Thursday, January 25, 2007

On Words

"What cannot be said will get wept"

A wonderful quote by Jim Harrison, author of nothing I've read (True North, Legends of the Fall). Of course, I'd clean it up to read "That which cannot be said will be wept", but that is the undeniable editor in me. I love words. Always have. I love to accumulate them, argue the meaning of them, find just the right one for what I am trying to express, either in writing or in speech, and to rearrange other people's words. I am not nearly as adept with grammar or construction, but words I understand.

It is galling, isn't it, when you realize that words, the very things you depend on for clarity and expression, are completely and utterly inadequate. I know there is love and pain so great that to put words to it would be an injustice. Sorrow over the death of a parent/spouse/child, joy at the birth of one's own child, the moment you realize the depth of love you have for someone, or that they have for you, that takes your breath away. Leaves you with tears of joy or sadness. The feeling can be one of powerlessness or sweet surrender. I guess it depends on your personal makeup.

Or is Mr. Harrison describing words that ARE not said rather than CANNOT be said? The opportunities missed to express our love, hurt, joy, or anger to the person towards whom we feel it. The times we think to ourselves that we will talk about it later, and later never comes. The times we decide it is just too hard, or that we won't be understood anyway... Grudges build that way, and grow like a cancer. Or, perhaps the person to whom you had so much to say dies. Instead of a grudge, one is left with a pit of regret. And how else to respond to that but with wracking sobs.

In either case, that which cannot be said will be wept. It can be taken as a fact or a warning.