I guess I have always loved words. I loved them when my mother read the same stories over and over to me when I was a child.  Honestly since elementary school I planned to be a “writer.”  From adolescence I began taking my deepest feelings and pouring them out in poetry.  I have kept journals at many points in my life.  During some of my most difficult years I remember sitting at my kitchen table late into the night and just pouring my thoughts out.  Talking to myself, trying to figure things out.  When I go back and read some of these, they are totally mortifying, and I hope nobody else ever reads them!  And yet I don’t discard them.  They are my history. And if they are humbling sometimes, it is because they show me that I just don’t always have the handle on truth and understanding that I think I do.

My love for words is not only in writing them, but in reading them, or listening to them.  Words in music are particularly powerful.  Honestly, they can just bring me to my knees and wrench things from my heart.  They are just SO powerful.

Lately, though, I have become aware not only of my love for the use of words, but my love for words themselves.  Awhile back I published some lyrics from Anna Nalick’s “Breathe”:

2 am and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to

Many times I have been there, in the middle of the night with so much pain inside me that I just have to get it out, and writing it down does that somehow.  I see this in my youngest daughter as well, and I know that this is the sign of an artist’s heart.  In the middle of the night, she writes lyrics that nobody ever sees, seeking for them chords on the keyboard.

Recently my daughter gave me a Coheed and Cambria album to listen to, and there is a song on it that just grabbed me.  It is “The Glass and the Light,” and it begins:

Slowly the pen touches paper
In the guidance of the words that you write
Memories roll in of the things you once did
And who you had shared them with
Is somebody thinking of you?

Why do these lyrics squeeze my heart?  That is the magic of the best of words, that you don’t really know, that it just pulls out something from the depths, something that is beyond being captured by thought.  Doesn’t make sense, I know, but it’s true.

This morning I’m going to go to the gym for awhile.  Then I’m going to come home, and spend some time my fictional characters, who have become a vehicle for releasing those feelings that arise seemingly from nowhere within me.  They are symbols.  They are my release valve.  They are pieces of my heart.

People live and people die.  Then what is left of them?  I have in my possession everything that my mother ever owned.  It has enough sentimental value that I haven’t really been able to let go of it.  But she left behind no writings.  Her thoughts, her heart, are not contained in the things.  When I am gone, for better or for worse there will be lots of pieces of my mind and heart left behind.  That too is the part of the power of words.  Words are immortal.

Write them down.

16 thoughts on “Words

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  1. Sharon, Your feelings on writing Missing Michaela are understandable; I'd probably feel the same way if I were in your position. You are a talented writer, though, and I'm sure your novel will be an interesting read.I've been reading your blog for a few months now, and I must say, you have a comforting presence about you. You are frank about your struggles in life and with faith, and a lot of people (myself included) can relate to that. I can't speak for anyone but myself, but reading your blog makes me feel less alone in my struggles. You have been carrying a very heavy cross for a long time, and I hope that you will find the peace you desire sooner rather than later. Either way, I firmly believe that you will one day find the answers you seek. If you don't find Michaela in this lifetime (though I hope you do!), you will see her again in Heaven. The joy in Heaven is be beyond our limited human comprehension, but I imagine it's so great that we'd be willing to suffer for thousands and thousands of years just to experience one minute of the joy and the happiness we'll experience in the presence of God and our loved ones.You will be in my prayers, and I hope you have a Happy Birthday!God bless,Jennifer Benjamin


  2. Sharon,I just want you to know that you are a very courageous woman. You should never ever feel that are a disappointment to anyone. You have carried a very heavy burden for 21 years – one that a parent should never have to suffer. How can anyone be so cruel to cause a child and her family so much suffering?But Sharon, I truly believe that in God's world justice will prevail. I pray that He gives you the answers that you are looking for. And you are not alone in searching for these answers – we are looking for them together with you. You need to do what gives your heart comfort, even if it is a new project. I personally hope that you do complete your book Missing Michaela at some point. You write beautifully Sharon – God has blessed you with this gift. And what a wonderful way to honor Michaela and the special bond that connects both of you.I am praying that the new year brings good news. Wish you and Michaela all the very best in 2010.Love,Radhika


