Image: Writing to Father by Eastman Johnson. Source
Author: Corinne Morey
The Perfect Word
Have you ever witnessed the power and yet incompetence of words? They sometimes move nations and change hearts and yet are such small things; not even real if you think in linguistic terms. Words are human creations, barely sounds, that can simply fade into silence without reaching their goal. They are but mere movements of the air that sometimes bear meaning; but that is all. They are simply ideas put into a physical transmittable form. And yet these sound waves have the capacity to wring in your mind again and again and stick to your every thought, moving your soul.
Have you ever heard a string of words so beautiful that it stayed in your mind, echoing a meaning deeper than what your conscience can quite grasp? Like in a song or a poem, or even in a novel or someone’s speech. An experience described so perfectly and yet for some reason you had never thought of it; as if the author had reminded you of what really is; as if the writer had helped you – like you would a blind person – to see the world, or as if you had untied a knot in your brain you did not know was there – a description so bright, that you literally feel like someone shed a light on your thoughts. How come a person other than yourself can better express what you think and feel? How come you are only able to make the link once you’ve been pointed to it? Why is it that words are so hard to find? How can someone else’s words echo in you?
Have you ever searched, dug and maddened in the pursuit of the words and phrase that would finally make your mind clear; the words that would unveil your thoughts and let your soul flood your page, transporting you, soaring. Have you ever suddenly realized your whole body was stiff of the frustration of this everlasting chase? Or worse, experienced something that greatly moved you, yet once you attempted to put words to describe it, the feeling seemed smudged or simply disappeared? Loosing your pass to paradise.
Words are paradoxical things. All these words that we use everyday, on purpose or unwillingly, cautiously or very lightly,… how can these elements translate so much of one’s reality and yet fall so short of it? How can one use words to write about words? Our experiences are so much vaster than our words could possibly describe. For we are all limited by our language’s grasp of reality. So why do we still persist in this pursuit of the words that will translate our minds? For once you take the time to truly verbalise what you mean, you often find yourself resourceless when it comes to catching the perfect word.