Lately I’ve been struck by the beauty in the world. In a world where there is so much ugliness, I feel this is a rare feat.
This search for beauty started when I began taking pictures. Once started, I couldn’t stop. I saw beauty in the new bloom of a flower, the red and yellow hues striking against the brown landscape beyond it. I saw how the lines of an old door made patterns in the wood which had to be captured. The beauty of the world through the camera lens lent itself to seeing the beauty in other places, books. No longer was beauty confined to what my eyes could see; it was in the emotions that words would evoke in my mind.
I remember despising reading as a child for there were no pictures. So much like Alice, was I. It was not until later in my life, after having a little more life experience under my belt, that I was able to create these pictures, on my own, in my head.
The first experience I can remember having with words was while reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Her words touched my soul. After having lost her father, Francie Nolan cannot even imagine feeling happiness once again, as the man who brought life into her world and made her feel special, was now gone. Her graduation was fraught with despair as she returned to her classroom to collect her final papers. Unexpectedly sitting upon her desk were flowers, flowers from a man she knew to be dead. Eyes welling with tears, I wondered if his death was a cruel joke and that he was actually alive, that the author had not left me in despair. Alas, he was gone and I, for the first time, cried alongside Francie.
I was only twelve years old, but I understood this loss. I had felt this loss. It was at this point when words started to take shape and form. This was to be the beginning of a lifelong affair with the written word.
As of late, I have been reading and analyzing Shakespeare’s words. I discovered the beauty of his words after taking a class on medieval literature. It began with studying Petrarch’s sonnets and ended with Shakespeare’s sonnets. From there I started to see how the words from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet were truly poetic.
I have found meaning mostly in words having to do with love, loss, and lessons. As I look back at that twelve-year-old girl reading emotions for the first time, I understand how this thirty-four-year-old woman is consistently struck by words. In a quote from one of the greatest writers of 21st century, J.K. Rowling, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Cheers to all of the lovers of the written word.