I speak English. I can say a smattering of words in other languages but I am only fluent in one. And I must say I do enjoy this language. I enjoy it’s inefficiency, I enjoy it’s inexactitude. Let’s face it, it’s a bloody difficult language to learn. ‘We park on a driveway and we drive on a parkway’. Does that even make sense? We can use 10 words to say two and we can embellish like a master painter. It’s fun!
I admire people who come to this country with little or no English and they take the time and effort to speak well. I have met people that I did not know were not native born who spoke this language fluently. That impressed me. I think people who grow up here can be lazy. Oh hell, we can all be lazy! We slide into slang and we short form everything. And the double meanings can be hilarious. For example: ‘He wound a bandage around the wound’. And that’s not confusing?
I love to play with words. They are my sandbox. I was taught the rules on how to form a sentence, form a paragraph at a young age. Now, in some cases, all of that goes out the window with me waving goodbye, jubilantly. Because sometimes the rules need to be broken. I’m not bending, I’m trashing.
While I definitely want to get my meaning across, I am also concerned with rhythm, with cadence. There is almost a musicality to my work. And I am not musically inclined, not by a long shot. But I hear these poems and stories in my head and they tell me where they want to go. Sometimes I go along for the ride and sometimes I fight them tooth and nail. I rarely win.
Now I know this makes me sound like a crazy woman. And maybe I am.(Are any of us actually sane? What is sane? Who decides? Sorry, tiny tangent, back on track.) I don’t know how my mind works but I know it spends a great deal of time moving words around. When I have a focus, an idea, my words tend to eddy around it like an embrace, a hug. I’ve written poems in 15 or 20 minutes simply because everything gelled quickly. Some of my best poems are written in far less time than would be expected. Other words need to percolate for a while. And then others sit for months, years and they won’t gel. And then one day everything falls into place.
Communication is the cornerstone of our species, of all species. Sometimes it is done well and unambiguously, other times it can cause wars. But we need more than just utilitarian communication. We need to sing. We need to reach for the stars with words and paint the planet with our prose. We need to plumb the depths of our psyche with expressions of our feelings, our wants and our desires. We need to share our words. Together.