Well, if you’ve been around my blog or read many of my comments, you might be tired of hearing that phrase. I’m starting to think it should be my life’s motto. But, now it’s giving me a problem.
You see, I care about communication. I really don’t care about being a great writer. But I do care about being actually understood–of having what you hear be pretty close to what I actually mean (what’s the point, if that doesn’t happen?).
And I think when a reader or listener hears me say “Thank you. I was deeply moved by your words” too frequently, the meaning might start to be lost. “There’s no way she can be that deeply moved that often.” Only I can. Really. It happens all the time. And it’s no less significant to me just because it happens frequently.
Still, I wish I had some other ways of saying it, so that when I try to communicate being deeply moved (yet again), my words don’t lose their impact or be heard as meaning something less than what I mean.
That’s my preface and disclaimer before I once again say the words.
I was deeply moved when reading Doris Lessing’s acceptance speech of the Nobel Prize for Literature. As much as I love to read, I’m notoriously culturally illiterate. I had no idea who Doris Lessing was until I followed a link from a comment on Lingamish’s blog. But, what a beautiful speech and nice way to be introduced to her. She gets quite a few profound, make-me-think, concepts across. And weaves stories and pictures to fill out and make the concepts stick.
As I read the words of her speech, I hear a woman full of life and passion, who has an incredible gift for creating connections. Reading the speech I feel connected again to places and people I have known in Africa.
But, it’s more than that. She also makes me feel like I’m there, seeing people and looking in on places I’ve never known. Somehow, through the way she weaves her words, those people and places feel alive and relevant and understandable, even here and now, to me, in a country far away, living a life very different from the one she is portraying in the stories she tells. (Along the lines of Emily Dickinson’s, “I never saw the moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather look, And what a billow be.” Incidentally, Dickinson was born 177 years ago yesterday.)
Feeling that relevance and getting a glimpse into the lives of different people in a way that I can understand is delightful to me. All of that, and a whole lot more is what is behind the phrase “I was deeply moved by Doris Lessing’s speech.” Go read it. It’s beautiful.
And while I’ll never be a writer, nor do I even aspire to be one, I have a greater appreciation for what it takes for a person gifted with the mind and abilities to pass on stories, to actually be able to use that giftedness to write those stories down. To give the gift of written words. To craft that story in a way that it comes alive on paper, without the benefit of intonation, sound effects or body language to get your point across.
I get moved (really I do–I’m not just saying it!) thinking about things that touch me deeply, and which I “nearly missed” or which I conceivably could have gone my merry way without knowing. This speech feels like one of those near misses. So, in addition to being happy that I read it, I’m extra happy because I realize I truly wasn’t very far away from NOT having read it.