--Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
I love words. Love them like a raging tempest. Love them like chilly whisper. Love them like a sleepy infant. But sometimes words suck.
Did I just hear a startled gasp? I bet you never thought you'd hear that from me, LexiconLuvr.* I know. But it's true. Sometimes words suck because words can't always convey what you most desperately want to say. I've even written a few posts about how words betray me or tongue-tie me but even those posts still didn't say what I wanted them to.
A while back, I read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and today's quote was pulled straight out of the book. Rothfuss said it all, right there on the page (or Kindle, as it were). This elusive grasping at words? He said exactly what I meant to say, only he said it better. In fact, here's another bit from Rothfuss that clears it all up:
Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts...a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.In this case, "name" refers to specific things in the book, but if you substitute name for "meaning," it comes pretty close to what I'm saying. It should have been pretty obvious to me that Rothfuss knew how hard a writer's job is (as if it wasn't evidenced by the fact that I was, I don't know, reading his book) but when I read that part of the novel I almost shouted aloud.
(As an aside, if you want to hear what Mr. Rothfuss' editor thinks of his work or read this review of his second book, Wise Man's Fear, it'll blow your mind--as will both of his novels.)
As a writer, I love the challenge of using words to convey meaning. It's one of the largest draws to writing for me. But outside of writing? There are times I almost dread all those slippery letters.
If a person could major in Miscommunication, I'd have multiple doctorates. And communicating via the internet is a World-War in the making. It doesn't help that I'm a hereditary hint-dropper and could likely find conspiracy in a chicken nugget. Despite attempts to purify and pare away excess verbiage (HA), I excel at offending even the tamest of personalities.
All of this wouldn't amount to much if it weren't for one thing: I love words.
In Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe says, "I am no poet. I do not love words for the sake of words. I love words for what they can accomplish." I both agree and disagree (especially about him not being a poet. Balderdash). I do love words, the feel and shape of them, but they are most poignant when coupled with other words. Why is it then, that I fumble them about so badly?
Strange fate that I should feel most myself as a writer.
Don't mind me. I'm a tad reflective tonight and I'm posting about it here because I'm trying to reclaim this space, make it again my own. You'll likely see more of my meandering, but if it doesn't suit, no worries. God loves wondrous variety and all that.
For now, I'll leave you with a final bit of wisdom from Rothfuss:
This is why we have music, after all. Words cannot always do the work we need them to. Music is there for when words fail us.Until next time,
*LexiconLuvr was my initial blogger name back in the days when I had no idea what I was doing. Wait. I'm still in those days.