Speaking and Being Spoken
I love when the words come to me, when they surge through me, when they give me the urge rather than the other way around. All I want is to be spoken — not by the media or some other unsavory force but by the cosmic winds of delight and articulation.
This is my affinity for the rant — it is a temporary possession that takes hold and, ventriloquist-like, makes me speak. It is my predilection for taste notes — the way a sensual experience grabs hold of one’s elan vital with one hand and words with another and voila: this tequila is rambunctious, peppering the tongue with spice before finishing in a subtle vanilla finale.
Too often, I feel a different compulsion to speak, a need to articulate some kind of social or professional discourse — “How are you? Great” followed by some witticism; or else, “Great to be here; this is an interesting project” before turning on the inevitable PowerPoint deck. In these instances, I feel less like I’m being spoken and more like I have to speak, summon the right words in order to maintain my place in this less-than-desirable social contract.
This may seem ironic. After all, I’m saying that my inspiration — which is not as much my inspiration as much as it is inspiration in general — is a kind of passivity: my greatest eloquence — or greatest joy in elocuting — comes from being spoken by the world. And when I am in fact compelled to speak by the terms of the social, I am not being spoken but being made to speak.
And being made to speak is exhausting work. This is why I spend a tremendous amount of time alone.
Ah, but being spoken is glorious — it’s a kind of exquisite molestation by the cosmos, words and affect working in conjunction, making my mind and body and mouth and fingers move just so, a generous choreography. And all I have to do is lend the cosmos my body, my thoughts. All I have to do is reach out the universe with tendrils at once visible and invisible and invite the cosmos in.
Spinoza says that power is the ability to be affected (at least I think that’s what he said; I might have made that up). The more generous one is, the more generous the world is and the more powerful, the more articulate and articulated, one becomes.
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