Sunday, November 26, 2006

Welcome, Clare London

As the song goes...
It’s only words…but words are all I have, to take your heart away.

I’m so glad that there’s an opportunity to give thanks on Ginger’s blog this month, and she’s been extra generous in offering it to us all. Ginger’s been my dear friend for almost 2 years now. We’ve never met, we live on different continents and exist in different timezones, yet we keep in touch with each other’s life – through words!

That’s what I want to give thanks for today. Words. I’m thankful that I can speak and hear, that I’ve had the education and environment to learn how to express myself, that I’ve had the eyes to read and the hands to write. Words are a treasure and a treat to me, and I’m thankful daily that I can use them to communicate.

They can bring us joy and knowledge, they can create worlds, they can hurt or heal, each as strongly as the other. They allow us to cross boundaries of distance and age and background. We used to have letters and cards to communicate, and some of us still love those. But now we also have the internet, email, blogging.

I love the internet. Ask my family, who have to peel me from the screen to eat supper LOL. I know its dangers and I know its lack of moderation. It’s not for everyone. But it’s been a boon for me, in opening out the world. I’ve learned about other lives, about other worlds, I’ve made friends, kept in touch with their lives and loves, and I’ve been encouraged to find myself another career and pleasure in writing fiction. All based – partly or wholly - on words.

They’re everywhere! Who doesn’t love a favourite song? Or laugh at a particular kind of joke? It all hinges on words. I don’t Tweet, my blogging is erratic, I’m not what I’d call a social ‘networker’. But I love writing and communicating, whether it’s through email or through my stories. I have made some truly good friends, whom I’ve never met face to face, but whose style and generosity in their correspondence allows me to see and love the real person.

Believe me, it doesn’t mean I have *more* friends – because a ‘friend’ on the net may only ever be a passing acquaintance. Because words have their shortcomings, too. They can be misunderstood, they can come across too baldly. They can’t replace the importance of seeing someone face to face, of reading body language, of smiling to ease potential hurt, of frowning to express caution. A *hug* is never the same as a real one, but to a trusted friend who’s far away, an emailed *hug* is still a treasure. I know it is for me.

So that brings me back to my thanks for the gift of words, and articulation. I’ve always written stories, but at the end of 2007 I finally plucked up courage to submit some for publication. I’ve been lucky enough to have several novels published and plenty of short stories. I love my m/m romance genre, I take great strength from learning from others’ writing and improving my own, and it continues to be a joy to take two characters who inspire me and then create conflict, passion and a Happy Ever After for them!

And how do I see words in my own world?

I visited my mother at the weekend. She’s always been a strong, articulate, witty, intelligent woman, who brought up me and my sister for many years on her own until she remarried, who started in a fairly modest job but after encouragement from her boss and her own mother, found herself an important career in education. She’s not old – she’d kill me if I told you her age LOL – but she’s had a lot of physical problems for a few years, and now she’s struggling with her memory and thought processes as well. It frustrates her horribly. Now, when I talk to her, I’m never sure if she’ll remember it an hour later. She can’t join in the whole conversation because she can’t remember the words for certain things: she forgets names and repeats herself, and hates herself for it. Believe me, I love her the same, but it’s heartbreaking to watch her loss of vocabulary and ability to chat easily.

Then I talk to my Sons at home and see them beginning to develop their own vocabulary and the powers of reasoning and debate. And not *always* about pocket money LOL. Son#1 is a beautiful singer, he accompanies himself on the guitar and the words he sings are evocative and powerful. He talks intelligently and persuasively about current affairs, especially environmental issues, even if he has inherited his father’s doggedness ^_^. Son#2 has done drama for a while, is a great joker, he also has a strong singing voice, and his conversation is like an express train – it rarely slows down!

I was out with Son#2 in town the other day and we were stopped a few times. People asked directions, or chatted to us in a queue, or they knew us from the boys’ school days. At the end of the trip, Son#2 turned to me and said – “We always end up chatting to people, don’t we? It’s good fun.” It was one of those moments when a Mum goes ‘awww’.

Words are all around us, available for our pleasure, comfort and excitement, with new ones always waiting to be discovered, old favourites to be savoured.

Thanks for them – and for the extra special delight they bring, keeping me in contact with my friends!

You can contact me or find out more about my work here:

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