We speak freely. Carelessly, even. Words upon words spill out of our uninhibited tongues. After all- they vanish into thin air, do they not?
But what if they didn’t? What if words don’t just disappear, what if they leave?
Maybe, just maybe, there’s a place. A magical place, of course, but a place none the less. A place where words once vanished here appear there as a splash of paint on a great canvas of color. The reds of passionate “I love you!”s and the dark blues of “Why?”, together, on the same strip of cloth. What if it didn’t end there, with only the strong emotions, the tears and the fears creating shadows, depth, beauty and sorrow?
The mundane must surely find its way there also. In great stripes across the canvass, we see marching evenly words of “more, please” and “thank you” and “how do I get to the so-and-so?” All these phrases we thought were meaningless, they’re actually the base of our painting. And if you look closely, really closely, at the grays and the blacks of these ordinary exhales, you’ll be shocked to find that it is more than just newsprint. Deep down inside each term and diction is color! Color like you wouldn’t believe! Even the most commonplace of words is actually a mosaic of vibrance and life and emotion. Fire and sweat and blood pouring forth from “I don’t think so”. Pain and sorrow and wretchedness flowing from “why not?” Mirth and promise and love flowing from “yes…”
You see, our words are not wasted, and they certainly don’t disappear. They all exist, making this great picture I’ve just told you about.
Nobody’s ever seen the whole thing. Nobody’s ever seen the thing at all- we just see splashes of paint before they’re sent off to be brushed against the cloth. They vanish out of our air, but they arrive in another atmosphere more true than they ever were here.
There’s much debate over what sort of picture these colors and words make. Some say it is very ugly, others bright, and some even claim that it makes no sense whatsoever. Whether it shows a garden, or a home, or an abstraction, or a man’s face, you are free to decide on your own, based on the basis of color you’ve seen vanishing around you all of your life.
The funny thing about all of this is that the words we most treasure, the words and the worlds we save never end up there. They must have been less real, at least when they were first said. How could they not be? They were never forgotten. They were never sent off to the magical place where words are tint and tones brushstrokes and theme provides the contours. The Bard’s treasured lines of immortality and promises to “give life to thee” never followed his love into that farther atmosphere. He selfishly chained them here, and they remain fixed wherever “men can speak and eyes can see”.
No layers of “To be or not to be” appear on this canvas, but many a heart-wrenching soliloquy. Many a prayer whispered trembling in the dark, but not a “Lend me your ears”. In our own, sad, simple existence a lie gets “halfway around the world before the truth gets his pants on” but there, in this beautiful place, it mustn’t be so. How could it be? Those words never vanished. They never left without warning, the way of their brothers.
It’s true; there may be a different place with a different painting where these treasured and infamous words go. Perhaps it’s a sculpture. Whatever it is, I don’t know of it.
I simply know that our words are paint. They vanish away from here casually and collide dramatically with the canvas there. Whatever poor words or drudgery we may speak out of routine, whatever kind words were spoken to the hearts of outcasts, whatever cries and vows and oaths and secrets made on our pillows in the night- they will all be preserved.
In fact, they already are. They’re making up a painting. I don’t quite know what it looks like yet.