Goal: 3333 words
Actual: 4481 words
I’m thinking about words a lot today. Not surprising since my brother told me yesterday Mom has Aphasia.
You and she instilled in me such a love for the written word. That’s one of the reasons I’m a writer, because sometimes the stories I want to read can only be found in my head. To lose that ability, or find it diminished…it’s a terrible fate to contemplate.
I grew up in a house filled with books, reading things many would consider well above my grade and age level. My husband jokes about the “questionable parenting decisions” from time to time, but there’s a note of envy in his voice. He didn’t grow up with such support, even though he turned out to be a reader himself.
But as I wrote this morning, the idea of losing the ability to communicate stayed with me. Since Bruce Willis announced he is impacted by this disease, talk has been all over the news. We all experience moments when the right words escape us. More than once I’ve typed something ridiculous on the page because I couldn’t find the right words. I put in a place holder so I can move on. My first drafts are littered with “he says something witty here,” “and then they have sex,” or “here be dragons.”
The dragons appear more often because my story is off the rails and I have no idea what needs to happen next. If I can move on to the next point I am certain of, I figure I will fix things later. Comforted by the idea I’ll find the right word. What if those words never come? What if I lost the ability to find those words, to communicate my ideas to readers or those near to me? .
I had plenty of words this morning, many of them very rough as I start in on the markers for my story. I don’t write in order, with today’s scene set shortly after the midpoint. Ironically, much of it was about the words which aren’t said, how things aren’t expressed because they’re deemed uncomfortable or impolite. I’m writing a story set in the late 19th Century, so there is the Victorian sensibility to deal with, unmarried women not knowing certain facts of life. If they admitted such knowledge, they would shock those around them.
We take the words for granted all too often, slinging them out without thinking about their meanings. We use words to hurt others, to cut and wound. We reach for them greedily, the idea one could lose the ability to string words together for simple, basic communication something we don’t think about. And yet…
This entry isn’t as cheerful as I would like, but I’m still processing the news. The book I’m writing? She may never be able to read it. Or if she does, she will struggle. That you’re not here to read the books I write is hard. The idea Mom is still here and may not be able to read them? That hurts, enough there was a moment I felt frozen.
I’m using my words, though. You and she gave me this gift. I try to honor you by using them. At this point, far from home, this is all I can do.