Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greenaway response-ish

Peter Greenaway Reading

English is a second language for my roommate. Since the beginning of the semester she's been having a difficult time completing the reading and writing for her critical inquiry class. Usually every time it came up I told her not to be so hard on herself, that she's had so many adjustments to make, and that she doesn't need to be immediately good at everything right now. Then tonight she told me she still hadn't done the work and I didn't feel like saying all those encouraging compassionate things I felt like she should do the work. Then I felt guilty. So I tried to read the Greenaway reading in the- is that Italian?- translation. In my language I find the writing really delightful and rich, it tapped all different strands of thought and I felt like it played along with me chasing tangents and beckoning questions. In another language it also felt like playing, this time a guessing game, and many thoughts were activated as well- but their themes seemed much less aligned with whatever Greenaway was talking about, because I didn't really know what Greenaway was talking about, although I did enjoy congratulating myself when I vaguely understood almost a whole paragraph. I remember how frustrating it was to try and read short stories in Spanish because even if I translated accurately, I was perplexed by the magic realism, which made me wonder whether I translated accurately. Sometimes when I'm dancing I find that my partner and I are speaking the same language, or something much more intuitive and raw than language. Maybe like echolocation, or like blood that's coursing through both sets of veins so there's no use discussing it. All the cues, symbols, and signs are clear and it is even more harmonious than a conversation. Sometimes I have no idea what he is talking about and it is frustrating and it makes me really self conscious. I am embarrassed at my bad grammar and the phrases I have found and love seem stupid and untranslateable. I forget if I know how to speak, I forget whether I have grace. I fail to transmit meaning to the other person and I wonder if what I had to transmit is meaningful afterall. Once I thought that people said what they meant and meant what they said.

I think Icarus flew and the wax was melted and running down over the wings. He crashed into the water and the water was grace and it cooled and hardened the wax in a whole new way. The wings were reconstructed with different folds, capacities, and frames of movement. At first dysfunctional and disabling, only heavy and laden. In time he learned the language of the burden and his muscles learned to work with them until these wings had flight again.

1 comment:

katiegpm said...

I kept accidentally reading into the spanish columns, not understanding what was going on. It was interesting the way the two languages intertwined on the pages. I think that that was a really important way of looking at the article...