Thursday, December 19, 2019

Thursday Thoughts...

"It always astonished him how twenty-six highly conventionalised glyphs could find such varied expression once a living hand set to write them down. Was it Gertrude Stein who said that language was alphabet in disorder ?"

Yann Martel. Beatrice and Virgil

I remember reading this book a while ago and being perhaps a tad perplexed and/or unsettled by it; but I found this quote in an old notebook and I know that I loved it, so here we go.

Actually I think I am as much in love with the descriptive language as I am with the notions contained within it.

The writing is delicious, but also the idea that the alphabet, that letters, can achieve so much in so many different ways when different people put them together.  Quite astonishing really to think that the foundation of so much of our written history and culture is founded on these 'twenty-six highly conventionalised glyphs".

Thinking about highly conventionalised; it is a kind of miracle that across so many cultures, geographies and countries so many folk have agreed on these 26.  Given how we disagree on just about everything these days; it seems truly remarkable and I celebrate our ability to agree on these!

It almost feels at this time of year, one should toast the glyphs for all they have done for us and continue to do!

Ahhh, Waiheke Island, January 2018.

(after a quick google I could not link Gertrude Stein to the alphabet in disorder quote, so have left it alone...).


  1. glyphs and grunts ... the stuff of language written and spoken ... how we communicate meaning ... and all too often, mis-communicate (to judge by the current insanity that passes for government in the US)

    so enough of that ... better to concentrate on the magic that is me, sitting half a world and another season away, enjoying coffee and contemplating the magic of pressing plastic keys thereby sending you glyphs through the ether ... gossamer strands of hope encircling the world ... ripples of peace

  2. Yes, it is a nice metaphor for connecting.
    And yet...we do seem to be flipping the coin, using those same 26 glyphs in hate.
    My hope is that we might see more kind and loving versions of the words 26 can make.

    Why wait for a "new year"? Let's begin now! Peace, love, laughter.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.