1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    How words fail the living?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Garball, Jan 16, 2014.

    Originally, I was going to post this in the "poetry" forum, but thought it might fit just fine here.

    I wanted to write a love poem. I wanted to tell my future wife and mother of my children how much I love her and how I would rearrange the heavens just so the view out the window is better. Then I realized just how poor a wordsmith I must be.

    Similes? Metaphors? To quote Bill the Cat, "Pfft."

    Words have moved nations to war, peoples to rise, made the biggest man cry; yet, I can't find bigger words than "I love you."

    The turning of your lover mid-stride during a casual walk to face you. I love you.

    In the heat of passion, when the thin wispy hairs behind her ears cling to her neck with dewy perspiration. I love you.

    A long embrace. A deep stare. A whisper. I love you

    A plate of nachos. A college football game. I love you.

    Can the real feelings of those moments be captured in written words?
    Imagine a bloody crime scene and you are a detective entering the scene. In real life, the worst I could hear would be, "There's a lot of blood." Heck, that's enough to present the mental image of a pretty bad scene, but the words just don't truly convey the message of how your ten year partner would let you know how bad it is in there.

    Is there a level of feeling so high that our written words cannot reach? A depth of "you had to be there" that letters drown in?

    Maybe my neophyte fingers on a keyboard are those of an adolescent boy's, fumbling at the bra strap of literature...
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    As it is said in Eastern philosophy, words are not the thing they aim to represent. In other words, they can never represent the "suchness" of something. Therefore, in my opinion, the suchness of any feeling, action, or scene can never truly be described using words.
     
  3. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I like that. There is much realization in that statement; like it is understood that no matter how good the sketch artist is, the picture doesn't really look like the guy.

    *by Eastern, do you mean the Carolinas or something?
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Haha, no. I mean Asia (specifically Indian and Chinese philosophy).
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Communication between people is like a passing play in football. You need a good quarterback to throw the ball, but you also need a good receiver to catch it.

    Writing is not just you; it's also your reader. You throw, the reader catches, and if it works, both you and the reader experience a wonderful feeling, like a victory. You can be the greatest poet in the world, but if your reader is utterly insensitive, the connection will not be made, and, at least in that instance, your play is a failure and you feel terrible about yourself. On the other hand, readers who are sensitive will receive your words in a far more powerful way, and will make you feel the way the writer intended you to feel, and you are both successful.

    I've noticed that, in my own life, I've become much more sensitive as I grow older. When I was in my teens and twenties, poetry didn't hit me as hard as it does now. It wasn't until I discovered Robinson Jeffers in about 1985 or so that I started getting into poetry. Then there was Walt Whitman, William Butler Yeats, and a few others, and now, I'm a good receiver of poetry. I love many poems in a way I never could when I was a kid. So even if the reader isn't a good receiver of your poetry now, it might be that, in ten or twenty years, your poetry could be very important and meaningful to them.

    People grow and change. Don't sell yourself short. And whatever you do, don't assume that words can't reach hearts the way you want them to. I don't believe there are emotions that can't be communicated - human experience is, after all, at least somewhat universal, and what you write will someday mean something to someone.
     
  6. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, yes, I do the same. If I write a piece that people just don't get, or they think it is horrible...I just tell them I'm not a bad writer, they are bad readers!

    So go ahead and give that love poem your best shot, and if she doesn't like it just tell her she has bad taste and wouldn't know a good poem if it smacked her in the face like a tax bill at the end of the year. That should surely get you laid after a night of fine dining at the local Golden Corral, besides if she doesn't lie to you and tell you how wonderful the poem is, then she isn't the right one in the first place, no?

    That's the best thing about our real loved ones, they know when it's the best time to lie to us.
     
    Trish, Cerebral and Garball like this.
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    unfortunately, the lips and the ears are not always perfectly attuned to each other, so the intended meaning of the speaker may not equal the perception of the hearer... and body language while speaking can also be easily misinterpreted [or disclose the speaker's actual feelings that belie his/her words!]

    which is why words alone are not always enough and actions to prove them are most often needed to achieve the desired effect...
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Try narrowing your scope.
    Maybe don't try to capture all those years of love - how about 1 minute. 1 moment.
    Whenever I'm faced with a big idea/emotion and it looks impossible and I think how can I cover it - I usually end up having to back up. I can't cover it all. But maybe I can capture something of it and they can get a hint of what I mean view the tip of the iceberg.
     
  9. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't get me wrong. @Garball, but this:
    ...this IS poetry. Re-read it. Aloud, if you prefer. Do you hear the rhytm? The way words form their own "meaning beyond meaning" by the weight of their form?
     

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