Saturday, July 25, 2009

Words Fail, Music Speaks

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent”-Victor Hugo

"Words fail. Music Speaks." That phrase resounds in me, reverberating, carving a space in my head. "Words fail. Music speaks." A strange sentiment for a deaf woman to have emblazoned on a small painting above her desk. There are days when I read about yet another writer’s soundtrack, the musical inspiration that played in the background as they fed the Muse within them and penned thought to keyboard, imagination to monitor backlit in soft white. For a moment I envy them, I ache for that backdrop, that cadence of music, vocalizing emotions while I weave words. It’s folly to lose myself in the "what if’s", and more folly to believe that expressing emotions is based soley on what one is able to hear.

When all else fails, the lid of my laptop closes and I hit the open road by car. There, I have a venue to by-pass my inept hearing. I can crank the stereo and feel the music, jumping off door to windshield, floorboard to dash, thumping, vibrating. The very air hums, the pulse bathing my skin and kissing my fingertips. I’m ensconced in the music, a passenger in the tempo, feeling the road move beneath the tires, the dips and cracks in the road dance with the rumba, the boogie, the foxtrot, the tango, the salsa heart of me. It’s all there, every echo and nuance of the music. I almost hear it more than I feel it.

Now, a few hours of sound vibrations can wash over me. Never enough. The need to write gets its hooks in my psyche, pulling me back to the keyboard, to play prose with my fingers....What is that in the background? Silence. Memory recalls pieces of song and music, lyrics come to me like broken bits of poetry. My brain fights to remember, pushing fragments of songs to the front burner and hoping it will suffice as a snack to entice my mind enough to enter the story, struggling for dominance in a brain soon overwhelmed. It’s a rarity to have the whole tune I want to soothe and inspire my senses for the dish I wish to serve. Sometimes frustration wins and the lid to the laptop closes once more. Out the door with a hyper-vigilant friend on a leash I go, to the woods I go, whispering a prayer to whatever deity favors a writer: "Please, let this trek feed my prose...."

Feather light wisps of breeze, varying hues of green thread in and out of my visual perception. The canopy overhead cools and heats up as we go beneath shaded trees. Silence. The light plays a simmering dance across a black gloss of canine hair. The wind bends the stalks of the bamboo. The grass plays with my feet, not unlike a maestro’s baton, as an opal butterfly flitters from leaf to leaf, orchestrating the woodland chorus. A cat prowls in the underbrush. My laughter echoes, pulsating beneath my heartbeat, a chuff from the wonder dog Pickles, the vibrato of life around me. Thump-thump-ratta-thump-thump-shhwick-shhwick-tumthrum-tumthrum-wee-whip-snap! Breathe in, breathe out. It is the new soundtrack that plays in my life, perhaps more enriched. The world has gone quiet, and now, because silence was never meant to be so silent, I hear and feel and see and express a different kind of music.

Peace and Love.


Lyrics to 1000 Beautiful Things by Annie Lennox