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#3639 - 07/12/00 05:24 AM Re: Thoughts about words
Dear Jackie and Wsieber
What comes to mind is:
"A word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just
Begins to live
That day." Emily Dickinson
There is something to this analogy of - the word being a thought born into this world and thought being words in gestation.
Though extending the metaphor gets my "words in gestation" all tangled up. Maybe be wordless thoughts are a very nascent stage in the whole process - maybe the DNA stage or if the DNA has epidermis (I don't know if it does) may be the genetic code stage of the DNA - which have been expressed in words they say. Jackie - I'd like to think smell and picture day dreams are thoughts too. That's the stuff of surrealism. I guess stream of consciousness is keeping the words as close to their nascent - thought stage as possible - not working too much on the skin. . That's thinking aloud.
#3640 - 07/23/00 06:27 AM Re: Thoughts about words
Loc: Sydney Australia
"Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the act of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim and one catches them in a nets of words and swings them shining into the boat...where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches. The bring something across, one needs a boat; or a bridge; what bridge? The metaphors all self-destruct. I am left with the stubborn feeling that composition, whether of poetry or of prose, is not all that different from translation. In translating you have a text of words to work from; in composing or creating you don't; you have a text that is not words and you find the words. That's a difference, of course, but the job, getting the right words in the right order, getting the measure right, is the same. Feels the same.
....the places where our literature is alive, unfixed, on the move, defying definition. What is this stuff? Is it spoken or written? Both. Is it narrative or ritual? Both. Is it poetry or prose? Both. that's the sort of stuff I want to be able to compose myself. I want to learn how to make translations from the languages nobody knows, nobody speaks. The translations will not be as good as the originals, but then, they never are."
Ursula Le Guin.
The last two lines are the best description I have come across yet of the glory and the frustration of writing.
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