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by BR Chitwood

How often do you use the word, ‘Soul?’ How often do you think about your ‘Soul?’

Mirriam-Webster defines ‘Soul’ as:

1. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life

2. a: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe

So, that’s enough, right? The two definitions pretty much say it all, and there are more definitions there in the dictionary if you want more.

‘Soul’ seems to me, though, such a huge word to be so small. Writers likely get the most use out of the word than the people who really work for a living — no anger, please, just adding a little levity here. Really, it seems to me that ‘Soul’ is not in too many mundane conversations. ‘Soul’ is usually saved for the philosophers, poets, preachers, Romantics, sentimentalists, and writers.

You can almost envision the literary expatriates who gathered in Paris between the period of World War One and the onset of World War Two…wtiters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Gertrude Stein to name a few — okay, okay, I’m name-dropping — but these were the people I read and studied in college and their lives got somehow interwoven with my own, with my ‘Soul.’ I can see them sitting at the sidewalk cafes talking in the afternoon about their writings, about how the devastation of war had impacted their lives. I can see them drinking the Bacchus liquids and debauching in the evenings, pausing in their fun and frivolity for serious and sober moments to discuss the condition of the ‘Soul.’ These were the people Gertrude Stein referred to as ‘the lost generation.’ Certainly, why not Paris? Why not gather in the great city of lights with so much art and beauty? It was the place to be if you were disillusioned by a world intent on war and destruction. It was the perfect place and time to discuss matters of the ‘Soul,’ and these great writers held those discussions in the finest style and with some of the most celebrated erudition prevalent in those days.

So, why do I post about ‘Soul?’

Guess it’s easy for me, an oldtimer looking back on his life, how he’s lived, somewhat of an anachronism in today’s fast moving digital world. ‘Soul’ is such an all-encompassing word. It holds such a fascination for me in these sunset years, but it has always held that fascination for me — guess ‘Soul’ for me is what writing is all about. We live, we pay taxes, and we die, but the ‘Soul’ offers us so many delectable scenarios of which to consider and ponder.

‘Soul’ is that defining part of us that we can’t pinpoint, can’t know exactly where it is, but we have to know that it is there. ‘Soul’ is everything Mirriam-Webster says it is, but so very much more. There are times when the directions we take as a world concerns me greatly. It is my hope that we can still take time, Paris or not, to discuss the implications of such an enigmatic and beautiful word.


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18 comments on “Enigma Of The Soul

  1. Soul–something I think a lot about these days, I imagine I write about it too… Thoroughly enjoyed your soulful discussion, Billy Ray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B R Chitwood says:

      Thank you, Bette. ‘Soul’ is the vine I cling to… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I share your desire to be able to talk about the soul. It seems that the more complex things become in life, the less we focus on the important stuff. Excellent post, Billy Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B R Chitwood says:

      Thanks, John. You please my ‘Soul’…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. B R Chitwood says:

      Thanks, John… It could be ‘age’ but, hell, I’ve been ‘syrupy’ all my life! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re good people, Billy Ray.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. B R Chitwood says:

        Such a pleasant sentence to complete my day! Thanks, good John – ‘good people’! Hi, Ladies!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😁 Hi Mr. Billy Ray.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. B R Chitwood says:

        Lots of hugs and soft pats!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. B R Chitwood says:

        meow – sweetly!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Gwen M. Plano says:

    I love your conclusion, Billy Ray. Especially with time, we come to know what “soul” is — even if words cannot fully grasp it. Thank you for sharing your reflection today! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B R Chitwood says:

      Thank you, Gwen. So glad you liked my ‘reflection’…


  4. Heavy stuff, Billy Ray. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B R Chitwood says:

      ‘Heavy’ but it supports our living! Always my best, good Tim.

      Liked by 1 person

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