Sunday, January 16, 2011

When there are no words

Perhaps it's odd to hear a writer say this—especially one like me, who loves nothing more than to tuck into a fine conversation with plenty of of verbal storytelling—but here I go:

Sometimes there are no words.

Especially when emotion runs high, or low, and I find myself reaching for hyperbole that will still fall short of the intensity of my experience.

It's been one of those weeks of emotional tumult for me, in relation to my writing. When pondering those final years of Ron's life, I see that it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us... oh never mind, Dickens has already perfectly described my experience.

Because I couldn't put any of it into words, I didn't put up a second post this week.

That brings me to Captain America.

Earlier this week Marvel Entertainment published a free issue of Captain America on the theme of suicide. You can link to it here, and I invite you to look at it before reading any further. "A Little Help" was written by psychologist Tim Ursiny and illustrated by Nick Dragotta.

In graphics alone, this issue shares the story of someone who is thinking of ending his life because of problems that, at the time, seem insurmountable. Yet its message is hopeful: it speaks to the life that hides within us even at times of extreme disappointment, loss, depression, and shock—life that still has the potential to be recalled to use.

(If the leap from Dickens to Captain America feels like expired literary license, I give you this: Book One of Tale of Two Cities is titled "Recalled to Life.")

I loved the comic, and I'm curious about your opinions of it. Its lack of words made me think of those early weeks after Ron's suicide, when television and reading would painfully overstimulate me, and all I could do after putting my children to bed was to sit in silence until sleep claimed me as well. Some things must simply be endured.

But I've gained an appreciation for countless acts that can be performed with perfect meaning even if no words are ever formed. Silence can even elevate their importance.

I would love to share some of them here. And if you would like to add some of your own, in the comment section, I'd appreciate the gift.

• praying

• lighting a candle

• petting an animal

• remembering

• meditating

• watching the snow fall

• painting a wall

• baking a pie

Your turn.


Kathryn Craft said...

And dancing! How could I have forgotten?

Donna De said...

Watching a baby sleep.

After you've hiked high on a mountain, stopping to rest on a rock and take in the view.

Getting lost in a painting.

Kathryn Craft said...

Donna, those are beautiful. Thanks for contributing.

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