These is My Wor-L-ds feels like the best place to start. My uncontested favorite book is These Is My Words, The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine by Nancy Turner.
Words and Worlds are inseparable. We create worlds only to destroy them with words. A world we believe we know becomes foreign when we hear words that don’t match our understanding of what is true for us.
As easy as it is to add a L to words and make it worlds, we effortlessly alter our reality by allowing life to change. Yet, it’s what frightens many of us the most.
In an artless and endearing account, with shocking grammar and no memory of a schoolroom, Sarah shows us the power of words. Her world is unalterably changed numerous times (on one occasion by the devastating words uttered by a dying man) and filled to the brim with heartache, death, battles, and back-breaking labor. Through all the terror, trials and tribulations, she remains plucky, pragmatic, passionate, and funny. For me, Sarah is the fixed point I look to whenever I feel my world being adjusted on Atlas’ back, whenever I feel an upheaval coming.
We fear our world turning upside down, inside out. We fear losing our routine and reputation. We fear not knowing, or knowing too much – when a marriage ends we might say ‘I wish I’d known he didn’t love me’ (the not knowing), forgetting the rhetorical ‘Does he love me?’ we kept asking when we were in the marriage (not wanting an answer, for then we would know too much and have no hope).
The frightening, but oddly reassuring, truth is: when we keep going around our life in pointless circles, forces bigger than us become impatient and dispatch their best envoy to move us in the desired direction…
There is nothing as certain as the arrival of Change; it might be delayed, waylaid, and attacked en route, but it eventually shows up at your door on a blustery wind and, despite its bedraggled appearance, proves to be the most illustrious guest you will ever entertain. Change is aristocratic and imperious in those rags; it’s all about demeanor, not appearance. Change does not take no for an answer, demands a good portion of your time and attention, watches your every move, and wants to go on outings all the time.
It’s exhausting hosting such a persistent guest, but the blessed relief that washes over you when you see the back of Change is so intoxicating it’s worth the tumultuous times. You turn back to your life and it is unrecognizable. All the tasks and challenges you undertook, pandering to Change, have altered you and your surroundings.
Much like my beloved Sarah, I’ve accepted that these is my words and my worlds – that transformation is in my speech, in my world, in my soul. I’ve given up fighting so damn hard to know what, or who, is coming next. I’ve trained myself to give the horizon one cursory glance on those days when I fear (needlessly) that Change is striding in my direction; thereafter I engage in happy work and forget to worry about things I cannot alter.
Ironically, Change is more likely to come when I’m puttering around thinking all is well in my wordy world, because catching me unawares is when the resultant upheaval proves most gratifying – to Change and, when the dust settles and I’ve had a hot bath, to me.
Thank you for sharing my world and my words.