Mar 4, 2007

In a word...

by Cecily Markland

It's 11:11 p.m., way past the time I planned to have this blog posted, and, yet, I'm still wrestling with the words.

It's not that I'm down for the count in the all-too-typical grappling of trying to make the words come. Instead, it's quite the opposite challenge tonight, as I'm overwhelmed, buried, inundated, and out-paced by the deluge of words and thoughts that are pinning my progress. With ideas coming faster than I can command them to stand in some cohesive order; words descending on me in paragraph-size chunks; memories and joys demanding to be catalogued and chronicled, I breathe deep and flex my keyboard muscles.

You see, just within the last 48 hours, I have many stories to tell...of a new grandbaby....of hearing Russell M. Nelson speak today...of driving for six hours to attend a one-year-old grandbaby's birthday party...of sharing fried cheesecake with a dear, dear friend...of dealing with ex-husbands...of laying on the bed visiting with two daughters while their children played around us...tears, laughter, joy, inspiration, angst, hope...all those words and more are wrapped up in the last 48 hours of my life.

As I try to sort it out and organize it all, I'm reminded of a delightfully simplistic strategy that I actually learned earlier in the week, before this word wave hit. The strategy could very well be the answer, the very move I need.

The "strategy" actually came in the form of an e-mail. My friend sent me one of those chain letter type, "forward this or you'll have seven years of pain" kind of e-mails. Only, this time, it was one that was well worth reading and even fun to do and forward on. It asked me to describe the sender in ONE WORD and send that one word back to her, and then to forward the e-mail to several others so they could do the same.

It was a bit of a challenge at first, but I was amazed to see how readily I was able to come up with one word to describe my friend. She and I have shared many experiences and she is many things in my life. Yet, I could easily simplify how I felt and what I knew about her and come up with one word that seemed to fit her.

It was a fun exercise and I saw a huge value in trying to distill feelings and thoughts into just one word. In fact, I would suggest you try it...and, for those of you who know me, I'd love to have you use me for your exercise if you'd like. Go ahead and try it...then post a response to how you'd describe me in one word!

While you do that, I'm going to go apply my stragegy on another front. I'll have to let you know later whether one-word journal entries work or not! I may have to fudge a little and use three or four words, but at least I will be on top, with the words working for me, rather than bowing to their chaos. After all, you can say a lot by grabbing just a few words and getting them down in phrases like: Fried cheesecake with Liz--delightful! or Ninth grandbaby--pure joy!


  1. Not knowing you at all, I did have one word come to mind...more. I want to know more. You whizzed through so much like someone who doesn't take a breath and as a listener, you want to say, hang on, go back, I want to know more. That's a good thing for a writer, right??!!

  2. Cecily,

    What a great posting! Why do you want to write fiction when you can write great personal essays like this? I could never do that.

    I tried the one-word description for you, but sent it to you in an email. I shall put it here for all the world to see. It was 'budding survivor'. The budding is for 'getting ready to bloom' rather than a 'survivor-in-the-making'. You already are a survivor, and you're all set to blossom.

  3. Cecily,
    I think Terri and Liz already expressed how I feel. you are AMAZING...


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