Monday, January 18, 2010

splutter and choke and come up all lovely

The last 18 months have to constitute my most un-writingest period ever, pretty much in all formats that do not have a 140-character limit, and even there I haven't been prolific. My personal journal—something I've done since I was basically able to hold a pen—boasts a record low number of entries.

It's not a sudden occurrence, either, but as a wild guess I'd hazard that it has something to do with moving to another country as an actor and subsequently eschewing linguistic development in favour of working on physical ability. After all, since moving to Finland I became far more physically proficient onstage than I ever thought I would be. Keeping track of several details at the same time became possible: where the weight is, how far I am from that exit, the distance between fingers, whether I'm breathing well, the angle by which a torso protrudes from the hip bones, &c.

However, it doesn't seem to be very easy to be proficient in very many things at once, especially when one of them is really in a different realm. I mean, it's one thing to be incredibly knowledgeable about biology and literature, but appears to be another thing entirely when you take on a brand of knowledge that isn't available in books. I seemed to lose my ability to write, to concentrate, to sit for long periods. Actually when I started school, I noticed in the first two months that all of the dance students and myself were miserable in lectures and writhed like tadpoles in our chairs, not because we were uninterested but because it's painful to sit still if your body and brain are tuned in movement.

Also, I started to use Finnish more, and to spend less time with native English speakers. Skipping a whole bunch of sentences here in which I describe that process and how it feels when you've relied on language so heavily all your life, the net result has been something like a DIY amputation of something... not, say, an entire right hand, exactly, but certainly something more useful than an appendix.

So lately I've managed to spend time in English-speaking countries; I was in London, San Diego, New York. I heard people playing with English again, a quotidien thing that nevertheless to me was utterly fascinating. I found myself drawn to usage overheard in the subway like it was a shiny new toy. A relic from an alien spaceship. It was just so cool to hear the way people talk.

And so but it's hardly surprising then that lately I've simply thrown myself into the well disseminated arms of Stephen Fry and have been consuming rather more than one ought to of podgrams, audiobooks, episodes of Jeeves and Wooster and of A bit of Fry & Laurie, novels, commentary, documentaries, radio programs, a truly horrible thing to say when meeting a member of the royal family (or anybody for that matter) that comes from an episode of Whose Line in the 1980s, and then don't let's forget the awesomeness that is QI. All in all it's been very pleasurable. I've probably written more this week than I usually do all month, and then of course you get the downside which is that all of my friends are having to put up with me getting a bit freaky with my vocab. Not that they know it's a Fry thing. I just see the slight askance confusion when "antipodean" and "vasoconstrictor" fall out from between the teeth... but what can I do. I rather like it when my interests take a U-turn; it might contribute to my essential annoyingness but I really can't be too bothered about that as long as life is good.

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