With my mum gone for a couple of years now, it’s especially poignant for me to hear that old saw, “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!”
When I was just a baby, my mother taught me to recite “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Word has it that I could recite it all until I got to “The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow gave a lustre of midday to objects below.” But here’s the thing: I was only a baby. I wasn’t even 2 years old – I was one and a half. She read it to me every night getting ready for Christmas and then I recited it with her, so she knew I had learned it. Then I just said it without the book. (Have I mentioned to you that I have ALWAYS been verbal?) So now when I think of the lovely rhythms and rhymes in the poem, how I learned the words in sequence, the patterns of the word rhythms, the meanings such as I could gather – not much at first but reinforced as the years went on, I am just so grateful that my mum took all that time to love me in that way.
Now when I use words, appreciate words, think or write, I have such gratitude to my dear and loving young mother who gave me that great gift. She was just 30 years old or so, and delighted in life. She really listened to what I said, and it brought out in me the ability to speak. She didn’t necessarily correct me but allowed me to discover what I was saying, what I was expressing, and affirmed it at source. It was a way for her to love me and for me to love her back.
Later, when I became older, adolescent and more secretive, thinking that I was so very different from her and her expectations of me, I held back my words from her. I didn’t tell her what I was thinking or doing. But by then I could write, and think, and read, for myself, or so I thought. Yet when I wrote in my diary, or had my private worded experiences I was actually building on the foundation that she had begun for me so many years before, singsong reading The Night Before Christmas, or encouraging a little baby to speak, and tell, and share. Not information, but rhythm, sounds, and love, in the beauties of the English language, with all its quirks and playful twirls and swirls. At the time I took it all for granted. All those words, flying through our hearts on the wings of love!
R. sent me this via email:
The land of copyright free books…. Gutenberg and ipod meet in one and I now have access to “Fifteen Thousand Useful Words and Phrases” from 1910.
Do not consider this to be “Antiquated Prudery” or full of “appalling difficulties”, this book has “apparent significance” and “assiduously cultivated” “apparent genius”… What an antidote to the “barbarous statecraft” of “bellicose humanity”, at times this might be “burdensome business” of a “bygone period”. Each “celebrated instance” has “characteristic audacity” and “charming radiance”….
oh, the hours one could waste in the “collective wisdom” of this “colossal failure”, with its “complacent platitudes” – and yet I have a “consuming zeal” for it. Is there a “crucifying irony” (what?!) here on this “crumbling precipice” of “decadent poets” and “deceiving mists”? Or does my “dazed brain” perceive a “dazzling triumph”?
LOL! I could go on, but this is a “droning worl”
So I asked her if I could blog this, and she replied:
Would it have “doubtful authenticity” if you blogged it instead of me? Well the “effervescent multitude” shall not mind. These “embellished truths” have an “elusive charm”. You shall not be the recipient of my “embittered gaze”, nor are you under “enforced silence”…. If you are also concerned about potential “eviscerating shrieks”, remember you shall experience the “exact antithesis” of an “excretory secretion”. Instead, in an “exultant condition” I shall break forth in “ejaculatory prayer”. In other words, use your “girlish spriteliness” and “glorious freedom”.
…I can’t stop! I descend from “gushing enthusiasm” to “gutteral incoherence”…. ahhhhhhH
From Cliche to Archetype, indeed!