"After all, what is a lovely phrase? One that has mopped up as much Truth as it can hold." -Virginia Woolf On doubt, my friend Sara writes to me this morning, from her storm-enclosed cabin in Kodiak: all we can do is capture what we can right. Her husband is trapped in Larson Bay for days, her son is swaddled in so many snow-clothes, she says he can't walk. It is snowy in Denver, too; puffs like cottonwood fall-offs interrupt the gauzy sky. It is wet snow, though, the kind the road can't hold onto. If words are snow, I am that road.
I have been looking at this word: CAPTURE, from the Latin captura: seized or taken, and I think it could serve as a noun and verb for almost everything I try to do all day on any given day.
Definitions: an act or instance of taking; one stream diverting the upper course of another stream by encroaching on its catchment area; a move in a board game that gains an opponent's piece; absorption by an atom; to record accurately in words; to bring permanently into gravitational influence; to record in a permanent file; one that has been taken (as a prize ship)
I've been imagining the last definition for a few hours and it looks like pirates, red, and gold, which probably means I'm not getting something.
Today feels like a movie, slow, with snow like screen static. We went on a field trip this afternoon to a Chinese tea house and tasted three varieties: one smelled like weed, one smelled, according to my coworker, like wet socks, and the other like leaves. Plucky Asian music sounded from the ceiling as the owner talked of Hangzhou and farmers growing Camellia Sinensis (the plant from which all true tea comes) in humid rows.
What I learned: tea has been around for 5,000 years. Herbal teas aren't teas at all. One can become a Certified Tea Master. One can talk with a Tea Master about tea for two hours or more. Adding honey to one's tea is frowned upon. (Too bad for me).
I was wondering what other kinds of Certified Masters there are–what Masters are offended by my inconsiderate consumptions on a daily basis? Or does a true master take no offense to the ignorance of others? Offense is a scary thing for me because it's usually wordless–wordlessly spurred, silently taken.
I wonder how many unwritten books would be written if there were no one to offend. If everyone died tomorrow but me would I write everything I've ever wanted to or write nothing at all? I think part of creating is that any artist wants their work to be captured, absorbed, made part of someone else's permanent orbit. We want to be taken captive.
I think Sara was right about capturing what we can. All we can do is what we do. Maybe we try and catch too many things until that one thing catches us, if it ever does. Maybe truth is a cup of tea, maybe a single word is more vast than one writer's attempt at a phrase.