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June 15th, 2008

A Logophilia’s Opus

I love to read - I grew up in a house full of books reared by parents who also loved books. My Mother often spoke to me of books I was yet too young to read; classics I yearned to peruse myself.

I was over-eager to begin the process of learning to read, which I knew would then result in learning to write myself. I remember in the earliest of grade schools patiently learning what I was being taught all the while wishing they would hurry up and begin teaching us to read. Oddly, as I remember very little of my school years (by choice as they were not pleasant), I remember this very vividly.

I knew some already in the world words and reading; my grandmother - my Mo-Mo Dot - spent hours teaching me words in books and helping me learn the words of the alphabet with plastic, magnetic letters. I intensely gobbed up everything she taught me; always eager to learn more. I dreamed of the day I could read books on my own! I imagined what it would be like to see a page of letters and be able to decipher it - and then, oh joy!, - I might even be able to write my own words and stories! I teemed with excitement at the prospect; I longed for the day that I was old enough to begin the full "learning to read and write" ritual.

I began my schooling at a small local, school house that was, actually, a little red building just beneath the levee that ran through Maringouin. My teacher was Fawn Courville, and her daughter, Elizabeth - my age and also enrolled that year - became my childhood best friend. Oh, I enjoyed school so! Yet I always felt disappointed at the progress...when, I wondered, would we begin to learn to read books. Yet the year continued on as we apprenticed in letters and basic words, not yet learning how to string them together.

I remember beginning "real" school, in 1982, at False River Academy; a kindergartner. I was disappointed to learn we would not begin learning to truly read or write - in the fashion I was after - until First Grade. Always, it was one step away! I carried on, though, knowing it was in the immediate future...knowing I would soon be gifted with beautiful blessing of reading and writing.

Oh, the world would completely open up for me then! Nothing I longed to know would be kept from me...I would read it with my own eyes or write about it in my own words. I hungered for this with a desire I have never since felt; me, all of five years old and knowing this yearning even younger than that.

Eventually, it came - I devoured the teachings; as excited as any child possibly ever was at learning such. It began a lifetime of reading and writing that - though it may have paused at times over the years - has never truly dimmed or halted. I love to read. I love to write. I enjoy perusing dictionaries and thesauri, I thrill at learning new words, and I own more books than I shall ever be able to truly read (and continue to buy more). My adult home is filled with books of others' writings and notebooks, sheaves of paper, napkins, hard disks, flash cards, floppies and CDs of my own words. Even my virtual home in Second Life® - as the avatar Isadora Graves - is filled with piles of books on the floor and on desks. I cannot imagine a life - real or virtual - not surrounded by books or filled with the joy of words.

Words are power that can convey knowledge. Words can hurt or help; they can start wars and end them. They can incite laughter or bring tears. They can move people to action or incite rapture in their hearts. They can be base and vulgar or they be ecclesiastical and revered. They are raw emotion and feelings brought to life and made tangible. They give us a voice as they are a vehicle for communication and self-expression. Words are mind and matter made manifest. In the beginning was The Word - thought was manifest into matter.

My passion for the written and spoken word and everything in between has been a constant in my topsy-turvy life; it is the core of who I am. I write, therefore I am could be my mantra of sElf. I believe all writers - professional, aspiring, natural-born, and self-taught - have this burning passion at their core. They may even outwardly hate words and the difficulty it takes to form them into something meaningful; yet, deep down, hate is only another passionate form of love for they know that without those little syllabled semantics we could not write and express the beauty of internal thoughts and dreams.

Words help us express to the waking world who we are and what we think - be it written or spoken. Perhaps everyone's mantra could, therefore, be - I think therefore I am, I write & speak therefore I am known.

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