What do our words really mean?

I was brought to tears by an essay by the writer Natalie Diaz. She writes of the dilemma that most of us who write and speak face: What do we mean when we say or write _______? However, those of us who are monolingual don’t have much to compare our language limitation(s) to. Diaz is multilingual and she shares the limitations of English through the lens of Mojave. After reading the first paragraph of her essay I wanted all of us to speak, write, read and understand Mojave. Or any language that could express in an active and visual way what I really mean when I say anything heartfelt, true, or real. And no, I’m not entertaining a desire to leave or deny my roots. This post has nothing to do with that. I proudly, solidly and gratefully stand on my ancestors shoulders.

Diaz begins with: “In Mojave, the words we use to describe our emotions are literally dragged through our hearts before we speak them…” I only write and speak English, but I feel more than I can often write or say and I often feel keenly the limitations of the language I have access to.

Here’s a link to her brilliant essay:

http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2014/03/if-what-i-mean-is-hummingbird-if-what-i-mean-is-fall-into-my-mouth.html

I needed to hear what Natalie Diaz had to say, and I’m sure I’ll be returning to her words often as I chip away at the language I use to write poems, fiction and love notes.

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The Rush

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Week 8 of an 11 week quarter. Harried students, all over the place writing, missed deadlines, budget deadlines…

Me: “We have to end our session now, we’ve actually gone over time….”

Student: “I have one more question about my lit review…grammar…APA….”

Me: “We really have to stop now, I have another student waiting…..”

Student: “But…..”

Me: “Sorry…” (standing up to provide more obvious signal to student, since words obviously aren’t working)

Hooves on the Rooves?

I know that roof is misspelled, but I’m taking creative license with that one, just to kid around. No snow here and the music is great on my favorite jazz station. Clancy is tracking Santa’s route, which is way cute! Perhaps there’s a poem or two coming on….my Christmas present!

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Emily Dickinson at a Writing Workshop

This is priceless. The blog of Writers Write, a program offering writing courses in South Africa, has posted a draft of one of Emily Dickinson’s poems with feedback from her (fictional) instructor.

Here is the link:

http://writerswrite.co.za/what-if-emily-dickinson-attended-a-writing-workshopProgram

I wonder whether Emily would have returned to the workshop, kept on with her writing and continued to believe in herself? Hope that ink wasn’t red!

 

Confessions #2

Joe at 5 Writers 5 Novels 5 Months has written another humorous and honest post about writing characters with emotional authenticity (my paraphrase). Thanks Joe, for your reflection and for motivating me in developing my own characters!

5 Writers 5 Novels 5 Months

Joe’s Post # 51

After the post about writing sex scenes, I realized that I may have another problem. A bigger one. (Stop giggling!)

Maybe the challenge with writing sizzling sex scenes is connecting to the actual EMOTION of the scene. 

Oh, boy. Emotions… that’s ah, feelings, right? I think so. 

It’s not that I don’t feel things. If I cut my finger, it hurts and that’s a feeling, isn’t it? If it’s cold, I feel cold. See… feelings. I have them.

Manga_emotions-ENOk, I know there’s more. I certainly feel more. Guilt. Sorrow. Happiness. Anger. Hate. Love. Usually I have all those emotions on a drive into town. Or after a good taco. But I know if there’s one thing I need to work on when writing, it’s living inside the emotional being that is my character. 

Oddly enough, it seems that we don’t live our real lives by…

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Been Away, Been Here, Been There

I admit that I’ve been away from this Blog. However, I have not been out of the country, away at my country home (don’t have one), or unavailable. No. It is the end of the summer quarter, and my head has been filled with other people’s writing and writing problems. Not a bad thing, but it means that there hasn’t been much room in my head for my writing or my writing problems. Funny, I’ve missed the challenges of my novel. I’ve missed the challenges of revising a poetry manuscript – make that 2 manuscripts. Not things I thought I’d miss, but…..

In 1 1/2 weeks, I’ll be back to my own writing and its challenges and joys, mountaintops and deep sea dives. And I’m looking forward to it!

Make them suffer

Suffer Our Pleasures
Suffer Our Pleasures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I love this post by Joe Cummings on 5 Writers 5 Novels 5 Months about creating obstacles for your characters.

 

Make them suffer.

 

And I can’t wait to read the next post by one of these writers. They get right to the point and they do it with clear, precise and humor-filled writing.

 

Thanks guys!