Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Power of Words

Sometimes you get a feeling that things come out nothing. They do not. They are the result of our perpetual motion and it could be a great start to ackowledge that.

Every word read, heard in a bed-night story or lovingly uttered to us leaves a mark, a trace, a foundation to build upon. I have blogged about identity as we shape it with our online footsteps coupled with remote interactions, but it is just a few days ago after an unexpected line up of planets, namely, a deep wish to come back to writing here, an out-of-the blue meet up with a friend to see Turner's watercolours exhibition in Buenos Aires and a Twitter DM from a blogger friend, that I came to a realisation, an obvious one: that my whole world of identity and connections is one made up of language with carefully scaffolded words.

"A mouthful of air" in Anthony Burgess' poetic mode. Silently breathed keystrokes would do as a translation into our present business.

Back to the post.

There is something about the writing mode or silent voice that dictates blog posts in your head that requires a peace of mind not easily found amid day-to-day obligations. Caring for a sick parent, losing part of your job, living in a country with 47% inflation (yeah, read that again), studying (successfully!) six subjects to become a translator, a tenant leaving grandma's home in a state that will demand months of work, work, work...and -I almost forget- my cat gets sick quite frequently...all at once requiring portions of my attention...well, it all gradually silenced my inner bloggers' voice.

When people argue they have no time to blog, I suspect something else, not easy to succintly explain is the real reason. Life happens.

I miss my voice. Luckily, I have this diary to make close contact again with that essential part of myself. It is quite shocking to see where my mind was then. Rereading provokes a strange sense of wonder. Was that me?

With a Turner's stroke.
Sunday was a sweltering summer day in Buenos Aires. I went to the MNBA museum with a friend to see over 80 dimly lit watercolors portraying a lifetime of changes in Turner's style. A visual diary. From academic, traditional, controlled strokes compositions to a free, far and wide spots of a totally personal direction. Observing in silence and awe, my friend suddenly laughed and concluded that, in the end, Turner came to paint and express whatever he wanted. Even when he was paid to paint.

You want to be Turner. Especially as a writer.

Then we went for a long conversation over lunch. As my closest friends know about my online life with its line-up of thought-shaping companions, it was easy for her to understand me. I told her I got a Twitter DM from Gardner to invite me to take part in an annotating project of Doug Engelbart's 1962 paper.

"But why didn't you tell me this hours ago as soon as we met? This is great news!", she said.
"Yeah, yeah, I know.", I answered. Then I went on to explain some sort of meta-reflection on how timely this invitation was for one thing, but also my amazement -it will never cease to amaze me- how people remember what I have written or the impression those words made on them years ago. The power of it all making its way to this present day after such a long blog pause. So long that I almost forget myself, my own inner voice and I wonder aloud, wrongly believing this invitation comes undeserved to someone who has stopped reflecting online, as if that meant a kind of extinction of rights..."Why me?"

"Because of all the road you've made by years of writing," she said.

At this point I not only know, but feel these conversations are such powerful stuff. I am blessed to have friends who through life-savers to me like that.

I answered Gardner "yes".

So, here we go!

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