the lie that is articulation

October 26, 2010 § 7 Comments

legal writing is often shit, not because the discipline demands it as much as circumstances do. these circumstances are created by flaws in the human psyche – some would say indian psyche – and pessimists therefore argue that these circumstances are permanent; inevitably, so will be the shitty writing. which is to say, we treat drafting as a pay-per-word service rather than the exercise in minimalism it should be. someone once told me to look at a contract not as a series of dead clauses, but living evidence of very real human anxieties; a sort of freeze-frame of the eternal conflict between trust and doubt. but here at least the variables are few. possibilities are always clear even if the probabilities aren’t. drafting seems to get easier with practice, and if you do it often enough, you are seduced into thinking that every feeling can always be reduced into words.

but articulation is only the measure of the lightness with which you may dance above and around that feeling. articulation is how effortless you make it look, while your black sadness sits quietly in the room, casting a shadow as long as your life. articulation is the elegance of avoidance.

but if you can summon the effort to stop and really look at your sadness, and then the impossible courage to write exactly what you see, why, that is poetry.

sylvia plath did a lot of that^, but then she stuck her head in the oven – and this is why articulation almost always wins over truth.


i’ve dropped the write-by-theme plan; i’ve decided that if i wanted to work that hard over something, i would quit blogging and do so. for now, the rambles will stay for as long as they continue to relax me.


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