Alliteration as alternate amusements

Writing, like speech, is mood-evocative. Tawdry and trite, I still stagnate towards use of alliteration, its sultry sisters: assonance and consonance,  rhythmic syllabic-patterning as in haiku or iambic pentameter, or yes, ashamed as I am, puns.

Clever or coy, silly or sly, the way words wiggle into the world seems as likely to affect your mood as the moods of those around you. A savored meal is more memorable, and those that touch all your senses and tastes tends to fulfill and encourage the efforts for satisfaction. When it appeals to the eye, is silken to the tongue, flavorful, redolent in scent, and crunches perfectly, it leaves a lasting impression. So, too, should we remember to eat our words.

Spoken aloud, some words roll off of the tongue, languish upon the lips or tickle the teeth.  They crunch or glide, caress or slap. Rhythms and rhymes reverberate while an artful silence may overwhelm. Without words, it is like a day without food or water. Sustenance may be gleaned without satisfaction, but what a tragedy that could be!

Eat, drink and be merry, especially with your words.


Sorrow versus Depression

When sorrow enters your world, whether it creeps in with the slow chill of damp autumnal leaves or with the sudden wrenching pain that causes you to double over in physical distress, it is a hungry emotion, feeding upon your motivation, your attention, and your mood. Like a disease, sorrow can go into remission and permit you to function normally. Then from nowhere, it reemeges to strike again, forbidding you from forgetting. But is this grief the same thing as depression?

Depression is a condition, an ailment that has come into a greater understanding across the last decade. It acts in the same fashion as the malaise of grief, but it is known to be a real illness which may or may not be handled with treatments. Those that may not are simply in need of ongoing research and medical advances. There is no such option for grief, because the assumption is that grief and loss happen and are done. A healthy person should feel these and then move on.

But when? How quickly? And is true grief truly ever “overcome?” It isn’t a call to stop living, but when a critical part of your soul has been torn away, leaving a hole, should there be such a thing as recovery? You can move on and find joys and live, but you will never be the same. There is no cure.

Depression finds a victim and stealthily steps in to torment and afflict. There are protections for many. For some, the proper bodyguard has simply not yet been found. Depression remains a bully who attacks again and again, without provocation.  Grief hits hard and fast once, but is a thief. You lose part of yourself that may never be recovered. There is no protection to halt the pain of your injury. You may heal, but the scar remains. You may never walk the same way again, and you never know when the ache of your wound will reemerge. The similarity is understandable, but the difference is crucial to understand.

The best of times, the worst of times…

“No one feels another’s grief, no one understands another’s joy. People imagine they can reach one another, in reality they only pass each other by.” -Franz Schubert

Without grief, it is impossible to know when you experience joy. With every great tragedy, new heights are wholly attainable. Contrariwise, to know the greatest pleasure is to have experienced deepest pain. There is no shame in this — the mediocre life is not a life truly lived. Does this mean, however, that every man is an island? Is every emotional experience so profoundly individual, personal and private that none can ever share in the events that shape and mold you? Yes and no.

Yes, in that all things emotional are personal. How deeply we are affected is unique and specific. What brings us sorrow, what causes happiness; these things are sometimes small and inconsequential to others. A sight that is caught, a sound, a smell – it may produce melancholy, or may make you smile. Would it do so to others? Sometimes. Not always and certainly not in the same fashion. Our very perspective is based upon experience and nobody’s experience is identical to another’s. Even a pair of twins treated identically from birth will still have differences in life’s experiences. One will trip and the other won’t. One will catch a smile, the other was looking elsewhere at the time. Such small things, but they still create an impact and over time, perspectives, while perhaps still similar, will never remain identical. So how could anyone possibly ever know your joy or sorrow as intimately as you truly feel it? Even through expressing yourself, you cannot express the history and the unconscious development that creates this emotional reaction sufficient for anyone to truly experience it with you.

So how then can I also say no? Emotion is as contagious as the worst virus. Laughter may invoke a smile. Tears may invoke a furrowed brow or frown. And there are some events so wide-reaching, so encompassing that they affect multiple people at one time. Shared tragedy will never be exactly the same, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a common reaction and a common source. Shared delight can occur with more than one person in the same fashion. Can we expect it to be identical? Never. But it may be found in concert.

Schubert had it right, perhaps, but he also had it fundamentally wrong. It is possible to reach another, if you take the time to cultivate your shared experiences, if you have common joys and sorrows. There is no perfect understanding, perhaps, but nor is there a perfect person. Share your joys, express your sorrows – some may never truly comprehend, but there will be the rare, the few, who look upon you to say, “I get it. I never thought there would be another like me. I understand.” There is no reason not to make the attempt — through song, through word, through smile or tears — to reach another. We are all of the human experience and there is not a one who has never experienced some part of what there is to be found.

When loneliness falls

Loneliness falls like silence; sudden, soft and steady, like a thick winter blanket to muffle sound, impede movement and leave you breathlessly dehydrated. It leaves no room for escape and shrouds you even when you bundle it up and travel with others.

Anyone who tells you loneliness is best avoided by surrounding yourself with others or keeping busy has obviously never experienced it. Loneliness is not endemic of an inability to socialize, it’s an issue of connection. The ties that hold us together are such fragile threads and like silken hair that is knotted, it can slide free and slip away without warning. Understanding someone else and truly connecting with them is a stronger link; the connector to a solid chain. Yet even so, that which has been forged may also be rent asunder.

When you lose someone you have truly connected with, the severed link dangles and reconnecting across that damaged chain is impossible. It calls into clarity the quality of your remaining connections and leaves you bereft, no matter how many others surround you and console or sympathize. The loneliness descends and remains with a palpable presence,  forcing a struggle against it for momentum, for clarity, and to free yourself from that binding suffocation.

It is real. This sensation isn’t at all a wallowing in self-pity or a device for attention. It forces you to seek others, to seek repair, but only time can grow or strengthen your bonds and attempts at entire replacement are doomed to failure. At some point, the blanket of loneliness may be lifted, but only when you have bonds solid enough to bear the weight.

Time and Tensors

There are times in everyone’s lives when a change inexorably affects a person. Something simple and small has sweeping and overwhelming impact. When an item is left on the ground, is forgotten, or found, you may find a tug and pull upon invisible threads of relationships tied to that item which causes you to then become a part of a new equation. For example, a bracelet found lying upon the ground may compel you to check if anyone has lost it. You might want it for a girlfriend or someone else, but the original owner may come around, searching. Suddenly you are linked. It may be as simple as five minutes talking to a stranger, it may be a life – long friendship’s starting source.

Tensors. Unfortunately, as easy as it is for this to occur with a discovery, it is equally likely with the absence or loss of an item. When you lose a person, the impact is even more profound.

Grief is only the small part of a loss. It agonizes and aches, but it can only last for so long. The human body is not designed to endure such trauma unabated. At first, it feels as if there might never be respite. I’ve found myself swearing that there could not, even should not be such relief! It is unthinkable, impossible and irrational that it should end. After all, a person is not something you just set aside or forget.

And yet, time passes and the pain eases from sharp agony into an ache that ebbs and flows like a tide. The ache may bring you new friendships and relationships,  but nothing is ever quite the same. The lonely reminders live on. Little notions I want to share have no recipient any longer, so in memory of my tensor, I begin to write.