Thursday, October 30, 2014

`Words Kept Getting in the Way'

Dr. Johnson offers consolation: “Alas, Madam! How few books are there of which one can ever possibly arrive at the last page.” 

“Lips, let sour words go by and language end:
What is amiss plague and infection mend!

INK BOTTLE“If you have it, you don’t need to have anything else; and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t much matter what else you have. Some women, the few, have charm for all; and most have charm for one. But some have charm for none.”
~ J.M. Barrie, What Every Woman Knows
Some writers cast a magnetic field across the bookish world, attracting like-minded readers and fellow writers, and repelling others. Both services are useful.

“Media Dragon does not write for effect, or to enlarge his own claim to consideration. He writes what he thinks is true, however awkward it may be.” Phonies are rattled by truth...

“The vision, spare and authentic,
Of an intellect I now know
As savage, luminous, and just.” 

“For all that you appreciate
The underlay of the absurd
Beneath each surface, comedy
Of things as much as lacrimae
Rerum, I’d say your outlook is
--Although justified by log—
One that, to what I call my mind,
Appears inordinately bleak:
Nihilistic would be the word,
But that, against all evidence,
You celebrate what is, and God.” 

Sometimes words are stuffed to bursting, like fat sausages, with meanings. One pities (and envies – think of Shakespeare, Swift,et al.) those learning English as a second language. Take this passage from Cold River the coldest war river ...

Weeping at times, but mostly happy, the little village of a few hundred souls has a robust sense of humour. Vrbov's dual nature is evidenced by more than just the emotional tides of the people, for even the name of the place has a dual meaning: willow and boiling water. boiling water ...

“In shoeless corridors, the lights burn. How
  Isolated, like a fort, it is --
The headed paper, made for writing home
(If home existed) letters of exile: Now
Night comes on.  Waves fold behind villages.”