Although they are
only breath, words
which I command
are immortal

- Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard.

The building blocks of expressed thought. There is much validity to the thought that Words are a narrow channel; on the other hand, this is only because the number of thoughts exceed the number of words, which is why new words get invented in the first place. I am not an expert, but I think people are so conditioned by words that we name everything we think of and cannot really think of something without somehow giving it a word.

Words by W.B. Yeats

I had this thought a while ago,
'My darling cannot understand
What I have done, or what would do
In this blind bitter land.'

And I grew weary of the sun
Until my thoughts cleared up again,
Remembering that the best I have done
Was done to make it plain;

That every year I have cried, 'At length
My darling understands it all,
Because I have come into my strength,
And words obey my call';

That had she done so who can say
What would have shaken from the sieve?
I might have thrown poor words away
And been content to live.

Nouns and adjectives in Tokion Issue 40 The World Records Issue

This is a list of all the described nouns from Issue 40 of the youth culture magazine Tokion, as in the sentence, “There are very few producers that like to take on daring projects.” Thus, “projects are: daring.” I think someone reading this list could get a very good sense of the content of the magazine. Reading the list is like describing a world; it's a potential microcosm of our world. I could have done some of the people interviewed separately, and when I tell you that both Morrissey (“Mother I can feel the soil falling over my head”) and Ichi the Killer director Takashi Miike were interviewed, you likely would be able to match which noun and which adjective to which person. For example, “people are: bleak, shriveled, dim” all came from Morrissey. You can get a sense of the scope and temperament of the people who are interviewed in the mag, and thus to a certain extent the readership of the magazine, and from there the culture as a whole. These nouns can be described in a multitude of ways, but in this particular magazine we see only a small subset of all the potential adjectives, a subset that has a different colour than the larger set.

eyes are: lonely
emotion is: sweet
desire is: intense, burning
passion is: true
feelings are: fresh, free
stuff is: scary, old country, bitchy
things are: weird, the coolest, different, interesting, goddamn, visible, non-visible, intangible, various, beautiful
people are: interesting, young, dim, shriveled, bleak, absurd, powerful, unique, retarded
individuals are: vast, creative, fearless, resilient
girls are: mod
ladies are: long, lean, langourous
women are: crazy
wives are: errant
men are: free, pleasant, young
dudes are: sketchy, bearded
kids are: white trash, tiny, muscle-bound, crazy
life is: boring, normal, not easy
cars are: expensive, unbelievable, muscle
designs are: exquisite, hand-made
design is: innovative, high, affordable, radical, hot
designers are: insect-loving
furniture is: Styrofoam
drawings are: delicately disturbing
t-shirts are: cool, dangerous
shoes are: action, classic, basketball, ultimate high performance track and field, gold
sneaker collectors are: avid
characters are: elegant, stuffed, weird, claymation
insomnia is: terrible
landscapes are: bleak
worlds are: obscure, wide, brightly colored, visible, non-visible, competitive, just, magical
atmospheres are: creative
realms are: rarefied, scientific
environments are: unstable, poor
space is: limited
spaces are: quiet, rotating
places are: important, warm, safe, great, cozy
moments are: memorable, rare
days are: windless, bad, glory
afternoons are: rainy
sludge rockers are: legendary
cult followings are: rabid
thrones are: bloody
skycrapers are: incredible
humor is: incredible
musical skills are: incredible
relationships are: awesome
challenges are: tough, appealing
gladiolas and hearing aids are: suddenly fashionable
torchbearers are: forever lonely, tormented
symbols of self-destruction are: fascinating
forms of human expression are: immediate, powerful
responses are: frothy
magazines are: interesting, powerful, unreadable
books are: very untruthful, iconic
ways are: unpleasant, strange, unique
creativity is: dementedly out-of-control
teeth are: gritted
milk is: breast, real
movies are: long, real
film is: modern, life affirming
scripts are: incredible, unpredicatable, original
endings are: spectacular
reviews are: mixed
spitoons are: constant
death is: so far away
shit is: stupid, hippy
energy is: underlying, beast-like
rockets are: human
bastards are: phony
problems are: personal
living conditions are: strict
sanitary guidelines are: strict
natures are: relaxed, competitive
compliments are: great
jobs are: great
support is: great, tremendous, important
friends are: great
foundations are: great
blowout parties are: stupid
cats are: obese
balls of duct tape are: giant
meats are: delicious
grills are: burning
art is: interactive, functional
artists are: accomplished, local, far-away
toys are: plush, retro
beauty is: primitive
games are: extremely interesting, extremely beautiful, cool
gameplay is: logical
nicknames are: self-given
states are: oxygen-deficient
machines are: special, awsome, terrifying
DNA is: good, special
geniuses are: hapless, unappreciated
gamma rays are: stray
fashion is: poof-shouldered
heroes are: working-class
views are: romantic, nice
periods are: decadent, over-the-top
fascism is: cheap
tops are: sequin
cousins are: weird
floors are: glass
restaurants are: revolving
hallways are: eerie
fetish destinations are: ultimate
history is: bizarre
debauchery is: reckless
memories are: intoxicated
dealers are: unique
artifacts are: unique
style is: unique
landmarks are: warm, intimate, luxurious
touches are: delicate
bands are: great, overlooked, new
music is: safe, wildly original, alien, important, truly outsider, new
roller-rink days are: unremembered
swagger is: Strokes-esque
brands of linguistic terrorism are: idiot-savant garde
tracks are: beautifully innocent, cut-up, high-quality, digital
sonic meanderings are: flamboyant, unapologetically grandiose
album covers are: misleading
dub outings are: bass-heavy, modern, digital
gloss-house is: Ibiza-friendly, minimal
overtones are: beautifully melodic, escapist
beginnings are: chaotic, art-punk
crushes are: secret
candy bars are: deep-fried
louts are: lager-swigging
bottoms are: saggy
devices are: cheap-ish
manflesh is: feeble, stinking
power is: mighty
planets are: tragic
cheese is: melted
lawyers are: douchey
vibes are: bad
hills are: rolling
porno is: hot
sex is: awkward
youths are: desperate
babes are: blood thirsty
silence is: complete
saxophones are: broken
living is: discordant
fingernails are: long, spiralling
dens are: smokin’
bar tabs are: high
driving is: white knuckle
somethings are: pleasant

