Janette Johnson Melson
My Lifelong Love Affair with Words
I developed a love for words at a young age. As a toddler, I recognized that those around me used more words than I did to express their wants and needs. They didn’t just say “drink” when they were thirsty or “cracker” when they were hungry. Realizing this but having a limited vocabulary, I made up my own words to complete my sentences. So, “I’m thirsty” became “Diddle iddle iddle dink,” and “I need my pants” became “Diddle iddle iddle tets.”
As I grew older, I also fell in love with the written word. I penned my first poem when I was six years old and filled notebooks with other poems and stories throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was so determined at the age of 15 to become an author that I was the youngest charter member of the Cookeville Creative Writers’ Association in my hometown. My love for the written word, though, did not stop at my own writings, as I was a voracious reader also. One of my favorite places to visit as a child was the library. I spent so many happy hours there, just wandering up and down the rows, taking in the sight and smell of all those wonderful books, finding just the right ones to read. In fact, the first place I drove myself to the day I got my drivers’ license was the library!
Recently, something reminded me of a favorite picture book from my childhood about homonyms and homophones. (For those who may have forgotten, homonyms are words which are spelled the same but have different meanings—like a baseball bat and a vampire bat. Homophones are words which are pronounced the same but spelled differently and have different meanings like rain and reign.) I can’t remember all the words in the book, but the one I do remember was about forks in the road. The illustration was of eating utensils as roads. As an elementary student (and a nerdy one, at that), I thought this was so clever and funny. By the way, I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a geek. In fact, I embrace it!
So, I guess it’s no wonder that I am still pursuing this dream since my love affair with words continues to this day. I am thankful that God gave me this dream and, hopefully, the talent that goes along with it. (I guess we shall see. LOL.)