In hate with words

I’m in a hate relationship with words right now. I just don’t love them. I’m critical of them like I feel the world has been critical of me. I ask the adverb what it’s trying to prove, and tell it to stop trying so hard. Words are just words unless they’ve got some soul in them. I’ve been pairing them up in my mind, and making sentences, and then I pull those combinations of words apart. I don’t let them see the light of day. I criticize them out of existence. I’ve been told that I have a way with words, and I don’t know if this is a compliment or not. I think it’s intended to be one, but politicians have a way with promises, players have a way with women, attractive women have a way of getting out of speeding tickets. I have a way with words. I manipulate them to tug on a heart string, or to spur into action something that I’d like to see accomplished. I don’t want to write idle words. Words like that might as well go unspoken. I don’t want to write fluffy words that have no subtance or context. God knows, you can’t force substance, but many do and there are a lot of words to show for it. I want to fall back in love with words. I want to return to that honeymoon stage where every word had a story attached to it, and when paired with another history-laden word sparks would fly and beauty would unfold on a blank page. The mind’s eye would bring to life all that it could see and imagine by processing these words. But I’m in a far-away place right now. Not literally, but mentally. I’m not fully here. I’m not really thinking about words and their place in my life right now. I am quiet. My throat is getting backed up with all the things I never say. I tried humming in the car as I drove through the neighborhood and, even though words were absent, my mind started trying to attach words to these melodies, but I didn’t want to see a word, so I stopped humming and the drive resumed in silent bliss....coupled with emotional suppression. I’ve been listening to talk radio. Others can do all the speaking for me. They’re doing a fund drive on the public radio station, and these people try with all their might to fill a time slot with words tweaked in such a way that will enable them to siphon money from your bank account. I didn’t say much today, but I did mutter, “shut up.” I couldn’t stand hearing these pointless words mumbling on and on about nothing. Things could be simplified; “give us your money and we’ll keep reporting the news on this station.” That’s all that needs to be said in order to deliver the message, but instead they appeal to the various motivating factors inherent in all human beings. Some can be guilted, some can be influenced, some can be bribed, some can be selfless, some can be committed to maintaining what is. People break down at certain points and write the check. In return, they get an Imperial Pint Glass, a temporary tattoo, a tree planted in the forest, and the satisfaction of knowing that their contribution helps to keep the station going. The news continues. BBC World News hour comes on and I’m ecstatic. Ecstatic is a very strong word. It sounds like excited and static just hugged, which create static like the electricity sparking when a blanket is separated in a dark room. My mind, the dark room, started lighting up when the musical cue announced the forthcoming barrage of eloquently reported news from around the world. Oh, Owen Bennett-Jones you’re a rockstar. I love the way they say the words. It’s the same words, but from vocal chords that were raised to say the world differently. I start to love words again when I hear the BBC. They could be talking about genocide, war, and unemployment, but I am enthralled. Enthralled sounds like being “enthroned” “all” “around” with whatever it is that is you are supremely fascinated by. I’m stimulated by this noise and these old words sounding new. Oh, but my blood boils, and my anger rises when it cuts back to local broadcasting and I’ve got to hear from Donna Apidone again. She doesn’t have a particularly annoying voice, but when I don’t want to hear it it’s hard to, well, want to hear it. I continued working and muttered, “shut up” in such an agitated way. It’s as if someone had entered the room and was flicking my ear and wouldn’t stop. It was Chinese torture of the mind. I angered and angered, but there was no use. I didn’t change the station because, as much as I hate words right now, I still want to hear them. I still want them to enter my brain and store themselves for a time later in life when I can access them and deliver them eloquently and with love. Right now, I’m a blurper of words. Blurper is not a real word, but it’s perfect for that sentence because it sounds like “burp” and “blurb” hooked up and made a baby. It’s just a chaotic mess of chatter falling out of my barely parted lips. It’s like I don’t want to say anything at all, but after awhile people feel disregarded if you don’t open your mouth and speak with them like a human. Grunts only go so far. This hatred is disabling, and I’m seeing that it’s not very helpful to continue on in. But I need to start hearing something beautiful. I want to hear better words. Words that are infused with meaning and story and life beyond the air they pass through, or the page they’re pressed upon. Give me words, God. Please. I am also alright with silence, but I’ll confess right away that just because a room is quiet doesn’t mean my mind is a quiet room. Au contraire. Now that’s a lovely phrase. So delicately disruptive. “You may have been thinking such and such, but au contraire!” Quite the opposite is most often true. Life is au contraire. Not what you thought it would be, but not worse. Sometimes it’s better. I received wisdom from an older lady. Her words were “enjoy life.” Those are good words, potentially empty, but good advice if followed. She was a self-proclaimed “great giver of advice,” but failed to take her own and apply it to her life. Her husband had just died, and I said “sorry.” Sorry has the same syllabic rhythm as petty, and when held out too long sounds whiny or insincere. I said the word and hated it when it came out, but it felt obligatory, which reminds me of purgatory; a place to be very sorry. She threw her head back, waved her hand in the air and said, “Oh don’t be sorry. I’m not sorry.” I smiled because that felt like the most appropriate thing to do at the time and because I admired her light heart. “Do as I say, not as I do,” she said as she shooed me away to go and enjoy life. Enjoy life. In joy. I’m in it. Life is strange. Life is crazy, but I can be in joy while I’m living it. At least that’s what I think is true, if her advice is good. And its positive and straightforward nature makes me believe that it must be good. A commanding word is probably more effective than mere suggestions, or beating around the bush. I’m a master of beating around the bush. Some say I have a way with words, and it’s a way that is often long and rambling and unpredictable and I was told by my editor once that if you’re listing things in a sentence then it doesn’t necessarily need commas after each “and.” I felt free when she told me this. My uncertainty of that rule of the written word had been stopping me in my tracks and making me scratch my head, but now I know better. I know that I should enjoy life. Should, could, would, and then inevitably there’s a “but.” For now, my excuse is that I’m in hate with words. I should write more, I could write more, I would write more, but I’m in hate with words. That puts an end to that nagging thought. Though here I am, writing and rambling and trying desperately to fall back in love with these words and all the stories they’ve got to tell. I’ve got to stop being sorry, and enjoy my life. Just--as if adding that word “just” before a command makes receipt of the exhortation more palatable--enjoy life. Amen, which means “and let it be so.”

...ramble on...

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