Making Words

Action: Writing


Woven in the circles of making, I felt and I thought, I wrote (I thought) “What is called writing?”

An action, a process, a braiding of becoming.

In that way it is like breathing, sensing, walking.

Also not.


I wouldn’t, for instance, “do it anyway” – wasn’t born with the instinct of muscle and nerve to be verbal, textual.  I needed other people for that, and the whole history of the world, and the tiny stories of my community and location.  All those things, all those “others” – elements and entities NOT me trained me to language.  Taught me to “mean’ something with a sound or a gesture, out of an enormity of possible sounds and motions, infinite and miniscule in their variety.  So that I utter and behave as a Kansas boy raised in the 1970s in the United States of America; I can say “what” about forty different ways, but not like someone from Tokyo, Moscow or Bangladesh.

Clearly I went along with it, became, developed my own versions of signification and cadence, intonation and grammar.  Working well enough when among the great pool of English-speakers who read literature, philosophy, poetry or know something about parenting, divorces, theology or art.

Outside of that I suspect I’m a foreigner.  A penguin squawking and waddling about.

Given the breathing, perceiving, pulsing, walking thing, I can usually find my way among other humans anywhere, but not without a strangeness and suspicious curiosity about the way I do it, and why.


Words written are things.  Objects to collage, cut and paste, assemble/dissemble, rearrange.

That’s what I love to do.  I like very much listening to their silences, their potential precision and fluid spillage and wash.  I love finding shapes there and rhythms.  After all, music isn’t about the melody, but all of its sounds and silences together.  But writing isn’t music, it’s writing.

Stories aren’t histories, expressions or truths – they’re words.  Lists aren’t tasks performed or groceries, notes aren’t emotions or commands – they’re words.  A painting of a mountain isn’t a mountain.  It’s a painting.

So my blog, my work, my play, my joy my grief my desire and delight is this puzzling and fiddling about with this (for all practical finite purposes and aptitude) infinite galaxy of lettered objects.

What it might “mean” or “say,” “express” “communicate” or “intend” and so on – I guess that’s up to you – making your own creative use of my arrangements from your very own culture of sounding signing and gesturing.

A happy medium, as far as I’m concerned.

N Filbert 2012

6 thoughts on “Making Words

  1. You might have done it anyway. I think you {ital} probably would have done it anyway. You might have learned to think in pictures, rather than words, but the same process would have evolved in you…the patterning, the tinkering, the compulsion to see what happens if you change one-little-detail.

    Thank you for sharing your fascination with words ~ you’ve inspired me to write, too.

  2. I would be hard-pressed to come up with a more encouraging comment than that one. Pulling the thread and following it out of all the tangles that make us, then beginning to attempt weaving it as it catches, changes, flows…so glad you’re giving it a go (again)? That’s inspiring in its own very valuable right.

  3. “Given the breathing, perceiving, pulsing, walking thing, I can usually find my way among other humans anywhere, but not without a strangeness and suspicious curiosity about the way I do it, and why.”

    Me, too.

    I needed this today. Glad I dug through your chests of old words that are still so very new to me. Trying to find my new place, my shack in this temporary sanctuary before Life presses me on.

  4. I am so thankful for you – and that you dig through these things I have so forgotten… when you bring them back they are new to me and usually surprising, but also sometimes do something in me. Thank you.

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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