To All the Words I Haven’t Written Yet

I was thinking about you tonight as I gave the baby a bath. She squirted me with her rubber duck and babbled an incoherent phrase, and my mind went to you because even though you don’t exist yet, you will soon enough and you will be as big a part of me as this girl who I am a willing slave to.

Some of you will be easy. You will commandeer my fingers and trick me into believing that I am wholly responsible for you. You will be neat and clean and minty and we’ll get along well because you’ll never ask me to help you move, but even if you did I’d be there at 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning with the truck.

Some of you will be hard. You will seem like a good friend when I first think of you, but then I will invite you for coffee and learn that you are completely cracked-out and that when I went to the bathroom you took my wallet from my bag. You will seem like a good, lost soul though and I will become patient with you and keep you around against my better judgment. I’ll eventually publish you in a misguided effort to pawn you off on someone else.

Some of you will be serious and intense. I will develop a crush on you and want to be around you all the time and drink you in because it is with you that real change will be made in the world. I’ll grapple with you and try to impress you, only to spit out ideas that merely hint at your hugeness. You will make me wear a black beret and shirk off tomfoolery and just focus for once on something that has depth and meaning. You’ll take me to rallies and motivate me to say things that triumph Truth and Dignity.

But then I’ll cheat on you with your twin brother: words that are funny. I’ll meet you funny words on the sly and admire my ability to recognize you in nearly everything that’s ever happened to me. I’ll be ashamed to admit that you were there at every funeral I’ve ever been to. Don’t you have any sense of decency at all? Couldn’t you have just realized your place? If you weren’t so likable you’d be a menace.

Some of you will get really popular. Everyone will like you because they know you too. I will briefly become popular by association. I’ll be your date when you get elected prom king. The only thing is, I won’t be elected prom queen. Someone else with poofier sleeves and fifty pounds less girth than me will get that distinction. But I’ll still be proud of you because I know you’ll be leaving with me. I gave you strength and resonance and taught you how to wax on and wax off.

Some of you will not be as popular but you’ll be OK with it because you are secure in who you are. Your grace and eloquence are inherent, and you will take stock in your depth. You will love me for me, laugh at my inside jokes, and allow me to cry and vomit you all out in a messy but necessary way. You are patient and delicious and your soul is old.

Some of you will be a mess of the hotness variety. You will look like you applied mascara and drank a blue Slurpee while participating in a rodeo. People will humor you because you mean well but they are all really wishing you’d just go away and leave them alone and stop raving that the moon is made of rubber bands and that Cap’N Crunch is the lovechild of Thomas Jefferson and Zsa Zsa Gabor. I’ll bring you home, sober you up, and take you out for breakfast the next morning and tell you to get your act together for goodness sake.

Some of you will be long. Some of you will be short. I will regret saying some of you. I will be proud of myself when I say others.

I will love you all. You all will be important. You will help me continue creating a world that makes sense to me. You will grow up with my own fleshandblood child and help me be a better parent to her. You will complete the story I’ve already started writing.

And one day when I’m gone and one or two people are trying to pin down just who I was, they’ll call you up and invite you for coffee. You’ll both laugh and talk and cry and think, and in some way I’ll know of your meeting and be happy.


  1. Strong and such touching words. It’s amazing how much we take speech and language for granted

    1. I totally agree. Language is tremendous. Thanks for commenting, Carla!

  2. I’m a little jealous of the concept for this post, but it’s so well-written I can’t even be mad at you for it.

    1. LOL stick around long enough and you’ll find something good to get mad at me for. Thanks, Katie!

  3. Brilliant, Emily!! My thoughts about the words I haven’t written yet would be brief, stern, and punishing. haha! Only someone as gifted as you feels good and makes friends with those future words. This was wonderful. :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa! My words can go hang out with your words while we take it easy and watch TV ;D

  4. I firmly believe that poetry must undergird all good writing. Emily, you are a poet. Case in point: “You will look like you applied mascara and drank a blue Slurpee while participating in a rodeo.” This is magical and perfect. Ah…

    1. Thank you, Willow! My best friend recently gave me a copy of Bird By Bird and it’s really inspired me to play more with my language. It’s incredible to me how good writing begets good writing.

  5. And they will all be a part of who you are. Brilliant!

    1. Thank you, MB!

  6. javaj240 · · Reply

    I think you summed up so very well how anyone who attempts to write anything feels about what they write. Inspiring!

    1. Thank you! I love how the writing experience is so universal yet personal at the same time.

  7. love this!

