Every Word Is a New Idea

Ground Zero, October 2009

“We say that our way of life was attacked on September 11. What we mean is that our words were attacked — our sauntering, freewheeling, raucous, stumbling, unbridled, unregulated, unorthodox words. All that we are in this country came out of words — 18th century words, 19th century words — which in turn wend their way back into a past that existed long before the first sentence of the Book of John. Every word is a new idea, and there is nothing like a new idea to counteract the stony madness of fanatics. If a man spends enough time in a library, he may actually change his mind. I have seen it happen.”

from “Ground Zero” by Roger Rosenblatt, Time, May 25, 2002

#ROW80 10/5 Check-in & The Music

For the current Round of Words in 80 Days, I set a goal of 1000 words a day, exclusive of blog posts or the newsletter I edit.

Tuesday, the first full day of the round, I wrote 921 words. That number doesn’t meet my self-imposed standard.

If, however, we round 921 to the nearest 1000, then I achieved my goal. Exactly. On the nose.

While I’m on the topic, I’ll admit Wednesday’s word count won’t meet yesterday’s. Because I began drafting those words at 10:00 p.m., after the Austin Mystery Writers meeting, and finished at 2:00 o’clock this morning.

Yes, you’ve read it here before, and yes, you’ll read it here again, because I’m at my  most creative in the middle of the night. And because when it comes to connecting the dots between staying awake all night and being a bear of little brain the following day, I can’t even find the dots.

Now I’m going to un-gracefully transition to another topic:

I’ve been reading Roger Rosenblatt’s Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing. I may have more to say about the book in later posts. But I came across something today that, even though it has nothing to do with the rest of this post, I have to share.

Discussing the nature and the importance of poetry, Rosenblatt says, “It may be that poetry is favored by my students, including those who do not write it or intend to, because it seems like history’s protectorate, kept safe for no other reason than its aim of beauty.”

He continues–and this I find startling and beautiful– 

In ancient Ireland, poets were called The Music. When one king would attack another, he instructed his soldiers to slaughter everyone in the enemy camp, including the opposing king. But not The Music. Everyone but The Music. Because he was The Music.

*****

To see what other ROW80 participants are writing, click here.