March 19, 2015

My Romance with Words

How did that passionate relationship begin?  Almost every romance arouses the question of who made the first move.  Did she smile at him across the room?  Did he linger at the corner, hoping she'd walk by that way?  Did he offer to walk her home?  Did she gently reach for his hand? The romance of writers and words has as many tales and trails as any other blissfully turbulent romance.  So who made the first move in my romance with words?  I think I'd have to say words.  The infatuation began early, perhaps before I went to school.

Nicknames have always been a big deal in my family.  My siblings were Karen, Terry, Clark, Jim, and Michael, but those names were rarely spoken.  Instead Big Runt braided my hair, Joe MaFraw listened to "Blue Suede Shoes," Clarkensteenysteiny had a paper route, Jazz played in a band called "The Children of Stone" (after the Rolling Stones), and Micaheloochi, the baby, shaved off his blonde curls.  I was Lupe or Lupita Jane.  Maybe the intrigue of such unusual names produced the first sparks.

In the first grade, my primary reading skills called for a family celebration at the completion of each reading level.  When I read, "Look Dick.  See Spot run," cheers and applause filled our living room.  At six years old I had a full-blown crush on words!  My sister, Big Runt taught me a language in which two syllables (in-ig) precede the audible vowels in each word. That was a profound contribution to an already delightful relationship with words.  My friend and I would spend hours talking together in our secret language.  It wasn't writing, but it was words.

When adolescent life took hold, so did the desire for writing poetry; a way to express all the tangled emotions (hormones) of growing up and falling in love with a real person.  Words that were  pinched from a broken heart and arranged on a page held a compelling mystique.  

I also became a constant reader, visiting the library (no internet back then) every Saturday.  I wanted to spend a lot of time with words, which is not surprising I guess.  Most lovers enjoy each other's company.  My relationship with words progressed through the years, strengthened through the winding ways of life experience: marriage, children, loss, faith, heartache, joy, laughter.   All these and more led to keeping a journal, writing stories and more poetry.

I don't know if it was instant or gradual, but it became an enduring love.  I don't see a breakup anywhere in the near or distant future.  


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