Words are personal. Intimate. They draw us in; they push us away. They protect and expose, honor and betray, liberate and imprison... label. Whoever came up with the saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me;" well, they just weren't listening. Words can hurt. They can also heal. They enrage. They elate. And it is this connection to our emotional wiring that is one of the wonderful things about them. The feelings and images invoked by one word or a string of words is not the same for any two people.
The Slow Word Movement encourages us to take time with what comes out of our mouths. Of course it's more than that... it's about what comes out of our minds and pens; it's also about taking the time to read, to hear the thoughts and ideas that come from others. It's about nourishing our intellects. It's about recognizing the germ of an outstanding concept or story and letting it unfold in the manner of its maker.
Many of my favorite stories do not start with explosions or otherwise shocking events. Doors were opened and interesting, meandering paths were there to be followed. Be it fiction or fact, futuristic or historic, it has been my pleasure to let myself follow the prose. Some may call it verbiage or circumlocution… but I like to get to know characters in the same way I become acquainted with people in my life. I don’t want you all at once, rather, I want to see your nature open up; I want you to blossom as a good friendship does—in a manner that gives me an increased appreciation for all that you have come to be.
It is this burgeoning of a friendship (or for some characters, a thrilling dislike!) that leaves them imprinted in my mind. Some are associated with certain events in my life, others with philosophical musings. The point is that they became entwined in my psyche and long after I’ve forgotten many things, they remain and influence me. Strong characters and writers, unknowing members of the Slow Word Movement are real and complex; they question, struggle and insinuate. Whether or not they seek to be remembered along the way, they will. This is a gift to be treasured and I hold it close to my breast.
It is the writing of authors, poets, and journalists that has been my shelter. The craft of those who measure their words, who are deliberate and intentional as they develop the idea, the character, the plot, and the story has influenced and informed me because they took their time. They didn’t go for the cheap thrill and I thank them for that. I thank them for allowing me to ease into their words, to feel and understand them, to appreciate the twist of their meaning. They have taught me to listen not only to their words but to those within myself. I am better--as a person, as a writer, as a reader. Because of them. Thank you.