Leaving Our Words Behind

My friend Jenna was killed in a car accident last week. I hadn’t known her for very long; we were co-workers and I have only been at my current job for six months. We got to be friends because we both enjoyed books, and we both had a passion for writing. We tried to encourage each other to pursue that dream of publishing a book. Jenna was one of my “beta readers” for a novel I had written, and I was going to share my resources with her to help her get her book project published.

Jenna had written a children’s book based on a family story, and it was a very good story, sure to be enjoyed by child and parent alike. She was working on the illustrations for it when she died.  My first thought upon learning about her death was that her book would never be published, and it made me sad. It also made me wonder what happens to our words when we’re gone.

In today’s information saturated world, we’re bound to leave traces of ourselves behind, even if it’s only an obituary posted on an obscure web site somewhere. An accidental or incidental proof of our existence, as it were. Our words, though, should be anything but accidental. Our words are our expressions of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and finally, of our selves. Those words need to be shared.

I would encourage everyone reading this to share those words. Tell your stories. Tell them to your kids, your friends or your neighbors. If you are feeling especially bold, put your stories in print or on the web. Stories are meant to be shared; they are the foundation of our society. Without stories, our culture atrophies and our lives get really, really boring. Don’t wait too long, though, for we never know when our story telling opportunities will be taken away.


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