  3. Oh Sharon, I so wish you could see your beauty from others' perspective. Your beauty is your honesty. Your capacity to love and forgive. Your trust. If there were more Christians like you I would not have left formal religeon. You have taught me so much through your words. I am comforted that I am not alone in my quest for knowing. I am comforted that there are true people of God who don't need to appear perfect in their faith. When speaking to people who are “perfect” one is left feeling lacking and at fault somehow. It is through your words that I have returned to prayer. I have not reached the point of “feeling” Gods hand in my life again yet…but I have come back to seeing his works in the lives of others. I think this has to do more with my disappointment in the way things have occured in my life than anything else. As to your new writing endeavor…I will read ANYTHING you write because you heart cannot help but shine through your words. Thank you for that.Michele


  4. Hi Sharon,What a wonderful New Year's gift (and all year long) your blog is and has been to me! Thank you for sharing with us your honesty, your hope, your faith, as it ebbs and flows, and most of all, your humanity!! You can't know how much your blog has meant to me in the past year. I don't look to you for strength (though you are amazingly strong). I look to you as you have put into words the feelings I haven't been able to articulate so many times. I am so happy that you are continuing to write. Don't ever apologize, because you never disappoint. How could you when you are sharing your most precious possession — yourself. I wish peace for you in the New Year, renewed energy, vitality, and hope for the future. I also wish for you to realize how much you have brought to so many, as you bared your soul and shared your pain and your journey. I am so grateful to you and hope to continue my special friendship with you, though you have never met me. Love, Penny V.


  5. Oh, and HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHARON!!! I smiled when you said that your daughter said you could not cry in the restaurant . . . I have had the same thing said to me from my daughters. “Out of the mouths of babes,” sometimes in their simplicity, our kids know what we need, and when we need to put away our pain and live the gift of today. It's been a difficult year for you, and for me as well. But I have learned so many, many lessons, and I have gained so much depth in my soul this year. I have learned so much from you, Sharon . . . Write away for yourself and know your readers will always be there to reap the benefits as well. . . Happy Birthday!Penny V.


  6. Just to let you know: you are NOT a disappointment for me! You ARE an amazing women and – of course – mother.Wish you all the best for 2010 – may all your wishes come true and let it be a better year than 2009.and Happy Birthday!Britta


  7. Happy Birthday and a blessed, happy new year to you, Sharon. I love your blog – I love your truth and honesty. I am also glad you are writing a novel. Someday – when the time is right you will return to Missing Michaela. For now you sound like your heart needs a break. That's ok and you are NOT a disappointment, ever. Find joy where you can – someday you will have the answers. God promises!


  8. Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and many blessings and great fortune to you in the New Year. And of course blessings to Michaela this year too. Thanks for sharing your discouragement – I guess I am not the only one! Thank you for provoking dialogue on spiritual issues – I was impressed with the comments from others in the previous blog.DianaIt must be so difficult to have a wondering heart that has been wondering where your daughter is for the past 21 years. I am so glad you have a reliable law enforcement whom you trust. I check your blog everyday to see if there is news on Michaela. And when you don't blog for a while I start hoping you are at the police department because they have the final connection on Michaela. I hope that with the turn of events in recent months something will finally lead you to Michaela.I think you are doing an awesome job of shining Michaela's light. There is a little girl behind the Unsolved Mysteries episode. The world wouldn't know if it wasn't for your heart openly crying out in words on these internet pages. Thank you for telling us who she is. I love her little child spirit – especially the note to her baby brother for when he turned nine! Sounds like something I would have done. I hope you will continue sharing her and your heart.Perhaps God is directing you to reflect on these huge events in your life, He wants you to struggle with Him. He wants you to know His heart. Why won't God lead us to Michaela????? He knows where she is!!!! I don't know, but I hope with all of us praying, He will soon answer. I pray for God to heal your heart, to hear your cries, and to bring sweet Michaela home. Maybe God wanted this time with you, now that your kids are grown and independent, so you could reflect on Him and lead others to Him through your blog. And maybe this is a good time to refocus on your long lost daughter, the pain of her loss, and the hope and will of her return. Maybe a good time to write these books. I think you are a very smart lady- you have learned a lot through your daughter's lost. I haven't read your book on listening to your smart voice, but I am confident you have a smart voice. Maybe and hopefully through your writing, you will draw the answer to Michaela yourself. Oh, and I all I wanted to say is Happy Birthday. You are the first stranger I have ever written to on the internet. I don't ever enter chat rooms or anything, so I am behind the times. But I am truly hoping for an answer to Michaela!!!


