Change one letter in the word bliss and you might end up with bless. When we are able to find our own bliss, I believe that means we are blessed.
Some of us cast our “joy net” far and wide, and at the end of the day, what one finds in that joy net will either be emptiness or — hopefully — a treasure, a reward…bliss.
I have never had to look too far for my sense of bliss. I found it when I was a little girl, or rather, it found me. Actually, they found me. WORDS. Whether spoken or written, words have been a continual source of pleasure and joy in my life. They are my bliss.
An avid reader from a young age, I also began to write. I wrote little rhyming poems — in birthday cards, on the insides of notebooks, or simply as gifts to the family. When I was eight years old, I entered a creative writing and art contest sponsored by my public library’s bookmobile service; my submission was a silly little rhyming poem about a mouse.
But that simple, silly poem won first place in my age category and I received a lovely book as my prize. Think about it: My offered words begat a gift of words.
(If you’re in need of a Spring reading recommendation, click here!)
My interest in reading continued, as did my writing. Both brought me great pleasure. Besides having to write school assignments and essays, I used my words to write poems for myself, and detailed letters and cards to send to family and friends through the years. I majored in English literature and Jewish Studies in university, reading countless novels, plays, poems, articles, in English, French and Hebrew and writing about them. Several years after graduation, I went on to study book and magazine publishing and became an editor.
When I read for my job, I think of the writer and the intent of their words. I polish words, replace words, correct words, all the while engaged in my blissful activity.
When I read for my own pleasure, I think of the writer and the intent of their words. I “see” scenes laid out before me, I “hear” the conversations and background noises, but most of all I “feel” a spectrum of emotions as I read the writer’s words. Joy, sadness, anger, disappointment, relief, fear may all capture me, but I am wrapped in my protective bliss.
When I write for pleasure, I measure and weigh each word and try to create what I call “wordpictures.” My poetry, personal essays, book reviews, personal letters and emails are the means for me to sketch my wordpictures. Do my words mean something? Are they relatable? Is the reader engaged when reading my words?
I grew up in a home that believed strongly in this motto, which I am continually reminded of: “Words are like birds. Once they fly out of your mouth, you can’t always catch them.” Yes, that may be true. But, I can groom my words, be mindful and selective of them and then send them soaring, whether by my voice or my pen, to an endless blue sky…hopefully adding to someone else’s sense of bliss.
Whether reading words or writing them, I have found my bliss. My blessing.