When words fail you...

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When words fail you...

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jan 27, 2008, 10:41 am

In his poem "East Coker", T.S. Eliot remarks on the "raid on the inarticulate with shabby equipment". That set off a ripple effect in my mind and, although the allusion isn't perfect, I started thinking about what I do when writing no longer (or can't) suffice--what do I have for an artistic or emotional outlet when words literally fail me, fail to express what's inside my spirit? Anyone interested?

jan 27, 2008, 12:54 pm

God. The concept is terrifying - I don't think I exist without words. There's nothing else there. No soul, no spirit, just a big spiraling mess of words.

Redigeret: jan 27, 2008, 1:35 pm

Just about anything that can engage the pesky left brain can work (not saying it always does!) to stimulate the creative mind: walking, dancing, driving. Any repetitive motion - washing dishes, sweeping (plus you end up with a clean house).

Play with images - I'm not a visual artist per se, but playing with collage can get the juices flowing. Take photographs - requires observation and an artistic eye. Play with colors.

Flow write -- pick a word or a phrase and just go with it. Get all the chaff out so the cream will rise to the top (do you LOVE the mixed metaphors??).

Play with dreams -- write them down, pull out patterns and images that are striking to you.

This is not necessarily to create great works of art, but to express, to get creative and engage other parts of your brain, bring a richness to your writing that might not happen by sitting at your desk staring at a screen or blank page.

Other ideas?

jan 27, 2008, 3:05 pm

In my younger days, I would bang away on the piano. Rachmaninoff, & other loud, show-off pieces. Then, with a family more gentle stuff. Now, listening to music, classical, smooth jazz, new age, can induce a creative mood. Or whatever your favorite music is. Working in another medium -- if you are able to draw or work with fabric ect. Or a change of pace, woodwork, working in the yard & garden - creativity comes in many forms.

Redigeret: jan 27, 2008, 3:10 pm

Oh yes, MarianV, I meant to mention gardening! and music -- which is my primary medium (singing, writing, guitar).

jan 29, 2008, 10:01 pm

Working with mandalas has worked for me. Susanne F. Fincher's Coloring Mandals is good place to start.

Redigeret: jan 30, 2008, 6:11 pm

Dear CliffBurns,
Sometimes I just STARE at the world.
Look, look, look and notice.
I'm not sure what to look at/stare at, but little insects and plants are FUN.


Sorry. I meant to include the TINY jumping spiders as well.

I eventually realised that you are talking about expression.
But is that always necessary?

Edited to Include spiders.You know, another Phylum.

Also edited to wonder if I am one of these.

" ...the inarticulate with shabby equipment"

feb 12, 2008, 12:52 pm

Yes, nature, music, photography, visual medium, art books, a walk in the woods, they calm me for a while when the words fail.....

Now that I've been exposed to Eliots allusion to inarticulate with shabby equipment, I think I can lay rest the painful essay I keep tweaking on my inability to adequately express an original thought....instead I will revel in the words of others, theirs do not disappoint.

It does not require many words to speak the truth.
-Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. - Samuel Johnson,lexicographer (1709-1784)

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment. -Hart Crane, poet (1899-1932)

feb 12, 2008, 1:09 pm

Definitely do something else like gardening. Riding on trains really seems to jiggle loose the words. Lisa St. Aubin de Teran wrote a whole book about it! And a good nights sleep or even a nap sometimes helps to dynamite the block.