30 November 2012

word nerd


"Untranslatable Words" by  Fucshia MacAree. Prints are available in her shop!

It's fascinating which complex ideas different languages have distilled into single phrases. I think I could spend another lifetime studying linguistics — traveling the world, recording dying-out dialects, exploring how the human mind has created so many distinct pronunciations for the same familiar things.

I recently "Americanized" a book for work and was surprised at how difficult I found it. I thought because of way I'm alert to slang and spellings different from my own, it would be fairly easy — but instead my eyes glided over UK phrases too complacently, as if I were eager to incorporate these puzzle pieces of culture into my own lexicon.


27 November 2012



•  "Let go" has become my mantra of late. I'm trying to let anger, stress, and worries I have no control over seep out of my body slowly, without doing more damage on their way out.

•  I'm learning to appreciate with gratitude the still, quiet pleasure of an hour without pain. What they say about not appreciating what you have until it's gone — in this case, good health — proves itself true time and again.

•  I find that during the holidays, especially, it's important to keep myself from comparing my expectations to the outcome.

•  A familiar instinct still surfaces often: the desire to capture warm moments with a photograph. Usually, however, the little screen on my camera can't replicate the bright colors of our surroundings. I adjust the white balance and keep trying to no avail. The personal meaning of the moment becomes lost in my pursuit of turning sensory experiences into instant art.
            But I'm learning. This weekend, I walked through a crackling wood with a bounding puppy who tried to fetch us small trees in her mouth. Leaves fluttered down like scented confetti, and the uninhibited little rustles of wild creatures made us feel as welcome as if we were walking through our living room. I didn't take any pictures; I didn't even try. I knew not even my words could immortalize that hour in time — a thought that still takes some "letting go" on my part.
            (Perhaps the pictures I did end up taking — the birthday boy's silly faces, the dog gnawing her squeaky hamburger toy, my sister dancing to my brother's made-up songs — will serve their own purpose by making me smile when I'm sad. That autumn walk will have to carve its way through my mind, creating a path I must journey down internally if I want to live it again.)

•  Through the train window on my way home I kept glimpsing wonders: a pale green statue atop a pedestal on a hill. A lone hawk, hunched over a city telephone wire as the wind ruffled its feathers. Hundreds of birds undulating over a pale pink river in some mystical dance. It seems no matter how many times I traverse its tracks, the east coast will never cease to amaze me — and so it about does my head in to imagine all the different landscapes stretching westward across our country, and around the world, that my eyes have yet to see.

•  I haven't been able to focus well on work or personal projects, or even to decipher my own thoughts for some time. That in-between-ness is the worst, when I can't buckle down and I can't relax, oscillating between interest and apathy and basically just wasting my time.

•  The future is waiting and change is near. There's so much to do to prepare. But I think my Christmas wish is simply for a moment of to-do-list-free clarity. The feel of a pet's soft head under my palm, my other hand wrapped around a hot cup of Mom's coffee, my stomach calm, my being opening into the moment, absorbing the presence of family and friends like roots drawing life-giving water into the heart.