This has been a good week for words.
I’m currently in a Composition Theory class, the likes of which I have not taken since at least the eighth grade. We are focused entirely on the mechanics of writing in this class, on the heft and the pull of words as they travel across a blank space and somehow fit together into sentences.
Somehow tumble into paragraphs.
Somehow spiral into pages.
There is something deeply gratifying about this entire endeavor, something pure about paring words down to their essence until they burst with meaning, like clementines peeled against the backdrop of a gray winter afternoon, intensely bright and sweet and full-bodied.
During the past few sessions of this class, we have been concerned chiefly with the concept of writing itself, as well as with the role that writing has played in our lives up until this point. I must admit that I do not remember a time when I was unable to write, and this is mainly because I cannot remember a time when I was without a book in my hand. The art of fitting words together has always come easy to me where math has not. I can recall spending much of my fifth through seventh grade years with a notebook in front of me, scribbling madly as I unfolded from my mind some new fiction for my friends to read when I should have been paying attention in class. There are volumes of composition books in my attic at home filled with these stories, my friends’ critiques jotted haphazardly in the margins.
This afternoon, while waiting for my father to meet me at HousingWorks Bookstore Cafe for some early afternoon coffee, I amused myself with snapping photos up and down Crosby Street. I didn’t necessarily have any sort of goal besides the simple pleasure of soaking in the mild afternoon, but the shots that stood out to me most were those that contained words. One of the interesting things about finally owning a relatively nice camera is that you begin to frame your world differently. To me, the viewfinder acts in the same manner as the margins on a sheet of notebook paper. What fills the space must matter, must be meaty and rich like the sentences I am so used to composing.
And today, that space was once again taken up by words – words I would have normally dismissed as graffiti, words that acquired heft with the simple click of a shutter.
Two mediums merged.
It’s been a good week for words.