I love words. I stew over the best words to use in a post, an email, a text… I weigh the rhythm, the gravity, and the depth of words against my intentions and emotional/intellectual need in that particular moment of expression. Sometimes I make up words when it suits the occasion/situation/or beat, basing my privilege to do so on the fact that I have a very expensive piece of paper in my drawer stamped with MFA PLAYWRITING on it.
Because for me, the written word is an awesome opportunity to recreate genuine human expression in an (hopefully) accessible format.
But sometimes I forget that not everyone shares my affinity for the perfectly selected pronoun or ideally placed hyphen. I forget that not everyone is as equipped with the gift of verbal manipulation and application as I-who-have-devoted-myself-to-such-things.
I’m right now in a very complicated communique with someone who simply cannot match my verbal-obsessiveness and I find myself having to control my hunger for better words… I want poetry and depth and craft - what is being given to me instead is genuine simplicity. My love of/need for “better” words is leaving me frustrated and unable to just accept the letters and dots coming my way as expressive enough.
And I’m wondering if other writers experience this… this need for high articulation in their real-world communications. Do you ever find yourself searching for excessive verbal depth in debates/conversations? Do you find yourself mentally trying to script the other person’s dialogue? Do you get at all hung up on the seeming insufficiency of someone else’s vocabulary in high-stakes moments?
It’s kind of related (probably) to my anxiety about communication (perhaps this anxiety is another reason I’m so drawn to playwriting and the ability to craft dramatic communication on stage). I’m terrified of the conflict that can arise from miscommunication, and so I’m always striving to be as clear as I can, to offer as much of myself through my words as I can. But I forget that there are all sorts of ways people communicate – they say things with their actions, with their touch, with their eyes…
I need to learn to trust those things as much as I trust my words. It’s an interesting thing to think about… especially when I consider how much I incorporate those things in my plays – I mean, I never rely solely on a character’s dialogue to convey a moment… why would I then deny the power of action/physicality in real-world communication?
In any case, I guess you can tell I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my playwright self vs. my human-being self… sometimes I just feel like I spend so much time at my computer, tap-tap-tapping away, that I forget to negotiate a healthy balance with the outside world.
… and I think I feel maybe a real-world vacation might be just what I need to help. Thank goodness Spring Break is just around the bend!