Posts Tagged ‘words’


I will be reading a book and out of nowhere I will find one, a sentence, a thought, or sometimes just a couple of words strung together in just the right order and I’ll hear it.

The click.

The sound in my brain when something resonates, fits, slides perfectly into a gap in me that I didn’t know existed until that moment.

I’ll close the book, sliding my fingers between the pages so I don’t lose my place, and just think. Think about the sentence, the click, and appreciate how finding it in that moment has made me consider something I hadn’t before.

And then I’ll wish I could take it with me, rip the paper out of the book (which I would, of course, never do) and carry it with me in my pocket so I could have that feeling with me all the time.

For awhile I tried carrying a little notebook around with me and I would pull it out and write down these things when I came across them.

But then I would change purses and forget to move the notebook, or I wouldn’t have a pen, or I would have a pen but not the “right” pen and then it became more about the notebook than the thing I was trying to remember by writing it down.

It turned into a chore rather than a gift. And I have enough chores.

What started as a click turned into a thud.

Because what I really want is to remember them. I want to be able to recall them at will with little effort, no planning and without a notebook and pen. I want them to be in every pocket of every jacket I own and I want to be able to pull them out and comfort myself and make things make sense when they don’t.

But I can’t, it just doesn’t seem to work that way and so I instead try to just pause and appreciate them when they come along. I will consider them and mull them over like rubbing a smooth rock between my fingers before throwing it back into the water.

And I will open my book again and read, waiting for the next one to come along.

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‎It’s been so long that I almost forget how this used to go. I vaguely remember a time when it was part of me, something I didn’t really have to think about, kind of like breathing or crying or laughing. And perhaps just like those other things, I stopped paying attention to it and so it was soon forgotten.

‎And then today, out of nowhere, a comment from someone who used to read the words saying they were missed. A person on the other side of the world who stumbled across my words in the same random way that these things often happen, who wondered where the words had gone.

It was only then that I realized I was wondering the same thing.

In the beginning the words were so heavy, they mattered so much, that I feared putting them out into the world. I told myself over and over and over that they were just words, that they didn’t, in fact, matter at all and slowly I started to listen. The words found a home, they found a voice and a sound and a rhythmn.

And then they stopped being heavy, and instead became so light that they floated, unable to be pinned down. They went from mattering so much that I couldn’t write them to mattering so little that they weren’t worth the effort.

So I forgot.

I forgot how good it felt to pull them out, one by one, and see what happens when I get them just right. I forgot the weight that lifts from my chest and my heart and my soul when they release from inside me and become part of the world. I forgot that finding the words and turning them into something is a part of me.

I forgot all of that until someone I have never met, someone who I will probably never meet, said they missed them.

And then I realized I miss them too.

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When I finish writing what I’m going to write here and hit the “publish” button on the side of the page, this will be my two hundred and eighty second post on this blog.

Two hundred and eighty two.


I know it’s usually the big anniversaries that are celebrated.  Like two hundred or three hundred or even two hundred and fifty but today, this time, I decided I need to celebrate two hundred and eighty two.

Because that’s an accomplishment for me and I’m tired of celebrating when other people or the calendar or social convention tells me that I should.  Usually by the time I actually arrive at the “approved day of celebration” I don’t feel like celebrating at all.  It’s like I wish I could just wake up one morning and decide that day is going to be my birthday.  Just decide on the spur of the moment that I want to spend that day celebrating me and eating cake and doing what I want to do, because I want to, not because the calendar tells me that I can.

And with that in mind, today I have decided to celebrate this little place I created and the blood, sweat and tears that have kept it going.  Well, to be honest, there hasn’t been a whole lot of blood and sweat involved but the tears, oh there have been tears.

Some people in my life know about this blog but there are also some who don’t.  There are people who know me but have no idea about this place or what is here or even that I write at all.  That’s the way I like it.  Some might say that I’m hiding; that it’s not right to keep part of who I am tucked but for me, it allows this place to be the more authentic me.  I don’t have to edit and censor.  I don’t have to define to people what I do here, or why I wrote what I wrote, or to justify or explain myself.  This is the place I come where I don’t have to do any of those things. Keeping a little part of me hidden actually allows me to be more open.

When people find out that I have a blog the first question is usually “what is it about?”  I always find it a difficult question to answer because, truthfully, the answer would be that this place is about me.  And maybe I just need to stop apologizing for that.  Maybe I should stop thinking it’s selfish of me to have something in my life that’s just for me.  Because it is.  This place is about me and the things that I think and feel and struggle with and like and love and hate and question and contemplate and all of that makes up who I am.   I write here as a record for me to look back on in those times when I lose sight of all the people I have been along the way.

And so I’m going to take a moment to pat myself on the back for two hundred and eighty two.  Not all of them have been brilliant, or intelligent or even remotely articulate but this place represents me, and I’m definitely not always any of those things either. But it is about me, for better or worse and, I have discovered, it has also become about the people who join me here.  Those of you who have been here since the beginning and who have become an amazing source of support for me, and those who have found the Palace along the way and who have pulled up a chair and stayed.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here so far because I’ve certainly enjoyed having you here.

