Thursday, 6 March 2014

Play on, ye wordsmiths

I love words. They have a strange power all their own. There's something so very satisfying about reading something that's well written. The topic matters not, just the treatment, if you will.

Take, for instance, nature. It, too, moves me deeply. But, when I read a beautifully described natural scene, the joy in it comes more from the words themselves than the image they paint in my mind as I read them. Maybe this has more to do with me not being a very visually imaginative person (I tried to touch on this before and failed miserably if memory serves me right). I tend to lose interest in long-winded descriptive passages no matter how gorgeous an image they paint, if the words themselves and the way they fit together doesn't strike a cord.

There's this joy and, dare I say, glee I feel when I read a certain style of writing. A mix of archness and keen observation. A certain irreverence combined with a lot of wit. Austen comes to mind right away with such gems as:

Mr. Darcy said very little, and Mr. Hurst nothing at all. The former was divided between admiration of the brilliancy which exercise had given to her complexion, and doubt as to the occasion's justifying her coming so far alone. The latter was thinking only of his breakfast.

We're told hardly anything about Mr. Hurst before this point, but with that incisive last line he suddenly becomes real. It is hard not to grin with mischievous delight when one comes upon that deliciously droll sentence. This is just the first instance that occurred to me because I'd read it again recently. But there are so many others who've written as well. Who still write as well. And I'm jealous of them all. 

No, it's not just envy I feel. It's a sort of hero worship, I suppose. I look up to these wordsmiths. I don't exactly aspire to be like them ever because I don't think I ever could. It's more that I almost feel a kind of personal connection with them that transcends space and time. I feel like I know them. I love them. 

The strange thing is that words aren't my number one source of joy in life. That distinction belongs to music. Music can move me in ways even words cannot. Words make me smile and grin and laugh, but music makes me cry. I relish words like good food - tasty, nourishing, delightful, even sensual. But music is like sex.

And yet, I don't have this sense of connect with musicians. With music, yes, but the musicians themselves personally don't matter to me all that much somehow. Wordsmiths, on the other hand, I adore. You know what they say about the way to a man's heart being through his stomach? I guess, the way to this woman's heart is through them words. 

Well then, for me at least, words be the food of love. So, play on.

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