Today I’m feeling just a bit nostalgic. Earlier this week, on the news announced the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was closing the tents for the last time. I remembered my visits to the circus as a child, and found myself smiling. Even as an adult, I saw evidence of this great circus. There were times when I would have to take a different route into Palm Beach because the Elephant Walk was taking place. You could see the excited children lining the sidewalks waiting for a glimpse of the mighty giants. Yes, there is an excitement which only comes with events like the circus, and if you’ve ever been to one you will understand.
Childhood Events Disappearing into History
I didn’t think much more about it-after all life does go on. Then this morning, I had to wait at the railroad crossing for a train to pass. I watched in astonishment as car after car roared by, loaded full of equipment from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
On that train, were all the trucks and rides and cargo the circus uses and each item labeled clearly with Ringling Brothers. I realized I was watching part of history pass me by. Never again would that train pass through our town on its seasonal tour through the southern towns hosting the circus. Just as the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show disappeared, now the circus would too.
How sad my future grandchildren will never see this. Other shows are going the same way; like the great white orcas at Sea World. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong the shows are being closed, that’s not up to me. I’m just saying a part of our history is being closed; a part of our history our children will never experience. And there are things in my life my parents experienced and I never got the chance to either. Our life moves at such a fast pace it’s hard to keep up with it.
The Written Word for Preserving History and Communication
But I’m grateful for one consistent thing that has always been in our society (and hopefully always will be): the written word.
Our language has had changes over the centuries, a never-ending expression of what is happening in our world. From countries around the world to the communities we live in, we all use the written word.
The language we use can express what each person is seeing, feeling and experiencing. The words may change to reflect the slang of the area or time, but the ability to instruct and communicate both our thoughts and feelings stays with us.
And the written word is a physical form of our language. A way to pass our thoughts to each other, telling a story, recording a historic act or leaving instructions for the next reader.
It doesn’t matter what form it you viewing, it’s a communication tool. Whether you’re reading from a hardback or paperback; an e-reader or a computer screen, it doesn’t matter. What matters is you’re reading words which makes sense to most. We can put those letters together and form words that form sentences to convey thoughts.
As a writer, it is a great and awesome responsibility to carry on the tradition of the written word. While life rushes past us, new things emerge and old things disappear. But the written word is consistent as our communication. Without this, as a society, I feel we would be lost.
A Writer’s Obligation
It is our job to record the things important to us. Be it fact or fiction, the writer is tasked with putting down the words to be read by the next person, continuing the line of information. We are graced with the ability to use words to create a visual image of the stories we tell. From fantasy to horror, romance to comedy, mystery to facts, we the writer have an obligation to convey through selecting the right words our tale.
We can create something beautiful to read, or a simple listing of facts and instructions. The results of the right combination of words on paper will produce something completely different from one author to the next. There is no right or wrong story. Instead it is the matching of a story to the reader.
Finding the chemistry between a writer and a reader can be as exciting as going to the circus. There is a different act for all to enjoy. Some may enjoy the clowns while others the high wire trapeze act. Each time you go to the circus, a differ act draws you in to watch.
Is it any different from each time you go to the bookstore or library to select a new book? Your desire might be different with every selection. Each choice can open you to new information and new styles of writing. For the reader searching for something new, the possibilities are endless. For the writer, the words we seek are there, understood by most, waiting for us to select how they will tell our story.
Written by Victoria LK Williams