I feel somehow, or I feel somehow obliged to write again. Funnily enough, it is not that lately there have been no thoughts in my mind- I just think that sometimes it is hard to write if you know you have an audience. Or perhaps it is just also hard to write if you can actually share your thoughts with others. Or rather, that you feel you should tell your thoughts to others rather than just putting them on the web. It’s strange how this goes, how there seems to have to be some kind of space that allows you to write.
I was talking to one of my friends the other day, and she was looking for a word. She was looking for a word that somehow describes the fact that some words do not mean something unless they are shared. Or something needs to be exchanged. I was not sure what kind of word she was looking for- she was sure it would exist, me less, but it allowed me to go on a trip around my mind to find if there was anything I could connect to this. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about language almost always is ‘Language is like the house in which you live’ I hardly have been able to find anything on this online, but once upon a time, a philosophy teacher of mine shared this thought, which originated with Heidegger. I like this metaphor a lot. Perhaps one of the things I like about it most is that it suggests that language is a space- that language has space, room, a place for exploration. That it is something that you can move around in.
And yet it suggests language that is something more tangible than simply a space- it’s like the house that you are living in. I like the idea that rather than ‘home’ language is the place you are living in. We can often live in places that are not necessarily home- or we can move from place to place. I am thinking of the house I currently live in. A beautiful large house that is beyond my imagination. I have almost all the same things there as in my previous home- my chicken, the cat, my furniture, and yet- since it is another house it all is organized a little different. Maybe speaking in another language is living in a different house. Sure, it is still where we live, we brought our clothes our wallhangings, our bed. But perhaps it doesn’t all fit the way it used to, and so we discard somethings, and invite new ones. I think of how much a space, and architecture creates a certain atmosphere. How much influence it has if the house has windows, whether or not it’s warm- whether we are alone, or if we share this house with others, whoever comes to visit.
Thinking of different languages as different houses, it gives me some words for what it’s like to communicate with others who speak another language. Those who live with me have the same house, yet they can experience it or use space in different ways. What does it mean if someone merely visits the house you live in. Or what if they can not come in, cause the house is closed to those that have no understanding of the language, and they can only look in. What does it mean to co-exist, or cohabitate with someone in a space that is new to both of you- the awkward moments of being in a new space just moved in and not able to find anything you knew where it was in the old house. If language is the house in which you live- what does it mean to be homeless? Perhaps that is what it is to be lost for words.
And just like that. I’ve found the joy in writing again. N
ot afraid if anyone does or does not understand what I mean. It is a simple marvelous thing to move and explore and find beautiful things in the house in which you live. To look up at the grand ceilings, to feel the floor under your cold feet. To just sit. And write down what you see.