Saturday, November 3, 2012

i wish my lips could build a castle

"Dear Ramaine [?]
To one of the nicest sisters in the world on her birthday
From her brother,
Nov 26 1927"

I found the above inscription in my used copy of Willa Cather's Death for the Archbishop. And I was so touched by those simple words. Because to someone, they meant a lot. This book I'm holing was a gift from a brother to a sister, and now, eighty-five years later, I'm holding his gift to her in my hands. It's a very happy-fying thought. 
Just those simple little words sent from a brother to a sister made me value this book so much more. 

I have learnt so much how the simplest words, sincerely meant, can carry more sweetness and tenderness than the most elaborate poetry.


One of my friends is very particular about how his words are used. He puts so much thought into his words. I laugh at him, because he will send texts explaining previous texts, or clarifying points, or retracting words that he thought could be misunderstood. After a conversation, he will usually have thought up a list of amendments to statements, ensuring that nothing is misunderstood. And that always makes me smile, because one of the most beautiful things in the world is when people are so very much themselves even in their small, quirky, seemingly insignificant-but-very-significant ways. 

I have learned the importance of precision in language. Words are so nuanced, and so small--so small, and we expect them to effortlessly carry such large ideas and thoughts and emotions--and so one can never be too careful with what you say.


When bitter and angry words are filling your mouth, you have to say them so they don't tie themselves up in a knot in your throat and keep their bitterness locked up inside. And once you say them, once you feel them roll off the tip of your tongue and out into the air, it's incredible how they no longer have quite the same hold on you. 

I learned that you have to sometimes say I hate you before you can say I love you once again.

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