Friday, November 16, 2007

"As soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it's not a conversation anymore."

I've always had this uncanny fascination with words. I look up words almost daily in either the thesaurus or the dictionary. I love the way certain words sound. I love reading quotes that put words together in ways that make me think or in ways that help me discover new truths about the world. What's more, I love putting words together in new and interesting ways.

And yet, I love the image of words being disjointed. Two of the songs I'm currently listening to have this imagery embedded in their lyrics:
"Dear Jamie, I have a letter I would like to send / it's lacking strings of words with punctuation at the end." (by hellogoodbye)
"It reads like a letter with the words all broken." (by the Format)

I've come to the conclusion that the imagery of songs like these is my release from the startling reality that words present for me in every other communicative setting. For instance, when it comes to conversation, I have this overwhelming need to create a sense of order. You know, most conversations are stretched out, zig zaggy, or downright winding. In conversations where there's really good give and take, I go to great lengths to refer back to earlier parts of the conversation, to make conversational points of reference, to map the conversation in order to make it go in tight, concentric little circles.

When the conversation is more one-sided and I'm doing most of the talking, I feel like my circles are more oval than round - but I still try to bring them back around. When I feel myself starting to lose the line a little, and the conversation is stalling or coming to an end, I sometimes (without warning) circle back on an earlier point of conversation - just to make the conversation seem have a point or appear cohesive - often to the bewilderment of my conversational partner.

People who are very very quiet, like my VT companion, make me the most discombobulated. I start talking out of sheer desperation to fill the empty spaces. There are no circles to be had, and I can't even try because I'm just trying to resuscitate the limp and lifeless conversation, and breathe just enough air into it to keep a pulse.

Why, oh why am I so strange? I've been thinking about this lately - and the only thing that makes me feel better is that words are power, they are the life's blood of communication itself, and I take comfort in the intensity of Othello when he uttered "I here engage my words."

[Title quote is from "The Big Kahuna"]

3 comments:

Caroline said...

Don't ever change. I love the way you talk, and good for you for trying to have an actual conversation with a point. Circle away, baby!

trina said...

this whole thing is zig-zaggy!

Nichole said...

OK T, it's not nice to call someone's writing zig-zaggy unless you're talking about their handwriting! Speech, yes. Writing, no. It's like saying someone's hair is stringy, or they dress bad, or they're "stout".
Tsk tsk. Not nice. (But I know you didn't mean it, so I'll forgive you!)

 
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