It’s hard to believe that the pencil was invented over 200 years ago by Nicholas-Jaques Conte. Trust me on this, I looked it up. And almost another 100 years later, the ballpoint pen was invented by John J. Loud. I looked that up too. It’s amazing what you can find out from Google.
I always have so much to say, which in the times of scratching messages on rocks would have proven difficult. The thought that my life is literally held together by sticky notes of reminders, well, that would have been a hell of a lot of rocks! Plus, they wouldn’t all fit on the dashboard of my car.
I think of all of the topics I have written about and all of the articles and books I have read. We all read something every day. I’ve just been contemplating the power of the written word. And I’m not talking about the emoji’s we use to convey states of mind or feelings. I’m talking about the power of words linked together, followed by punctuation. Truth be told, I am a frequenter of the LMAO and, of course, the WTF abbreviations for my thoughts via text, but what have I learned from writing WORDS? A lot, actually.
I’ve learned that there is power in the written word. It is an expression of self. It is the art of storytelling, and trust me, we ALL have a story to tell.
For me, writing is an escape. A thought comes into my mind and I think, “I’m going to put this to paper.” Or Word doc, whichever. My sticky note supply is getting low.
I think what I have learned most as a writer is that our words, our streaming of consciousness that we decide to artifact, has an effect on those who read our writings. I honestly never thought about it in this way, and I’m not having a “brag” moment here. It is about all of us, as people. We all have ideas, experiences and things to say. Who knows the people we may help or inspire by writing about our struggles, our triumphs and just plain shit that bugs us!
Every time I read an article, a book, an inspirational quote – whatever – I’m thinking and reflecting on the words without realizing it. I bring all of this up because, recently, I have read some articles that made me think. And isn’t that truly the power of expression? That we invoke thoughtfulness in others? And maybe, we don’t even mean to create inspiration. It’s just a byproduct, a gift to the reader AND to the writer.
I have no problem saying that I will never EVER be a contestant on Jeopardy. I would just stand there at the podium, my name lit up in white chicken scratches with a blue background and the clicker in my hand with a blank look on my face. When I do watch it (rarely, as I get annoyed lol), I yell out answers. Well, what I think are answers. When I do answer correctly (surprise, surprise) it is often because I READ about it somewhere. Again, the power of the written word, and really, the story-telling of history.
I love to read. I was the kid growing up who read by flashlight in her room. I would often wake up exhausted because I read into the wee hours of the night, taking my mind on adventures outside of my bedroom with brown paneling and yellow wallpaper. I mean, who wouldn’t want to escape that? I still do that sometimes, I’ve just graduated to Audible to give my eyes a rest. Oh, and I now have a room of my own design, in my own house, not one from the ’70s.
Writing can be an escape for the writer. It can also be an escape for the reader and sometimes a lesson in life and learning.
We absorb stories sometimes as if they are our own. “Where do I know that from,” often pops into my head and then I realize, I read it somewhere. Personally, I want to give thanks to all of the writers who have inspired me. We are all a product of our histories, what we have read and how we have lived.
I’m just glad that Mr. Conte figured out that we can put our thoughts to paper via pencil so we could stop scratching them on rocks.
Writing is a way to launch a message in the bottle, to communicate and forge relationships. For me it is a moment of pause, an escape route, not a profession. Writing in a discussion group on the web, in particular, you have the opportunity to be read by others in real time, and in this way new contacts and relationships are established, also useful for improving one’s professional life as well as social life. It is also an excellent writing gym because you learn synthesis, speed and incisiveness.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Aldo!
Connie, I enjoyed reading your article. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love to read, and I love to write. They are mutually nurturing, and I love being able to escape with a good book and by turning my thoughts into words. While I do most of my writing on a laptop, I’m still old school and love to handwrite notes and ideas. There’s something about a pen or pencil to paper that doesn’t grow old with me. Perhaps it is also the ability to visualize by writing it down and mapping it out.
Thanks for the inspiration piece today. It’s a perfect lunchtime read!
Thank you Laura and thank you for sharing your thoughts! I, too, like to write a lot of my ideas down. I do seem to have graduated to writing them in the notes section on my iPhone lol. The less I actually write, the more atrocious my handwriting has become!
Connie I love your article. I am truly old school I always hand write my stories before I type the. Reading inspires me to write, writing inspires me to read.
Thanks so much Larry!
Connie, for me as well writing is (was) an escape. It is an opportunity to free your mind while witnessing the transformation fo thoughts in your head into words that jump at you. When you look at the finished product it is a wonder to behold. You think to yourself out loud “I wrote this? Where did this come from? Readers marvel at your creation as they shower you with accolades.
Thank you Joel!
You are welcome, Connie!
Thank you so much, Connie for offering these reflections on reading and writing-both passions of mine. There’s often this experience of a shared humanity-that we are not alone in a struggle or a triumph-that there are many different paths people choose-points of view-perspectives. Authors and writers’ work enrich my life, open doors to new practices, sometimes unleash something that’s been buried in my heart for years. I cannot imagine a life without the power of words written, offered, and received. Quite a meaningful process, art, and contribution.
Beautifully expressed Laura! Thanks so much for reading it and sharing your thoughts!
Connie, thank for this thought-provoking post.
The ways in which and the degrees to which writing and reading (and vice verse) are mutually participatory processes may surprise you. These two books will never be taken for beach reading, but you may find them at least fascinating curiosities:
On a much lighter note, God bless you for surviving breast cancer. Congratulations on your book and your work. And I loved your chicken-scratching analogy.
More power to you.
Thank you so much Mark! I will definitely check out these books.
Thanks for sharing a piece of your story. I can identify with your prose. I used to write with a pencil and struggled to get the same emotion into my ideas when I learned to use computer software. It was hard to get those handwritten thoughts onto the page through a keyboard. Now when I write it seems I don’t know how to stop. My articles are too long and ramble off the page.🤦 We didn’t have TV until I was 12 years old – my parent’s choice. I was a reader and my mom read us a chapter of a book every night. I need to force myself to read now. Not because I don’t like to read but because I am, as your article points out, reading all the time. There are so many things to read and they grab the attention and time that I wish I could invest in books. I need to try harder to carve out book reading time.
Thanks so much for sharing Jane!
You learn a little everyday from reading. Today you have taught me to use Siri to correct my work, what’s great idea.
Yes, we all learn from each other.💖
Thank you Connie for this. I love it, and as a voracious reader, I believe my writing is sparked by not only events but reading thoughts from others. Even though I hardly ever shorten my text, being old-fashioned and liking punctuation (I ask Siri to insert when I verbalize a text), I do love my emojis💖
Thank you Darlene!
I wish I could learn to love reading books again so I could be a voracious reader. 🙄📖