Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

My language pains me.
I long for facility
To spin metaphor.

But I’m too literal.

Even when I write in terms of imagery my words on the page are simply descriptive of what is in my mind. I listen to songs like I am the Walrus with a strong sense of jealousy.

How I would love to be able to take that step beyond my literal translations to that fantastic realm where instead of painting what I see I am able to conjure whole new worlds.

It makes me feel that I have no imagination; that everything I think of is derivative. I am only able to assemble montages of what already exists, apply what others have invented.

My words disappoint me because they are such a pale imitation of the richness and depth of my thoughts. They are static, a snapshot of the mental maelstrom giving no clue as to the turbulence within.

9 thoughts on “Lost in Translation

  1. I know exactly what you mean, I have often wished for the ability to write down my inaginings, to recreate the worlds in my mind through words (or through any form of art, really). But I don’t feel like I have the creativity. However, in a world where every word is layered with hidden meaning and nothing means what I think it means, your literalness is a calm space; a refuge. So, thank you for being exactly who you are and for using your words exactly how they are meant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Alex:

    “Everything is derivative” – I felt this too.

    This was before fan fiction and other transformative works entered into my life in the early 21st century.

    Agree with AutisticOok about the calm space and refuge literalness can be.


  3. You are way too critical. This piece expressed your frustration perfectly. I don’t think many of us are satisfied by the words we write why would others continue to read your words if we didn’t enjoy them?
    Great piece

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always been my own harshest critic, the down-side of internalised perfectionism. I do try to let it go and heed words like yours; it can be difficult. I’m happy that you enjoy my scribblings: thank you Tric. xx


  4. Hi Alex
    Just catching up here on this.

    One of the things that is unavoidable here is that words will fix and ‘kill’ the ideas. Its just a limitation of trying to communicate those inner living ideas to others through such a medium. Its also the classic issue of the difference between the left brain (where the language centre is) and the right brain. (See Iain McGilchrist for more about this, though his book is a bit of a tome!)

    However I think this is where poetry – and ambiguity – come in. Your poetry works for me ok so you are not doing too bad!

    If I understand Henri Bortoft’s thoughts correctly the idea is to put pen to paper in such a way that others can then recreate the meaning as a living thing, a living thought in themselves that is common enough with yours. The meaning, because it is alive, will not stay constant but, like us, will still have a character that is persistent through all its changes, and which CAN be communicated and re-seen.

    Despite the skeptic age we live in I do believe this is possible as evidenced by the way many people can feel similarly about various artistic endeavours they perceive. Of course there will always be differences, we are individuals, but I do think we CAN touch that SAME living world of thought.

    It just takes a lifetime to hone the skill! Just remember it is an art and you just have to keep practising.

    And as far as I can see you’re doing really great!

    With regard to that inner critic a good resource for me has been the book ‘The Artist’s Way’ which talks about doing ‘morning pages’ to allow that self-critic’s litany to get expressed on a page that is never read again. The idea is that this then leaves us free to get on with our art – in the moment and from the heart.

    Thanks for this post. Love it!
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Alexforshaw,

    You are not too literal for me. In fact, I have just read your previous post, “I stim, therefore I am”. That you can describe your stims in words, with such precision, is a gift and a talent. Metaphors? Yes, not always easy, but you’ve beautifully invoked Descartes (cogito ergo sum)! What is really hard, in my opinion, is the correct rendering of the data. You do that. And, tbh, I think it’s an autistic skill with no cure needed. 🙂


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