"I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me".
- Anna Quindlen
Admittedly I’ve never been an avid reader. I haven’t cracked the cover on War and Peace, Ulysses or Crime and Punishment. I can’t even recount the story of Moby Dick with any great authority, although I believe there’s a whale in there somewhere. (Okay so maybe that’s stretching things a bit).
I have read standard fare like Death of a Salesman, A Tale of Two Cities and To Kill a Mockingbird, but that was in high school as part of the curriculum. To tell you the truth I rarely finished any book I was given for assignment (not something of which I’m proud, although I always seemed to somehow complete my book reviews and pass with good grades).
This year things changed. My site began in March with a whisper, as is usually the case, and I in earnest began taking an interest in what others had to say. Today I can honestly state that I’ve willingly read more in the past nine months than in any other period of my life.
I hadn’t given this much thought before. But I realized a few days ago that the reason for my interest in others is in the opportunity they afford to see the world through different eyes. That chance to share in part of someone’s life, to be let in and communicate my own experiences in return has always meant a lot to me. I’ve read of births, deaths, marriage, divorce, joy and loss. Life as it happens, often virtually in real-time.
I’ve always held appreciation for anyone willing to express themselves honestly; whether or not I agree with what they have to say is incidental. Not everyone is comfortable sharing such personal experiences, and there will always be those who are amazed at how much others are willing to share of themselves. As for myself I've been a bit surprised at how far inside I’ve been willing to reach and put what I pull out down on paper. As I’m sure most of you would agree it’s a risk putting yourself out there. But with this risk can come great reward, for writer and reader alike.
Increasingly I’ve found myself revisiting my passion for language. The experience of creating my site and following others has been electrifying because it’s sparked my interest in writing again. It echoes the exhilaration I felt in my English Lit and Creative Writing classes which I enjoyed immensely, even though I was often less than inspired by the selection of works we were given to study. I always likened Mrs. Murphy, my thirteenth grade Creative Writing teacher, to Robin Williams' character John Keating in Dead Poets Society. She allowed us to let our minds fly untethered and espoused original thought (through her encouragement I was prompted to express some of that original thought onstage in the form of stand-up comedy).
So how does all this tie in with the title of the post? Well, every once in a great while I stumble upon someone with whose writing I immediately connect. I mean really connect. What draws me to a writer? The list is fairly long but most frequently it's a sheer unquestioning joy for life, expressed through words that are strikingly beautiful in their eloquence. This moves me every time.
As a result of this recently rekindled passion I’ve found myself falling in love with the writing of a few people on these pages, not by the way to be confused with falling in love with the authors themselves (this list includes both men and women). I've read passages that have left me inspired, in awe, almost breathless.
I’m wondering how many of you feel this way. Judging by the quality of work I’ve seen on some sites I think it’s safe to say that many of us are affected by language, but to what extent? Do you have an affair with language and literature?
What moves you?