I work with words. As a writer and a storyteller words are my basic equipment. Since I got my first paid job as a writer back in 1979 I have been engaged in the process of learning how to use my tools. The learning never stops.

            I read books. A lot of them. When I open a new one I am flooded with the presence of more and more tools. The words in books have been my education. When I left school at sixteen I entered the university of books and never left.

            You get so you’re really comfortable with expression. Years ago if you’d have told me I would stand in front of thousands of people and speak for an hour without notes I would have said you were crazy. But words empower you that way when you let them.

            That’s what I’ve discovered after all these years. You can have all the tools in the world but they only work for you if you allow them to. Allowing is the key to everything. As a writer words just sometimes fall out of the sky – the right ones, the perfect ones. If I allow them to fall.

             My people say that allowing is the power that follows choice in Creator’s plan. Two great gifts we are given to empower us in this life. You choose and then you allow. Walking theRed Roadas we say is the ongoing process of that.

            So I choose words to be the framework of my life and then I allow them to guide me in the work that I do. So far so good. Next year I will publish three titles in three separate genres – all because I allowed it to happen.

            But when I say the learning never stops I mean that. It’s taken me this long to learn the rules of grammar. For instance, when you say ‘I love you’, there’s a full colon stop. Then a dash and the other person says ‘I love you too.” Period.

            The punctuation of our lives happens in the heart not on paper. I’m learning that these days. The words I use with the people in my life are the tools I use to build that life. So I choose wisely and allow them to work – and the book of my life is becoming an incredible tale, well told and punctuated by feeling.


About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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