Sunday, 15 February 2009

You have become conscious of your preference for second person present tense lately.

You had to look up second person present to see if it was what you meant. You have a good, confident command of the English language. You don't, however, know how to explain its elements. You don't know what conjunctives are, or parsing, or split infinitives, but you know that you perform these actions all the time anyway. In hindsight, your learning of the language seemed to come naturally to you. There must have been dreary lessons in grammar in primary school at least. You don't remember them. Maybe you drifted off dreaming daydreams, like any smart child should. Perhaps it was all of those years of devouring books as a child. You seemed to learn about the English language by reading. An Enid Blyton book in an afternoon. You seeped the language into your bones, from whence you then vomited out Grade 4 "put this word in a sentence" exercises where one word in one sentence stretched out into little mini stories for each word. You imagine you gave your Grade 4 teacher a few laughs reading little mini stories from an Australian child that sounded as if they were writen by a 40 year old Englishwoman.

You don't know what the drawing power is of second person present for you at the moment. Perhaps it is a way of distancing yourself from yourself. The writerly version of sitting down in an empty chair and talking to a part of yourself. Of externalising your inner child. From here, sitting across from yourself, you translate yourself into a wrtten account, and it feels good, somehow. Some days you think it is lying. Other days you think it is grace. You think that maybe this is what God does with us, somehow, writing us out in her own hand, shooting himself through all of our actions and lives and messes so that something good is made out of them at the other end.

You wish, when you get up in the mornings, you could dress yourself in your words, like a veil, or a beautiful dress. Drawing attention and hiding at the same time. Sometimes you feel like a fragile word that has looked itself up in a thesaurus and discovered the other meanings of itself. You feel like a couple of your serifs have been broken off in the reading.

You really must get yourself out amongst other words, where you can form sentences with each other. It has never been good for you to be this solitary; it could drive you mad if you let it. The pre-illness you of 15 years ago would be shocked to see you still sitting here so solitary, self-absorbed, mouldy.

Perhaps you need to sit down with you circa 1994 and have a good chat :)

You are not so sure how much of the sentences you are writing at the moment are authored sustainably. You are not sure of much at all, truth be told. You think this is partially because you have had far too much time to stare at your own serifs, the bit lopped off of the 'e', the wonky way the 'S' leans to one side. You could go mad, looking at the creepy way the 'v' is almost crashing into the preceding 'e'. It is a silly sort of gazing that takes you away from the knowledge that every other word in the world also has lopped serifs. Too much of it puts you away on the shelf, preserved. You are so glad you are going to visit Jane tomorrow.

You like the way you learnt the English language. Somehow you learnt it without being able to name its elements. You think you were thinking too much about boys in high school to do such things, even though you got good marks in English with ease.

You think that a certain freedom and playfulness comes from swimming in life instead of splitting it's eternal infinitives. You can become impaled on iron conjunctive hooks, feeling sorry for yourself, self-absorbedly boring, if you're not too careful.

1 comment

  1. good command of the english language
    can't explain theory of the elements
    me too
    me too
    which was insane when i was editing magazines :)
    there's a lot of people out there with fancy pieces of paper which say they know the theory - my experience suggests it does not mean they are good writers or communicators


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