I have a friend who collects words. She amasses them tightly in small bound journals, places them in wooden tackle boxes, and neatly stores them for reference. Each journal a bookmark of her life. Everything is neatly cataloged, annotated and illustrated, for in her view, these journals are a sentient body of work which lives and breathes and simmers in her hands, like a lover or a dog, eager to be touched.
Over the years I too have been gifted with journals. Years ago I received a hand stitched burgundy leather-bound coarse-papered journal. Its enticing craftsmanship beckoned me to write, to write, to write gently swaying castles out of thinly strung words. But each time I touched it, it stained my hands red, and for days those stains were impossible to clean.
Now it sits in a drawer with the odds and ends of other bits and pieces of my life I can neither part ways with or use. Its leather is still fine and stiff, and its paper remains unyielding to any words I might dare write.
I suppose one day I might find the right combination of words. I might, like a timid lover, string together glimmering words that softly chime and twinkle when read. Words that undress, words in quiet repose awaiting their turn to leap into the starry night.
I’d like to think I could, that I might.