Friday, June 17, 2011

The Motion of Words Against Words

One of the most unforgettably magic places I’ve ever visited was a glass beach. Sea glass covered the sand like multi-colored jewels of blue, amber, rose, turquoise, green and white. There were even polished bits of china pottery, their glazed designs still brilliant. It was pure magic to dig my toes into this treasure, to sit on the beach and run the glass through my hands and to select a few special prizes to take home.

Some of you might have found a piece of sea glass on a walk down the beach and know the child-like joy of finding that treasure. A glass beach is much more than that. It contains a depth and width and breadth of polished glass that boggles the mind as feet sink deep into the riches.

Sea glass is quite common. Wherever man and the majesty of the sea have met, you’ll find a record of it - the smoothly polished bits of glass tumbled from the depths and thrown upon the beach.

The process of making sea glass is one of constant movement. The sea is never still and the currents play ceaselessly with the glass on the ocean floor. A thing of beauty and of whimsy is created from friction, from resistance, and from endless motion.

So too, are writers made.

Writers, like beautifully polished sea glass, start out with jagged edges. No two writers are alike, no two start out in the same way with the same set of skills and life experience. But we all begin our writing journey by putting those first words on the page. Some begin better than others, but all of us must experience the polishing process.

The currents carry us along and we get swept up in the magic of writing. We encounter the ebb and flow of the tides that govern a writer’s life. (Who among us hasn’t experienced high tide or low tide?) We write, rewrite, and write some more just as waves roll to shore over and over again.

One day the jagged edges are not so sharp. The constant motion of words against words have refined us and given us polish. Where once we wrote happily, but unskillfully, we now write for the pleasure of having mastered our craft.

Write. Be glad for the polishing process - the friction, the resistance, the endless motion of words, for without these, you will remain a jagged shard.

The beauty of sea glass is possible because it endured the depths of the ocean before finding the brilliant sunlight on the beach.


  1. Susan, a beautiful and so very true post. I've had a few days of low tide this week, then, out of the blue for a short burst this afternoon, a high tide where my words seemed to effortlessly float from my fingertips ... these are the moments that make it all worth while.

  2. Oh, Susan, that's beautiful! What a novel way of looking at it. As it is, I love any imagery connected to the oceans and seas; to connect it all with writing is perfect!
    I've never been on a glass beach but have come across coloured glass on pebbly beaches.Next time I'll be thinking of my own writing history...
    I'm going to link to this on my blog [g]

  3. Oh, Susan! Sigh. That's beautiful. Even more so for the lesson it teaches. And here I sit mulling over my tea with my inner editor. LOL! You added poetry to the mix.

  4. Ah Rachel - love those high tides! Hope this one carries you along for a good long while. :)

  5. Deniz, Me too. I love the ocean, the rhythm of the tides, the salty breeze and warm sands...

  6. Thanks Zan Marie. :) I'm coming over for tea, btw...

  7. would like to see a glass beach - must be beautiful - stunning

  8. Alberta, it is. The one I went to was considered the world's best and it certainly was stunning.