Paperwork: Try to remember the words, how they brought you together

There’s something sticky about words.

Words seem to have a natural adhesive that invites attachment.

They are like seeds in the wind. We voice them or write them and send them out, and they eventually cling and tether and burrow.

What grows can be amazing. I’ve seen it happen on many levels. Some kind of magic comes to play.

I know happily married couples who met online – in “chat rooms.”

Lonny Cain

Their conversations lead to love. It all started with a few words, back and forth. Between people who did not see each other … at first.

This was not a blind date scenario or the bar scene where the process seems to start with the visual – sizing up each other. Instead, couples discover the beauty of their partner in their words ... what they say. How they say it.

It’s interesting how you can see people more clearly this way.

It’s easier to share and reveal the inner self when writing thoughts down. There’s a different person inside each of us, not the exact same person we show the world.

The inner self does the writing. More honest. It’s also one of the reasons writing is good therapy. Comforting. Revealing.

Get two people writing to each other and pretty soon they get closer ... and closer ... and then there’s connection. Those sticky words build a bond.

Words, those sticky seeds, need fertile soil to take root, though. But everyone is fertile ground, I suspect. Because aren’t we all hungry for human connection and touching? The kind of touching that comes with love and respect and friendship.

And words do touch. Pen pals become lifelong friends. Or more. I think now about the many women who fall in love with men in prison after corresponding with them.

As I write this I am glancing at a classified section with many “personals” listed. From people sending words into the world hoping they take root somewhere.

Seems strange to see them in this highbrow publication I subscribe to. But the need for connection is not ruled by wealth or status or age or geography or culture.

Their plea seems universal:

“Intelligent, accomplished, slender, pretty lady with a delightful sense of humor in her 60s, seeks gentleman for love, laughter, and romance.”

“Active, fit retired physician 75. Bookish but not nerdy. Wide ranging interests. I enjoy art, read fiction and history, as well as enjoy film, theater, music, dinners, walks and travel. Seeking woman with similar interests for whatever develops.”

They likely will get responses. In writing, which leads to an exchange. With words that might stick.

Yes, they must be careful because they are talking to strangers. But also because those sticky words burrow in to fill gaps we so much want to see filled.

And for many that can be a good thing.

What happens, though, to the words that bring people to love and friendship?

Over time they go mum and remain unspoken. But what if they weren’t?

Who could you write to – right now – friends or loved ones of many years? Perhaps the person you are living with.

Let your inner self speak. Send the words out. You need to say them. They need to hear them.

They will stick. Again.

Lonny Cain, retired managing editor of The Times in Ottawa, also was a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet in the 1970s. His Paperwork email is Or mail The Times, 110 W. Jefferson St., Ottawa, IL 61350.