The absolute power of… beds

I have a new guru.  His name is James Geary.  His short article on beds was in the November 2008 issue of Ode.  Here are my favourite parts:

Beds.  We can’t help but make an impression on them.  Like a child’s finger-painting, the chalk outline around a corpse on the pavement, they retain an image of us.  Think of all they contain – skin, sweat, semen, blood, all the puke and spume of life.  Beds are fossil records of our lives… No wonder they’re a mess!  After all, so much happens there.  We begin and end in beds. (James Geary, Ode Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 9, November 2008, p.74)

I’ve been procrastinating work by reading Geary’s blog.  While I’m not moved by his current fixation on aphorisms, I like the musings on banal things, like light bulbs and teeth.

When I have a student who is procrastinating with  “why on earth would I have to learn to write properly?”, I try to explain the absolute power of words.  I try to show them how “scared” means one thing, while “petrified” means another.  I try to show them how “mother” is not just the person who hassles them about homework and healthy food, but is a concept which is part of the larger picture of family, and continuation of the human race, etc.

I’ve never though about showing my students the word, “bed”.

It’s pretty rare I find a fellow wordsmith who is equally floored by language.  It seems most people are not stunned into a catatonic state by all the implications of a word.

Long live catatonia!

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