All of us as writers, regardless of genre, have one thing in common. We all have a love for words. Regardless of whether we are writing a poem, a narrative, story, or book, we all share the same words. We as the authors are the distinguishing factor. It is us that shapes them into something meaningful.
I seldom spend much if any time analyzing words beyond selecting the ones that take me where I want to go. I never actually study the words for origins or even view them as an entity. But yesterday, I was reading a piece that contained the word loneliness. For some reason, I paused long enough to dwell on it because it is, well, such a lonely word.
Wikipedia would tell us that loneliness is “usually an emotional response to isolation or lack of companionship.” Definitely a negative connotation. You are alone, physically or spiritually, and that is undesirable . Being unwillingly removed from the company of others. A state of mind that permeates our total being .
But being alone is not always undesirable. There are often times when we consciously strive to be by ourselves. Crave it. Solicit it. Feed the desire to get away. Have time to think. We may retreat to a favorite place, or just seek out a quiet one. Give some time to ourselves to reflect, think, read, or just enjoy. During these times, we are alone by choice. It is no longer called loneliness. What we are experiencing is called solitude. I think Paul Tillich the theologian summed it up best when he said “Language…has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone”
In my musings, I realized that when I commit a word to a page, I am not really selecting it so much for its definition as I am for its feeling. The fact that my character may be alone is only the genesis of my message. It is then up to me to define ‘alone’. Is it by choice or by chance. Words are my toys, to be played with and enjoyed. They can become whatever I want them to be. Maybe that’s why I love them so much.