Friday, February 4, 2011

Words Sway Me

I just finished reading a stunning and heartbreaking novel about what might happen if an EMP was detonated over the U.S. Very realistic depiction, in my opinion. I don't know what was worst; imagining this happening for real in my life, the deaths of the elderly, the cannibalism, the need to lock people up in asylums/sanitoriums again, or the death of a child due to lack of insulin. I could very easily turn into a survivalist if I think about it that much. Then again, I would head for my friend Shannon's house in the event of an apocalypse--she would have plenty of green things growing. And a catapult or trebuchet for defense. Plus, those Baker boys are something fierce!

My mother has always said that words are weapons for me. I can slice you to pieces without ever touching you. I try to use my power for good, but it doesn't always work. I guess it follows that words affect me in the same way. I cry much more easily while I am reading a well-written book than I do when I'm watching a movie.

There are books that I have been reading and re-reading for 10-15 years where the characters seem like old friends. There are books I can no longer read because of the deaths of those beloved characters. There is a book that haunts me, that I love, that was probably my introduction to the genre I most love; fantasy. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. It is such a book of humanity and haunting beauty. I want to read it again and again, to hold the words close to me. I can't bear it, though. The unicorn's story is too tragic. There is both great hope and great despair in the tale.

I marvel that this one story can absorb so much of myself. I marvel that this author has woven such a tale! Such a deft hand at the pen. Where does his story come from? I want desperately to have the same skill at writing a tale, the same power to bring tears, to have someone read and re-read my words fifty, a hundred times because of their weight, their aura, their transcendence. I fear that I have nothing so pure and amazing within me. I fear that I have that skill within me, but no story to tell. I fear that I have the story, but cannot find the right words.

Words hold me in their grip, tightly. I live my life along their edges. They susurrate over my tongue, whisper in my ears, grip my soul in both their hands and haul me under the deep blue of their gluttonous mouths.

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