Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 18 =The Wonder of Words

Author, Annie Dillard says she has to maintain in her head a running description of the present. She needs to call to attention what passes before her. I fully understand how important this rehearsal is to a writer. I am continually in the grip of word storms. They bounce around in my head. Phrases and ideas form and reform continually as I go about this critical pre-writing phase. Much of this word play remains invisible until it is ready to reveal itself on the page. Eventually these words, tumbled and reshaped, will spill onto the page and from there further refinement will be undertaken. Non writers will not appreciate this. They will not understand.   

Everyday the words I hear, the words I see and the words I absorb, sing in my head. This morning while walking my ipod delivered the following words. They have stayed in my head all day.
‘Let me be close to you
So I can understand
Let me be close to you
Under your ceiling fan..

Later in the morning I was in a shop  with the unforgettable name, 'Fat William's' when I overheard a small girl inform her mother, It’s okay Mum, I’ll be happy with anything, you decide to buy me.’
What made this comment special was its pre-emptive nature for the mother had not indicated any intention to purchase items on the small child’s behalf.  Later in the day, a commentator on the television described a footballer as being, tougher than a goat’s knee. I just instantly loved that description. I had to write it down.

Just before lunch time, while rereading my notebook I came across these words, ‘If I am a teacher who writes, it is easy for me to present as a writer who teaches.

Every day, words present themselves and I will continue to tap into this rich vein of treasure. I must use all my senses in this ongoing investigation of the world, for when I look at my favourite authors, I notice one thing they share, -they are all collectors. So, I will continue to document what I am drawn to. I will continue to let the words sing in my head before they explode across the page.


  1. I concur completely - as writers we are 'word worshippers', collecting as words speak to us. Beautifully expressed, Alan, "...continue to let the words sing in my head before they explode across the page." My husband and I travel in our campervan during most school holidays and I feel happiest when I have my 'writer's notebook' close by, jotting down words and thoughts as they appear. Thank you for this lovely insight.

  2. Alan,
    Thank you for your inspiration! I am really thinking a lot about writing these days with participating in the SOLC...I have started keeping a writers's all about notes and noticings.

  3. I just put your words into my own writer's notebook.
    If I am a teacher who writes, it is easier to present as a writer who teaches. I'll give you credit too. Thank you for putting a "handle" on what we do.

  4. Ahh... How many times have I cried out in anguish because I had a wonderful, marvelous, beautiful thought present itself - and lost it into the cosmos because I didn't write it down?

    As I get older, I find it happening more and more. I need to get into the habit of stopping and WRITING things down so I don't lose them forever. :)

  5. I read your post and thought about "The Boy Who Loved Words" by Roni Schotter.

  6. I love how you described your word storm and how you and other writers are collectors of words.

  7. And we also collect images, experiences often staying in our minds & hearts for years until something else pulls them out. Your reflection is stirring, Alan, but especially that writer's (& I think scientists') habit of noticing. It's great you found much today to record.

  8. ". . . explode across the page" would be the phrase I collect from you today. Before writing I didn't collect words, I did notice them but did nothing with them. That has changed for me. Thanks for always having great words to collect!

  9. How many words go unnoticed? So glad you are collecting the ones that "speak" to you. I am trying to do that as well. Your words were noticed today.

  10. Alan,

    Your words sing inspiration to your readers. Isn't it interesting how the best words seem to come when we are away from our writing for a bit. Thanks. ~ Theresa

  11. This is a fine dsecription of the kind of noting we can all engage in if we start cultivating a mindset to do so. It simply requires slowing down a bit, opening eyes and ears and noses...and it's a beautiful space to inhabit. Sadly, we can get too steeped in hurry and bustle to let it happen; but it's always there waiting for us...

    A great window into process! :)


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