I love chocolate. I love good coffee, red wine, and popcorn from the cinema. I love breakfast cereal, more than I could ever express. I so enjoy a good Pad Thai, and I am all about Vietnamese rice paper rolls. However, I can go at least a day without chocolate, cereal and coffee, up to a week without red wine, and even longer without the Pad Thai, rice paper rolls, and popcorn. I cannot, however, live a day without words.
I consume them voraciously, my appetite never sated. I gorge on them verbally, catching snippets of other people’s conversations, following clever talk back arguments on Triple J, laughing out loud at award-winning commercials, and listening to my students whisper about their weekends.
I devour them visually, as words are everywhere I look. I am drawn to them. As I drive I make up words from randomly assigned licence plates: ‘WKD’ becomes ‘wicked’, or even better ‘weekend’. And I am not a word snob. I will read anything, and I will mix ‘n’ match. I will read my cereal packet, a wikipedia page, comments on this blog, someone else’s blog, my horoscope, and the world headlines, all in one breakfast sitting.
If I can linger longer, then there are few greater pleasures than nestling in with a brilliant book. Chick lit, thriller, classic, philosophy, travel biography, Harry Potter, it does not matter what it is, just that it holds onto me until the last page. A mark of a brilliant book, in my book, is when I finish and I feel a loss, because I no longer get to live in the lives of those characters. I miss them even though they are only a collection of words. Such is the power of words; they enchant me.
And of course, there are those words I create myself. I cannot go a day without writing something, even if it is just a list of things I need to write. I write this blog, drafts of my novel, plays for my students, comments on their assignments, and memos, reports and letters at work. I email someone I love, and send a handful of text messages every day. There is even something strangely satisfying about filling in the dense and convoluted forms required to live and work overseas.
I am also a talker (usually – even I have quiet moments). Today I addressed a group of 15 year olds to persuade them to take my subject (Drama) for their senior studies. I had only five minutes, but I talked fast to cram in as many words as I could. I told them about my subject, what they could expect, and what I would expect from them. But my final message, the most important thing I said, was to do what they love, because then they will always be happy with what they are doing.
I do what I love. I consume words; I create words: daily, hourly, minutely. And I am happy with what I am doing.