"I was in Japan with a novelist, a man named Kazumasa Hirai. Everywhere I've gone in the world I would ask anybody I was with, 'What do you mean when you say you're a storyteller? What does a storyteller do?' And Kazumasa San said to me, 'Your work is to take care of the spiritual interior of the language. In Japanese the word kotodama means that each word has within it a spiritual interior. The word is like a vessel that carries something ineffable. And you must be the caretaker for that. You must be careful when you use language to look at every part of the word, and make to sure that you're showing respect for it in the place that you've given it to live in the sentence.' " -- Barry Lopez
“I don't think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little..." ― Tom Stoppard
"I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words." ― Jeanette Winterson
“…words have been all my life, all my life--this need is like the Spider's need who carries before her a huge Burden of Silk which she must spin out--the silk is her life, her home, her safety--her food and drink too--and if it is attacked or pulled down, why, what can she do but make more, spin afresh, design anew....” - A.S. Byatt
I want to see the thirst
inside the syllables
I want to touch the fire
in the sound:
I want to feel the darkness
of the cry. I want
words as rough
as virgin rocks.
- Pablo Neruda (from his poem "Verb")
The title for this post is taken from Dave Wyatt's painting of me & Tilly, "In the Word Wood." For the latest beautiful painting in his Local Characters series, "Mariana and the Black Whippets," go here.