love = risk

A writer I admire greatly wrote this on Twitter yesterday:

“I want them to fall in love with language: But love = risk”

It has been playing on my mind ever since.

Its such a simple phrase, but it highlights some of the complexity and potential in words. It made me think about the fragility of nouns and verbs: so often I feel like I can’t articulate what I need to, like the exisiting canon of vocabulary just doesn’t go far enough, isn’t deep enough, cannot expand to express the breadth I need it to.

It also brings to mind the Fin de siècle authors I have been reading recently. In 1877, Mary Cholmondeley wrote in her journal:

        “What a pleasure and interest it would be to me in life to write books. I must strike out a line of some kind, and if I do not marry (for at best that is hardly likely, as I possess neither beauty nor charms) I should want some definite occupation, besides the home duties.”[

I love the fact that, in all the tumult of the Fin de siècle, amidst all the intrigues of the New Woman debate, the Marriage Question espoused (!) by Ouida and Grand; a life of writing is seen as valid alternative (though it saddens me that Cholmondeley’s battered self-esteem seems to be her main justification for such a choice.

Sometimes I think we have only scratched the surface of what words can do: their dangerous, subversive, intimate potential.

And I want to be someone who fully explores that. I want to plumb the depths of their design.


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