There is something therapeutic and enlightening about these essays that are of diverse scope but which are bound with a single string. That string is language — and not just the spoken, but also the unspoken; the pre-verbal, the danced, the hidden, the sung, the articulate, the inarticulate, the visual.
Just a few books ago, Rica Bolipata – Santos beautifully expressed that writing is, “An added gift to the love of reading.”
For John Berger, writing is, “An offshoot of something deeper… our relationship with language.” Language, to him, is a creature, “A quivering almost wordless ‘thing’.”
Language is that which acquires a body when it is sung, or played, or danced, as in music; it is el duende of which Federico Garcia Llorca wrote, the spirit, the gestures, “Gestures that are the mothers of all the dances of the ages”!
But these string of thoughts also hint at the things that distract us from it, the diversions from what is “true, essential, and urgent.” More than that other book of his, this one will somehow recalibrate our ways of seeing, and if we allow it further, our ways of living.
The pre-verbal, the danced, the hidden, the sung, the articulate, the inarticulate, the visual, the musical… all at once, there is a sudden inspiration to live in every language I know.