As for expressing nobody-but-yourself in words, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t a poet can possibly imagine. Why? Because nothing is quite as easy as using words like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all of the time — and whenever we do it, we’re not poets.
There is something beautiful about a blank canvas, the nothingness of the beginning that is so simple and breathtakingly pure. It’s the paint that changes its meaning and the hand that creates the story. Every piece begins the same, but in the end they are all uniquely different.
A thousand grandmothers ago
Pyrrha and Deucalion repopulated
the world with rocks, bones of mother Earth,
a generation of my ancestors strained
from the mud of a drowned planet.
But I’m more interested in my earliest
grandmothers, their gills and wetness,
before they crawled from that blue expanse
and learned to carry the sea within them,
in their cells, between their cells, in their eyes.
The buoyancy of ocean has never left us.
It hides in skin’s complex reservoir
where we’re selectively permeable
and our bodies exchange the smallest life.
If we had no need to distinguish ourselves
from others we’d be missing the skin
that defines lovers and enemies
and opens itself to both.
“What’s wrong with me? I lose my footing, in here.” He touched his head. “When a neuro-typical looses their footing, they yell or escape to the TV, or maybe the doctor throws them on depression meds. But when I slip, I fall all the way through. I feel the ground give way and I’m gone. It’s a crack — a crack in what’s real, and beneath there I’m stuck. Then, I guess I become someone else. Mom says I still know my name, but I walk a different world. The shrink calls it DID — Dissociative Identity Disorder — with a little added autism to spice up my other personality. I suppose he’s right, but only I know how it feels to slip through the cracks. Then the monster shows up.”
You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
PS You have to be brave.
―Jeanette Winterson in Big Questions from Little People: And Simple Answers from Great Minds edited by Gemma Elwin Harris
I felt part of a group for the first time in my life. Not a family, just a group of people who liked being together, who sat as we did, leaning towards each other, leaving just the right amount of space in between, whose thoughts and words flowed easily and naturally, whose voices and accents were so different from each other and yet mingled in harmony as though in a song.
―Indu Muralidharan, The Reengineers
A flower with no smell to it is just something to look at. However, a flower that emits a beautiful fragrance is the one we want in our homes and on our walls. Your mission as an artist, is to become the best-smelling flower in the world, so that when the day finally comes when you are plucked from the ground, the world will cry for the loss of your mind-stimulating fragrance. Be different. Be original. Nobody will remember a specific flower in garden loaded with thousands of the same flower, but they will remember the one that managed to change its color to purple.
―Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem
If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant.
Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion, believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation.
It will do both of you good.
―Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration