At sunset tonight, a special treat of sky-blue-pink skies lasted brief moments before turning to candle-orange and magenta and the dark of daylight-murdering skies. So many things in life go fleet-footed away from us in moments, hours and even years that can be too short. A whispered endearment. A smile on granddaughter’s face on receiving balloons.  A breeze sending autumn’s leaves scurrying to the ground.

Today had many such moments for me. Several came as my friend Robin Moore (aka Robin Cleary) read from her NANOWRIMO piece. You know, the 50,000 words in thirty days that leaves writers exhausted, perhaps frustrated and definitely brain-irrigated. Her words leapt about with emotional tension as horse and, then, man, fought to overcome nature’s fierce destructive path. I was there in the eye of the storm, wanting to make things right for the animal and horrified when the man intervenes to the detriment of both. This was very powerful writing: descriptive, bold and energetic. I didn’t gasp for breath but could have easily if the writer had gone on reading her work.

Returning Light: After the Storm by Sandra Merwin

Such is the power of words. To terrify,to entertain, to challenge. To make us laugh, cry,  frown in consternation. To cause us to argue, sympathize or become confused. And to do so much more.

When Mom’s car wouldn’t start this morning, Allie pronounced that it was out of gas…not so with this Hybrid  but how clever of the five-year-old to come up with those words to explain the problem…another function of words.

Swimming through words of confusion later, I finally understood what was being asked of me…a simple request for help. With my globetrotting daughter, briefly back in Chicago, we caught up on our mutual happenings over her glass of good wine as I did so vicariously. Our words mixed, flowed and sometimes had to be spelled out for the lousy connection we had. But, we waded through the morass of clicks, rattlings, and electronic buzzes until we reached clarity and understanding.

Words, words and more words. They make us, berate us and hammer sense out of us. Floating as sounds through the brain. Visual images to our closed eyes, landing on page or computer site until they finally evolve into sentences, paragraphs, letters, chapters, books and we think we are communicating. We speechify, narrate, listen and contemplate.

About then, a sky-blue-pink sky happens on the horizon and we are at a loss for words, It is too magnificent, transitory and there is no way for us to hold onto the magic. Except in words when we try to share the impact with others. When the poet combines images with emotions and finds the words to capture the essence of the event. The poet records it, we read it and recognize the import of his words.

And so, Robin captured moments from her experience or her imagination, fit them together with words and enticed us along for the ride, actually and figuratively. This is the epitome of the writer’s gift: to bridge reality and imagination with sparkling, emotion-ridden and exquisite language.


  1. Communication happens through all the senses. Strange how seeing a beautiful sunset (sunrise) like your photo evokes more than just image. It stirs something deep in my brain–like memory of things seen and stored. Words in print do the same thing for me. I love reading a phrase or sentence that stirs me.

  2. Thank you, Arletta! I am thrilled that you liked my new story, however short it still is of the 50,000 words NaNoWriMo goal. Nugget will get there, maybe later than Nov. 30th, but he will arrive.

  3. Robin’s reading was, indeed, stimulating and filled with sensory images that brought me right into her scenes. Thank you, Arletta, for your deep sensitivity to Robin’s work, how it enlightened your appreciation of the beauty around you and the power of words. Love it!
    Robin, your spoken words made me immediately recall some of my horseback moments in the Eastern Sierra on a steep decline…as Terri Farley said later about her theme: “no safety on the edge of the frontier.”
    And your piece was such a perfect choice for our speaker!

  4. I agree. Words are so powerful. Consider the difference in feeling between “budget” and “spending plan” or “diet” and “food plan”. Even though the activity is the same in each, the feeling the words evoke are totally different. Thank you. This blog is wonderful.

      1. I too loved the powerful images that Robin’s reading conjured up.
        Why do we write? The page is blank and then all at once it’s filled with magic, terror, humor, longing, passion, and lessons to learn from…all great reasons to keep putting those words down. Linda

  5. The power of Robin’s words in scenes riveted me. A born horse lover, I was lucky to have a favorite uncle give me a horse. Robin Moore returned me to my childhood with its fears for beloved creatures. Horse lovers know that barbed-wire often threatens a horrible fate for any horse. This detail drew a net of tension and drama over her story.

    And now, I must know – “What happened to Nugget, the horse?”
    Robin come back and give us the whole story! -Deborah

  6. And thank you Linda and Deborah for your comments on my reading last Sunday. Isn’t it funny how stories find their start sometimes?
    And Arletta, thanks again for your lovely blog telling about the reading of my Nugget story.

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