I keep a list of words from other languages for things that we don’t have in English. Here are a few:
- L’esprit de escalier: (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said.
- Forelsket: (Norwegian) The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love.
- Gheegle: (Filipino) The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute.
- Cualacino: (Italian) The mark left on a table by a cold glass.
- Ilunga: (Tshiluba, Congo) A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.
And probably my two favorites:
- Mamihlapinatapai: (Yaghan) a look shared by two people with each wishing that the other will initiate something that both desire but which neither one wants to start. (The Guinness Book of World Records lists this as the most succinct word. It’s also one of the hardest to translate.)
- Meraki: (Greek) Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. (Man, I love this one)
I’ve been fascinated by language lately. I was never really good at learning a second language when I was in high school, but I’ve had a recent desire to try it again. Looking at these words, it’s hard for us English speakers to describe these feelings. Our language doesn’t have an easy way to define a person who will for forgive someone after the first abuse, tolerate it the second, but never the third. We all know what it’s like to leave a conversation and think of all the things we should have said, yet we have nothing to call it. Our language isn’t sufficient in communicating everything. Sometimes we need another language to do it for us.
I think art is a language as well and I think some art forms are better suited to communicate certain messages than others. In his book, Art as Experience, John Dewey said:
Because objects of art are expressive, they are a language. Rather they are many languages. For each art has its own medium and that medium is especially fitted for one kind of communication. Each medium says something that cannot be uttered as well or as completely in another other tongue.
Like the English language can’t communicate every idea, different art forms can’t convey everything. Sometimes words aren’t enough. And then, we need images and sounds and music. Suddenly even Theloneous Monk’s famous quote makes a little more sense: “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” The languages are disconnected. When one art form is used to describe another art form, it just doesn’t feel right.
Sometimes we need another language to communicate; we might need another medium to convey the message.
—Aaron Sorkin, writer and creator of The West Wing and writer of the forthcoming movie, The Social Network on the struggle to find the perfect opening scene from this profile in W Magazine.
I’ve always thought I do my best thinking in the shower. There is something about the hot water hitting the top of my head that allows me to clarify my thoughts. I should have used this as my excuse for taking such long showers when I was kid.
Joshua Wolf is writing a new series for Slate Magazine on the subject of creative partnerships. The first piece in the series is an interesting look at the tumultuous relationship between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Their creative relationship was a mix of competition and collaboration, a struggle to work together as one while retaining their individuality.
I’ve long had a fascination with workflows. I love reading how creative people do their work—what tools they use and how those tools help them out. I tend to juggle my time between class work and freelance projects, as well as the usual couple of personal projects I’m working on. When in school, I find it even more important to keep it all organized to make sure everything gets done when it needs to. I thought it may be of interest to highlight the four main. tools I use to achieve this on a daily basis.
It’s interesting to note that all of these tools are web based. While in school, it’s important for me to access these from various locations throughout the day. Between my iPhone and online services, this can be possible. Background synchronization could be one of the best things about the internet. I haven’t thought about travel drives and local files in months. The cloud is the future!
Anyway, here are the tools I use to stay organized, control time management, and generally make sure everything gets done.
Keeping up with my tradition of sharing a digital mixtape at the start of each season, I just finished up my Fall mix, titled Farmer’s Market. It’s twenty tracks to listen too while you watch the leaves fall, carve pumpkins, pick apples, and drink your pumpkin lattes and pumpkin ales.
Here’s the tracklisting:
- Sun Giant - Fleet Foxes
- Doorways - Radical Face
- Ghost Under Rocks - Ra Ra Riot
- The High Road - Broken Bells
- Rogue Machine - The Daylights
- Zebra - Beach House
- Younglife - Anberlin
- Little Lion Man - Mumford & Sons
- Southern Point - Grizzly Bear
- For Being Brave - Brothers at Sea
- The Weary Kind - Ryan Bingham
- Black Swan Song (Acoustic) - Athlete
- We Used to Wait - Arcade Fire
- Monsters - Electric President
- Too Much - Sufjan Stevens
- Where We Gonna Go From Here? - Mat Kearney
- Therapy - Relient K
- Chin Up - Copeland
- The City Lights - Umbrellas
- Hurt - Johnny Cash
Enjoy! Hope you have a great Autumn!