# of pages written: 4 (so far! it’s only 4pm)
# of times I’ve checked email/facebook: 3 (so far…it’s only 4pm)
# of days left to write 1st draft: 158
Currently I’m working as an English tutor, and I tutor a middle-aged Ukranian man every day for three hours. I’ve been spending so much time with Sergiy he’s sort of like my BFF here in Cape Cod. Today we were talking about animal sounds. I learned that in Russian, a dog says “guv guv,” a pig says “hroo hroo,” and a frog says “qua qua.” Cats sound pretty much the same. I started thinking how interesting it is that we hear animals in a different way, depending on what language we speak.
After we had exhausted the animal noise topic, Sergiy said, “what is this knock knock joke? I hear of it but I do not understand. Can you explain it?”
Oh man. I tried. I really did. I told him this one:
Doris open, why are you knocking?
First of all, he didn’t realize that Doris was a name. Then he didn’t understand the play on words “door is open.” Basically, he just did not get it at all. I tried a couple more, including the famous “orange you glad I didn’t say banana” joke. I explained that “aren’t” sounds sort of like “orange,” and Sergiy laughed, but I think it was more a laugh of mystification than anything else. “I don’t know,” I apologized. It was impossible to explain.
So, yet again, my words are failing me.
Sometimes someone will point something out to you, something you’ve never noticed before, and then it seems like all of a sudden you start seeing it everywhere. I feel this way with my realization about the imperfectness of words. A few days ago I started pondering the imperfectness of words (see my essay Drawing the Universe with Crayons). I wondered if maybe there is an understanding of the world that can only be reached by going beyond words. Now this idea keeps cropping up everywhere. On my home from tutoring today, the Depeche Mode song “Enjoy the Silence” came on the radio, and without really paying attention to the lyrics, I started singing along:
Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world…
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm
Whoa. Here I was just thinking that words are imperfect. But Depeche Mode is saying that words are violent. They are unnecessary and can only do harm. Yikes. Is the universe trying to send me a message? It really makes me question this whole writing thing….
Well, I will continue using words anyway. Today I worked on creating a more detailed outline of my novel. And I wrote some dialogue, thinking about how sometimes words are unnecessary, and we know what a person is thinking without him having to say a single word.