Say The Words

This morning I walked over to the local cafe for coffee, but it was closed. I’m not sure if it’s because its Monday – or because of the break-in over the weekend. So… I headed up Broadway to the library, got a library card for the first time in many years, and took out two books. It’s such a joy to me – to wander among the shelves, to smile at people I’ve met but don’t yet know, and to wait for that little ‘ding’ that says: take this one home today.

This evening I’m reading The Telling by Ursula LeGuin, and here’s a quote:

“We’re not outside the world. You know? We are the world. We’re its language. So we live and it lives. You see? If we don’t say the words, what is there in our world?”

This morning I was reading some more of bell hooks’ remembered rapture, the writer at work, and I highlighted this:

“… some writers write because we need to make sense of the world we live in; writing is a way to clarify, to interpret, to reinvent… language is the way we keep a hold on life. With words we experience our deepest understandings of what it means to be intimate.”

That was in a section called “Women Who Write Too Much” … something I’ve surely been accused of … yet, I don’t want to stop… ever.

I wrote to my mother a short time ago to say that I feel so fortunate in having found my place and my‘work. Now that I’m in the midst of this unfolding, I can say that 50 years was not too long to wait, though I would have been hard-pressed to say that before the finding was complete. Each step along the way brought me here. I also expect to live at least another 50 years so that I can enjoy each and every moment.

I love “saying the words.” I love the intimacy that I feel with myself when I write – and the intimacy that I feel with whoever it is I’m writing to. My writing is always a deep conversation – whether internal or external – and it is always an attempt to clarify, just a little bit more, what this world means to me. I find that the more intimate I am in my writing, the more intimate I am able to be with the people in my life.


Kintsugi – the Japanese traditional craft of  repairing broken pottery with gold.

When I don’t “say the words”, things start to break down … a little bit here, a little bit there, until there’s just broken pieces scattered about me. My way of repairing is to write it … I know that others dance it, or sing it, or draw it, or walk it, or ski it – what ever it is we “do”, its our way of moving back into wholeness. For me, moving back into wholeness is always an expansion of what existed before things shattered. Picking up the pieces, they are somehow increased, and I am even more complete.


From my archives: May 5, 2008