Anyone who tries to write soon realizes a daunting truth. There are countless possible stories to tell, and numberless ways to tell each one. Infinity multiplied by infinity amounts to a whole lot of indecision!
Last weekend I stood on a patch of beach on Shelter Island. A sailboat moored nearby fascinated my eye, and I puzzled over its profound complexity for several minutes. How could I accurately paint that sailboat with words? How could I phrase the most perfect description? Is it even possible? With a million words is it possible?
As I watched the bobbing boat and struggled to sequence potent adjectives, a sudden thought shook me: Writing’s purpose, like art’s purpose, isn’t to replicate the world. It’s to stretch our minds. That is all.
Words are limitless. As limitless as the universe. They allow us to travel anywhere, in any direction.
A few well-directed words can focus our minds (for a moment) on overlooked things; they can help us see vague things more vividly. Words can seek and memorialize those things that seem important. Words tossed about can provoke hidden feeling and allow us to draw nearer to others. Words, when magical, can help us to discern whispers of meaning in the echoing vastness around us.
Our lives are finite. But the infinity that is contained in words can expand our lives. That is their purpose.
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Today a very cool new public park opened. It’s called Pocket Park. You’ll find it near the corner of 13th Avenue and J Street in East Village, which is a booming neighborhood in the east part of downtown San Diego. Tucked between buildings on either side, the clever little park will make a great gathering place for the neighborhood.
Large letters on the ground and stacked pallets form a gigantic word find. The puzzle contains words like PADRES and PETCO, which are associated with East Village. The Downtown San Diego Partnership helped to make this new park a reality.
Looks like a great place to relax and read a book!
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This small monument to William Shakespeare is located just across from the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, not far from the Old Globe Theatre. The San Diego Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden can be glimpsed in the background, beyond a fence.
The words beneath the Bard’s sculpted head and pen compose the memorable conclusion to his Sonnet 18:
“So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
These nearby tables in Balboa Parks’s theatre complex are a fine place to find life in the written word.