Word Drunkard

I’ve been pretty self-absorbed the last few weeks.

Absorbed in work, in the world that sculpts and inhabits the many folds of my gray matter and the magic that sparkles through my every synapse. At least, it’s magic for me.

I wanted to write a post about how to produce a mass quantity, but I can’t really give you any advice on that except to sit down and do it. Instead, I’m going to write another post about love.

Love what you’re doing.

There’s no point to this thing without loving it. No matter what you’re actually writing, the act of putting words on the screen, page, wall, napkin, your own fevered body, whatever—of pushing them this way and that, changing them, tweaking them, to tell a story—is wonderful, isn’t it?

Words are so wonderful. They can make sounds: bubble, squeak, hiss, and clunk. They can perform any action you please: gyrate, bounce, roll, or kill. They can be things: gold, nickelodeons, chocolate, or blood. They can crush you to powder, build you into a shining temple, kindle you to a pillar of flame in the night that nothing can quench, or comfort you as from a mother’s lips.

I am simply a word drunkard. Nothing so heady for me as a great piece of text, no honey so sweet, whether I have written it myself or am reading it from someone else’s keyboard or pen.

Don’t you love words? What are some of your favorites? Today I like hallelujah, philter, vambraces, smaragdine, magnificent, and brand (can you tell I write fantasy?).

Words are beautiful. Fiction in particular is a kind of imperfect telepathy, all the more beautiful for its imperfections. I cannot make you see what’s in my head, not perfectly, but I can tease you toward it with my words, the right words, the most wonderful words I can find. When you write fiction, that’s what you’re shooting for, isn’t it? To show what’s in your head to another—but the pictures you paint for readers are theirs, each one all and only reading his or her own book, story, or poem.

Intimate, dazzling, imperfect words draw us as close as we can be to another human’s mind. Love them. How they sound. How they taste. How they breathe. Let’s approach one another and sing.

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