Long gone are the days when I wore all the wrong things. I can show up on the scene with the right clothes and hair coiffed, remember my eyeliner, and find a pair of shoes to coordinate. I got the cultural style memo.
So I can look the part, but what about those words?
The ones I used to know intimately and without a second thought. The tricky spelling bee varieties, the on-the-nose adjectives, and even the simple, humble go do make buy. Sure, I may stumble in the wrong pair of shoes, but how come when I speak English, my native language, I now find blanks, holes, Turkish substitutes? This is not the word-amnesia of overly careful thought, like when I’m working on my novel and just can’t find the right way to describe something. This is full-on, stripped bare. It’s a word puzzle with blocks and clues that keep shifting.
It’s a verbal thing, but even my writing teacher, Kathy Steffen, tells me that sometimes I create curious word combinations and she wonders why. It’s taking too long to dredge up a word, hesitating before I speak. It’s a blurring of Turkish and English. It’s the pang of losing my word mojo, of finding when I’m home, steeped in my own language, I’ve lost slang and naturalness.
Underneath this fear is the excitement of creating something new, though. Moving language. The word gaps a letting go of perfection. Stepping into hybridity, parting ways with mono-language and a static world.
What does it mean about your life today when the words escape you?
image: Palm Fantasy detail, 2004