Happy two hundred and eighty two.  I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

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‎If the words came from anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have been offended. I would have read them in my head in a tone that wasn’t quite so sarcastic and snarky. I would remind myself that the words themselves were innocent enough; that it was really my added tone that was pushing them towards hostility. ‎

Maybe you’re trying to be helpful, with your comments, advice, suggestions. Maybe you don’t know how your words sting. Maybe you’re not doing it on purpose although, depending on the day, I have my doubts about that one.
‎Sometimes I think you know exactly what you’re doing and saying and implying. Sometimes I think you choose your words very carefully, with just enough edge to cut through the surface but still dull enough to appear to outsiders as innocent and innocuous.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when things changed; that line in the sand when we moved from friends to something else. Maybe it didn’t happen in one moment but was rather a string of them, woven together in such an intricate pattern t‎hat it’s now impossible to find the beginning or the end.

Maybe I’m being too sensitive; maybe I need to give you a break, cut you some slack and give you the benefit of the doubt now and then. Maybe that will be the first step to bridging the gap that has opened up between us. Maybe I need to be the bigger person.

Maybe. Except I don’t want to.‎

So you’ll keep saying the words and I’ll keep taking them the wrong way because the bottom‎ line is I don’t want to be friends. And while I have to accept the fact that circumstances will continue to bring us together, I really don’t have to pretend to like it. ‎‎

I’m not that good an actress.

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Sometimes I feel like I have the same conversations, over and over and over again.  Sometimes I find myself talking to a friend and suddenly I wonder if I’ve already told her this story, this anecdote, this punchline.  I hear my own voice in my head and I wonder how many times I’ve said these same words, relayed this information, bitched about this particular issue.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m stuck on repeat.  For those of us old enough to remember record players, I feel like I’m just skipping back and forth over the same words, again and again and again.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing the sound of my own voice.  Is it because I can’t escape it, because it is with me no matter where I go, or do others feel the same?  What if other people are as sick of listening to me as I am?

If they are, I can’t really blame them.  If I’m growing tired of saying the words, can I really be surprised that others would be tired of hearing them?

I can’t remember the last time I spoke with conviction, inspiration and passion lacing my words.  Was it last month? The month before that? Even longer.  The very thought makes me sad.

I need to change the conversation, I know that.  No one can control it but me and if I’m saying the same things over and over again, it’s because I’ve stopped searching for new things to talk about, to write about.  I’ve stopped reading things that make me want to discuss, argue, share my opinions.  I’ve stopped listening to things that evoke emotions.  I’ve stopped looking around to see what wasn’t there last time I looked, and to wonder what I think about it.

I’ve just stopped.

I sit down to write things here and I find myself wondering if I’ve written them before.  A quick search tells me that I have; and that makes me sad.  Have I really run out of ideas?  Run out of things to write about after such a short time?  Am I really struggling so hard to come up with any new, unique thoughts.  How depressing.

So I think it’s time I asked for some help, some help from you.

I have a friend who is a writer and a little while ago she asked me if I had any thoughts on some story ideas, things that I would want to read if she wrote them.  In about five minutes, I had a handful of ideas.  It was so much easier to think of things that I wanted her to write, rather than come up with things for myself.  All I did was close my eyes and think about the questions I would love for her to answer.  The things I had always wondered about but had never had the opportunity or guts or words to ask in the context of a regular conversation.  This was my chance to get them answered, in her words, in her voice, telling the stories that only she could tell.

And now I’m asking you to do the same.  Some of you have been regular visitors to the Palace almost since the beginning and probably have a pretty good sense of my particular point of view, my style, my voice.  So now’s your chance – is there anything you’ve ever wondered?  Anything you would like to read if I wrote it; anything that could get me off the skipping record player and back to looking at things with fresh eyes?  A few of you out there even know me in “real life,” is there anything you’ve always wanted to ask but haven’t, for whatever reason?  Now’s your chance!  Believe me, at this point I would appreciate any suggestions you may have!

I will understand if you can’t come up with anything; if I can’t do it myself I can’t really expect it from others, but know that any suggestions, prompts, swift kicks to the butt would be greatly appreciated.

Anything to get me off of repeat.

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When I was a kid my parents had a huge dictionary that sat on a shelf on the wall unit in our family room.  It was so big that it took up the entire shelf, all by itself.  It sat right down near the ground because it was so heavy you couldn’t really pick it up (or at least I couldn’t) and you kind of had to slide it off the shelf and onto the carpet in order to open it.

It’s probably been almost 20 years since I’ve seen it but if I close my eyes I can picture the cover as though it were yesterday.  Whenever I opened it the spine would crack, making a very satisfying noise, and it had those finger holes along the side, marking where each new letter started.  The pages were whisper thin and would slide through my hands like silk.  I remember running my fingers across the letters, in awe of the fact that I had in my possession one book that held all of the words in the world (or so I thought at the time).

