I was sitting in my car, filling in time reading a book, while my little boy was at a birthday party. It occurred to me that the letter Q was typed in a font I'm not familiar with. Its tail had an odd squiggle that ended in a little flourish. Having noticed it once, these quirky Qs seemed to start leaping out at me from every second or third page. They were hidden away in words such as equivalent, quiet, quilt, question, cheque, equal, quite, require, inadequacy, consequences, square and quality. As I had time on my hands, I grabbed my pen and note pad to jot down the words I caught them in.
It surprised me that Q is such a well-used letter. I would've assumed it to be one of the rarer, dispensable ones that we don't often need. We groan when we pick up Qs for our Scrabble palettes. Now, to my amusement, I saw that Q is far more versatile and necessary than I'd ever thought. Just imagine that those who make the rules decided we need only 25 letters in our alphabet instead of 26, and we had to boot one out. The Q might have been one of my first choices. If we dispensed with it (thinking that m, t, s, n, c and all our vowels are more important) I could see that we'd soon come unstuck and feel very sorry.
That started me thinking that I felt a bit like the letter Q. As a Christian fiction author, in moments of discouragement I'd tend to think of myself as a somewhat more redundant person whose function isn't as important as those of others. I felt surrounded by the sorts of people who could be seen as an a or an m or a t. Doctors, social workers, nurses, teachers, pastors and missionaries, you know, the vital difference maker types. Somehow, I'd got the impression from people's luke-warm reactions as well as the solitude of my own craft that fiction authors are far more dispensable. But the letter Q showed me that's not true.
Writers, as the Qs of the world, we have our own unique role. We do add spice to the world. We write material that works on people's heartstrings to amuse and inspire. We encourage through the powerful medium of stories. We give people a valuable reason to take a break from their everyday lives and bless them at the same time. We provide the sort of uplift that may be over in a flash but adds flavor. We the encouragers, story-tellers and creators of beauty. If we stopped, I'm sure the world would notice and want us back.
Our quirkiness and quixotic qualities gives the world a unique burst of fragrance. There are a few Qs in that sentence. Let's persevere and encourage each other, as fellow Qs.
Paula Vince always wanted to write fiction and loves to evoke tears and laughter. She lives with her husband and three children in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia which she uses as the setting for her inspirational novels.