Thursday, September 25, 2003

I wrote this in response to a post by Tonio (, a gifted poet who has looked at the possibility of surgery that could result in aphasia:


I wrote a pages-long comment that haloscan (irony of ironies) seems to have lost -- so I'll attempt to repeat myself here --

I often, often find myself toning down my gratitude so as to keep it within the supposedly "normal" range. I used to view this tendency to effusion with suspicion. Now I'm more prone to think of it as an unfashionable accuracy.

The prospect of being without words terrifies me. Funny that it should, since I'm so often dissatisfied with them, disappointed in them for not be able to break me out of my solitude. But facility with words is maybe my most deeply treasured personal territory. It's only today that I've recognised that my recent crisis over whether to keep a practice journal is not a detour or a side-issue, but the main road of the dharma -- this is the deepest attachment I have. "Can't I practice the dharma and lose all my other attachments, but keep just this little one?" -- a dead give away that I've come to the central issue.

I remember vividly learning to read, the sense of triumph, of coming into my heritage. I keep learning new languages partly, I think, chasing the echo of that triumph.

A second funny thing, for someone so wrapped up in words, is that I don't really believe them. "Words, words, words... why, it says here that old men have gray beards!" Words are evasions, spins, cover-ups, weapons, substitutes. "En arxe en o logos" -- "In the beginning was the word" -- has always struck me as preposterous. Words come after.

Revealing a tendency to hypergraphia myself, here, and I'm not at all sure where I'm coming from or where I'm headed with it. I think I'm working my way around to my own obscure version of "thank you."


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