"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Language Is A Virus: Or at Least Laurie Anderson Says So

Words have never been my strongest suit.

For instance, the scent of the mogra and the gulab, the chandan or the champa, that I light daily during devotions or ordinary routines such as the washing of the dishes speak as much to me as the words playing over the radio during the NPR news. The sound of the river that I frequent speaks as well to me; as does the dappling, off-on patterning of the sunlight and shadow through the leaves to the path; as does the sensation of the grip and give of the dirt and vegetal matter through the soles of my shoes on the soft earth by the water as I walk. More often this input is more favorably received by me than verbal language.

Why then would I begin a blog?

Dear reader, it is because I wish to address this, my prickly relationship with the written and spoken word. I know of no other way to do so then to practice writing. Those who know me might suggest that I have ample opportunity to do so, as I am a graduate student in special education. Plenty of writing, that, dear neroli, you might say. And you would be correct. It is for the abundance of graduate writing that I need to practice the practice of writing.

A colleague with whom I will no longer be working gave me a parting gift: she told me that I would just have to get over my displeasure of writing. Thank you, Miss B, you are absolutely right.

So here I am.

6 comments:

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

You write beautifully - but I understand the discomfort and the best way around that is precisely the path you are taking. Welcome to the blogosphere - I very much look forward to t the pearls you will cast before us swine. I was just thinking I needed to write you today - but was so tired I couldn't gather the mind power. I am always amazed how the connection seems to occur magically in such cases!!

neroli said...

Oh, dear one, I so love that connection! Thank you so much for visiting on my first day; you are so kind. Pearls before swine---my mind keeps going to that other old saying---which came first, the chicken or the egg? for some crazy reason. I always have a tendency to see myself as the mud the pearls fall into, and the casting agent and the pigs traverse! It's all a part of the whole cloth, I suppose...? But I am glad, excited, and nervous all at once to be here, so your presence here means so much---

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

MUd - salt of the earth, clay - I suppose it depends on your perspective.Personally I think I like being porecine - we are a much maligned ilk more worthy of pearls thatn most people might think. (Of course I risk a Miss Piggy joke here).

I have lots of neckties said...

Thank you for inviting me to join your writing venture. You probably already know who this is from my display name! In addition to what you've already realized (i.e., that writing takes practice), I can tell you from experience that good writing doesn't come easy, even for people who do it for a living (so-called "good" writers).

In fact, as someone who has been in corporate communications in one fashion or another for close to 20 years, I can also tell you that writing at times can be downright agonizing! There are times when no words materialize, times when the wrong words show up and won't leave, and even times when the right words appear and then vanish in the next second, just as you reach for the pencil (or for the Alphasmart, as the case may be)!

Keep at this...you're on the right track.

neroli said...

Dear artist,
It is of no small significance that Miss Piggy is one of the most enduring of all the characters from the Muppets! You've reminded me that I must always be present: an attribute I usually give to the mud; yet clearly this is not always so!

neroli said...

Dear Neckties,
Your presence here is greatly appreciated. You must know that you are a great teacher to me as well as to others who come in contact with you; your encouragement is much appreciated.
It is because of wishing to be more facile with words as you and my pal purpleworms that I've set up this little shop.