Today’s quote came courtesy of Goodreads’ daily quote. I have them delivered to my inbox everyday. They are hit and miss for me – sometimes they speak or me and sometimes they don’t. This week, this one did:
Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare. – Guy de Maupassant
I felt the truth in those words resonate inside me as I read them. There is just something powerful and moving to me about the written word. It’s why I love handwritten letters and cards. When you take the time to sit down and write out a message, even if it’s just a few lines–that means something.
It’s hard to write a letter. In today’s age of texting, Face Time, Skype, instant messaging and emails, most people find it easier just to use digital means to communicate. There’s phone calls too, and of course nothing can replace actual face-to-face communication, but writing a letter is different. You have to take time to sit down and think about the words you’re writing. You’re writing down your thoughts and feelings and experiences and choosing to share that with someone who can read and read your message and fold it up and save it for another day. That to me is special.
Not only does writing a letter take time, but sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. How does one find the right words to say, “I miss you,” the same way a hug after a long absence does? How can you convey your excitement over something that normally you would show in dramatic gestures and loud conversation? True, words come easier to some than others, and finding those words might not be so difficult. But that’s not always the case, which makes the time they spent finding those words all the more meaningful.
As a writer, this quote takes on more meaning for me, especially when I think about writing poetry. For me at least, it’s typically something hugely personal (meaning for my eyes only). The same goes for my journal. I literally am laying my soul bare, holding nothing back, and pouring out my deepest thoughts on paper.
According to my sister, this not a wise policy unless you intend to burn it afterwards, but I enjoy the therapeutic process of writing out my thoughts. It helps me sort out ideas, feelings and problems floating about in my head. Sometimes discover things I didn’t want to admit about myself. Seeing those things written down on paper – it can’t be denied or tucked away in a forgotten place in my mind. I have to face it.
I don’t burn them – or at least, I haven’t yet. I find it interesting to go back and read my journals and poetry from years ago, to look at the person I was then, and see who I am now. It is a strange thing. Sometimes I can hardly believe it was me who wrote those words. But it was, and it’s fascinating to see that transformation recorded.