Playing with the illusion of words

I am convinced that strong writing and great books are created more by the use of great words than the infusion of great ideas.

We are magicians, you and I.

Maybe you’re a writer.

Maybe not.

It doesn’t matter.

We make words appear.

We make words disappear.

But most of all, we use words to tell a story.

And what’s life without its stories?

I had no idea who Jim Fiebig was.

Still don’t.

No really.

I read where he was a top salesman of rocks and gems and stones in jewelry stores across the country.

But that’s about all I know.

Yet I recently ran across a quote from Jim Fiebig, and it hit me right between the eyes with the impact of a sledgehammer. Truth can do that.

What he said was so profound.

What he said was so powerful.

What he said I should have known long ago.

But I had missed it.


It knocked me to my knees.

We read words.

Books, both fiction and nonfiction, have been the compass of our lives for as long as any of us can remember.

We write books because we have worlds to build, stories to tell, characters to roam the landscape of our imagination.

And we use words. They are our tools. They are our weapons. They are the brushes we utilize to paint pictures, word pictures.

With words, we have power. We can inspire people. We can make them fall into or out of love. We can make them mad, hateful, hopeful, and, by simply arranging words on a single page, we can give characters and readers dreams of tomorrow, dreams of their fathers, dreams of places they’ve never gone before.

Words allow us to become illusionists who play with readers’ emotions. With the right words, we can make them laugh or cry or kill someone. Words are dangerous. I sometimes think we should never be allowed to play with them in public. They might go off when we least expect it and hurt someone. Words can be deadly.

As an example, here is a paragraph from my novel: Back Side of a Blue Moon:

Brother Shiloh did not ask Doc to repent. He didn’t mention a damn thing about salvation. He just stood there with faded overalls hanging off his sagging shoulders, as lean as a cane pole, with drops of sweat glistening atop his bald head and spittle running down from his chin. He was holding the shotgun softly but not tenderly, staring at Doc as if he didn’t amount to anything more than a stray raccoon hanging off the dying limb of a white oak tree.

Can you feel the tension?

If you can, I succeeded.

If you can’t, I failed.

So I shuffle another hand of words together and begin again.

But do we ever touch those words?

And do those words ever touch us back?

I am convinced that strong writing and great books are created more by the use of great words than the infusion of great ideas. Great ideas without great words to support them die away and are forgotten. Shallow ideas built with great words make us believe they are a far better than they really are.

Words are our greatest assets.

So don’t treat them foolishly. Don’t ever underestimate them or their power. And always remember: those words will never reach out and touch another until first they have reached out and touched us.

Please click HERE to find Back Side of a Blue Moon on Amazon.

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