Saturday, April 24, 2010

Slips of the pencil

I'm up early this morning to write my exhibition statement for Alchemy (the opening is at lunchtime and I realized with some surprise last night that I'd quite forgotten to do this . . . )

A couple of sentences in, I wrote what I thought was the word 'begin' only it arrived on the page as 'being.'

This got me thinking about words within words and about their relationship to each other. When one word - or more than one - lives inside another, does it necessarily carry similar energy or related meaning? When we unfold one word, lay it flat on the page and take a look at the contents of its stomach, what hidden torches, tools or bridges might we find? Perhaps the other 'embedded' words are there for the purpose of revealing something ordinarily unrecognized and out of sight. . . the way shadow can tell us more about light than light can about itself?

I used to dismantle and reassemble words a lot when I was a little girl and anagrams have always fascinated me. But what I'm trying to say here is a little different.

Mistaken slips of the pencil might in fact not be so mistaken. Perhaps they're an offering? This morning's certainly feels like one.

Begin. Being.

What are your thoughts about 'words within words' (which I don't think is quite the same thing as 'worlds within words'). Or is it?


  1. Like you Claire, I like to find words within words - and anagrams fascinate ... evil is one that I find particularly interesting - live backwards! And god is another ... For myself, Yak has always been a favourite word. And kayak!
    (I have been waiting on the car - which is at golf at the mo. - so I can make it into your opening ... but I may have to visit later on in the week instead now. Sorry I wasn't there - hope it is going (as I write) well!)

  2. Thanks for your good wishes, Kay - there is plenty of time!

    Golf, flog. Hmm. ?! Perhaps its proximity to the g. course will give your car the green colour you were wishing for a couple of days ago?!

    L, C xx

  3. Claire, it is not only words within words for me but the abstract way I will sometimes see a word if I'm in a hurry, the slipperiness of the language itself the seemingly easy way live becomes evil or vile or even even, does the eye trick me or is there are there hidden messages. I love the randomness of the word verifications. Today mine is standnin which I saw peripherally as standalone then standing then stand in. Street signs become ciphers. Numbers morph into words. Don't fo4get. I think it's something writers are born with something necessary.


  4. There are words within words, and also words which echo other similar words, which can often call up the meaning of both words in a poem...

    I have a poet-friend who is obsessed with this (in a very creative way!).
    When George Bush was president, he printed up bumper stickers which said:
    buSHAMErica, with blue and red letter, the "shame" in red.

  5. Hi Rebecca - I think you're right; writers are born with a way of seeing - or miss-seeing - words. Or perhaps it could be called seeing into, over, around and through...? Like you, I combine numbers and words and sometimes notice the shapes and patterns of them first. I like to think there are hidden messages and that all we have to do is see the 'more' that's there.
    Love Claire

  6. Brilliant, T. Clear!

    It's a little unsettling, isn't it, to note how spookily tailored these three words are - 'Bush', 'shame' and 'America'. (And I do not say this without compassion.)

    I love the idea that words are echoes as well as mirrors.

    L, C

  7. J coming home from the work the other night: 'That was weird tonight. I was wired.' Energies attach to the letters and combos perhaps. :)Ten Odd People

  8. Dear Pen - I love that you are a multitude. And that you know how to meet me when I am A Relic.

    Weird - wired. Makes sense! L, C x