I still like the idea of words being able to rock someone’s world. More wars are started by the writing of words than by the firing of guns. What makes our souls so susceptible to the wounds of words? Why, when we could be hurt more by the throwing of stones, do we take more offense to the things that are only present for the short amount of time it takes to say them? The words only exist for a fraction of a second but the impression they leave in the air and on our memories can last for a lifetime. Why so such immaterial things carry such material weight?
Maybe the secret lies in the ability of words to become material, the ability of the invisible to become visible. I’ve heard that it’s impossible for the body to remember physical pain. The brain can remember experiencing pain but it cannot remember the actual sensation. Words can repeat that painful memory without involving a painful sensation — with nothing lost, the pain memory may actually have a strong impact. Bruises heal and scars fade but the memories of those accidents never grow dim.
All words are a combination of 26 letters and yet they contain so many different meanings. All experience can be described through different combinations of the same words and be relevant to multiple people. How? What is the magical ability of words to do so?
I think words are personal. Because of this, I think it does the words an injustice to taper them for an audience. The words you write weren’t written for an audience; although I admit there are some situations when one can write for specific people, I believe that those moments are more like exceptions. Memoirs weren’t written for someone else, but rather the author; your life story was written for other people to read but also for the author to get their own, very personal story on a page.
So what do I want my words to do to you?
I want them to draw you in, tie you down to the chair and hold you hostage as your eyes scan the page, wanting to stop but not quite able to tear them away — sorta like that first sip of French roast coffee. It’s thick and coats your tongue so that it enrages your thirst even more. I want my words to be the beckoning finger of the witch in the fairy-tale, drawing you in and enchanting you with every syllable. I want to bring you under my spell and be the reason that conflicting emotion boils in your stomach like the aftereffects of a sweet-tasting poison.
I don’t write for you.
But this is what I want my words to do to you.