Linguistic filaments; Bridging chasms

This (above) is a piece of my very own writing, precisely as I scribbled it down in my notebook in response to the exhibition Invisible Bridges at the Phoenix gallery in Brighton (14th July – 12th August), as part of a writing workshop run by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh at the gallery.

Attendees were tasked with finding 10 words or phrases from the exhibition and then using these as the basis for a short piece of writing.

I loved hunting down the words and tried to choose those that unexpectedly caught my attention. I then struggled to find a way to formulate them into a piece of prose until I realised I needed to stop focusing on the words and let loose the mental images they conjured. Much to my surprise my scrappy mental images swam into a story I could feel had the potential to stretch out far beyond the remit of the exercise. It was like stepping into another time and place and I still have that feeling when I read the words a back to myself. I like writing that takes me places 🙂

I was intrigued by the bilingual aspect of the exhibition. The original text of the book that inspired the exhibition is written in both English and Galician. A series of events and discoveries in my life have led me to curiousity about languages so this is, in and of itself, was interesting for me. I also found that geographical and linguistic barriers don’t stop the flow of associations and meanings between words. The notion of the prison cell in my sketch above and considerations of freedom or not arose from the word “libro”, which I found in the exhibition. I am fairly certain this translated to “book” in the original context, but this made me think of “libre” and hence “free”.

That may seem like a tenuous connection, but that is the very thing I love most about words and writing: the way you can slip from one meaning to another through a chain of association. And those linkages we make are absolutely valid even if they cross lingustic thresholds, in fact especially if they cross linguistic thresholds. All we do, all the time is translate from one thing to another, from one value structure to another, one discipline to another, one mind to another, one world to another.

Without it we’d never share anything with anyone.

You can see other bits of my hurried scribblings, as well as scribblings from others that have struck me, on my pinterest board devoted to “tangible impressions” (i.e. handwritten notes). I am really interested in combinations of words & visuals at the moment, even something as simple as a handwritten note rather than typed.