I remember the day I fell in love with language. I was in kindergarten, and my teacher, Mrs. Buchanan, had given us all a box full of words.
The words were written in a bold, black magic marker on what were probably snippets of old manila file folders. They were placed in a box we’d brought from home.
Mine was an old stationery box – square and deep with a clear top that allowed me to peer inside without opening it.
Before it became my word box, and after it served its purpose for stationery-holding, my sister and I had used the container for our Christmas ornament decorating projects. It held glitter, sequins, and kid-sized tubes of Elmer’s glue.
That it was a hand-me-down, reused kind of box didn’t matter to me. In fact, I vaguely remember wanting my word box to be special, demanding that my mother find another place – a shoe box, most likely – for our art supplies, so that I could house my words in the deep, perfectly-proportioned, clear-topped shell.
When Mrs. Buchanan gave us our words, I remember staring into my box, understanding – in whatever way five-year-olds can understand such things – that each word was like a ticket of admission to a new world, a sort of secret code-breaking powerhouse. Words were precious things, meant to be protected. They held mystery and magic, and I was completely fascinated with them.
Over the years, my obsession with words has only intensified. I’ll use this blog to explore them, to rejoice in them, and to figure out how to put them together.