I remember running downstairs at random, just to pull that huge book off the shelf and look up a word, any word, it didn’t really matter which one.  I would read it over and over, rolling the sound of it around in my mouth, trying to memorize the meaning to ensure I used it properly.  Even then, I knew there were few things in life worse than using a word incorrectly.

My parents have moved three times since leaving my childhood home and somewhere along the way, the dictionary was discarded, along with the set of encyclopedias and the record player, lost to downsizing space and upgrading technology.

Now I guess we are supposed to look words up online, using one of the dozens of electronic dictionaries that now exist.  I really feel like it’s lost some of the magic though.  You can’t run your fingers across a computer screen and be inspired by all of the words your fingers touch.  Well, maybe some people can, but I’m more of a “hard copy” girl.

So the other day when I was cleaning out a shelf in my basement and I came across a smaller, and less fancy version of that dictionary, I took a pause.  It took my mind a minute to go back to the place in my memory where this particular dictionary existed but I finally got there.  I majored in Journalism in university and one of my professors mandated that each of us purchase a dictionary.  Not a pocket-sized one but a full-size, unabridged, Canadian dictionary.  ‘Canadian’ so that colour would be spelled colour and not color, which belongs to our neighbours to the south.  That’s neighbours spelled neighbours, not neighbors.  You get the idea.  And so I went out and bought one, used it frequently over my four-year university career and then promptly packed it away and forgot about it.

But for some reason I have kept it all these years, making move after move after move, packed in box after box and unpacked onto shelf after shelf.  I don’t know why.  I can’t even remember the last time I cracked it open but something stopped me from getting rid of it.

And the other day when I rediscovered it again, after all these years, I pulled it off the shelf in the basement and took it upstairs to the room where I do my writing.  There’s nothing pretty about it.  It has a bright red cover that has been bent and folded over years spent being shuffled around.  The pages aren’t smooth or shiny, but rather are kind of rough and, if I hold them close enough, have a faint dusty odour.  It’s also horribly outdated; and probably was even when I bought it.  The word ‘Internet’ does not have an entry, nor does ‘texting’ and ‘friend’ exists purely as a noun and not the “he friended me on Facebook” verb version that (wrongly) exists today.

But as soon as I saw it, I was instantly drawn to it.  I put it on a shelf right beside the computer so I can see it whenever I sit down to put fingers to keyboard.  Something about seeing it there inspires me.  Something about realizing all those words are there, all lined up neatly on pages, waiting for me to discover them, makes me want to write.  I feel like whenever I get stuck, I can just close my eyes, open it up and pick a word, any word, and use it as a starting point.  A starting point for something that probably won’t be brilliant and it probably won’t be amazing but it will be something, and at the very least I will be sure to use the word correctly.

It’s not the beautiful book I remember from my childhood but maybe one day I will have a writing room big enough to hold a bookshelf, a bookshelf with a space right close to the bottom that could fit one like that amazing book I remember.  In the meantime, I’ll settle for the one I have, and all of it’s 90,000 words.

After all, everyone needs somewhere to start.

startv., n. 1. to get in motion; set out; begin a journey; 2. begin; 3. set moving, going, acting, etc.
(The Gage Canadian Dictionary – copyright 1983)

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I can use them as a weapon, defending my opinions, my thoughts and even my personal space.  I can use them to keep you at bay or invite you in.  I can use them to hurt you, if I choose.

I can use them as armour, protecting myself from the hurtful world around me.  With a carefully placed “I’m fine” or a strategically used “everything is good” I can deflect the questions I’m not willing or ready to answer.  If I use them correctly, you won’t even be able to tell I’m lying.

I can hide behind them or stand on top of them.  I can wrap them around myself for comfort, or scream them from the top of my lungs in anger.

I can use them to express myself, or use them as an excuse not to.

Sometimes I feel them everywhere, in my head, behind my eyes, on the tip of my tongue and sometimes they get lost, hidden away from me, making me wander aimlessly while I wait for them to appear.

On more than one occasion I have regretted them, wished I could gather them out of the air and put them back in my pocket, never to be heard from again.  If only.  If only it were that easy.

It is not so much that I wished I hadn’t thought them, quite the opposite actually. I think we all think the things we are supposed to think, there is no crime in that.  The difficulties arise when things are spoken, written, shared, that really shouldn’t be.  It is not their fault for being thought, it is our fault for not having the wisdom to keep them to ourselves.

I have never doubted them, never doubted my ability to put them to good use.  Even when every other thought in my head is a question about what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, what I’m not doing, what I’m not feeling, this is never one of them.

I can use them to erase all of that, all of that noise in my head telling me all of the things I can’t and won’t and shouldn’t.  They take all that and put it away, at least for a little while.  Because there’s no room for all of that, not now, not when it’s time to focus on what is the most important.

Because it’s always the words.

My words.

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