I wanted to write a blog post about the bananas. I want to unsettle the way we hear things. I want to unsettle the way we see each other. I want to put into words some of the conversations I had with Andy that week, the dialogue, the thinking-through, the working something through within the medium of words. And are words only these things, the signs that we make with our pen-strokes? Are they just as valid when they are spoken and not written or recorded? Are they an extension of our bodies? Are they also these words that I type without leaning in?
The phrase ‘lean in’ has become quite popular I’ve noticed. Lean in, lean in, lean in, while I speak quietly and you must listen. Lean in and hear the news. Lean in and show you are part of the club. Lean in, put your weight on me, I will carry you. Lean in if you can bear to trust me with your weight. Lean in to show you are in the club of those who trust and are trusted. It’s a complicated phrase, just like all of them. I think that one of the reasons I like using a microphone when speaking is that I can speak in my quiet voice and other people can hear without needing to signal anything by leaning in. Some people tell me I’m wrong, that a microphone is a physical barrier between me and the audience, that it is more genuine, more friendly, more honest, to speak “naturally”. These people are usually people with loud, resonant voices. People who are used to being heard.
I have a feeling that everything about language has become a club. We trust words too much. I wish we had only just invented them and then we might treat them with a kind of wonder, a mistrust, a reluctance, a reticence. We might prod them and not know how they would respond, what kind of creatures they were. We might invent them at once more carefully and carelessly, playing with their form and their weight as they travel between us. We might not kill them with presumption and the expectation of fixity.
Next up: a blog post about the bananas