collecting words – solc #29

As I keep wishin’ and hopin’ to be a writer someday, I frequently find words that speak to me, phrases that repeat themselves in my mind, and sentences that paint pictures so vivid that there’s not a medium or an artist that could portray what is set in my mind and heart with those words.

So a while back I finally decided to follow others’ advice. I discovered that I could be (and should be) a collector of these words. I could keep these messages from others and reread them for inspiration along the way.  A well-turned phrase truly is a thing of beauty and something I long to create… someday.

The first phrase I chose to record was something not written but said by a friend – advice she had given her son:

You know someone is a true friend when you feel good about yourself after you’ve been with him.

Words from the heart.  Thanks, Dana!

Then I found something written by a columnist in our local paper. His stream of consciousness writing is easy to follow and always takes me to a new way of looking at things. Here’s what I highlighted from one of his ramblings about hitting golf balls on a driving range:

…most were discolored or nicked or cut and all at one time or another could have been an eagle on a par five or a chip to the pin from 20 yards out…and it was hard not to think of them now as failed promises or spent wishes so I tried not to… and when all the balls were gone I thought about going out and hunting them down but decided to leave them where they were to regain their promise or to become wishes once again.

Takes my breath away. Thanks, William Carter!

I think Jane Yolen shows her brilliance in everything she writes. In Letting Swift River Go she tells the story of small towns that are “drowned” when the people of Boston need more water and so decide to build a dam and flood these areas by creating a reservoir. Early in the book she describes a scene in which the main character Sally Jane is catching fireflies as a child and hears her mother’s voice telling her to let them go. Years later she and her father take a boat ride on the reservoir. As they try to peer through the water and remember the places that used to exist on the bottom down below, it gets dark and the stars reflect on the water “winking on and off like fireflies.”  She begins to be almost overcome with the memories of what used to be and what can never be again – all the places that are:

Gone, all gone, under the waters. Then I heard my mother’s voice coming to me over the drowned years. “You have to let them go, Sally Jane.” I looked down into the darkening deep, smiled, and did.

A full circle – genius! Thank you, Jane!

So now I hear those voices in my head as I write. And I continue to be a collector of words.

6 thoughts on “collecting words – solc #29

  1. elsie says:

    You have started an awesome collection. I have a few tucked away, but need to record more because they slip away from my mind like water through my fingers.

  2. capewriter says:

    I think you’re remarkable! It’s an awesome thing to notice the way words swirl and swing; that’s what writers do and are passionate about holding onto. Keep collecting…I think you’ve an excellent start :). b

  3. Tam says:

    I, too, during this challenge have decided to record scenes, words that I like and could use later. I think that deserves a separate writers notebook–as if I didn’t have extras!

  4. Ramona says:

    I love the idea of collecting words. I think it might be a good starting point for my 6th graders to help them read like a writer!

  5. blogpraylove says:

    Thank you for sharing! Inspired me to start doing the same thing 🙂

  6. Paul says:

    Being a collector is one of the foundational activities of writing. I often just collect single words that are a bit less common, so that when you’re reaching for something vivid and different, you have a pool of words to draw on.

    When I’m teaching kids poetry and having them write poetry, getting them to brainstorm word lists is something we do over and over and over. I have them look around the room, see a place in their mind, flip through a magazine and write unusual words down. Then we have a base of material to work with, like paint on a palate.

    Happy collecting and happy writing! 🙂

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