I have been writing stories and poetry since I learned to read and write. Before that, like all of us, I was writing stories in the childplay of sea-faring adventures where the living room couch became a schooner or the jungle-infested journeys where my stuffed animals were my companions.
I was never much one for the dress-up play. That was too “girly.” I was much more interested in the ideas that could be conjured from the history and culture that surrounded me in my home smack-dab in the middle of Indian Territory. There were flints and arrowheads to be found, after all. Or ghosts to discover in the attic or narrow closets of the 100-year-old home where I lived. My sister and I, entombed in the past, made secret plans to knock out the wall of the utility room, behind which we were convinced lurked a hidden room, full of treasure–or skeletons.
Was it any wonder I slept with a night light? When you are young and sometimes too smart for your own good, a great imagination can be as much a detriment as a blessing.
I learned to love the rhythm of words from the music I embraced. Old country songs, gospel hymns, and true rock-and-roll. Even though I was high school age in the 80s, I couldn’t tell you anything about the music of that era. My radio station was tuned to oldies radio, where Buddy Holly and Paul Simon taught me all I needed to know about the love of language and the ability to take people to another place through words.
In the beginning was the Word, John tells us. I embrace the full depth of that concept. For, without words, which even God used to breathe this world into existence, where would we be? How would we know anything? Define the self? Communicate the full breadth of what it is to love?
I celebrate with other wordsmiths our love of language and encourage us all to keep up the good fight of perfecting what it is to make meaning for ourselves and others through this very precious gift of language with which the good Lord has blessed us.