Last night, at our Salon evening, we made our usual fond toast to one another; a  salutation that rose spontaneously from a conversation a while back, and which has remained a part of our gatherings ever since:

“To the family we choose.”

As warmed as I am by that declaration every time I hear it, it was the sound that accompanied it that gave rise to this post. The sound of good wine glasses coming together.

The point? Bear with me, I’m getting there….

That sound—that clean, pure, crystal note—is the exact sound I hear when a passage I’ve written is exactly right. It is unmistakable, that tone generated by a felicitous combination of words. It exists outside of story. It exists outside of me. And it’s beautiful.

Like the adoring friendships that give rise to our toast, there is nothing planned about the sound; no way to force it to come to the ear. It just happens…but not always, and not predictably. The ebb and flow of the story don’t naturally always make room for those melodious combinations of thoughts and magnificent language.

That’s a good thing: Hearing that sound without pause would make the page too rich to read.

The words are the glass. And the wine that fills it. Gathered together, a thing to live for. Like the family one chooses.

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