“Little cramped words scrawling all over the paper
Like draggled fly’s legs.
What can you tell of the flaring moon?
Through the oak leaves?”
On some days, and this day, September 11 is one of them, words seem “little” and “cramped” — poor players on the vast and violent stage of life. As writers, we are all, to one degree or another, seekers who are compelled to share what we find. Sometimes, our task seems huge, almost hopeless: to go out into the darkness alone, to descend into the deepest realms of confusion and fear, and to come back to the world bearing whatever light and wisdom emerge from that solitary struggle. And to make our words sing and dance while we’re doing it.
Why bother? Is anyone listening? Do words still matter in a world of crashing planes, crumbling towers, chaos and confusion, and cold, infinite cyberspace? What do we have to offer that anyone wants?
Everything! We make the world a better, more compassionate, less lonely place.
Whether we write spiritual memoirs or spirited romances, comedy or tragedy, we come bearing precious gifts: joy, sorrow, laughter, remembrance, hope, belief, solace, connection. When we write we may be alone, but when we read, we know we’re not alone: someone else is traveling with us, telling the stories that help us understand who we are and what we might become. As my artist friend Sally once said to me, “As a writer, you put words to feelings and some of us can’t do that and we need it. So keep going!”
“And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.” Pablo Neruda