Sunday, February 03, 2013

When Words Fail

During significant or profound moments in life - birth, death, marriage, other milestones - when called upon to say something, to speak before my community, I often discover I cannot find the words.  Nothing seems adequate to the emotion of the moment.  Words fail me.  As The Writer, this is disturbing, embarrassing even.  I should be the one most able to distill the meaning of those moments into words.  All around me, those who do not name themselves writers stand and speak eloquently.  They find the words.  I find myself standing at the bottom of the mountain of emotions and significance and no words are enough.  Words fail me.

Perhaps it is because I cannot extricate myself from BEING in that moment enough to give it words.  Perhaps I am someone who needs distance, time, perspective to shape such experiences into words.  Perhaps it is my lack of confidence.  I don't believe I could possibly succeed in expressing the truth of such moments, and so I release myself from that burden.

Perhaps it is simply a question of form.  I don't often write poetry, and in these big moments of life,  I sometimes find my feelings expressed best in the poetry of others.  Maybe poetry's particular quality can best hold the mystery of such moments.

Fortunately for me, the community of writers spans the entirety of history, all of space and time, and the full tapestry of human existence, so where MY words fail me, the words of others do not.

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