words-1 words-2

“…I had spent a lifetime devoted to Wittgenstein’s idea that the inexpressible is contained–inexpressibly!–in the expressed. This idea gets less air time than his more reverential Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent, but it is, I think, the deeper idea. Its paradox is, quite literally, why I write, or how I feel able to keep writing.

For it doesn’t feed or exalt any angst one may feel about the incapacity to express, in words, that which eludes them. It doesn’t punish what can be said for what, by definition, cannot be. Nor does it ham it up by miming a constricted throat: Lo, what I would say, were words good enough. Words are good enough.

It is idle to fault a net for having holes, my encyclopedia notes.”

Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts


Here: snatches of text seen around the city; the process of cobbling together what is created by understanding & inscrutability; language only takes us “so far,” which is pretty far, until it’s not, and when it’s not, we fill in the gaps with other kinds of language, which sometimes takes us just far enough to profit comfort, consolation.