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    Copyright © 2014 unruly

    Out the window of the train

    Once I wrote this e-mail to a friend:

    There is chainmail and then there is trainmail. This here is trainmail.

    Out the window of my train, I see a freight train, enormously long, car after car marked “CornProducts”. One car marked “cationic corn starch”. I don’t even know what that means but I like how it looks and how it sounds in my head.

    The mystery of that. Why do I like it? The phrase is divorced from its meaning but I like it anyway but how can that be? Words are meaning. How can I like a word if I don’t know what it means?

    One time I was on the train and the man in front of me was a scientist who spoke very passionately about heavy water to his companion and sent me into paroxysms of joy over deterium even tho’ I only had the most rudimentary understanding of what he was actually saying.

    Another time a rabbi explained cantillation to his seatmate and I thought I would have to kiss him up fiercely to thank him for giving me such goodness to overhear.

    The train is the best place that isn’t the woods or the bay of waterlilies or Nina’s house on Abelvær. It gives me delicious headswirl.

    And it makes me write, a lot, things in my blank book and loopy e-mails. I liked writing this loopy e-mail. I hope you will like reading it.

    It was mulling moment #5,000,000,000,092 on why words shiver me up so madly. Why do they, I wonder? Words, books, typography, writing systems, printing presses, libraries, book stores, spelling bees, alphabetica, John Cage reciting haiku from Bashō in the clunkiest Japanese ever … all of it leaves me breathless. (The John Cage thing is funny but also heart-melting because he really does sound ridiculous speaking Japanese [I say this as a non-speaker of the language myself, of course, so it's entirely possible that I'm talking outta my ass here] but I love him so much for making the attempt. Leaping into the vast ocean of a foreign language takes some courage, for real and for true.])

    Words. The mystery of them. The mystery of their power. The weird synæsthetic experience I have of some of them because: I feel certain words in my body: the good words feel like love; the bad ones feel like food poisoning. Sometimes I can’t sleep for trying to pull a certain word apart, anagram it, reimagine it, shape it, hold it, fold it, etymologise it, understand it, seduce it, own it. If I were a biologist, I would find my sharpest scalpel and tenderly eviscerate the words I cannot get over, the words I cannot possess, so that I could find what is at the heart of them.

    There is no explanation for this. It’s just the way I’m wired. But I have never been one not to ask “why” so I continue to ask that and to wonder that and to lie awake too late at night competing in my endless spelling bee of one, and, of course, to write loopy e-mails to people that I sometimes end up posting on the interwebs.

    chicken-coop-by-whitefeather-2009
    Chicken coop from the White Rabbit / Red Clay series by WhiteFeather, 2009
    custom-via-squareamericacom
    Custom, via squareamerica.com
    lettera-22-instructions-via-ffffoundcom
    Lettera 22 instructions, via www.ffffound.com
    roseander-main-by-james-cook
    Roseander Main by James Cook
    complete-shakespeare-by-jonny-hannah
    Complete Shakespeare by Jonny Hannah, via stjudesgallery.co.uk
    poetry-is-a-dangerous-game-by-whitefeather
    Poetry is a dangerous game from the White Rabbit / Red Clay series by WhiteFeather, 2009
    nice-try-by-sighn-in-collaboration-with-havec
    nice try by sighn in collaboration with Havec, via www.sighn.net
    cortez-from-the-neon-graveyard-series-by-dave-sylvestre
    Cortez from the Neon Graveyard series by Dave Sylvestre
    scatter-by-annie-vought-2007
    Scatter by Annie Vought, 2007
    Paper-cut letters.
    tools-by-julie-doucet
    Tools by Julie Doucet, via www.juliedoucet.net
    toilettes-by-whitefeather
    toilettes from the White Rabbit / Red Clay series by WhiteFeather, 2009
    noisy-alphabet-by-tom-gauld-on-flickr
    Noisy alphabet by Tom Gauld (on flickr)
    the-literary-city-via-theharperstudiocom
    The Literary City by Ian Huebert, via theharperstudio.com
    tits-by-seb-lester
    Tits by Seb Lester, via www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog
    practice your texting
    Practice your texting by spacesick, via www.ffffound.com
    2 Comments

    bahaa when we visited france, i had my little birds-of-france field guide with me, and i cannot tell you – probably because you already know – exactly how hilarious we found it when we realized we were surrounded by great tits. maaan, check out THAT pair of great tits. i know, childish. but then: so what.

    rache added these words on Sep 01 09 at 10:23 am

    [...] Credit: Complete Shakespeare image is by Jonny Hannah via unruly.ca and St. Jude’s Gallery (UK). [...]

    The Big Books Blog | Besides the Bible added these words on Feb 11 11 at 1:47 pm



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