A Few Words About Words


If someone asked me to name something I really love and couldn’t bear to live without, I would have to say words.

Words, words, words.

Not simply as someone who likes to write things themselves, but far more generally, I love reading sentences which, for whatever reason – and there absolutely is not always a reason – they strike my senses as something undeniably beautiful.

Whether they be lyrics, a brief descriptive line, poetry or simply a sublime passage of non-fiction; it really doesn’t matter. Here’s one of my all-time favourite lyrics (‘Here We Go Again’, Operation Ivy):

Conditioned to self-interested with emotions locked away;
If that’s what they call ‘normal’ them I’d rather be insane

and a beautiful piece from Rupi Kaur’s infinitely-beautiful Milk and Honey:

love will come
and when love comes
love will hold you
love will call your name
and you will melt
sometimes though
love will hurt you but
love will never mean to
love will play no games
cause love knows life
has been hard enough already

The final two lines in this magnificent stanza, lifted from a beautiful poem entitled ‘Autumn Thoughts‘, by Kate Chapman, comprise one of the most wonderful couplets I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Glowing, ruby-rich, burnished leaves
Skies blue and bright, dance on the breeze.
Frost-tipped, wood-smoke, and cosy days,
Snuggled up in a  warming haze.

When I read George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) in January, this passage in particular stood out to me.

A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive rôle. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that and the other.

A line from Bertrand Russell’s ‘On Being Modern-Minded’ (Unpopular Essays, 1950), which I read only yesterday:

Beauty was abolished by artists in a revolt against the sugary insipidities of a philistine epoch and in a mood of fury in which satisfaction is to be derived only from what hurts.

This weekend I spent Friday and Saturday night, and a very pleasant Sunday afternoon, with a good friend, his girlfriend, and a friend of his. I had a really great time (thanks, Will, for inviting me). And I rather liked his friend: I adored her laugh, she was funny, had fantastic hair, and seemed an all-around lovely person. I genuinely loved her company. It took me until we had parted ways after a dog walk yesterday afternoon to excavate the courage to go and knock on her door – to no avail – and ask her out for a drink. So I did the classy thing and asked her on Facebook instead. She responded saying she was very flattered but doesn’t date the close friends of close friends, which is fair enough. She did say, however, that she would love to go on further dog walks; which is great because I really did enjoy her company. (She brought treats for all seven dogs as well as homemade vanilla and orange cupcakes for the humans, which were amazing – frosting applied on demand!) The point of this aside is to highlight the “words” aspect of my mind. Because (remember wordsmiths: never start a sentence with “because”) it is slightly ironic, to me, that she said she couldn’t go for a drink but would like to dog walk again, with a truly exquisite sentence. If you happen to read this, Nicole: I’m sorry; please focus on the compliments and ignore the fact that I’m about to quote you.

I would still love to doggie walk with you and help acclimatise that beast of yours to good doggie etiquette*

This is a reference to the fact that my spaniel went for no less than two of her dogs. (I do hope it didn’t have a bearing on her decision!) The point is, though, that there is nothing I find more attractive – or, dare I say: sexy – than a well-crafted line – and that string of words to me is so sublime it borders on the voluptuous.

It is at this point that I must concede I’ve probably let on more about myself than both was intended and is desirable.

I’ll finish with two lines from some of my favourite bloggers. The first isn’t from a blog per se, but the words of one of my best friends, Geek Magnifique, in an accompanying email she sent me some time ago including a blog post (open letter) she felt I should read in what was a very dark period in my life.

…I think you should read it. It’s an open letter to anyone struggling, and I want you to believe the words.*

I read that more times than I did the letter itself. She knew I needed help. She wanted to stop my pain. As always; thank you, Mel.

Lastly, a line from a wonderful post entitled ‘You Are Enough‘, by a blogger named Sarah-Louise, over at From Abba to Zappa. It needs no introduction, nor any further comment.

Stop trying to squeeze your huge, beautiful soul into small, stuffy spaces.

* My emphasis.

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