Last year, we had a high-school-wide essay writing competition. Unexpectedly, I won first prize. Just thought I should post it here (this is an edited version, I just cut out a few paragraphs to shorten it). I’m pretty proud of it.
Haven’t you ever thought that there would be more? That this isn’t quite enough? That the worlds you created in your paracosm, that the vignettes that are sewn in your power-naps would add up? That the people, the buildings, the faces you see are just combinations of letters and numbers, of atoms and molecules, outward and outward. And forever outward. Do you yearn for something else, something different, something new?
Behind the locked doors of words and numbers, there are tides. Frothy, bubbling. They ebb, they rise, and they dance in a salty trance. Under the keys of typewriters grow orchids, blue with melancholy, purple with euphoria. And interspersed between the words you say, the poetry, the clouds of language, the sunshine lurks. Waiting to be seen, to be noticed, to be heard. Have you ever felt the warmth, setting your vulnerability ablaze, bringing back faded memories of missed trains and steaming hot filter coffee?
Long ago, secret messages and codes were written between the sentences of sheets, innocuously, escaping suspicion. “Read between the lines”, thereafter originated, which, as I ponder, has a similar connotation today- yet vastly different. We are obsessed with meaning, with analysis, and the power of the ‘written word’ that we forget the elixir of emotion. The words that we build our life with, that we build our life around, shadow our innermost feelings. They are a premature, unnatural end to the abyss of human consciousness, to the vast sea of eloquence. Reading between the lines, to me, means leaving the microscope behind, and gliding through the air, breathing, flinching. It means parasailing. It means getting struck by the lightning of intensity, the soft breeze of calmness, and being swayed back and forth with the air of ineffable ambivalence.
And if we cover up this sky with skyscrapers, and sift through our minds for a meaning to life, for an answer, a lust for explanation, then the eloquence will get lost between the highlighted pages of lecture notes, scrawled with a blue ballpoint pen, in the hopes of getting a better grade. As you think about words, their meanings, the pages of your dictionary, there will be a dilemma. And you will sit, confused, with a question irking you, like an ant crawling up your spine. Is it words that make us human?
Words are a creation, an invention that we couldn’t possibly live without. But they aren’t what makes us human. Descartes talked about the idea of existence- what makes us who we are is the power of thought. Cogito Ergo Sum. These mind-placebos, which make the base for thinking, run in codes of emotion. Your power to believe in the beauty of your being stiches your fabric. And the articulation of your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, are the elements of your core. While the sentences and paragraphs and books and lecture notes stretch infinitely outward. Outward, and outward. And forever outward.
Do you still think that this isn’t enough, that between the naïve notions of life and death, that the world would be better, different, other? Then maybe there are dams built across your shores, blocking the tide. A pair of scissors clipping the orchids. Maybe the army of shadows is too strong, and the illusions of meaning and eating away your being. But I promise you, that your thoughts cam defeat the army. Open the locked doors, demolish the dams constricting you. Break out of the box of confinement, move out of the written word. Let the steam warm you up, led the memories flood your consciousness. Remember that words and numbers are nothing but a human creation, remember the elixir of emotion.
Rejoice in your mute eloquence, in feelings unsaid and unheard. Dance in the trance of emotion, and remember, that silence defeats the army of shadows, and as Rumi said, “All else is poor translation”.