True Confessions on Valentine’s Day

True confession: I did not always want to be a writer. I was not one of those kids who scribbled stories all the livelong day. I was one of those kids who read stories. And books, poetry, comics, Mad Magazine and the back of the cereal box. I loved words; I ate ’em up like …well, sugar-coated cereal.

And I collected words, especially from songs.  Sometimes, it would be a single word (I learned “syncopation” from The Music Man) and sometimes, it would be a funny phrase (Like Funiculi, Funicula. I only know the English words to that song, but turns out it’s Italian. Who knew?). I kept all these words in my head until it finally ocurred to me that I could write them down. Then, when I needed a word lift, I’d go to my notebook and read a poem or a quote or sing my favorite song lyrics.

I cannot tell you how many times I sat, listening to the same song over and over again, so I could get every single word copied down. Or how I would have to pay overdue fines because I’d checked out a book of poetry and hadn’t written down all of my favorite poems. I’d tear lines out of our Reader’s Digest or scribble a phrase on a piece of paper.  Even now, I’ll write down a phrase or a line, or even a paragraph that pleases me, but I hardly ever tear something out of a magazine (Okay, that’s not true. But they’re my magazines, so it’s okay.).

And then, wham! The truth dawned on me today, as I was thinking of what to write on Valentine’s Day.  The longest love affair of my life has been with words. But honestly, the Beneficent Mr. Hall runs a very close second.


18 thoughts on “True Confessions on Valentine’s Day

  1. Yeah, I will confess, too. I love words, written communication, fun and fancy phrases, old truths twisted to convey the same meaning from the backside…and if we judge how much we love a thing by the amount of time devoted to that thing, then I love words more than I ever loved my husband and more than I love my children.

    But it’s also true that the words wouldn’t be worth anything if we didn’t have people we loved inspiring the thoughts in the first place and sharing them with us in the second place.

  2. I thought I was the only one who jotted sentences, phrases or words. I do that when we are travelling and I am in the passenger seat reading a book. Happy Valentine’s day to one of the sweetest southern belles I know!

    • Oh, me, too, Madeline! One of my very favoritest poems is “Jabberwocky” ’cause I love, love, love saying those words. But there are also tons of words I like to say that have real meanings. Like banal and ennui and antithesis.

      I have no idea why I like those words. But I feel very chic when I say them. 🙂

      (Happy Valentine’s, Madeline!)

  3. Should have checked my response. I, too am one of those people. Still am. When our teacher ordered Readers Digest for us because of the vocabulary section, I was over the moon. That was a long time ago. Often, in our readers group we try to stump each other by bringing words we have collected. Enjoy you blog.

    • Oh, I LOVED “It Pays To Increase Your Vocabulary,” June!

      When I taught middle schoolers, I often stumped them, though I didn’t mean to. I just thought everybody knew those Reader’s Digest words! 😉

      (Thanks for stopping by the blog-glad you enjoy it!)

  4. The perfect Valentine’s Day tribute! And here’s a secret…The Music Man is my absolute favorite musical, not because of the music, but because of the WORDS. The rhythm of the words in that show just blows my mind every time. I mean, think of that first song…I get goosebumps just thinking about it!

    • Oh, SO true, Kara! The words just trip off the tongue, don’t they? Meredith Wilson (words and music by) was genius–and I STILL say “shapoopie” whenever I need a discreet exclamatory word. 😉

  5. I knew I loved to write when I was in the 7th grade. I wrote a poem about pollution, of all things, and I was hooked. (Yes, there’s a joke in there somewhere….) Words to songs just stay with me, for some reason. I don’t have to write them down, probably because as a kid the only thing I liked more than writing was singing. If I could sing it I could remember the words. 🙂 I’ll be one of those old ladies who can’t remember what she ate for breakfast, but I’ll always know all the words to the score from Cinderella (the one starring Leslie Ann Warren). . . . . “In my own little corner in my own little chair. . . “

    • Oh! I KNOW, Lisa! And I know the words to the most obscure songs because my parents bought these albums and that was all I had to listen to…so you know what? I’ll be rocking beside you, singing Burl Ives tunes…”Shines the name of Private Roger Young. Shines the name, Roger Young. Fought and died for the men he marched along…”

  6. Two things I always knew I wanted to be: a mother and a writer. One thing I didn’t know: how much WORK is involved in both! But oh, how can you not love to read? One of life’s simplest and greatest joys. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s day!

    • Agree 100%, Deb! Um, with the reading thing.

      I didn’t know I wanted to be a mom till I sort of became one. Then I got with the program. Pretty much the way I became a writer, now that I think about it. 😉

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