    1. Thank you for reading.

  8. sidney · · Reply

    You are so beautiful & gifted !

    1. Guys. THIS ^ is my mother in law. I am the luckiest gal on the planet.

      I love you!

  9. This is lovely, Miss Emily.

    1. Thank you! I had fun writing it!

  10. This is beautiful, Emily! I’m sure Words will accompany you happily in your life just as they have done until now. Especially after such a tribute!

    1. I certainly hope so! They have served me well thus far and I hope I do them justice as well. Thanks, Pixie!

  11. I loved this, Emily. Your words serve you in so many wonderful ways.

    1. They really do! I don’t have a lot of nice “things”. but at least I have my words. Thanks, Cathy!

  12. Love. This. Post. You’re a wonderful writer, Emily, and your words are so beautiful. Thanks for keeping me inspired.

    1. That means a lot to me because you are a wonderful writer too!

      1. I really like the way you worded it and the flow (and aw thanks, lady friend!).

  13. Lovely words. Lovely ambition. And I love that you worked the word ‘tomfoolery’ into a post…

    1. I would put it in every post I wrote if I didn’t think it would get old. It’s 30% of my entire vocabulary.

      1. Maybe it was also your daughter’s first word then? ;)

  14. So poetic Emily! You do have a gift for words and with each post you reaffirm this.

    1. Awww. thanks ;D I love words a lot and they do cooperate with me from time to time. (I usually have to bribe them first, though. They are basically two-year-olds.)

  15. This is a great post written from an interesting perspective.

    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing it.

  16. WOW. This is amazing. That’s all I can say!

    1. I love you! Bird By Bird really inspired me to write it. So thank YOU, Besfrinn!

  17. Is this story your new novel in the works. That sounds exciting. Hopefully, most of your words are just really good friends that stick around and make themselves at home on your pages. Also, this is probably the first time in ages that your posts have shown up in my actual reader rather than my e-mail.

    1. Ha! No, this isn’t book material. I’m not going to be able to start on that until this summer when my husband is home from work (he’s a teacher) and can watch the baby while I work.

      That’s funny about the reader. Have you changed the settings on it? Sometimes that thing ca be kind of wonky.

  18. Wow! Another wonderful post. I’m jealous. Please keep on writing!

    1. Thanks, Spatz! I will keep on keepin’ on.

  19. Wonderful post, Emily. Loved it!

    1. Thank you, Amy!

  20. You make me think differently about writing.

    1. I’ve been reading Bird By Bird lately and it’s also redefined a lot of what I thought writing is. It’s good stuff.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation!

  21. You got all mushy. Laaaaaaaaaame.

    Wait that wasn’t nice at all. As you can see, my words are clearly assholes. I’ll corral them and try to come back later with some more congenial ones.

    1. A lot of my words are assholes too. We should get them all together and drop them off at Buffalo Wild Wings.

      1. They might have a more asshole-y time at Hooters.

        1. THAT works a lot better.

  22. You are by the far the coolest, most clever chick I barely know. Love this!

    1. Thanks, Manny! Can I call you Manny? I think we need to develop nicknames for each other.

  23. Le Clown · · Reply

    Brilliant words.
    Le Clown

    1. You are too kind.

  24. This is brilliant Emily! Just wonderful. I love the imagery and the way you play with your words. Spoken like a true mother, as one could read this and imagine you writing it about kids you will have… love it.

    1. Thanks! I think kids are a lot like words. Sometimes they act up, but sometimes they’re pure genius.

      1. Yes, wonderful analogy! Really loved this.

  25. ” … Cap’N Crunch is the lovechild of Thomas Jefferson and Zsa Zsa Gabor.” How rumors start. Seriously, lovely post Emily.

    1. I still want to start the rumor that Avril Lavigne’s real name is Bess Thompson.

      1. Consider it started.

  26. Wow, incredible prose, Emily.

    1. Thanks, Mike! I appreciate it.

  27. Cute, love your style!

    1. Thanks, Seg.

      1. Thanks for your comment. Have a great day!

  28. Teresa Pate · · Reply

    Emily, Made me cry. You are so gifted with words. Dad is so proud of you. :)

    1. I love you <3

  29. I’m glad you mentioned waxing on and waxing off. It has a place in every post. Especially one about words. As those words are fabulous.

  30. […] easy task, and at times I felt like the evil Monsanto empire, but it had to be done. I kept twelve. Emily, Rachelle, Rich and Red, I cried when I deleted your […]

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