Re-Speak, or I Wanted That Image to Say

Found Map, from Tumblr

Found Map, from Tumblr

23 October 2013
8:32 pm

T. —

Sometimes I get to the end of the night and my brain is too tired to hold the threads of thoughts together. Sometimes I write letters in the morning but I’m overwhelmed by so much of what hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes I’m really bad at the logical order of things. Sometimes I can’t make an outline of what I really want to say. Sometimes I can’t ask the right questions, can’t  bring myself to the right places. Or ask any questions. Or bring myself anywhere. It’s a funny journey, language.

This really resonated with me from the article you posted yesterday:

I like to understand things and tend to ask questions of myself or another person until there is nothing left that I do not understand. At the time, in the midst of a period when I was training myself so hard in another kind of representation, and seeing more and more clearly into the subtlest workings of my language, I was confronted with this experience of opacity.

– Lydia Davis

I don’t have the same desires to understand everything. Sometimes I’m just okay with the not-knowing, and I don’t probe deep enough, don’t explore far enough.

I saw this 30-day visual challenge, and wondered: what would happen if I made a map for writing for myself? And then thought: is that something you might like to share? Maybe we could each offer up 15 ideas, images, thoughts, phrases, fragments before November starts, and incorporate those themes into our writings for the day? If it’s too much, we don’t have to. It can be optional. But I like the idea of drawing out a map for you. Of course, we can still write about other things too, but it might be nice to have a central thread, even just a paragraph where we dance with the same topic. Like a keystone.

This all came out of the idea that I would like to write more, that I would like to draw myself out of my mind a bit more. I met with my supervisor today, who said, You’re really good at these poems where emotions are embodied in physical places. Whenever you write about the body, everything turns visceral. It keeps you out of over-explaining things. I had no idea I had that connection with physicality. I didn’t even realize it was creeping into my writing.

I do remember writing a poem about grief once, about how it feels like cement in your lungs. But then that weight feels comforting, so you learn to breathe through it until anything less feels terrifying. I added that last part right now. The first poem was just about grief and cement and lungs, like pneumonia, like an affliction we hold inside. Looking back on it, there was so much more I wanted that image to say.

Have you ever tried rewriting an old poem as if you were writing it now? Borrowing from your younger self, and trying to re-speak it through a new lens? That just struck me as something that might be fruitful. For me, for you as well maybe?

How does the memory of writing work?



3 thoughts on “Re-Speak, or I Wanted That Image to Say

  1. Oh, I love this letter! Before I read your proposal, I was thinking, I wanted to do this challenge, but with words. But your idea is wonderful, too! I have actually kept the 15-day challenge that you were doing before, I think in our letters or just in your blog. I wanted to answer those and send it to you in a letter, but haven’t gotten around to it. I like the idea of having a common theme that we can incorporate into our letters!

    I am gushing. Let me come back to this later, when I’m more coherent ^__^


    • Sorry. I did see your comment yesterday, and an email will come today. I am here, even if it seems like I’m not. I’m definitely here, and definitely looking forward to this =)


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