the art of word shaking

21 February 2015

Words are tangible; black text on white page; serif and sans serif; smudged and careless and hopeful and clean lines and smooth dots; passionate, purposeful, individual. Yesterday I started writing an article on the power of words, based on The Book Thief, for my creative writing coursework, and I fell in love with those curves, those edges, and those lines all over again. Because that's all they are in essence, but they are also so much more. I am currently re-reading Jane Eyre, my bookmark is a plain rectangular piece of card scrawled in messy lines with each word I have come across that I do not know its definite meaning of. Some people dislike the unknown, but when it comes to words I love that indescribable feeling of being amongst a myriad of words that mean nothing more to me than what they look like; and then when understanding sweeps through my mind like a shooting star, each and every one of those letters means something more, it is no longer a flat smear on a page, but a pulsing heart of information within my mind. And finally, here are a few sentences in which the words were shaken, and tossed and turned in my mind - some from books I have read, some that I haven't.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
“I felt sorry when I came to the last page. I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print the way you crawl through a fence.”
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
"There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss."
Carlos Ruiz Zafón (The Shadow of the Wind)
"Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
“That's what I love about poetry. The more abstract, the better. The stuff where you're not sure what the poet's talking about. You may have an idea, but you can't be sure. Not a hundred percent. Each word, specifically chosen, could have a million different meanings. Is it a stand-in-a symbol-for another idea? Does it fit into a larger, more hidden, metaphor?” 
 Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
“Old stories have a habit of being told and retold and changed. Each subsequent storyteller puts his or her mark upon it. Whatever truth the story once had is buried in bias and embellishment. The reasons do not matter as much as the story itself.”
Ali Smith (How to be Both) 
“Art makes nothing happen in a way that makes something happen.” and “All we are is eyes looking for the unbroken or the edges where the broken bits might fit each other.”
 Are you a word-shaker? A logophile? I'd say I'm both, but that would be pretentious.


  1. (has this posted twice? If so delete this one ehehe)

    YES YES YES to this post. Like, seriously, it's all the perfection.

    Basically to reiterate what you commented on my blog a few days back, this post is EVEN more beautiful because your writing is so gorgeous and eloquent. I LOVE IT.

    All these lines are beaaaautiful, but in particular the ones from The Night Circus, The Bell Jar & How to be Both.

    Also, you are SUCH AN AMAZING WRITER. Seriously, your writing is to die for. " I love that indescribable feeling of being amongst a myriad of words that mean nothing more to me than what they look like; and then when understanding sweeps through my mind like a shooting star…" – this is one of the most honest and beautiful and pure things I've ever read. :')


  2. Love this post - so beautifully written, Hawwa! I do love words, though I feel like lately you and Ruby have it in for me to truly appreciate them. I really want to see them the way you two do, but I'm not quite there yet. Usually, if I don't know a word, I get a little frustrated. I've kind-of grown out of that now. I really do adore finding out about foreign words which there is no English equivalent too...

    Gah, lovely post!!

    1. ahhh thank you! A JOB WELL DONE THEN. and oh gosh yes, Ruby and her way with words..<3
      OOoh that reminds me, I want to find out some new foreign words too..:)

  3. So I have a feeling I might bookmark this post purely because of how much beauty there is here, I love all these quotes and how you introduced them, (your creative writing coursework sounds really interesting!) and I especially fell in love with the Alexandre Dumas quote, lovely post!

  4. That introduction was so "silver-tongued" as Cornelia Funke would say *_*

    She too has such beautiful, expressive writing in her books. And Carlos Ruiz Zafón's words are perfection even when they are translated. In fact, that's a lot of talent if you can convey the same feelings so beautifully in any language.

    1. woooaaah thank you. I actually referenced a Cornelia Funke quote in my coursework!
      I agree...sometimes it definitely DOES NOT work, othertimes it does..


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