Words. They help us communicate, convey thoughts and feelings, and invoke imagery in our minds.
Well, most of our minds.
I’ve always thought in words more than images. There’s a running script in my head constantly, everything I say or think flowing past in my brain like an endless stream of ticker tape, the words needing to form in my mind’s eye before any images appear to reinforce them. It’s hard for me to grasp something I don’t understand without seeing it written out first, rather than explained to me. (I am a big fan of written instruction manuals for this very reason.)
I don’t remember ever not knowing how to read. My mother tells me that I was reading by 3 years old, and my grandmother often relates the story of me sitting behind her rocking chair and reading the phone book, of all things, while she was babysitting my sister and I. I do not recall this with any degree of accuracy, but perhaps that is why my love of words is so deep. It’s how I learned about the world around me when I was young, not by going out there and experiencing it, but getting book after book from the library and devouring them day by day.
Growing up, I would rather read than play boardgames or other things with my sister, a fact that I know annoyed her quite a bit. Throughout middle and high school, I used to drag paperback tomes with me, adding to the already hefty textbook weight of my backpack (and for those who aren’t familiar with the Wheel of Time fantasy series that I was obsessed with back then, tomes is an apt description). I would read at lunch and in between classes, and whenever I could spare a few moments. To this very day, I would still rather be reading than doing almost anything else.
Sometimes, I even dream that I’m reading. I’ll wake up from my slumber trying to recall the words on the printed page I had held blearily before me in that ethereal dream state, so clear only moments ago, and yet trying to snatch the memory from the fuzziness in my brain as it wakes up is like grasping at feathers floating on the wind. They seem to make sense, if only I could strain harder to recall them, but they waft farther and farther away until they finally vanish from sight.
Words are a big part of my life, as you can tell from the loquaciousness of my prose. However, with social media taking over the Internet by storm, I fear that the niceties of grammar and strategic word choice will slide away slowly, replaced by run-on sentences with no punctuation and truncated words interspersed with numbers. Will the next generation even have to learn penmanship? Writing long-hand is becoming a fading art, as well. Everything seems to be becoming too simplistic, but easier is not always better.
At least, that is one humble writer‘s opinion, who wouldn’t know what to do with herself without books and the written word, so I suppose I can be slightly biased here. I know there are many others who enjoy the myriad forms of expressing oneself through long-winded verbiage, so perhaps there is still hope for some of my favorite words to live on: persnickety, tatterdemalion, and palindrome, to name a few.
I suddenly feel the need to pick up a Word-A-Day calendar.