When my friend Francesca issued me the challenge to write something for a Blogsplash in celebration of Fiona Robyn’s new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing, I wondered right off: How does one isolate a single most beautiful thing? Nature itself is one big, amazing, interwoven, impossibly beautiful thing. And then, there is the whole of the human experience, and there are relationships, and there is art. There is the power of the mind to create, to understand, and to continually push for higher heights. And those are only the things on a macro level. On a micro, one could isolate the most beautiful thing to a certain species of butterfly, or to the stage of dandelion life that consists of downy fuzz, or to the flutter of an infant’s eyelashes, or to a specific shade of blue.
And as I thought of all these things, I came to an awareness of my most beautiful thing. I’ve already showed you. I’ve already used it to bring you this far. It is language. It is words. It is the power to paint a picture inside the mind of someone else. With it, I can give you my thoughts, my emotions, and all my other beautiful things. With words, I can use alliteration to create chords by controlling a cadence. I can sharpen words, if I take the time, by matching them deliberately in rhyme. I can employ comparisons to elucidate meaning, as polishing a mirror enhances its clarity.
By simply writing the words, I can be your window. I can show you the tangy spring erupting in the streets. I can reveal to you the reluctant dawn, the cool noon, the heavy dusk, long night’s duality of shadows and stars. I can paint silvery eyes for you to gaze into, and which will gaze back at you.
With words, I can bring you a song. I can remind you of the melodies of the wind, as it sighs and whistles and howls. I can compose lullabies, requiems, and odes woven from the words I use to tell you about the soft roar of a purring cat, the swishing of a skirt in dance, the requited exhale of breath from your lover’s lips.
I will anoint you with my words as I describe the perfume of the musty wood. I will light an incense, so that though you never have before, you may smell burning peat, sour illness, and ocean brine. I will waft sandalwood, cinnamon, and the spiced desert air to you in these lines.
These words can be your teacher. They can be the enlightened ones. They can show you a different path. If you let me, I will capture and elevate you with these elemental words. I will be the warrior and your defender. I will use my words to protect you. I will use them to inspire you.
My words may anger or endanger you, but they may also be your ointment. They can soothe you. With them, I can carress your hair and skin. I can heal you. I may have to burn you; I may need to cauterize your wound. Then, with these words, I will bind you up.
If you give me a pen, I will feed you. I will serve you mulled wine and roasted meats. I will harvest autumn’s earth and bring her bounty to your table. I will have to, at times, give you instead bitter herbs and hard, stale bread. I will choke you with vomit, but then reawaken your palette with the paste of mint and apples.
If you are patient, with words I will give you a brother, a friend, a child, a priest. I can show you things about myself, and about yourself too. Words can bring us together, as you realize that what they say of me, they say also of you; as you realize that we are one. I can give you examples of how people love, and how they labour on and on, lost in the solitude of what it means to be an individual.
And so you see why words are my most beautiful thing. Without them, their artistry, their meaning, the passion we can pack into them, this blog project would not be possible. The colors with which we live our lives would fade if we couldn’t paint a representation of our worlds into existence with words. With words, we can find each other and teach each other. We can tell our stories. We can eliminate the distance between us. We can create the framework which is the loom upon where we weave the understanding of all the most beautiful things.
For more information Fiona Robyn’s new book, or on writing your own Most Beautiful Thing, go to: http://www.writingourwayhome.com/2012/04/my-most-beautiful-thing-blogsplash.html