We’ve been learning to drive on the left side of the road with the aid of an imperious and unreliable GPS device, which is constantly, constantly, directing us to “cross the roundabout; second exit.” When you hear this over and over enough times in short succession, it begins to sound like the little lady in the box is trying to tell us another message. Perhaps, “Floss the hound’s snout! Second Texas!” or “Gloss the lounge throughout, second sextant,” or, my favorite theory so far, “Toss the flounder out, second breakfast!”
In summary: I am a sound technician with a background in English literature, cultural studies, and student dining cooperatives, attached to a folk music band with a moderately silly name and excellent songs, currently on tour in the UK. I am far enough out of college to miss things like creative nonfiction writing assignments and obscure intellectual debate, whence this tumblr.
I spend a disproportionate amount of time in vans, hotel rooms, and motorway stops. I think a disproprotionate amount about audio equalization, great post-national novels, and the intersections of homonormativity, white privilege, and vegan baking. Also cephalopod intelligence. I am starting this tumblir in the half-hour interval before leaving Basingstoke to drive to Canterbury. Carry on.
The day before yesterday began with tripping through an oddly sunny London morning to the British Library, where I encountered not only the Magna Carta and a beastiary specifying the characteristics of elephants and griffins, but also a recording on Virginia Woolf being interviewed on the BBC. It unmoored me. I hope it does the same for you:
‘…Words, English words, are full of echoes, of memories, of associations. They have been out and about, on people’s lips, in their houses, in the streets, in the fields, for so many centuries. And that is one of the chief difficulties in writing them today – that they are stored with other meanings, with other memories, and they have contracted so many famous marriages in the past. The splendid word “incarnadine,” for example – who can use that without remembering “multitudinous seas”? In the old days, of course, when English was a new language, writers could invent new words and use them. Nowadays it is easy enough to invent new words – they spring to the lips whenever we see a new sight or feel a new sensation – but we cannot use them because the English language is old. You cannot use a brand new word in an old language because of the very obvious yet always mysterious fact that a word is not a single and separate entity, but part of other words. Indeed it is not a word until it is part of a sentence. Words belong to each other, although, of course, only a great poet knows that the word “incarnadine” belongs to “multitudinous seas.” ‘