Friday, July 24, 2009

The Power of the Written Word

I love the power of words which is probably why I love books so much. The written word can make us laugh, reflect upon our life, bring out emotions-- whether positive or negative-- and words have the amazing ability to motivate us into action. Just think of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution… such masterpieces of the written word that they have literally changed the world because of the inspired words that are in these documents. The right to express thoughts and ideas was deemed as so important by our Founding Fathers that the right to do so was included in the First Amendment….Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. To have thoughts, words, or books banned is just unfathomable to me.

I had a wonderful opportunity during my career to work as a publisher and editor of two newspapers. I started the first newspaper and ran it for two years and then bought out the competing paper and ran it for seven more years. During that time, I also wrote columns for the newspaper. I did this for a few weeks and received a lot of positive feedback from readers. So, I continued to write articles for a long time after that – even winning some awards along the way. I was always surprised by the responses my articles received. With just a paragraph or two, I could inspire someone to do a good deed, or I could pick up the phone and have someone I didn’t even know yelling into my ear because of something I had written. That is the power of the written word.

Since my teenage years, I have always enjoyed writing…whether it was poems or journaling or letters to friends and family, I found the experience quite cathartic. Even though there are many better authors than I…I don’t let that stop my love of “putting pen to paper” and letting my thoughts pour out onto the page.

Sometimes I need the opposite to happen. I need to forget all of my problems and fall into the pages of a great story. A book can take me on a vacation to another part of the world, to another time in history, and introduce me to new people. With a good book, my imagination opens up as I mentally picture all that is taking place in the story. It opens my mind to a new place where my thoughts can run free.

It is amazing to me how many books have been written. When I go into a large book store or library, I almost hyperventilate with excitement with all of the possibilities. I somehow feel smarter just imagining all of the knowledge that is contained in all of those books. I feel as Thomas Jefferson who said, “I cannot live without books!” I look around the room I am in now and somehow feel comforted by all of the books that surround me. Am I just crazy?

I know that there are a lot of people that read this blog that are authors and also have a great love of books. I am sure they understand completely what I am talking about. However, every once in a while I run into someone who tells me that they don’t have any interest in books and they really do not like to read. I am always quite taken back by this. I feel that they are missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures and advantages. Hopefully, someday they will pick up a book that speaks to them as so many have to me and be converted!!

The world of great literature offers so many beautiful experiences to the reader, opening and broadening the mind to untold knowledge and experiences. I recently came across this poem on the web which is what inspired this blog today… I hope you enjoy it as much as I did as it seems to sum up the love of books and the written word.


Books, books, an ocean of books
Bursting with knowledge for me;
I delve in their depths
To fathom perhaps,
And drown in the billowy sea.

Books, books, dark, dusty books
Row upon row I can see;
They fill me with greed
As I ponder to read
And finger their leaves tenderly.

Books, books, volumes of books
Their titles around me glow,
And within me I feel
Their covers conceal
The things I have wanted to know.

Books, books, Life pulsing books
A spirit from out of them breathes,
And the voice I can hear
Of an author held dear
Who slumbers ‘neath laurels and wreaths.

Books, books, an ocean of books
Bursting with knowledge for me,
I delve in their depths
To fathom perhaps
And drown in the billowy sea.

Maude Elizabeth Jones Rigby (1924)


Kim Thompson said...

Nice post Doug! I agree. A library is practically heaven. Love the new Website.

JoAnn Arnold said...

I had to check out your blog. I totally agree with what you have written. You expressed it perfectly
And, I love the library too.

Bradley + Lisa said...

I can't even talk without writing down what I need to say. It seems to get worse as I get older. :)