Wednesday, December 9, 2009

At Play...with Words

I have a day job. I like it. I like the people I work with and I love that I work in an institution of higher learning.

But the real me comes out to play when the house has gone to sleep. When all is quiet and sounds that disappear in the noise of the day, now magically magnify. The heater sounds like a dull roar, the refrigerator produces an annoying hum or whine, the dogs whimper in sleep dreaming of those elusive balls they are running to catch. But most of all, I love the quiet. In the blanket of darkness, it surrounds me.

Often my mind refuses to obey the nightly command to silence itself, stubbornly remaining active and noisy. Now, the muse can come out to play....with try to make sense of what doesn't make sense.

I think what I love the most about writing is that I never know where I'm going to end up when I start. I am on a journey...and just like Robert Frost laments in his famous tale of two roads, I venture down one or the other, never to return again. Sometimes it reminds me of a conversation -- have you ever noticed that you start with one thought shared in conversation which then in turn triggers another thought and then before you know it, you are at six degrees of separation -- wondering how you wandered so far from where you started. Maybe writing is a conversation with myself -- I mean, we as writers may be a little delusional thinking we are communicating with our audience of readers, but are we? Really? When two are speaking it is referred to as a "dialogue" -- "dia" meaning "two" -- talking between two parties -- but as a writer engaging in this solo task aren't we just engaging in a "monologue"? "mono" meaning one, alone.

When we have a conversation with someone, often our ideas with generate sparks of ideas in the thinking of the other person and then what we end up with is "dynamic". Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who monopolizes the conversation, never allowing you to speak? Does that not feel like they are conducting a monologue? Don't you start to wonder what you are doing there? What your purpose is in that conversation? Are you just the paid spectator in a "one man or woman show"? Are they on stage, you having been assigned the role of captive audience?

So what about writing? If the writer is writing to communicate then how does the reader interact with the writer to cause the meandering of thought patterns? How is perception changed or more importantly, challenged? Is not then, writing a form of acting up-on the stage of life, so that the rest of us can observe. I wonder....

What do you think?

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