Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Voicing Emotion

“That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts. There is always a kind of contempt in the act of speaking.” - Nietzsche

For the most part, I agree.

Then there's the other part.

I think that for which we find coherent, make-sensy, easy-to-read, everyday words is already dead in our hearts. If we're going to verbalize our feelings and be understood, we have to analyze them, which means we aren't really feeling them anymore.
However, if we speak/write in the language of imagery, metaphor, and poetry, we can make ourselves understood. Audrey will know what I'm talking about. I'll send her some of the weirdest, emotional emails, just because I need to express myself to someone I know well and trust and also know will read it pretty quickly. Upon later re-reading, they seem cheesy and forced, or "pushing the envelope through language," to tie it into the WGWG posts, but they weren't at the time. They were the best representations of how I felt at the time, and if I have to traipse through all sorts of ludicrous metaphors and images to do so, then so be it.

That being said, at our most basic, we are experiencing creatures. When we are born, we have no language. We learn to speak out of necessity (and because society requires it, and because it is in our nature to learn). 
We can understand language. We created it, after all. What we don't understand is the complexities of the brain and just how much our DNA controls us. What we cannot fully understand, we cannot fully verbalize.


  1. I'm always wondering how do we voice characters who don't express things well. There are perfectly good people who can't express emotions no matter what, or they choose the most vapid way to say it-- "Yeah, well, whatever. It's sort of a bummer." (When their friend dies.)

    So... what to do then? Do we shape it and lose the honest inarticulateness?

  2. That's a good question.
    I would make sure that that character was my narrator. That way I'd have more to work with than just what he/she says. I find that even when the character can't verbalize the thoughts/emotions, the author can afford to do so for them (sometimes).
    But that's something I'd like to try.


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