Words

I like words. Their sound, their texture, the intricate layers of meaning they contain. I am good with words, that is, in French, my native language. That is probably why I write and think in English these days, because I am less good at it and therefore more honest, less manipulative. Writing in a language that is not mine makes me a sort of stranger in my own familiar inner territory. It gives me a fresher look on the workings of my mind and puts me right there in the middle of my own experience. Less impersonal phrasing, less distancing, less conceptualizations, more trial and error, more mindful hesitation, closer to the truth of my experience. In English I say I, in French I say we or you or one.

French is the language of my early education, of complicated books and the rule of logos. French is the language of my father, the philosopher, the master of abstract thinking and reason. English is the language of new horizons, of my teenage years in the USA, of shifting frontiers and possibilities, of spontaneous curiosity, of falling in love and breaking up again and again.

I find it hard to let words go and hard to honestly use them. Being aware of my ways with words has become a big part of my practice now. Even as I write this I realize that words, in any language, cannot actually begin to describe my experience of touching the wisdom that lays beyond words and knowledge. Possibly, artists experience this more accurately, the silence between the notes of the musician, the suspended movement of the dancer, and the poet? Is there a way to truly convey the depth of experience through words?

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