The editors of Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, asked, in Symposium, to respond to the question: 'If language were ever to lay in ruins, which three words, as a writer, would you like to salvage?

 

 

My answer:

Natsuki Takaya, a Manga artist from Japan, said 'Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you'. So your question led me to long walks and sleepless nights. Did I want words that would hurt or that would save me? Did I want words the evoked memories, or invoked a higher purpose? Words of love, of freedom, of sadness? The ones that lilt off your tongue or stab at your heart? I think, finally, I would salvage these three - this time.

 

Tintinnabulation - not because of the meaning but because I so love the act of saying it. It reminds me of when I was a small child, I loved filling my mouth with smooth pebbles and stones. For hours I would move them around my mouth with my tongue, feeling the smoothness in equal part with the harness - the silk with the endurance, the facility with the clumsiness. A long meditation as I sat at the foot of the prairie, grasshoppers tangling themselves in my wind-tattered hair, sucking on ancient stone and bird-egg pebbles.

 

Compassion - simply because there is so little of it in the world. If it were to become the only word, then perhaps compassion would become all of the world. 

 

Wabi-sabi - because wabi-sabi is a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay. A word that personifies acceptance and contemporaneousness. When saying wabi-sabi, we would be speaking about everything or nothing, but we would be acknowledging the 'be', and the 'is', and the 'are'. Everything is imperfect, we small, scared, humbled and shattered humans most of all. But the word wabi-sabi makes us beautiful. 

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