Words. Crafted in the depths of the imagination. Fuelled by the emotions and motivations that determine our existence. Words. They leap off the page when we read them. They teach us. They soothe us. They make us angry. They make us cry. What is it about the written word that is so enchanting?
They flow from the pen of the writer or from the tap of their fingers racing across the keyboard, to pour out the images bursting in their minds. Writing is a craft, to be sure, that can be learnt, developed and improved upon. Any craft needs practice, and writing is no exception. Yet there is something so non-clinical about writing, about the way stories can paint themselves with words.
As any book lover will know, when you enter a bookshop or a library you are stepping into a cavern of wonders. When you open a book you step inside – you step inside Narnia. The carefully designed spines are all aligned, pointing towards you, wanting you to reach out and carefully slide it from its place and turn the smooth cover over in your hands. The smell may be of freshly printed pages or of paper that has been passed from hand to hand, imagination to imagination, over the years. Flicking the pages and seeing the words printed, waiting to be absorbed.
With our newly claimed book we retreat to a nook or cranny, or the summer air of the outdoors, and peel open the pages to reveal what is inside. The journey is commenced.
The printed words on the page of a book. So quickly devoured. Yet the artist has spent hours, weeks, months, years poring over every single detail, every plot point, every character, every word. Carefully crafting the story before your eyes until it is ready, until the story tells itself. Until it is ready to be passed on. The writer hands over their work, their creation, into the hands of others. Their energy and emotion caught in those words.
What if there were magic in the world? We read stories of wizards and dragons. Yet if we look carefully there is magic here. Our magic is the ink itself. There is magic in words. Words that have the power to provoke feeling. They tug at our heartstrings or make our fingers curl around the pages with anticipation and suspense.
Words. They are alive. They spin, circle, and align to create patterns. Form pictures, images. More than that – grand paintings flowing around the walls of the imagination room. It is there. Inside the mind. Blank walls. Blank floor. Blank ceiling. All white. The words dance. They draw their stories, covering the whiteness in colour.
I sit with the book open on my lap. Sun shining through the window. And I fall in. I fall into the page, into the words. I fall down the rabbit hole and into the C of Chapter One.