From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Unspoken

I like to think of really great writing as words that successfully say what words can't say. I mean, when you think of poetry, it's saying things with words, but it's really saying so much more.

Here are some quotes whose words add up to so much more than the sum of their parts:

"If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence." -George Elliot, Middlemarch
"Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it." Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
"Serve God, love me, and mend." William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing.

I think when language works as well as it does in these examples its meaning is too much for words, and so the words have to mean something more then themselves. I know its kind of abstract and convoluted, but does that make sense? It accesses something close to a Universal Truth that hits chord deep inside us, even when we can't comprehend the full meaning of the words in our heads.

How do you put something like this in words?


And here is one of the greatest scenes ever shown on television, all about the "unspoken." I mean, the words 'I love you' already carry such a complicated web of meaning, there is absolutely SO much that Niles is saying in just three words.


What do you think? Do you think writers can try to use words to say what words can't say, and how do we do it?

Sarah Allen

7 comments:

  1. I agree. I think that's the artistic side of writing. It's not always just telling a story. The best stories say more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think that's the amazing thing about words - they say what we can say and represent what we can't. I love that you chose Fraiser as an example. Perfection.
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. the most poignant scene where someone conveys a message or emotion or feeling, is in a movie called "betsy's wedding"--allan alda--who plays her father, he is watching her dance at her wedding--"embraceable you" is playing and he looks at her as his child still--the look in his eyes, i have never seen anything in acting quite like it--i don't think his words would ever have been able to do what his bittersweet gaze did for me of course this would be difficult in a book :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's hard to find the right way to use words to convey what you're talking about, but I do think it can be done, through an eye for detail and the ability to imagine what real people would be experiencing.


    The Golden Eagle
    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Eagle has spoken and I concur. IN addition, your videos were perfect for this post. Words that say more than words say it for longer than words last. And you can quote me on that.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The Eagle has spoken and I concur. IN addition, your videos were perfect for this post. Words that say more than words say it for longer than words last. And you can quote me on that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. so true and that is the magic in words, language, so many meanings, shades, tones,and undertones - wonderful words

    Niles was the best in that show:)

    thanks for dropping by

    ReplyDelete

I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

To have weekly posts delivered to your inbox, just sign up here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...