Monday, May 31, 2010

Sometimes people say things that move me

Always a slow reader, I eventually wondered why, as I observed other people skimming a page, seemingly satisfied that they knew what was there.

Do other people do this? 
Thinking it over, I realized that I make pictures from the words I read, a slow process. Reading   is similar to making a painting or drawing for me. Rarely, is either a quick process. When I see my friends speeding through a novel or even a newspaper I envy them. I, instead, visit each word, one-at-a-time. I turn it over weighing it, deciding if it works, or if the writer meant to use a better word, or if I would have used a different word and what the word means in relation to the rest of the words that surround it, maybe saying it out loud. 

Seeing an organized grouping of curves and angles, that could form a portrait, but instead form some meaning in another way and hearing the sound of the word spoken aloud is like seeing a rose and smelling its fragrance. Can you imagine words acting out their own meaning?

If a writer turns a phrase that sounds new to me, I get love-stuck (no, not lovestruck), this time savoring the flavor, getting accustomed to the new taste, unwilling to bite into anything else so I can hold on to the delicious experience. Taking a spoon of sherbet by reading a mildly sweet and bland paragraph to cleanse the palate, is the only solution. 

So, I heard something that stopped me this weekend and I wrote it down. That happens, too. I hear a sequence of words that convey an idea in a way that just says it all. These seem to be rare occurrences, but I think we know one when we hear one. This Rhythm and Blues singer, in an interview on NPR, was describing her many years performing and her experiences and said:

"I've done things that people have dreamed of with people they have dreamed about." Bettye Lavette.

In this life how often does anyone get to say that? Forget about saying it so glibly, so masterfully organized and on pitch! The bonus is having the privilege to say it because you have lived that life.  

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