Come closer, my friend. It’s been a long time.
Sit here, by the fire. I have a soft blanket and tea made from flowers — or there’s whiskey, if you prefer.
I’m going to tell you the story of the village made of words.
Oh? You thought villages were made of wood and stone? Well, most things in this world hold more than they reveal. Villages and women, for starters.
Now, hush. Just listen.
In the ancient year of 2014, a girl set off from home at summer’s end. Her home was a village built of words, each house’s roof constructed of many “strong”s and “sturdy”s and “waterproof”s all held together with nail-like “Stay there!”s. The walls were woven from “upright”s and “safe”s; the kitchens were cozy nooks of dove-tailed “copper pot”s and “Come in and get warm!”s. And the gardens — oh! — the gardens were kaleidoscopes of “lush” and “vivid” and “fragrant” blossoms all pouring from origami word stems of pure “chlorophyll.”
The girl’s neighbors were made of words, too. They’d been over-stuffed, actually, and were filled with so many syllables that they didn’t mind sharing them with total strangers who happened to wander through the village streets. In fact, some residents were compelled to find new homes for the uncontainable phrases bursting from within — they would press them into the hands of passing visitors like so many fresh buns or ripe blackberries, whispering, “Take these, take these, they will nourish you and I am so full already.”
[Author’s note: Yes, the villagers are you, my erstwhile WordPress friends. This was our word village, of course. But you knew that already, didn’t you?]
When the girl left the village, it was on the promise of learning how to construct new marvels from all those beautiful vowels and consonants. Having mastered the domestic arts and dabbled thoroughly in air castles, she sought blueprints for skyscrapers made from “career”s and “ambition”s and possibly even those rare “good manager”s that are built into the core structure rather than banished to corners as decorative accents.
[I stopped writing on my blog because I went to grad school for digital communications. I wanted to help nonprofits tell their stories in more compelling ways.]
The journey went very little as planned. The girl studied diligently for a year before she awoke to the sensation of an unknown jumble of letters vibrating deep inside. The trembling ink slowly worked its way from her belly up to her heart, where it solidified into a delicate typeface that read:
18 weeks later, she was forcibly registered for an extracurricular life lesson in those famous (and merciless) six-word stories. The syllabus outlined her future:
Lesson One: “Become a mother. Never meet child.”
Lesson Two: “Repeat. Dance with dead baby inside.”
Lesson Three: “Repeat again. Shriek at universe. Surrender.”
Final Lesson: “Hear daughter’s cry. Know boundless wonder.”
When the girl-now-woman walked at graduation, she carried a four-month-old child across the stage. The woman — the mother — wore black robes made of “pride” and “knowledge,” and her daughter wore a tiny blue dress woven from “hope fulfilled” and a flower crown bursting with a multitude of “joy”s.
It was a beautiful day.
Mother, daughter, and stalwart, handsome father now live together in a new home. It gleams with the internal light of all their very best words, which they no longer save for special occasions. It is a house crafted from an abundance of “patience” and “optimism” and a wealth of “laughter” and “luck.” Two dogs live there, both brindled with spots of “mischievous” and “cuddly.”
The daughter’s room was constructed of solid “love” from the very start, but she recently redecorated for her second birthday with colorful garlands of “I do it!”s and “Love you, Mommy”s, which everyone finds charming.
Now that the daughter collects words of her own — and is growing tremendously tall and strong as she makes them part of herself! — the mother finds that she has a surplus. She thought she might take a day trip to the village she used to love, to see if any of her old friends would be interested in swapping stories.
Today, her six words are:
“Lived. Learned. Now, more to say.”
[And also: “Y’all… It’s good to be back.”]