Listening to Words

Image result for words scribbled on a page


I start my MA next week.

I am beside myself with delicious anticipation. Ant does not understand my excitement, ‘I don’t get it’, he says, ‘poring over books’.

But he is a Numbers man.  And I am a Letters girl.

This feels like a luxurious excuse to indulge in words. To roll them around on my tongue, test them for weight, power, the very rightness of a fit.

I listen to the poet Imtiaz Dharker In the Studio.  She describes her writing day. Or night as it happens: an owl, she scratches away between the hours of eleven and 4am and I understand why: the silent, dark cocoon of sleeping households, the surprising creative thoughts that prickle at an inappropriate 2am. I have had my best ideas in the middle of the night, and been infuriated come dawn that I did not put pen to paper then for they are eclipsed by the brittle light of day.

Dharker is not impressed by thousands of words. Her job means she must deliver the tightest few. Pack a punch.

Are words no more
than waving, wavering flags? she asks.

One of my dearest friends, E, a photographer with the finest eye, is sympathetic when my freelance gigs do not match hers in number. She kindly tells me that her equipment – the value of which would rival a small car, or two – lends gravitas, ‘everybody with a pencil, or a keyboard, thinks they can write’.

But it is the weighing of each word that is so important, the crafting, moulding, shaping of a single paragraph that can elevate the banal to the compelling, the forgetable to the memorable, the powerful to the insipid.

And words define us. We are what we say. Consider Trump’s tweets.

China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented [sic] act.

And Obama.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

So. I will embark on my MA, luxuriate in language, wallow in words, thread them as neatly as I can and perhaps I will pin an elusive story to the page.

Wish me luck.

5 Responses to “Listening to Words”

  1. TCB Says:


  2. Rosie Says:

    You already write so beautifully I hope the MA gives you the confidence to let you as well as your writing soar. A new & exciting era in your life, something for you at long last. Looking forward to watching how it all unfolds for you. Good luck – although you don’t need it!

  3. daisyfae Says:

    Congratulations! Words do indeed matter… and you remind me again just how much i miss Mr. Obama. (sigh)

  4. Kelly Says:

    Good luck and greater joy my friend. How exciting (for your readers too)!

  5. Becky Says:

    Great good luck and enjoy the hell of that course.

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