Saturday, January 21, 2012

On, In, and Around Mondays: Collecting Words

sky weed

I open the Eighth Day Books blog to find this...

"An instinctual poet, Barkat revels in the physical reality of words."

Eighth Day is an amazing bookstore in the Midwest. It supplies the Calvin Festival and The Glen Workshop. How sweet to be mentioned (and stocked on their virtual shelves).

What strikes me now is the odd tension of the phrase 'physical reality of words.'

So suggestive.

This week, someone asked me what makes anyone want to return to a poem, read it twice. The same question could suffice for any piece of writing. What makes us return?

I thought seriously about this and developed many answers. But perhaps the central answer is... we return to writing that has the quality of physicality.

And where do we find grist for our own physical reality of words?

We must go collecting. In the back yard, in the kitchen, on a walk in the woods. We must find words on city streets, in the bakery, at the train station.

This week, my schedule constricted, I sat in the green wing-backed chair and collected words from someone else's words.

We can do that too. In an older book by Henry Miller I found Big Sur, men on horseback coming from the Valley of the Moon, a convict's shack on the edge of a cliff. A good writer like Miller can bring us to places we've never been, and we, in turn, can bring others.

We must simply remember. That words are everywhere for the taking. And we can collect them into a beautiful reality.


On, In and Around Mondays (which partly means you can post any day and still add a link) is an invitation to write from where you are. Tell us what is on, in, around (over, under, near, by...) you. Feel free to write any which way... compose a tight poem or just ramble for a few paragraphs. But we should feel a sense of place. Would you like to try? Write something 'in place' and add your link below.

If you could kindly link back here when you post, it will create a central meeting place. :)

On In Around button

This post is also shared with Laura Boggess, for...

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Blogger Nancy said...

Word collecting. I like that.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can so see myself elsewhere through words. I love your reminding us of those ways to travel, journey, if we are unable to picture the words through our own walk. This is perfect as I am readying for surgery this next week and shall surely want to continue journeying but I shall do this through books and letters for a while. Thanks, ~ linda

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are God's words. That is why they have such "physicality". I am glad that you are awake to this fact because in my humble opinion the One is about to eat One's own words. My recommendation--silence, prayer, living in community as simply as we can manage. It seems you are already awake to that too. Peace, Diminutive Grace.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, keep up the word collecting. It is part of a movement toward collective experience. If you are curious you can check out my blog at Again, much peace Diminutive Grace

3:18 PM  
Anonymous kendal said...

i constantly collect words, turn phrases....if i woudl just write them down! i think i will remember them forever. shelf life is usually about 5 minutes these days.

7:30 PM  
Anonymous kingfisher said...

I appreciated the link to your book review on Eighth Day Books. Also, your penchant for word collecting! How I wish I had time to write down my word collections! But by the time I get a blog done and all the daily things that need doing, journaling or memo-ing doesn't happen. I can only entrust them to God as a holy fast. He will remember the words I've thought, even if I don't.

L. L., I posted my link but backed out before I was finished. I thought it wouldn't "take". But I see that it's entered (#5 The Terrain Generator) but only has the link to my site, not to the actual post. This will link now, but the next time I post, this link will go there instead of here.

Sorry. I didn't find a way to delete it so I could post the right one. If people want to read this one after I post others, the link should be

11:42 PM  
Anonymous kd sullivan said...

How lovely to have your work recognized. You are a true collector of words and you bring them from theory to reality. Thank you for being such a generous giver with your thoughts...

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

I love how you collect and share so freely.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Do you remember the word pool you had us keep once upon a time? Mine is still on my refrigerator. The boys like to stop by and add strange words, like...flatulence, but I haven't added a word for a while. I think I need to start gathering words again. Love this. You have me thinking.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Laurie Collett said...

Words reflect our thoughts and often determine our actions. They have the power to build up or to tear down. God spoke the universe into existence and will defeat all of Israel's enemies at the Armageddon with the sword of the Word. Thanks for the excellent post, and God bless! Laurie

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cotton Memory said...

When I used the word "ignoble" in the car last week - the boys had no idea what it meant. There is a word famine today - because books are written with famine words - not feasting, full words!

There are books I go back and read because I lived in those pages for a while, and like home, sometimes I miss and need to revisit.

C.S. Lewis - he says marvelous things about reading - like this quote, "“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”

12:55 PM  
Blogger Denise J. Hughes said...

"...the physical reality of words."

Suggestive indeed.

But I believe you are right. It is when mere two-dimensional words on a page can transform our mental reality into a virtual-physical one that words become real. Words speak life. Of course, the greatest reality of all words was when the Word became flesh.

Awesome post. And I love word-collecting too. :)

4:47 PM  
Blogger Nacole said...


i loved this! i find myself depleted and need to go collecting...i cant sit in front of my computer long, demanding the words to come. i must go out and run with my daughters in the yard, watch the sun in their hair, pick flowers, and i like the walking in the woods idea. thanks for reminding me.

(i'm the last in the link-up, i think)



12:48 PM  
Blogger elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm a fan of collecting words... especially phrases found in God's Word. Phrases that jump off the page. I've been known to ruminate for weeks on just a simple phrase.

They change me and draw me into a deeper understanding of the Almighty.


5:37 PM  

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