28 June 2017

Words


I made sure to put my hair up and out of my face the day after I took a food handler's permit. Because I felt accountable--not to state officials or even to consumers; accountable to the course itself--accountable to the words on the screen.

I sat in the car with my husband this afternoon, and again on the front steps with him this evening, and read out loud to him. He listened. We didn't converse. But a sweet connection settled between us in my mind. Because we shared the same words.

I took clam chowder and breadsticks to a lady who was convalescing from a heart attack. Hours later I received a long text from her that I drank in. She didn't thank me. She expressed her thanks. With adjectives, a record of her feelings, and specific details that made me feel I had stepped through the phone screen into a story.

I look to old friends for words. But the blogs are empty. Everyone, including me, is in the world of pith and pictures. One-liners, links, backup sources. Statements.

People post statements. It's easier. Safer, in a way. Our world has become a world of making statements. They are short; they can be backed up; they are concrete. I don't need brain cells to make them, just to back them up with someone else's.

Statements are clear. But expression is pristine.

Statements clarify. Expression is catharsis.

Extension of self. Connection. Connection with self. Connection with Others. In a beautiful way.

Statements deaden my creativity. Expression resurrects it.

The law drums statements into us. The law does not express. It states. (Statutes, statesmen, the State itself). The law takes words and fashions them into batons, rulers. Keep the time; raise the bar. Others take words, work them into statements, fashion them into clubs or bayonets, cushioned between equivocations or not.

Social media; it's a different species of social.

When I began law school, I inadvertently put expression behind me. The mechanics of law—centuries of bad writing, bad expression, for "good law"—choked it out of me. I didn't know I was consenting to that. Should I sue the mechanics of law for mortally constricting my expression? But I would have to state my claim; state my argument; back up my statements with other people's statements—they call it "language," not words. What would be the point.

There are many statements that lack life; many expressions that lack beauty. Both that lack humanity. But if it's alive; if it's beautiful; if it uplifts; if it frees, it's expression of the highest kind: poetry. Trees and heights, not sidewalks and blocks.

A poet expresses statements. A poet deals with beauty and uplift. A poet takes words and fashions them into a scepter. Something bright, benevolent, and beautiful. A king a thousand times. Have you tasted the beauty and empowerment in doing that? I haven't. For too long.

I miss the poetry. Poetry takes expression. Expression takes solitude and time. Time to feel, to sense, to unravel beauty. It takes one's own thoughts. It takes looking further in than the stomach and further out than what is right in front of you. It takes discipline. A law student with a family has discipline, but of a different kind. She has the desire, yes. The opportunity, the ideas, the ability...no. Not even the thoughts. The law, the feeds...so much of what we write and say and argue and fashion, "share" and give is someone else's.

I miss sharing my own. Without having to equivocate; or make a point; or be heard; or leave the other side no argument; or back everything up; or look to authority; or cringe every time I think about stating or expressing something because who is going to feel zinged and zing right back?

I give statements. But I share expression. I bond with words and Others. Through words. Through expression. 

Words...the itch in the fingers and the ache in the mind for them. One's own words. For one's own ideas. But it's like new shoes when you've bought your first house—the payments are the necessities. The shoes have to wait.

So, because I lack solitude and time—and brain energy—I try to put poetry into other things—a quilt, a meal. But lead-colored scrolls over a white college-ruled page possess a color, a movement, a taste of satisfaction that pinwheels and muffins don't. 

I got outside yesterday morning before 7:00. I think the early morning is the most poetic part of the day—it blooms with expression and promise. The rest of the world isn't up yet; fewer statements in the air.

As I walked and watched the sun-shadow patchwork over the mountains, images of a story thought up long ago sprang unbidden to my mind. They kept me company the entire hour. That doesn't happen anymore. 

I haven't ironed out the plot. But I have the images. The ideas. I know how pristine it felt to think them. I know how cathartic it will feel to give the images words.

Until then, this is a place for words. Not perfect statements; not flawless expression. Words. Words that hopefully beautify, uplift...share. Share in the sense that Wordsworth and Longfellow, Lewis and others share. I don't converse with them. I don't debate about their views and mine. I drink their expressions in and feel revived. I put my criticism cap off and let my mind and spirit rest. I put my almighty opinion, my endless fountain of wisdom from me, and just breathe and listen to the whispers they stir in my soul. Like leaves that rustle as the sun twinkles on the rocks in a trickling brook.

I breathe the sun and water-mist in. And grow.

I feel a connection with them, with Others, in my mind. Because of their craft, their scepters, their words. They own their worlds. They don't equivocate. They don't rupture and splay. They simply create beauty.

Through words.

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