What a privilege it is to write and to teach writing.
I'm sitting here in my pale green bedroom with candles lit looking at my syllabus and the dozens of poetry collections that clutter my bed. Can you tell that I'm in heaven? Few things excite me more than a discussion about why certain words of a poem, that have been put together just so, are damn near perfect.
And that's why I've been disappointed by recent discussions about the futility of language. According to this Slate article, David Foster Wallace was driven by this question. And the shooter last week in Tucson, Jared Loughner, wondered if words mattered. I don't have a problem with posing that question or exploring the answers, but I will never agree that words are meaningless. There's too much evidence that words matter--a whole lot. Look at the recent rewriting of Huckleberry Finn or the parts left out of the Constitution as it was read on the floor of Congress. Think about the times that someone's words made you cry or question what you believe. Language, like music, is one of the many ways that we connect spirit to spirit and mind to mind.
[I'm reading over what I just wrote. I'm noticing the biblical allusions from me, a very secular girl. This is because when I say I believe in language that belief is religious in nature. So let's go all the way. Let's title this "In the Beginning there was the Word."]