The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.
Ludwig Wittgenstein - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
When I was younger, a lot younger, I felt a great deal without voice, let alone vocabulary. Rejection followed by adoption, these events do cause one to feel. A lack of culture, the absence of literature or music - most particularly the folk idiom - deny one the vocabulary with which to express the feelings deep within.
Besides, life amongst people devoid of empathy and understanding strips away one's voice. What is the point of words without the ability to utter them, shout them out, savour their meaning and feeling and the effect they have.
I took a long time to realise that stories and songs express the universalities of life. And within that broad narrative lie the specifics. My specific, particular, personal tale which is both unique and a part of the broad flow of human experience, tragedy and joy.
I wonder whether the people who adopted me were themselves unaware of the value of story and song. Or were they afraid of the messages within the words? It seemed to me that the pair of them hid from the big, bad, noisy, uncontrollable world.
I shall presume them innocent. Understanding the world was just too difficult. All those moral and philosophical dilemmas - those aren't our problems! All those songs about bad relationships - that's not for us!
Writing, of course, is a powerful way to use vocabulary. For me, writing is about what is within. I write stories to explore, to experiment, to discover how I feel about particular things, and to excise hurt. Little of this is published, and little needs to be.
I surprised myself by how quickly my writing developed. Stories evolved, became less raw, less allegorical and more personal. (Or has allegory become more sophisticated?) Stories contained less violence and more goodness. The evil became more nuanced, and came to be counteracted by light.
There is song too, and for me this is about the world beyond. Perhaps that is because I may be able to write prose however writing songs is a skill that I haven't learned? My choice of songs reflects how I feel about right and wrong, justice and the ways in which people are manipulated.
Sometimes songs reflect how I've been treated: by those who broke promises or just turned away. It sounds like I share a volume of experience with more than a few song-writers.
There's a common thread. Author, song-writer and singer, they are outsiders. They observe, create and record, and some value this.
Shaman, Trickster, sometimes even a fragment of the Holy Fool. I am an outsider. That is what my first months and years made me into. I had better understand that simple fact as I approach the age of fifty. For that will guide what I do at work, as a fork in the road appears. Towards higher management of the immediate, or towards planning and strategy? The latter is the outsider's path. To stand beyond in order to grasp that which is within. To climb a hill in order to see the terrain ahead. Ideas, ethics, concepts and possibilities: these are my territory. Not being a part of a close-knit group making the present deliver some "key output" or other. But the outsider is valued too, provided that the diplomat's skill masks the visionary's wild wisdom. And provided that admixed intuition and experience prevail: for seer and madman are cousins.
Outsider, yes, but with the rough edges smoothed by voice and vocabulary.