tumbling into wild language

I was thinking today how we need more words. For instance, a word for those moments that were perfect in every way - perfect to all the senses, and in perfectly realising a long-held wish, and in promising more perfection to come, and that remain perfect in memory - and even in sorrow, since we can never have them again.

But then I thought no, we have enough words. What we actually need is more quiet. Then, in that quiet, we need the sympathy and graciousness to listen to each other talk long, slow, rambling, with all the words it might take to describe one perfect moment.

I think too that we need to be more tameless and heartfelt with the words we have. There is a trend amongst modern authors to pack as much meaning as they can into as few words as possible. The result is often a utilitarian march of language across the page, rather than a dance. Some of my own favourite writers use words with joyful abandon, and with a lush, far-swept seeding of imagery, as if they are dealing in wishes or stars not words. Others employ only a few, but they do so lightly, with a calm grace, quiet poetry. There is a sense these writers offer their words in service of the story's spirit, rather than showing their technical mastery. Of course, some readers are interested in mastery, in language for the sake of language, and that's fine. I myself like best to tumble deep into wild story.

And I like to talk the same way I like to read and write - with a meandering through ideas and images, stopping at times to lavish attention on one small thing. But I know that's not appreciated in this culture. So I hurry to say what I mean as succinctly as possible, in order that my conversational partner can be informed and then have their turn.

I also know blogposts are meant to be kept brief, to the point, and carefully structured, so readers don't get bored having to read for too long. But give me a strange and feral train of thought. Give me something I can go back and read again and ponder long.

Give me a dozen words for one thing. Let me know just how fulfilling your perfect moment was. Fill my heart up with your language.


  1. Oh, Sarah, your words most definitely dance across the page - always, always a joy to read.
    I think that the perfect moment you described would be called bliss. Your post reminded to think of the moments that caused me to experience this feeling and for that, I thank you.

  2. i think that any poetic (for want of a better word) writer or reader will understand completely...a love of language for its own wild sake. a love of---as you said---feral tales, that wander where they will. love of the journey, with its shading into this and morphing into that, its words that ring against each other like chimes...of course there are many kinds of writers and writing styles, as well as many kinds of readers. surely we all have many inside, but probably we all lean in a certain direction, whatever that may be. but for me, i like words to be in the service of the soul of what they tell, and for me, a poetic approach such as you describe just feels right.

  3. How I would love to write poetically with grace and style and a rhythmic flow of words. In the end, I always come back to the basics - straight lines and defined boxes. I wan the words to circle in and around themselves - to create flower pedals instead of paths - clouds instead of con-trails. When I try to do much else what I mostly end up with are too many words that don't fit the space in my head. The smoothness goes out of them and they become disjointed and angular. But that's me, I suppose. Straight lines. On the other hand, straight lines aren't necessarily a bad thing. . . . .

  4. Words...lovely words. Sometimes I use a few, sometimes it takes many, but there is a certain feel they must ultimately give me which tells me I've got it right. When the words flow and spill, when they give me a little electric tingle or make me feel nearly detached from this world....it is so delicious.

  5. Gorgeous photos to accompany your thoughts. xoxo Su