Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Reader in a writer's world

All my life I have surrounded myself with words. I read voraciously as a child often reading things at reading levels far above my own maturity, even going through an unfortunately horror book phase in 7-8th grade. *shiver* I still read as much as I can, seeking to finish my 50 book challenge year after year.

I love words and the power of the written word especially. I marvel in a beautiful phrase. It feeds me and gives me hope and a sense of the divine at work in the world. They can truly make me giddy with delight. And I am blessed to be around many wonderful writers in this world. My mother, a poet, children's book author and composer has shaped my world view profoundly. I always loved beautiful writing. It can be deep or shallow and still have the power to clearly relate an emotion, an experience or a worldview.

Words spoke to me long before I realized the work and talent necessary to produce those passages that I love so much. As I grew up I saw my mother agonize over just the right word, meter and tone of a phrase. In children's literature it is even more important to have everything just so, particularly in the world of picture books. There is only so much text on an average 32 page picture book, and from watching my mother I know that each word is chosen with care and long debate.

I know too, that there are moments when it seems effortless; when words pour out of your own soul fully formed onto the page. I have had precious few moments like this, but I think through my reading I can identify those moments in others. I've been thinking of writing and writers a lot since Emilie's death. Emilie had one of those captivating writing styles that drew you in and held you close. I think any one who knew her writing knew her. And in knowing her, I can assure you that her writing was a true reflection of herself.

But it is more than that. I have been profoundly touched by all the wonderful writing that Emilie's passing has inspired. So many friends and people I never even knew have poured their own grief into words at her passing. In a way I have felt inadequate to match these outpourings. So I soak their words instead and allow them to comfort me in a way that I know Emilie would have understood. In reading, I feel my grief transformed into joy and hope of Emilie writing still in the heavenly host.

(Can't you just picture her organizing and editing a paper with Dante, Dostoevsky, St. Thomas Aquinas, and C.S. Lewis...)

Most of the time in blogland I feel like a reader more than a writer. I share because I aspire to be more of a writer than I really am. I know full well that I lack the perseverance to ever be a writer of depth or acclaim, and that's ok. Really I am too lazy; proof-reading is a chore for me. I much prefer stream of consciousness. And I'm sure you've noticed that I've never really mastered the art of the comma.

But I remain always a reader, seeking moments of beauty and connection. Words flow like music, drawing me out of myself and into a world of possibility and wonder. Words are acts of creation mirroring the great Creator. In words I have found sorrow, peace and hope. They catch me and hold me up; they grieve with me. They are friends found with a flashlight under the covers.

I may never write with the full power of words, but I revel in them nonetheless. If you read my blog, welcome and know I'm trying. If I read yours, thank you for sharing your words. I hope I can someday express what they can mean to me.


beautyredefined said...

That was beautiful, Liz.

Barbara said...

Sweetheart, I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit. Just look at this truly beautiful piece you just wrote--and you say you're not a writer of depth? If you ask me, the comma is vastly overrated anyway!

Incidentally, I feel the same way you do about words. I glory in them, I revel in them, and i feel the frustration of never quite adequately doing them justice. :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Liz, I have to agree with Barbara. You are not giving yourself enough credit. That was beautifully stated, honestly. Shine in your own light. You need not compare yourself with others. You have your own talent, and we are fortunate to see it here. Even if some days are less eloquent than others, that's okay. Writers are real people too. :) The best writers are also voracious readers. The two go hand in hand. Keep going with both! They are gifts.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Liz...I meant to ask who your mother is. As a children's book author (not as prolific as her, I'm sure), I'm truly curious. If you'd rather, you can email: Also, I see you are a fellow Virgo. :)

LutherLiz said...

lol...I didn't mean to not give myself credit as a writer but more to just express my thoughts on writing and words. I'm certainly not awful, I just don't fully embrace "writer" as part of my identity.

Valerie said...

I wonder how many other writers never really considered themselves writers, but rather voracious readers.

Really, though, that was wonderfully said.

Barbara said...

Well, maybe it's time you DO embrace "writer" as a special part of your unique, complex indentity...A wonderfully expressive write AND a voracious reader. (Can you even have one w/out the other?) Come on. What do you think St. Emilie, patron saint of insecure (well I'm insecure, anyway) writers would have to say?

Marketing Mama said...

Liz, you may not think of yourself as a writer... but now you can call yourself an author of the new curriculum you are writing Can one be an author without also being a writer? By the way, I don't blog b/c I like to write, I blog b/c I like to talk!