Today I am investigating
The Case of
the Lost Art of Romancing the Words
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times...
I'm a hopeless romantic. A true sap, hidden under a cast iron exterior.
Most people meet the strong woman and think that I'm as hard as they come, but there are some things that melt the hard surface of this strong woman. Yet out of all of the things that move me and touch my heart, there isn't a single thing that can leave an impact within me like words.
I've always been sensitive to words. Now that I think about it, when I was younger everything that people said mattered to me. As I grew older I learned that everyone has their own opinion, and learned how to not take everything that people say to heart. In other words, I grew out of being the naive little girl who was always hurt by the things that people said.
But one thing never changed...
The impact of the written word.
Something that most people do not know about me is that I am dyslexic. I don't go around advertising it like a gold medal. As the matter of fact, for many years I was humiliated by that fact. Moreover, I was scared to tell anyone do to the prospect of being treated differently—like a developmentally disabled individual. I didn't want people to take pity on me or act as though I could not understand what was going on around me.
It's funny how that works, because lots of people tend to equate dyslexia with mentally challenged. Not the same thing folks. Not the same thing at all!
The difference between you and I is that your mind probably processes things in numbers or letters, whereas my mind processes facts in pictures. I tell my best friend all the time “Remember I'm more of the visual sort. Show me rather than tell me.” I love her so much because she gets it, so she does exactly that, she shows me, and thus I understand.
Truth be told, I've always been one of the sharpest tools in the shed, if you will, but due to my difficulty reading—especially during my younger years—I tended to be shy and reserved in many aspects.
Many years have passed since then and many, many things have changed. However in retrospect, I now realize that due to my nature, my writing style was born. A style that is visual and implements keys words to develop an unshakable image in the reader's mind.
Now, back to what I was saying.
I remember when I was a child, whenever it was time to read aloud in class I'd have a panic attack. Whenever I had to read something aloud in Sunday School I'd just tell the Sunday School teacher that the bible was too complicated for me, and then she would pass the portion to someone else. Whenever we had spelling tests, I always failed.
I remember clearly one year, my mother had had her fill of my failing spelling tests and opted to take it upon herself to teach me the spelling words. It was NOT fun, to say the least.
Picture. The word was “picture”. I could not, for the life of me, spell that damn word. As the matter of fact, it was the hardest word on the list that time round. My mother got so frustrated at my not being able to spell it that she whooped my butt like there was no tomorrow.
Guess what? I still couldn't spell the word, and still got it wrong on the test. I didn't learn how to properly spell picture until I was in middle school.
That was one among many challenges.
It took me years to decipher the difference between dose and does, liar and lair, hair and hail... gosh, so many. This doesn't include my difficultly telling the difference between many lower case letters.
Sometimes my mind still has troubles every now and again causing me to ask for someone to help and tell me what letter I am looking at.
Little tricks like “righty tighty, lefty loosy” reminds me of the difference between the lowercase B and D. As well as a few other methods that I've learned throughout the years.
I was made fun of by people that did not know or understand my challenge, even by my ex-husband. I never told him of my problem to be sure. I was too ashamed. He never knew. That's probably why he'd get a rise out of teasing me, but it hurt nonetheless.
All that aside, even with all of my heartache in that scenario, I learned to cope. I taught myself many devices that I used even to this day to spell things properly and read smoothly. While some may not understand what I'm going to say, I think that being bilingual helped me profusely. In Spanish, language 95% of the time is spelled, said and read phonetically. I adapted that method, memorized many things and learned how to use phonetic pronunciation to my benefit.
A very long time ago, when I still couldn't read, I fell in love with books. I was very young. Somewhere between 5 and 7 years of age when I fell in love with books—with words.
I remember visiting the library, grabbing a picture book then sitting in a corner somewhere with it. A smile plastered across my face. The first thing that I would do was to smell the book (I still do—I can't help it, there is something so special about the smell of books), then opened it up and stared at the colorful images for hours at a time. I memorized every color, every curve, then I'd look at the words next to the images and wonder what they said. With a finger I'd trace the curves of the letters, and try my best at pointing out the few letters of the ABC's that I had memorized. There was something so dreamy about it to me.
