Recently I was invited to join the founding Board for a new organization, The Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame! Of course, I’m honored and excited, as are all the members. Authors are all about words, so I decided to weigh in on the question: why do words count? For me, the short answer is in three words: realizing; forming; sharing. The long answer goes something like this.
Realization comes as we notice something making sense in a new way. It might come as a metaphor: that swooping butterfly is a Blue Angel jet streaking across the sky. Or it might come as a fresh perspective: I didn’t know I really love to cook. Whatever the realization is, it comes in words.
Some people aren’t great with words, some are. If you’re not, there are writers whose words can make sense of whatever you’re trying to understand. If you are, you’ll get confirmation from fellow word-smiths that you’re onto something valuable.
Words are the connective tissue between idea and expression. We tell ourselves about our ideas with words, using them to move from vague conjecture to clear concept.
Formation of ideas happens as we wrestle with our concepts. This formation process occurs as we try to put our ideas into . . . you guessed it, words.
This means words might be the most important tool in the universe: the Manifestation Tool. Once we have something expressed in words, our concept becomes actionable. We can list goals, enlist colleagues, plan deadlines, and make it all happen. Let’s say we want to build a house. How would we do it without words? How would be label the drawings, look for property, explain our concept? We couldn’t. And that brings us to:
Now that we have realizations and ideas that have taken form, we get to share them. I can tell you about my new project, or my recent conversation—which also took place through words.
Some sharing we do in real time. But some of what we have to offer gets shared later. A memo can be read a week later. A letter can be read years letter. A book can be read centuries later.
Louis L’Amour, my friend and mentor, may still be writing in heaven, and I sure hope he is. But meanwhile, he left behind collections of his words in his hundred-plus books. He left a legacy of insight and detail about the American West that we just couldn’t understand nearly as well without his work.
Long afer we are gone, our words remain. The words we use stay in the memories of those who have heard us. And the words we write last forever encapsulating moments in time, creating gems in amber—like a Authors’ Hall of Fame.