Friday, April 5, 2013

Impolite to ask

I just saw the sun set on the bay--another day past, but it's OK, the stars reassure me.

What did you eat today? Who slaughtered it? When was its last breath? Does it matter?

What did you sing today? Who wrote it? Did you sing alone? Do you have a kazoo?

What was that smell? Where did the molecules come from? If you recognize the smell of someone you love, are her molecules really flying off her like dust from a comet? What is comet dust made of?

What questions did you stop asking long, long ago? Do you still care to know the answers?

Do you ask questions anymore?

Light, light, light, light....I forget how much I missed it until it returns.


John Spencer said...

I am realizing how much the light influences what I write. I am about to put down what I'm working on and go back to another book, not because I am frustrated with the novel, but because it is so hard to get a winter feel in spring (or a summer feel in winter, for that matter).

I don't know enough about who slaughtered my meat, but I do know that it is painful to slaughter an animal. I've one it a few times.

I don't know enough about dust or comets for that matter. I ask, but I still don't understand.

But I know this much:

Your thoughts about the futility of words has hung in my head. I will read Joel and Micah and Brenna the story I wrote. They are excited about it right now. I am more into this right now than any other project before.

And yet . . .

What I hope they remember isn't the story so much as the experience of a dad who sat on their beds and told them a story, away from any screens.

doyle said...

Dear John,

Thanks (as always) for your words--you may be my most supportive commenter!

"Futility" may be too strong a word. Language does amazing things, and gives our swirling experiences and memories a scaffolding that allow us to be the critters that we are.

My problem with words is that we give them more power than we give the wordless, at our peril. I cannot describe (nor truly remember) the wordless bliss felt while clamming on a mudflat, surrounded by light, by smells, by the feeling of the flat under my feet, the calls of the birds eying my bounty.

In the end, it's the world the words attempt to convey that matters, which is why stories matter so much. Stories, songs, drawings, all efforts to see if the world I know is the same as the one you do.