Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 30, 2016

The Music That Words Make

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed introducing words to blank paper. Writing is a creative process, much like an artist transferring color to canvas. If you asked me to choose between public speaking or writing, I would choose writing every time. Perhaps that’s because once written words find a home on paper, you can stop by for a visit again and again.

When I was a kid I would make my own journals to chronicle my Scouting adventures. Nothing fancy. I would cut sheets of notebook paper into small rectangular pieces and then saddle-stitch them with safety pins. These homemade journals fit nicely into my pocket or pack along with a stubby Number 2 pencil. I later graduated to spiral notebooks to record my thoughts, poems, and miscellaneous ramblings.

When I started traveling I fell in love with journals. Finding just the right journal for a trip became an adventure of its own. Over the years I amassed quite a collection of journals and filled the pages with my handwritten reflections and an occasional map or illustration. Reading these old journals is like visiting with old friends. Each page stirs my memories and makes me thankful that I took the time to chronicle my global adventures.

Journal in Gobi Desert
I recently found a couple of pics of me writing in a journal. In one pic I am seated in my berth aboard the Trans-Mongolian Railway. I was traveling from Ulan Bator, Mongolia across the Gobi Desert to Beijing — a journey of about 26 hours. It was an amazing experience, especially when we crossed the border from Mongolia into China. The gauge of the rail changes at the border, so the undercarriage of each train car must be changed before the journey can continue.

Journal in Beijing
The other pic was taken in Beijing. There I am seated at a table, writing something in my journal after finishing a meal. In those days before smart phones, my journal was my constant companion. If I wanted to record a thought or some experience, then I had to take the time to write it down or risk forgetting whatever it was that might have made an impression on me that day.

Finding these old pics reminds me of how much I have enjoyed journaling through the years and that writing is indeed a pleasure. And although I now use a keyboard more than a pen, I continue to enjoy the discipline of writing. I confess that I like the ease of writing on my computer, but I still love a good fine-tipped pen and a journal filled with blank pages.

Like many writers, American novelist Truman Capote understood the pleasure of writing. “To me,” Capote said, “the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” It’s hard to explain, but Capote is right. To those who love to write, the words on a page are like notes on a score. I love the music that words make. Perhaps that is why I can’t stop strumming and will always love the pleasure of writing.


  1. Thanks for sharing the “music” your words make with carefully chosen words. It is always a joy to read your reflections and wise words. I, too, prefer printed over spoken words.
    The process is messy and lengthy sometimes, but a great way to ponder and think through ideas, as well as simply record and remember! Thanks for the encouragement to be more disciplined in journaling travels as well as my spiritual journey. Many are blessed by your efforts, from your quest for the best burger in Texas to your various travels sharing the gospel to insure and distant parts of this world.
    Write on!

    • Thanks, Cathy. I appreciate your kind words, readership, and friendship.

      • I appreciate you, Pastor Omar! I always read what you share, but don’t respond often. These electronics are fun tools but are time thieves!
        I now see a typo in my earlier comment, and I have no idea what word I thought belonged where I wrote “insure.” Now my brain will not give up the word! Aging is such fun.😊

      • Believe me, I totally understand 😉

  2. Hi, Wendy:

    I thought you might identify with Omar’s thoughts. He’s a missionary and the brother-in-law of a good friend of mine in Corpus Christi. This weekend the whole family is gathering in Katy for Omar’s 60th birthday (he’s now missions pastor at a large Baptist church there, but still leads several mission trips every year, most recently Thailand, Jordan, Egypt, and Central America).


  3. Don’t stop strumming. Your words make beautiful music

    • Thanks, Ms. Pearl. I appreciate your encouragement.

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