“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


The power of words

They just call it a scan.

I posted this on Friday & left it up for about an hour. Maybe a couple of you saw it. When I posted it I was angry - I took it down because when I'd posted it I was angry. I want to not give in to my anger here - I give in to it in so many other places; I want a place I can come to where anger doesn't live. I'm still annoyed at UPS, but not just because this very-needed package is no doubt lost, but because they are using words as if the meanings do not matter. They said to me that the arrival scan was not a physical scan. Truly. They said that.

Two days later I am still thinking about words. There's no way to get away from them. The news is full of them, and they are so rarely allowed to mean what they so clearly mean. There are signs everywhere - here in Texas, in both English & Spanish. Double words. We have signs on our business door - no soliciting says one, no public restroom says another. No ambiguity to those phrases - the words mean what they say. Both are ignored. Are they ignored because people do not expect words to actually mean what they say? Maybe so.

This morning I watched an episode of Trading Spaces - I didn't even know it was still on. But it is, and this morning's show featured a divorced couple, redoing a room in each other's home, daughters helping. One of the "art projects" for the ex-wife/mom was to paint words on a canvas. 4 words. Words to let her ex-husband know what a great dad he was, and in general what a good person he was, even though the marriage had ended. 4 words. She couldn't do it. 4 words. Not because she couldn't think of anything nice to say - she most definitely could - but because she was scared to put those words out there. 4 words. 4 truths. In big letters. For the world to see. For him to see. 4 words. The designer finally sat down with her & led her through it. 4 words. And then, she found more words - she was able to paint, in small letters, surrounding those 4 big words, a letter to him.

I have always used words in my paintings. They are always covered over - they are sometimes words of anger, sometimes words of pain, sometimes words of fear. Sometimes hope. I always paint over them, but they are always there. Even the paintings with words you can see have words underneath. I have no plans to ever let them stay in the open. My little secret.

Back when I was still a part of the dating world, I had words taped to the inside of my front door:
Is he smart?
Is he funny?
Does he kiss like fire?

I'd come home from a date, close the door & read those words.
It took until Michael to get 3 yesses.

And here's another secret. There are words hidden in each post here on my blog. At the very end. I type in words & then make them the same color as my background. They disappear. But they're there - at first they were just to give a little breathing space at the end of the post; aesthetic reasons. Now? Oh, now it's for me. A little magic potion, a little secret ingredient.
stirred not shaken


  1. When you talk about words they all seem to become magic. I enjoy the way that you put them together that always makes them read like they are singing. Your rituals are charming and make it all the more exciting. Who taught you how to sing your words and play with them in this way?

  2. i love the idea of invisible words at the end of your posts. that's marvelous!!

  3. Words! My pet peeve these days is when a person uses the phrase " well thats what I call it" Do they just think they can change the meaning of words in their own little world and other people will understand what they are saying?

  4. Cookie - I am trying to answer you using our laptop & I am a KLUTZ! If I can figure this lttle contraption out I can actually catch up on all my overdue emails by using this @ home. !!! Here's hoping. In the meantime, thank you very much!

  5. Julie - ;)

    My wink thing just looks weird!!! But it's a wink! Really!

  6. Deb H - That's so true. I hear people say that all the time. It's a Tower of Babel waiting to happen!

    :) Debi

  7. Words, words, words, words, words.
    They can be nothing. They can be something. They can nuture and heal. They can hurt and destroy.
    But, we choose how to use those words. If only we all had the wisedom to use them for nothing but good!
    Your observations once again, ring so true!
    How do you do that?? : )

  8. (wishing blogger had spell check in the comment box: wisedom?? wisdom)
    I forgot to comment about the words taped to the iside of your front door for when you were dating. How connected you are to yourself! I dove into my first marriage without that kind of a checklist. When I got divorced is when I had the wisdom to create one. And that's when I met the love of my life...it's been twentyfive yers now.

  9. i'll be back later...i got completely distracted...

  10. I don't always ask myself the motivation behind the words, spoken or written. When I do, they are more powerful.

  11. Paula & Mermaid - Yes! They can be nothing or they can be all powerful. Sometimes I want to say all the bad words I can think of whenever possible - I want to strip their power away, take away their power to hurt. Because they only have the power we give them, and that indeed comes from the motivation behind them.

    Thanks to you both.

    And you too, Robin, for the wonderful list of distractions i found in my email box.

    :) Debi

  12. Stirred not shaken. VERY nice.

    Very cool that you have words traveling incognito in your blog and hidden under the surfaces of your paintings.

    The story from Trading Spaces is intriguing--the idea of releasing words onto a canvas rather than paper, the difficulty of doing that with emotionally charged material.

    Sorry about your UPS problem. I wonder if it involved a cell phone. I have three friends whose cell phones were lost in transit.

  13. San - It was pretty amazing to watch that episode of the tv show. My heart just went out to the poor woman, but in the end, she did it. That's hard stuff to work through.

    And UPS finally showed up with the missing package today. Not a cell phone though. A big package - 55 lbs worth of something that goes onto the boat motor. The thingy that makes it lift up out of the water, I think. (As long as it works, that's all I really want to know! LOL!)

    :) Debi

  14. "Does he kiss like fire?"

    I. LOVE. It.

    Aren't we both so blessed. Smart, funny, loving, generous men who can kiss like fire. God is truly good.

  15. Hmmm...and I smile as I read that last comment from the lovely Relyn.

    I can say
    yes, and

    to those three questions now too...for the first time in my life. And there are so many other yes's to many other questions I posed.

    I SO LOVE the idea of having hidden words in your work. My brother has an artist friend who hides little drawings behind each canvas that will probably never be seen by anyone...but HE knows they are there.
    I so love your creative processes.


  16. Oh, no--your secret is out! But what a clever idea.

    Also like your intriguing idea about putting words into your paintings and then covering them up.

  17. Jaime - I am so happy for you finding those 3 yesses! :) And I LOVE the hidden drawings! We all need our little secrets, I think!

    Gina - Covering up those words is so helpful! I hope their intent leaks out! :)



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