Between the Urinal and the Stars

I was up bright and early this morning and then I fell fast asleep.

I like this that the writer David Mitchell says about language. He’s a damn finewordsmith and storyteller whose treats language as if it is a queen but writes it like it’s the working man. “I learned that language is to the human experience what spectography is to light: Every word holds a tiny infinity of nuances, a genealogy, a social set of possible users, and that although a writer must sometimes pretend to use language lightly, he should never actually do so — the stuff is near sacred.”

There is a definite sacredness to language. A certain tone, like when you tap a tuning fork, that must be dealt with if the words are to speak to someone else. There’s a real history to words, too. Nearly all are older than me! So they deserve respect. But then in the end you have to, if you’re a writer, come to terms with mastering them temporarily for your purposes but then knowing it’s their potency that will have the final power. I see words as being corralled in a timeless pasture until the moment comes to write and then they are released like wild horses and if you’re a lucky and talented writer you get to charge after the ones you want and they submit to a tether. But it’s always the ones that get away that really inspire and lead you endlessly back to language for a chance at something really grand.

Sometimes I get chagrined because I’ve got what Matthew Arnold calls, “the criticism of life,” that feeling of being trapped between the contingent and some longing for destiny, a middle state of poignancy where I’m not so much trying to escape life but feeling existential because I’m not engaging with it enough. Only inching towards its mystery as it keeps leaping away. What I’m saying it I can’t decide if I love Maine or hate it. I just read that Chandler reckoned you have to love or hate a place like you would a woman. But then I think, hell, at least I have some feeling and passion about this place which is some much better than a sense of vacuity, and surely that must satisfy the need to find a sense of belonging or else accepting.

You know, it’s not easy to be alive, but it should be glorious. Otherwise what have you? Property? Money? A flag? Ideology?


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