Whenever I was nose deep in a book, even if I couldn't read it, I was in my own little world. A happy world where all of my problems couldn't follow. Suffice it to say that I had a very hard childhood.
It was around that time when my love affair with words—even though I could not read them—started.
Later on in life, with my slowly progressing vocabulary and the ability to read, my love for words grew stronger. I realized that words could say so much if you knew the true meaning of each one.
I made it a point to learn words, discover them, then contemplate what they meant and how they applied to day-to-day life.
It was funny because as a child, growing up in the church I was taught that the word vanity meant pride. It wasn't until much later on in life that I learned that vanity and pride are to extreme opposites.
Vanity means emptiness, whereas pride means to be full of oneself. It was epiphany moments like that that would change everything for me. It completely altered the interpretation of Solomon's famous words in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 1: 2 reads:
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
I was taught that this meant “Pride of all prides, says the Preacher, pride of all prides! Everything is prideful.” I was instructed that this meant that we should be modest, and submit to whatever the Preacher said.
It wasn't until later on in life that I realized that what it actually was say was “Emptiness of emptiness, says that Preacher, emptiness of emptiness! All is empty.” Meaning that nothing has true value on this earth.
Now, I'm not saying that I fully agree with that theory either, but I do realize that the alteration in the meaning of the word, also altered my perception of the text.
This is why I love words... this is why I have a love affair with them. Because, if one is able to get to the root of the word and what it truly means, then one can bring forth a picture in one's mind that transcends all expectation.
I admittedly am a late bloomer in the writing world. Whereas some writers have been writing since they were young to one degree to another, I, due to my dyslexia, did not. I was always reading—I still read a lot. But writing? I never thought that I could be an author, much less string together enough words to make an impact. Until one day... the day I decided to write my first novel.
I was flabbergasted at the words as they came pouring out of me and onto the page. To THIS DAY, whenever I look back to those works I think to myself “Wow! I wrote that! It came from me!” Even still I am amazed.
However, my dear reader, there has been a hole in my heart in these last few years. I feel like a lover whom has lost their soul mate in many ways.
Please allow me to tell you what that is...
It is, “The Case of the Lost Art of Romancing the Words”.
If you're an avid reader, you are going to understand where I'm coming from in the following.
Have you ever felt the burning need to quell the book monster that lives deep down inside? Has said book monster been so hungry at any given time that he pesters you to the point of screaming, only to then pick up a book and want to throw it out of the window leaving the book monster growling for more? Better? Deeper? More interesting? Something... just, better!
This is how I've been feeling for far too long now. I attribute this to my love affair with words. I am in the absolute, an intellectual being. I have a thirst to know more, to reach further, to get to the heart of the issue. I want to learn, to know, to be satisfied in my curiosity and thirst for profundity. More than that, I find that I only obtain that when literature surpasses the norm.
What do I mean by “the norm” exactly?
I mean when authors play with words and deliver a harmonious balance of well written story telling and complex yet captivating literary skills. There is something so delightfully gratifying of a series of well-selected words used to describe something.
This is also where my writing style stemmed from. Yet, I find myself in quite a predicament.
The skill of romancing the words has been lost in today's society. Writes have become accustomed and content with producing book after book of simplified text that does nothing for a person like me.
“This is Scott. See Scott jump. Scott jumps high. Scott leaves.”
Then there is the other extreme. The other extreme is the writers that think that every single sentence MUST contain 3-5 very complex words that no one will understand unless they look it up.
Please do not misconstrue this with me saying that I'm against the dictionary. On the contrary, I wish that some people would use it more often.
But there is such a delicate balance that needs to be struck in order to romance the words that simply isn't found any more. What's worse is that whenever I do it in my writing, people read my material and do not understand it and look at me like I have a penis on my forehead.
Whatever happened to the days when things like “Conscience is a word that cowards use, devised to keep the strong in awe.” by William Shakespeare?
Or, “To mourn a mischief that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.” By the same man.
Then there is Augustine of Hippo's quote “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Or when Charles Dickens said “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”
Such excellence in those words—words that brought forth exactly what the author wanted to say without resorting to shallow examples.
