It’s what I do. It seems like it’s what I’ve always done. Even before I was able to make real words, I remember sitting beside my mom at the kitchen table while she wrote letters to family and friends and I would take a piece of paper and fill it up completely with little “flowy” scribbles, like I was writing in cursive. By the end of our mother/daughter writing session, I would have filled up several big sheets of paper with my words.
Who knows what I was saying as a 3-year old? What I do know is that I was very diligent in my efforts, very dedicated to the task of being like my mother and finding my own voice. I knew even back then that the pencil and the pen and the paper would be important to me at some level down the road. Of course, as a toddler, I could never have verbalized that or even fully understood it but instinctively I was drawn to the writing of words.
Still am. Always will be.
And speaking of mothers and daughters writing; one of my great joys in life is mentoring my own daughter in the art of writing. She’s been working on a novel since she was eleven and occasionally she will invite me to sit down with her and do some proofreading and editing. Away we go through the pages–not galloping, but strolling very purposefully and carefully, examining every phrase and comma and unnecessary word. I am always amazed at the mature and professional way she takes my critiques. Not once has she gotten mad or offended over some fairly (occasionally) large changes.
However, I always tell her that she is the author and therefore has the final word and if there’s ever a change I suggest that she doesn’t agree with, the book is hers, not mine. And so we continue in happy companionship, staring, staring, staring at words, testing them, tasting the sound of them, reading them aloud, going back over a paragraph half a dozen times until all the words are sitting properly in their places.
And then I think back to 47 years ago when I sat beside my mother at the kitchen table and worked at making words fit in their places. She wrote and I wrote and the words flowed and now all these years later, they still flow. From mom. To me. To Sarah. To generations to come.
Is it any wonder that I love words (and this girl) so much?