Monday, 4 March 2013


"It's only words..."

A word is a unit of language that carries meaning

Words are my passion

After twenty years of marriage to the mainframe computer and almost five years into an affair with the internet, I am really, at heart, an amateur linguist.

word > noun a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing...

a single distinct conceptual unit of language, comprising inflected and variant forms

The vehicle for the communication of discovery and learning...
for the expression of our thoughts, which are words unspoken

Pictures from Wikepedia)

Remember that fascinating TV programme that I mentioned called The Day We Learned To Think ?

The day we learned to think was the day we began to learn to speak

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.

(Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)
No, for once I have, with respect, to disagree with Kahlil Gibran

You talk when your thoughts must find expression
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your self you live through your words, and sound is a reaching out to others and a blessing
And in much of your talking, thinking is given life.
N'est-ce pas?

Words are as vital to our well-being as food, water, sleep and love.
Words are essential to the survial of our species
Words can wound, words can heal
Words are what make us unique
If people chose to resolve their disputes with words and reason rather than swords and anger then the world would be almost perfect

At work I am surrounded by bits and bytes and the technical tools of my trade
At work people even 'chat' through the medium of technology using signs and symbols that are becoming the 21st century's new language. A language that I will not embrace easily because it's too new, too lacking in history and meaning for my taste
At work I miss my words

But when I am home...

The first thing that I do on coming home is turn on the computer and the radio

The computer is often 'tuned' to France Culture. As I compose posts for my blog and write emails to friends, as I sit and eat my meals, while I am engaged in household chores downstairs, I am immersed in the words of this French radio station. I revel in its programmes on culture, science, history. I live in the French language...

The radio upstairs is tuned to BBC Radio 4. It greets my wakening each morning and keeps me company during the darkness of the night.

Wherever I am in my house I am in the company of words, even in my quiet moments and my meditations words fill the air

Many of my books, my treasure troves of words, are Lost In France, or less dramatically, still snoozing on the shelves of my bookcases at my house in Brittany, it is strange and frustrating to find that the book that I wish to re-read is often in another country.

But sometimes words survive centuries...

An unusually large fragment from possibly the oldest copy of part of the Gospel of John will go on sale next month, when the torn piece of papyrus with Greek writing is expected to fetch up to 300,000 pounds.

The fragment is believed to date to 200 AD, less than 170 years after the crucifixion of Christ, when Christianity was still illegal and around 100 years after experts believe the original Gospel was first written.
(Yahoo News)

Words that were written centuries ago...
Who wouldn't wish to own such a scrap of papyrus?
Who wouldn't gaze in wonder at the words that someone wrote two thousand years ago?
Words that still speak to us now...

Hands up those who would love to be able to gaze daily on this

Hwæt. We Gardena in geardagum,þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon,hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena/ þreatum,Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah,egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð/feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad

Beowulf The oldest piece of Old English writing in existence

Wouldn't you love to be able to sit and gently stroke these inscriptions?

The Code de Haummurabi -
Written on a stele, a large stone monument, it contains 282 laws, written, Akkadian, the lingua franca of Babylon so that any literate citizen of the city would be able to read it...

A carving at the top of the stele portrays Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash, and the preface states that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods of his people to bring the laws to them. Parallels to this divine inspiration for laws can be seen in the laws given to Moses for the ancient Hebrews.


Oxford's Radcliffe Camera
Camera (Italian) means a room.
This camera is the main reading of the Bodleian Library.

It is connected to a veritable treasure trove containing some 600,000 books.
Sadly, because these books are considered too precious to face the enthusiastic attention of The Public, it is not available to those who are not members of the university...

I wonder what their authors would have thought of such a prohibition?

Where would we be without words?
Locked inside ourselves
Lonely and frustrated without words

Words of love, words of hate...

Is there a museum dedicated to words?
Not a library, although they are worthy places indeed
No, I mean a museum dedicated to words...

Words carved on stones, written on papyruses, parchment, paper...
Words that reach us from the four corners of the world, words that speak to us from the past, that express the present and arm us for the future

Words, past, present, parlant

If one does not already exist there should be such a museum
And I, for one, would be delighted to be its first curator!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I am not an artist in the accepted sense of the word
I can't quilt, I struggle to produce paintings, my sketches are too technical to be called art...
But I can paint pictures with words
Words are my art...

"If you have been, thank you for reading my words"

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