Just yesterday I read this, and I quote “When he locked onto my arm like a pit bull.”
I'm sorry to say that but is the most pathetic excuse for a simile that I've ever, ever read.
“... pit bull.”? Really? Where is the poetry in that? Where is the love?
Some months ago I read a book that had a line that said, and I quote “... it made her eyeballs glow.”
Eyeballs glowing, in an erotica? Is she freaking ET, is he? I was like “What the hell am I reading here?” shock plastered across my face.
I just can't!
This is freaking depressing!
Yet, this is exactly what today literature has resorted to!
My reading experience needs to entice me, seduce me, make me fall in love with the story by using words that ring like music to my ears. I crave a story that will enamor me with its beguiling selection of words and make me swoon with the rhythmic, poetic intoxication of its verbiage.
You know how people moan and fuss about how hard it is to find that “special someone”? The battle is just as hard with finding a good book.
Please writers, for the love of all things holy, make me roll into a tizzy of emotions when I read your story. MAKE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH IT! ROMANCE ME!
Some would argue and say that simplicity is key to writing a good book, but I beg to differ. I would dare to argue back that striking the sensitive balance between simplicity and complexity is the key to good literature.
I mean, whatever happened to putting together a few select words that make an instant impact? Has it been outlawed? Cause it sure as hell feels like it.
Can you believe that I've been given side eyes for writing things like...
“Time just whisked by like a whistling wind: a wind that carried her with it. Like a misty ghost she hovered in the Thereafter, waiting to be called. With time almost nonexistent in her less than physical state, she'd acquired too much time to think. Had she been wrong in writing the prophecy? Had she moved too quickly in anger?” ~ MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis
And “Difficult. Impossible. Intricately gargantuan was their situation! How would they survive this? How could they escape? The sisterhood was an alluvion of transcendental beings, which flooded the room in a tsunami of vengeance. Circling them, they held hands and then began to chant, desire and will power their only tool.” ~ MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis
As well as “Wispy ringlets danced in the sky in a million different colors—some unrecognizable. Soft blue and majestic puffy cotton-balls filled the space behind it. A backdrop of celestial azure with a rainbow of circles aplenty curtaining atop. A single sphere of bright light swayed to and fro above it. A luminescent orb with a life of its own.” ~ Camielle's Lights
Or “A screenless, splendor of fluorescent images that floated over your head like an opera of electrical charges, easily manipulated with your mind and fingers.” ~ A.L.O.M. Episode 1
Yet when people write something like “When he locked onto my arm like a pit bull.” everyone seems to be okay with it.
Lets just say that I've become increasingly let down with today's written material and what passes for “an amazing book” in this day and time.
You ever feel like a relic, like a dying breed?
I mean, I get it... I realize that I'm getting up there in age. I'm reminded of that fact every single day by my kids, but does old also mean outdated? I am saddened to say that in this time, it does. If you're not doing what everyone else is doing then you're considered obsolete.
My good friend told me today that one day my picture will be displayed in a museum wall, and under it there will be a plaque that says “Y. Correa, the Last Word Romantic.”
She, much like I, think that people like me are a definitely a dying breed. That in today's world people do not and cannot understand the beauty that can be found in words, and much less how to use them.
To me, each word is a stroke from a paint brush, each one with its own color and purpose. When the image is done, every stroke would have created a splendor, a feat of the mind that exceeds all expectancy.
“I am the Van Gogh of words.” I whisper to myself in secret and then do my best to portray that in written text.
However this theory of obsolescence is something that my mind can't comprehend. It just can't. Or, perhaps, it's that I refuse to accept it. I reject that logic, I defy it; because if that were the case, then Shakespeare would no longer be looked upon as an exemplary model of timeless literature.
Yet with the vast amount of books publicized a year and the growing need to quell my desire for a good read, more frequently I'm exposed to horrid examples of “literature”. Is this what the world is coming to, that mediocre, detestable pieces of writing are now being considered timeless and spectacular.
I worry for generations to come when the only prose they'll know is a 3 page pamphlet covered in “text speech” and cartoons.
Nonetheless, call me a relic if you wish, I won't mind it, because the more I fail to see good writing in today's world, the more I will continue to Romance the Words.