Tuesday, September 13, 2005

crazies talk to themselves

writing with purpose has its place, as does writing for an audience. i am always my primary audience. i write because i am innately a communicator. i've been talking and reading from a very early age. i grew up eating dinner at the table with my parents, talking about the day's events, talking about the world around me, learning and listening as we passed the salt. my dad is a longwinded fountain of words, and i got my gift of gab from him. in school my classmates forced me to sharpen my intellect by trading words. i found that if i could just have the opportunity to say something i could persuade people, or inspire people, or agitate people. but i also learned that there is power in words on a personal and introspective level. i learned that i can take refuge in words. i also get therapy from words. one of my favorites is "articulation," the noun form of the verb "articulate," which is defined as follows:

v. ar·tic·u·lat·ed, ar·tic·u·lat·ing, ar·tic·u·lates (-lt) v. tr.
1. To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.
2. To utter (a speech sound) by making the necessary movements of the speech organs.
3. To express in coherent verbal form; give words to: couldn't articulate my fears.
4. To fit together into a coherent whole; unify: a plan to articulate nursing programs throughout the state.
5. Anatomy. To unite by forming a joint or joints.
6. Architecture. To give visible or concrete expression to (the composition of structural elements): a spare design in which windows and doors are barely articulated.

in this verb - most especially the definitions i've italicized - i find the impetus for my writing. i like to name it and speak it and classify it and make it real so i can understand the stuff that is going on in my heart and in my mind. a poet friend of mine has an excellent poem about this - when i first heard the poem, i heard myself in his words. i have been told that i have an uncommonly good knowledge and familiarity with myself - my values, my opinions, my flaws, and my desires among other things. i am convinced that this self-love and self-awareness is because of my willingness and eagerness to articulate myself through writing. i get joy from the ability to describe something with just the right word and just the right phrasing. it's like developing a picture and getting the processing to be perfect, so that the finished product is a perfect replica of the original - every color, every shadow, every nuance, every dimension. when my words say my thoughts right back at me like a reflection in water, all is right with the world, because in that moment of good photography, i feel like a master of my craft of communication.

now i would hope that an audience could see and appreciate my communication and my writing. but i ain't pressed. because i am my primary audience. maybe one day i'll be a good enough communicator to help change someone's world or enrich someone else's mind or inspire some one else to write, like how paule marshall and j. california cooper or william faulkner or toni morrison have been able to do for me. but for now, i will settle for talking to myself. so sometimes my words in journals and poems and this blog might not do anything for anybody but me. i write about nothing sometimes, just to get the mind moving - just like stretching keeps the body from atrophy. but never let it be said that i left my own soul neglected, because i stopped writing, because i never stroked an audience.