They just do it. Yet I find this apologetic manner in many people who pursue writing. They act as if they are doing something illicit.
I think it’s a curse of the creative to question our choices. I know as a twenty-something I wondered whether writing was too frivolous a pursuit. Should I do something more? I questioned the value of writing compared to saving lives or fighting injustice until I realized that stories can do that too. They tell human stories that touch people and change lives. They matter.
Today is one of those wonderful days when I face one of my favorite reader moments—that brief interlude between books that is filled with anticipation. What book comes next? Which will I pull from the shelves?
I finished my book last night and chose to wait until tonight to pick a new one so I could live in anticipation. All day I have mentally listed the books on my bedside table and crammed onto my bedroom shelves. I thought about the books in my office library, which total nearly 7,000. I considered going new school and reading one of the several hundred on my Nook, which is not my favorite way to read. Heck, I even considered buying a new book to add to the masses. So many choices.
It is the choice of what comes next that makes me happy. It’s that potential of unraveling a new story and falling into a new world that keeps me moving from one book to the next.
“Word, words, words!
I’m so sick of words.
I hear words all day through,
First from him, now from you.
Is that all you blighters can do?”
Verse from the song “Show Me” in the musical “My Fair Lady” written by Lerner and Loewe
It has been a long week and these words have been looping in my head all day. Some weeks are like that. I write so much that words seem to be filling my brain to capacity and beyond. Too many words. I wonder if they will ever stop. Whenever that happens, this song invades my brain. It’s a sign.