Spell It Inside Out
Assigning human values to the other realms; the natural, the inanimate, the divine, is a technique of discernment. Sometimes it is a calculated expansion, “Flowers never dream of what people do. Money never loves what we do for it.” Sometimes it is a reduction, “When God wants to get away He picks a lonely man to walk it out.” We sense it is not all about us, but we bend our perception just in case there is more to our purpose, our position than we consciously realize. The Psalmist asks, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” Mindfulness is our combat against the empty headed. The heartfelt expression is emphatic empathy in action. Our language skill is honed by putting to, and too, together. We write, in isolation, to connect. Our legacy, our saga, is told, punctuated, and hopefully, passed on. Paying attention to the deliberate quality of our storyline is how we honor our muse, our forebearers, and, with any luck, generations of readers. Everything leads to an epitaph. We fill in the blanks because nature, like a sleeping cat, abhors a vacuum.
I suspect we need not publish to have an impact. We may never know if the cave painters of millenniums past trusted their hand prints to shine in the light of day, but our private pages also speak to history. I don’t know how putting a pen to paper figures into the hands of time but there is a weight to our words. If sub-atomic particles can leave a ghost trail who is to say our scribblings won’t factor into the sketch and scheme of things? Truth or consequences is more than the name of a game show, or a town in New Mexico, it is a guide to the space between the lines we writers aim to inhabit. What we write must ring true, especially if we make things up. If I may, to ‘ear’ is human. We qualify new ideas by saying, “It sounds like you’re trying to…”
The music of our sentiments, the rhyme and rhythm of our reasonings, the pulse, the pace, the abstract precision, this is what makes poetry sing and the same orchestration ought to apply to our journals, our letters home from school, or war, and our notes in the margin for error. Proverb 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” This advice applies to what we tell ourselves, what we inscribe on our soul, as much as what we allow to go public. Creating a line, or a phrase is like gaining control of a new muscle group. We learn to dance by allowing movement to follow the music, we learn to write, expressively, in much the same way. We might begin by mimicking the lyrics and lullabies of our childhood, but as we practice random bits of maturity start to string melodies of our own making. We might claim we didn’t know it was in us, but we suspected, detected, and quite naturally projected. The wordly processing becomes a series of choices, perfecting and protecting meaning, cadence, and purpose. Words have their worth and are happy to share.
The Gospel of John says in chapter 21:25, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” While that is likely true, there is room in the world for our words and we ought to make room in our lives to write them down. Discipline and disciple are rooted in a regimen that improves a skill or perception. We become better writers by associating, through word play, with better writers than ourselves. Sharing what we read with other writers is as much a part of our continuing education as sharing what we write with a trusted peer group.
The next sentence is just the beginning, and the best words to write after ‘the end’ are, “Once upon a time.”