Updated: Sep 24, 2018
Welcome! Thank you for checking out the Hero Blog. I hope you’ll learn something new about words, writing, and language here.
I love words. They’re among our most unique creations. They take on life in the evolution of our beautifully complex language. They are autonomous. They can create strings of sounds and rhythms as though trying to sing, and some dance with others to form new meanings that change the way we communicate. They’re little, complex organisms that deserve our attention and study and respect. I’ve devoted my life to studying them, and this blog will be the first collection of my findings. I hope each post will help you learn something new about words. I believe that knowing what they are and how they work together to form meaning can offer users a great power over the art of expression.
Those of us who love words may have a story about “hearing” or “taking notice” of them for the first time. I heard them in an Ann Arbor hotel room, at about two o’clock in the morning eight years ago. I was eighteen and on a road trip across the US with my family. My brother, rolling in the bed opposite mine, had just complained about the light. I was reading a book, Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, and was so captivated by Kay’s prose I nearly wept with wonder as I drove to the end. Discovering the beauty of language was an ecstasy I’ll never forget. I couldn’t stop reading, so I turned off the light and found the quiet walls of the bathroom and a perch atop a carpeted toilet lid. I didn’t move until I finished the book early that morning, and when I went back to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I decided not to fight my insomnia. Kay’s words were a song I wanted in my ears forever.
Books were always a fascination, but I didn’t read them seriously until Tigana. Looking back, when I was younger, I think I was afraid to spoil them, in a way. When I was a kid, I sometimes asked my parents to buy me books to add to a collection I dared not read. I was suspicious that books and the words in them were much more than just things. They were mysteries meant to be untouched, secrets of the imagination that might blemish if leaked into the real world. That someone would create a whole world just for me to explore, and squeeze it all in the inches between two covers, obsessed me. But a world was only new when explored the first time, so I waited.
When I was a little older, a teenager, I shared a copy of Lord of the Flies with my brother. I imagined it was my link to Golding, who had been gone over a decade. I remember cracking it open and reading a chapter, pretending Golding himself were reading to me, his words the breath of a ghost. The experience, I remember, was a sensation, and even writing about it now, I feel wonder. Writers live forever through the euphony of their words. It was then, reading Golding, that I realized my childhood suspicions were real: books and the words on their pages were indeed incredible, powerful things.
But it was Tigana that marked a tipping point for me. Up until reading it, I was a teenager with no firm grasp on what I should spend the rest of my life doing. I knew what I liked: music and video games and books, of course. I often toyed with the idea of publishing work, but I never took it seriously because I thought I wouldn’t make enough money at it. After I read Tigana and returned home to Canada from the road trip, I enrolled in a college journalism program to learn more about words and how to use them as Kay did. I felt resolute for the first time. My passion had pushed me away from my doubts. And so there started my life’s true devotion: words build houses for spheres of imagination, and I will use them to help writers build stronger foundations.