This is going to sound a little unusual coming from me, but lately I've felt that my vocabulary is rather limited. I came to realise this over the past two months or so, as I've begun to read more books again. I used to be an extensive reader as a child and I've always been very expressive with my thoughts, but I've also always limited myself to the bare minimum when it comes to words. I strongly believe in a simple, minimalistic approach when it comes to communication. Any additional embellishment is unnecessary and only serves to cloud your message and confuse your audience. For the longest time, I was absolutely content with my level of expression and understanding.

Lately though, I've come to realise that there are actually quite a lot of words that I am uncertain about. I've reached the stage where sometimes I quite literally don't have the words I need to properly express myself. I've always pondered, ever since one of my enlightening KI classes, about the relationship between language and expression. Can you feel something that you cannot express? Does your mastery of your language affect the way you actually think? I was rather uncertain initially, but my present circumstances are proof that what I instinctively felt was true. As with music or even facial expressions, the more tools you have at your disposal and the better your mastery of them, the stronger the influence you have over the message which you desire to communicate.

To put it simply, as I always try to, a mastery of a mode of communication not only allows you to communicate better with others, but with yourself as well- and this can allow you to reach thoughts, emotions, arguments and feelings which you might not have been able to otherwise ascertain. When they're not fully fleshed out, I reason, they don't truly exist in the real sense. This is deja vu to me, because I have most definitely experienced it several times as a musician who has not come anywhere close to a reasonable mastery of my art. It's enlightening, it's frightening, and it's one of the most amazing feelings in the world- that you're actually making progress and covering new ground.

I am now fueled with a renewed passion for learning and understanding the written language, not because I want to impress you with my vocabulary, but because it will help me reach further outwards to express myself better, as well inwards to come to terms with what I might not have been able to express before.

It's such a simple idea, yet holds so much weight. I am humbled.

I feel it's also relevant to address why I stopped reading in the first place. Understanding it is important to me in developing a broader understanding of myself in general, and may be interesting or relevant to you. When I was a young child, I used to read voraciously. It was like jumping into new entire worlds- of fantasy, science, history, the human condition. I could go on for hours about all the magical experiences I had when I was reading as a child (and I certainly shall, but that's for another post). What I couldn't understand initially was why I had stopped reading, but it all makes sense to me now. I stopped reading heavily when I was about 13 or 14. The seemingly obvious answer is that I was won over by the flashing lights and sounds of computer games, anime, movies. Words on a page couldn't compare to that, surely?

I refused to believe that my mind would have been so easily won over by something so primal and juvenile. There had to be something more to it, and at some point recently, it clicked. I was fascinated not by the games themselves, but by the interactive and social element of it all. I was becoming more of an extrovert, spending lots of time making friends, getting into trouble- and in short, I had moved on from vicariously exploring the world of books to literally exploring the world that had opened up in front of me. Staying over at friends' houses, playing in a rock band, falling in love, drinking and smoking, witnessing the life and death of relationships, coming to terms with the reality of death itself... the books couldn't possibly compare to the world which was opening up before my eyes, and responding to my actions. On retrospect, it was like being a newborn baby all over again- touching and feeling the world around me, making mistakes, getting in trouble. The world is much less forgiving when you're an adolescent, but it really is like a second birth.

Things have changed now. I stopped reading because I felt like there was nothing more to learn from books (which is an absolutely absurd notion, you don't have to tell me) and I was far more interested in jumping into the deep end of life itself. (You could say that I was following the Pareto 80-20 principle) Now, it feels like I've come full circle. I'm 19 years old and I have gotten my fair share of the driver's wheel these past 7 years or so. I've made stupid decisions, and I've made good ones. I've been motivated by noble causes, and ridiculously desolate ones. Now it feels like I've learnt the bulk of what I was meant to learn from living life on the edge, and the time has come for me to return to the previous state. It's like a cycle. Right now, it feels like that there is so much that I have to learn about myself and the world around me from the wisdom of others. I have a deepened interest in philosophy, economics, sociology, mathematics... every single field of learning and understanding. I am making sense of the world around me, I am making sense of myself, and I am on the right path. Sometimes I do things for stupid reasons, but I've always needed a reason nevertheless. For the past 7-10 years, I didn't have a convincing reason to study hard. Now I do. (Better late than never!)

It's such a simple idea, yet holds so much weight. I am humbled.

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