Monday, October 3, 2011

Writer by nature

My existence as a writer has just been thrown into a state of insignificance. I have just discovered, courtesy of the wisdom of Harlem Renaissance writer Gloria Naylor, that the written words I so carefully create and savor, are inferior to the spoken word. This seems like a trifle, but to someone like myself, whose emotions are most effectively and powerfully conveyed on paper, I am deeply wounded.
Naylor, in her 1986 New York Times essay "The Meanings of a Word", states that language is a mere subject, devoid of meaning without life. Until I read her essay, I never acknowledged the fact that written words, despite their poignancy and implications, are without all the feeling of reality. It is the fleeting emotions, the nuances of inflection and timing and setting that give words true meaning. It has, as of this moment, become my greatest frustration that whatever I hope to capture or create on paper will always fall short of the richness of life.
A single printed word is one-dimensional. When a word like "flower" is read, synaptic neurons fire and instantly conjure the most accessible images of petals and leaves. But a flower in the flesh is an all encompassing experience, one that ensnares the senses and temporarily stills the mind. Similarly, a passage can describe a chocolate bar for pages, but it isn't until one takes a bite that the rich flavor is truly experienced. Any writer can see the shortcoming of their trade, but refuses to face this truth. I am staring it in the face.
I have decided that my love for writing exists in dull shades of gray without the life experiences that color it. It is a sad and difficult truth, but there it is. But this doesn't mean that I lack an appreciation for life. Through my writing, I gain a more imaginative and whimsical worldview. I see beauty and mystery because I think in terms of poetry and prose. And what I cannot say, either out of fear of speaking too cryptically or lack of instantaneous inspiration, I can write. As I am now and always will.

No comments: