Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Single Word

I have been churning that story idea over and over in my mind. I've been thinking of it as I fall asleep, as I walk to and from work. It's in the numbness of my limbs in the cold; it's in the violent red behind my eyelids as I blink into the dazzling sun. I suppose, as with the journey that begins with a single step, so does every story begin with a single word. Calvino has expressed that every interpretation, every reading of a text constitutes a kind of violence, for every reader psychically molests the text and turns it into something different. Every word exists both in concrete materiality and in a nether-world that extends beyond. It's a paradox – every word brings forth a wordless world of desires, fears, prophesies, and possibilities. It's not the words that I write down onto paper, but this nether-world that I fear. It's the voices of all the people within me, all the different people that I am, and all the people who have influenced me in my becoming myself – the tug-of-war between word and air, surface and depth, the known and the unknowable.

And so, I hesitate and have been keeping notes only in my head. I want that first word to ring true, like the moment before a newborn child takes its first breath. I want that perfect, impossible word, the one that hangs by a thread, between here and there, now and forever. Maybe that word is “if” -- those two letters encapsulate so very much. Can two-hundred pages flow out of “if”? Can voices be born, worlds be created, lives and loves blossom from this single word?


  1. Hello,

    My name is Philippe Morin, I'm the local reporter for News/North.

    I'm writing an article about blogs in the NWT, and would like to reference yours in an article I'm writing.

    Are you interested in this? Please call 777-4545 to leave a message. (I am also in Inuvik.)


  2. If - yes, it's a word to build everything upon.