Monday, December 27, 2010


“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
Rudyard Kipling

I’m a connoisseur of words.  I read them, collect them, write them.  They move me, devastate me, inspire me, educate me.  I can’t say I’m an avid book reader – though I do love to read and find myself absorbed in books once I get started.  Sure, I haven’t read a lot of the “classics” so to speak, but I do get caught up in another world when I take the time to read.  It’s not just books.  Though I can’t just read anything that comes my way – like a newspaper, I’ll skim and glance at it mostly – I read other things like blogs, magazines, poetry.  When I find quotations or passages that speak to me, I save them.  I write – though I wouldn’t say my blog is going to win any awards – most of the time it is quite dreary and mundane and often ends with me going to bed – but I do write beyond the scope of this blog.  I have probably four journals at home in which I’ve penned thoughts over the course of several years.  I was a writer even back in my teenage years where I’d pour my heart out onto notebook paper.  I’ve written poetry, letters that have never been mailed, thoughts and pains on scrap pieces of paper.  Sometimes just the writing is necessary to get the flood of emotions out.  It isn’t necessary for the recipient to receive the words, it’s enough to have forced them out of my thoughts into some form on paper.  Sometimes that is where the healing begins.  Beyond the printed word there are those that are spoken and even unspoken.  You know the saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”  What a lie!  I would much rather have the sticks and stones because words can be so much more painful.  Even the lack of words can hurt.  Silence has a power that can shatter a soul. 

So why this diatribe?  I just finished reading one of the books that I got for Christmas called The Book Thief.  It was an amazing book that had me crying for the last 50 pages or so.  It just hit me as to what power words can have on me.  I cannot imagine not having the ability to read and appreciate the words of others.  Sometimes I find that others say things far better than I ever could so I borrow their words from time to time – like with the music project I did for Matthew.  In addition to the music I gave him, I made him a book that contained all the lyrics to the songs on the player, but I also put copies of Postsecret cards that had special meaning to me, quotations that I found to be inspiring, some poetry I had written, a list of reasons why I like him, and a letter than summarized why I put the book together.  But I’m wondering if the power of words moves other people as it does me?  Perhaps it only affects those that have found an appreciation in them?  Maybe my brilliant idea of a Christmas gift wasn’t so brilliant.  I think of my students who say that they hate to read and feel sorry for them, because they will miss out on so much by not experiencing the power of words.  But these same students can get caught up in the words of some rap song – so they can still hold power – it’s just in another format.  I just wonder are there people that are not affected by words at all?  Or is it a matter of finding the right words in the right combination in the right delivery before an impact is made? 

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