  9. Somewhere out there,beneath the pale moonlight,someone's thinking of me and loving me tonight.Somewhere out there,Someone's saying a prayer,that we'll find one another in that big somewhere out there.And even though I know how very far apart we are,it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star.And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby,it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.Together, Somewhere out there,if love can see us through,then we'll be together, somewhere out there,out where dreams come true.—Don't put your heel down; don't put your heel down! —


  10. Sharon,I am pleased to hear you're writing a novel! What a wonderful way to express yourself. If you ever want to chat about the neuroses of a writer's mind, don't hesitate to find me.Here's to your latest endeavor; let go and let God…Penny Dawn


  11. Sharon,You are not a disappointment to anyone – not EVER! You are a truly a shining light, and you have taught me so much about hope and faith! I think writing a novel will be an ideal outlet for you, enabling you to release some of your emotions in a more comfortable fashion. You have plenty of friends who are willing to keep Michaela's face and her story fresh in the public's eye, so take some time for yourself, too, because you certainly deserve it!Jaime


  12. My mom has most of my grandmother's belongings that she's been hanging on to for 18 years. She can't let go of them. I have two things, a butterfly pin she'd wear on her lapel and her love that's forever in my heart. My memories of times spent with her may have become cloudy with the passage of time, but when I think of her I can feel her. And that's what's important. Great advice about writing. I have journals for my two children that I hope they enjoy when I'm no longer here. Also, I'm sorry your heart is so heavy with sadness. I'll pray for your God to bring you peace and tranquility.


  13. [[ Sharon….I was diagnosed with asthma and whooping cough [not a good combo!] and was too drugged up to read any blogs coherently. I just wanted you to know that I'll be catching up today, as I feel better. ]]Your thoughts about writing echo my sentiments exactly. While I consider photographs to be extremely valuable, a diary entry to me is worth so much more. Words cast a spell on me and I try so hard to express myself through them. It is my greatest hope to leave an extensive 'paper trail' wherever I go.


  14. I agree about words to an extent. However, if someone I loved had passed and I happened to read a very sad 'diary entry' of thiers they wrote on a day when they just happened to be sad, I don't think I could take it.What I do find incredible is that Jaycee Dugard kept a diary. First of all its incredible seen as though she was snatched at 11 years yet she seems so articulate and bright through her words. Secondly, its amazing that she actaully thought to document her feelings this way, almost like she was writing it for someone to find…who knows? But the truth is had the diary been found for example, after Jaycee had passed. It would have been too painful for the family to read those words…dont you think?


  15. Anonymous, we are talking about apples and oranges. I am talking about Words, and their origin and power. Their power in large part is that in writing them down, we are able to exorcise some of our most intense feelings — at least for those who are inclined to Words by nature. To me, it makes perfect sense that Jaycee would keep a journal, because it gives her an outlet to express feelings she couldn't otherwise express. What you are talking about is the problem others may have in reading them. Whether written by a loved one or an author, if a person wants to avoid those deep, gut wrenching feelings, then they should avoid reading the Words that carry them. But the bottom line is that just reinforces what I am saying about the innate power of those Words in the first place.


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