Word & Image

Words & Images 

In the game Telephone Pictionary, a group of people begin with a numbered stack of paper fragments and an idea.  The idea could be an action, a character, a concept, anything.  Each player writes their idea on the top paper scrap and slides the stack to the player next to them.  The next person depicts the words passed to them, placing the words at the bottom of the pile.  The next writes what they interpret the drawing to be, and so on, alternating write/draw until the pile goes full circle or back to the originator, the same place as the end.  Most usually the character, action, description, originating logos has changed dramatically through its person-to-person journey and return.  Yet also usually, on looking at the miniature picture book as a whole, from start to finish, you are able to find a thread or see a path and deviations leading to the end.

A journey made up of an originating construction, altered and transformed through interactions with persons full of words and images (culture and nature), sometimes simplified, sometimes extended, and coming to its end with traces of the original construction and much difference.  It’s an easy one – it’s like life, we think – but to say “life is like that” is redundant, for it is part of life, playing the game is life.  It’s why any metaphors are available, why all metaphors work at some level – metaphor-making is life, as are games, interpretations, comparisons, changing, being handled, encountering persons with all their languages and images and ideas, editing, revising, with our limited number of pages, years, days.  Yes, being an initial cluster of cells and passing through the cultures and natures of others is very like the way our life narratives come to be constructed, composed, altered, imagined and revised to their ends – their beginning places – clusters of cells.

I began in the hands of my parents and sister, formed by the words and images they surrounded and infused me with: a particular kind of Christianity, music, morals, travel, touch, a sense of gender, my name, and so much more.  I suppose they’d each have their own words and images about and for me as well.

How quickly we are passed through hand after hand full of words and images – persons, institutions, cultures, families, nations, teachers, peers, friends, enemies, lovers and so on…The language, the picture – the culture, the nature – the numbered days – and we, the originating cluster altering and morphing, editing and highlighting, adopting and dropping, blacking out images, underlining phrases – palimpsests of living artefacts by our end.

Co-created through an unknown trajectory characterized by the interplay of self (or organism) and other (or world).

A beautiful, horrible thing.

Self-writing / Autography

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I want to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including wanting to know how wanting to know how wanting to know how everything we do (as the human kind of organisms) functions for us, including…


Masterful Hejinian on Language

“Language discovers what one might know, which in turn is always less than what language might say.  

We encounter some limitations of this relationship early, as children.  Anything with limits can be imagined (correctly or incorrectly) as an object, by analogy with other objects – balls and rivers.  Children objectify language when they render it their plaything, in jokes, puns, and riddles, or in glossolaliac chants and rhymes.  

They discover the words are not equal to the world, that a blur of displacement, a type of parallax, exists in the relation between things (events, ideas, objects) and the words for them – a displacement producing a gap.

Because we have language we find ourselves in a special and peculiar relationship to the objects, events, and situations which constitute what we imagine of the world.

Language generates its own characteristics in the human psychological and spiritual conditions.

Indeed, it nearly is our psychological condition.

This psychology is generated by the struggle between language and that which it claims to depict or express, by our overwhelming experience of the vastness and uncertainty of the world, and by what often seems to be the inadequacy of the imagination that longs to know it – 

Language is one of the principal forms our curiosity takes.

It makes us restless.

As Francis Ponge puts it, ‘Man is a curious body whose center of gravity is not in himself.’

Instead that center of gravity seems to be located in language, by virtue of which we negotiate our mentalities and the world; off-balance, heavy at the mouth, we are pulled forward.

Language itself is never in a state of rest.

Its syntax can be as complex as thought.  And the experience of using it, which includes the experience of understanding it, either as speech or as writing, is inevitably active – both intellectually and emotionally.

The ‘rage to know’ is one expression of the restlessness engendered by language.  ‘As long as man keeps hearing words / He’s sure that there’s a meaning somewhere,’ as Mephistopheles points out in Goethe’s Faust…”

Lyn HejinianThe Language of Inquiry




“A proposition is only a pretext to go over the limits of what’s proposed…A man in a room does not have strict boundaries until the moment when something forces him to take up one or another activity…

…I don’t have to write all this to be convinced that what is written exists.”

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-

“Don’t blame me.  I measure the shadow of the shadow with the shadow,

signifying here.”

-Arkadii Dragomoshchenko-

“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees” (Paul Valery)


I hear a bewildering variety of birds – singing, cawing, chirping, saying.  It exists whether I say so or not.  Some things exist because I say so.

Like dolumbritz and community.

The steps being easy and difficult between.

They leave shadows.  Sometimes.

Metaphor avoids this.


If we got to the bottom of it all, we would fall.  Perhaps upward, if direction had anything to do with it (it doesn’t).  So we say “alas.”  Which once was short for the bottom – a-ha! “at last!” there is (here is) THIS.  But now is code for sigh.

She said so, and I heard her, at last.  I sigh.

“I have the feeling that the meaning of things will never be sorted out” is a paraphrase of a poet.  Alas.

Like philosophy: the sequence of excitable sighs, then exhaustion.


I am here (wherever that is).  I could describe it and become able to forget, having given it you.  But once described, something else, and then poetry – “always something else.”  Metaphor.  Not likeness but difference.

I am here.

I would know this insofar as it were validated – verified : affirmed.  But that would change and then unknown.  I reach out as like to open without a demonstration, only signs or their perceivers.  Senseless gestures filled with sense.  First one and then another “like meanings smashing each other (I don’t say metaphor)” (Dragomoshchenko).


A family of deer just walked in front of me, led by the elder, stopping to curiously stare (extending their field) – a simultaneity.  I gazed back and added noise to which a tail flap and head cock, followed by a smile and a welcoming.  While you notice people on the street, in the office, over lunch.  And a child hears a fairy’s call.  What is and what is not need each other to exist.

“Imagination differs from fantasy as the form ‘is’ from the form ‘if.’  The scope of my imagination is no less than the scope of desire” (Dragomoshchenko).  If he seems to make more sense or to express it is because I provide a context and steal a fragment, thus expanding what it is by what it’s not, which also is if only ‘if’ therefore as written.

“I do not have to write all this to be convinced…”

In fact an opposite’s expanding here

N Filbert, Pike’s Peak CO, 2012