Thursday, 13 November 2008

971 - Words

Two quotes, one from each of two books I'm reading: The Other Side of Eden, by Hugh Brody, and Story, by Robert McKee. McKee's first:
You may think you know, but you don't know you know till you write it down.... Explore your past, relive it, then write it down. In your head it's only memory, but written down it becomes working knowledge. (p. 73)
And Brody's:
I found myself thinking about the grief that comes with loss of words. What must it mean not to be able to put names in your own language to the things that you care most about? (p.173)

Between the two ideas lies the territory I'm trying to work in. McKee is optimistic. He assumes that to write down is to make usable. But he is also urgent: not to write down is to abandon. Brody is pessimistic. To abandon a culture is to lose something quintessential. But he is also generous: he measures the weight of this loss, gives it its worth.

How to remain generous without compromising urgency? Elegiac whilst celebrating change? Words must be used, I think, but those words that exist before they become words, that don't need to be written, only because they are written already in the deepest part of us. We must keep faith with the power of silence to change things. And we must write the silence down.

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