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I’ve had the chance recently, to have a long conversation with someone who used their words in a really interesting manner. Instead of just using words in a banal manner, to convey meaning, they bought their conversation to life, they infused it with exaggerated metaphors, drew on references both mortal and mythological, and with every sentence sought to seek the boundaries of their language and knowledge with their words. The words had vitality beyond their meaning.

It was the most fun I ever had talking to anyone in such a long time. Its a very distinct style of speaking, and I find it leaves some people quite easily flustered. They’re not used to the sheer variety of language, the twists the turns, the intricacy and even the false intimacy a word can generate. Those who don’t get it, eventually end up tongue tied, lost without any response to words that revel in such flights of fancy. I myself was at a loss for large chunks of the time. It was only with careful listening to what was being said, to here the nature of the words and not just the meaning conveyed that I began to appreciate the game, and then to realize that it is a game.

I’ve discovered that the only response to such verbal repartee, is to engage in it yourself. To respond to each pointed edge with a quick verbal parry and a bit of ones own quasi-poetry. Conversations sound fabulous when played out in this confrontation, words swing by from side to side with an elegance more apt on the ballroom floor then the lips of men. I’m trying and talking like that to others now, and I find that they find talking to me much more interesting, though they do tend to be a bit flustered as to how to respond. Maybe in time they’ll figure it out, or they may read this and understand.

Then the game begins again, twice as fun, because now both know that meaning is not confined to the words, it floats ethereal around the entire conversation. But more importantly that infused in the heart of this conversation, lies a small portion of nonsense, a casual happiness that is both welcoming and entertaining, while all the while being serious.

Try it, it’s fun.


One Comment

    • Dom
    • Posted September 3, 2005 at 3:51 pm
    • Permalink

    I would not know to begin playing the “game”. Us scientists/mathematicians/engineers are more comfortable with using symbols, very concised and standardised jargons, and as few words as possible. 😉 <== an example!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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