Monday, April 14, 2014

Word of the Week - 6

Since this is still National Poetry Month, the Word of the Week is WORDS.
Illustration by Kai Pannen.
Today's author of Poem-A-Day is Gregory Orr, who said, "When I write a poem, I process experience. I take what's inside me — the raw, chaotic material of feeling or memory — and translate it into words and then shape those words into the rhythmical language we call a poem. This process brings me a kind of wild joy. Before I was powerless and passive in the face of my confusion, but now I am active: the powerful shaper of my experience. I am transforming it into a lucid meaning."

Those of us who are not poets still face the task of wrestling, shoveling, wrangling and subduing words to do as we would have them do, to speak our truths.  Recent experiences with upgrading land lines and internet connections made me acutely aware of being precise about the questions I asked, about verifying what I had been told and then, when bits went awry, of explaining the situation unambiguously to the next representative.

Caring about words can be burdensome.  When only THE word will do, not finding it in the memory bank causes distress.  Second-best is not good enough in wordville.   As a girl, my mother had taken elocution lessons.  In those days it seemed to matter more than it currently does whether or not one could speak clearly and confidently.  As a result, my sister and I grew up following her patterns of speech.  Many a caller on the other end of the phone could not tell one of us from another.  It was once pointed out to me that I leave spaces around my words.  Yes, I do.  Without those space, I am more than capable of just blurting out any old thing, which can happen even with the spaces, but the chances decrease.

My admiration for poets is without limit.  They are my magicians, well, along with musicians and those who write songs for they have their own language, a version of words unknown to the uninitiated.  There is an aspect of writing that I think of as akin to moving furniture, if one had all the furniture in the world to choose from.  Words arranged just so become image, metaphor.  What the poets possess, the rest of us aspire to.  It is not different than the alchemy of cooking, knowing what a pile of ingredients will taste like when combined.  Words have their own alchemy, are their own alchemy, a wizard's tools, the wonder of letters stirred together to make this, Gregory Orr's "lucid meaning."  We can always hope.

Rave on words on printed page.


Kass said...

Words as furniture. What an interesting metaphor, especially as I rearrange my living conditions constantly. I enjoyed this post.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Thank you. Do you agree that both need to fit together well - and I am not skilled at doing that with my living conditions, maybe words become the substitute? xo

Kass said...

Yes, I agree both need to fit together well. Is everything related to everything?

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Yes, I think everything IS related to everything. Right now I am trying to stop the deluge of spam from my email to unsuspecting recipients in my address book. Some stuff makes me so weary (not your problems but I am frazzled by this intrusion). Mostly it does seem as though in some measure all things are connected. xo