Into the air

Today I noticed the sky.

 

The light. 

 

Sharp shadows in the late afternoon.

 

Cold air, warm patches in the sunlight, the last month of Autumn.

 

The shapes of buildings.

 

Dates on old buildings: 1878. 1926.

 

Today I noticed how easy it is to forget an idea that flits through your head. An idea for today’s writing flitted through my head just as I emerged from the dingy stairwell out onto the rooftop car park where my car was parked, at about 5.15 this afternoon. I recall that, as I stepped out the door, I was contemplating the blueness of the sky and the view of the city buildings spread out below me. 

 

What was that idea, that I pondered momentarily, thinking, naively, that I’d write it down later? Was it to do with the surprising blue of that sky, given the chilly temperature, or the shapes of the clouds? Was it something about looking out over a town in the late afternoon in late Autumn, when the sunlight is yellow and soft and the shadows are starting to lengthen?

 

I’m sure, in fact, that a whole sentence came to me as I walked to my car, and whatever it was, it struck me as interesting, worthy of inclusion in today’s piece of writing. This makes me think that it must have been a different kind of sentence than the ones I usually write. I liked it for that reason. Usually, I write in a habitual way – all my sentences are structured the same way, and as the writer of those sentences, I have to admit that I get a bit bored with that. Even as I am writing this next one, I can hear them – all sounding the same as always. The same sort of voice. The same rhythm.

 

(Rhythm: a word I always mis-spell, ever since I was tragically knocked out of the inter-school Spelling Bee in Grade 6 by mis-spelling it. Although it’s already a tricky word, being stuffed full of silent letters, including not one but two silents “h”s, and containing no vowels at all, my mistake is not to leave out an “h” or put something in the wrong place – it was, and still is, that I persist in thinking there’s a silent “n” at the end.)

 

Blah. And then, blah, BLAH, blah.

 

Anyway. Whatever it was, it’s gone now. Another idea, forgotten, and – who knows? – maybe it was a good one. I can pretend as much. It’s lost now, floating somewhere in the Autumn sky, above the rooftop carpark.

Hot Air Balloon over Melbourne at sunrise, 2005

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7 Comments

  1. weebluebirdie

     /  June 1, 2016

    Our fleeting thoughts are always the most articulate and profound 😉 The novels written in an instant…the witty comment which becomes a widely used turn of phrase…the speech which changes lives. Or is that just in my head??! These fleeting thoughts are the most elusive, like a wilo-the-wisp; and it’s why I don’t post very often.

    I get bored with my words too. So many drafts of posts when I’ve got bored by the third paragraph – what chance would the reader have? This is why I’m currently trawling through my photographs and writing very short fiction. But now I’m getting tired of their drama; although that is where my imagination takes me. I really enjoy taking the time to simply be; to enjoy the sky and birdsong. But darkness is where the intrigue lives.

    That’s interesting about your quick with the spelling of ‘rhythm’ – I also believe there should be a silent ‘n’ at the end. I still have problems pronouncing and spelling ‘February’ – that first ‘r’ shouldn’t be there.

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    • Thanks! I, too, conjure up phrases in my head regularly, that may change lives, or at least, the path of modern literature, only to forget them by the time I’ve reached my car. That “r” in February is most annoying – what other Enjkish words contain a silent r for goodness sake? (That’s
      ” English”, in case you’re wondering, typed on an iPhone after about 5 glasses of wine)

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  2. I think ideas that ‘flit’ unbidden across the windscreen of one’s awareness come from the Unconscious, that roiling mass of fears, hopes, dreams, and obsessions that lies just beyond the edges of the conscious mind. The Unconscious communicates most obviously through dreams when we are asleep but it also ‘speaks’ during our waking hours. Usually it is in vague presentments, déjà vu or an unaccountable feeling of familiarity but it sometimes speaks in actual words: I have occasionally been startled by a sentence appearing in my mind that provides an answer to a question that I have been pondering. (I suspect that it is this ‘still small voice’ that religious people think is God talking to them.)

    An idea that appears and fades before one can seize it is a bit like the ‘fish that got away’: one is apt to exaggerate its size and excellence. But if the Unconscious has got hold of it then it will reappear, somewhere, somewhen, though perhaps in another form.

    Evidence suggests that when we read, we do so by recognizing words as we recognize other objects like keys, mobile phones and Uncle Harold. We look at them only enough to recognize them and then move on. That’s why we find proof-reading so difficult: we don’t notice a missing or incorrect letter because we recognize the word by its general shape. That also explains why we are often uncertain about how to spell a word. We can’t rely on pronunciation to help us because English spelling long ago ceased to be phonetic – fortunately, because otherwise Brits, Americans, Australians, etc, would all spell differently (more differently, that is, than they already do). Incidentally, written Spanish is the closest I know to a language that is phonetically spelt but native speakers of Spanish still manage to make spelling mistakes, so English speakers are not so badly off after all.

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    • As always, thank you for such a considered and interesting reply, Silver Tiger. It’s fascinating, isn’t it, what the unconscious can achieve? As you say, I think it is behind thoughts that pop up seemingly from nowhere, in the middle of the day, although when we are asleep it has full reign, and presents dilemmas and solutions to us in cryptic ways that we find difficult to decipher. Our brains are capable of taking in information in far greater quantities than we are able to consciously process – therefore I think sometimes when we have a sense of deja vu, or the experience of consciously thinking of something and then having that very thing occur, is because our brain picked up some activity or clear sign but our conscious was not able to process it.

      I found your point about the sentence that appears in your mind really interesting….and I dare say you’re right, that while you recognise it as the result of something that’s probably been ticking away in your unconscious for days/weeks/months, it is the same thing that others might interpret as the voice of God speaking to them. Each to their own I suppose!

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  3. I bet you it was a good fleeting through, but I like where it led you anyway. I get what you mean on the recognisable rhythm of your own words – mine have been lulling me into an irritating boredom for a while now through the sheer beat of them. I might fall asleep before I fini..zzzzzzzzz *stirs self awake*

    On the world of weird words (which I would like to request your expand into a full-blown post. Say a top 5, even?) I wish to add unrequited. Where it the farking ‘n’? WHERE IS IT?

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    • That is so accurate: I get IRRITATED hearing myself write sentences, and paragraphs, with apparently the same patterns to them. Falling asleep material alright. That piece was an attempt to do something different, basically it was written in about 10 minutes and largely unedited – so when I read back I find clumsy sentences but at least occasionally not quite the same old boring patterns. The “rhythm” section (see what I did there?) was added later, of course. If I do fulfil your request (I’m notoriously bad at meeting challenges like that) and expand weird words into a full-blown post, I will be sure to steal your title idea, and call it “The world of weird words.”

      As for the “n” in unrequited, it’s up the front, just after the “u”, I believe. Did you feel it needed another one, or did I miss something there? You pronounce the ‘n’, and the ‘n’ is there. As opposed to rhythm – where you don’t pronounce the ‘h’ that is there, or the imaginary ‘n’ that’s not there. Confused?

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