Over the last few months I have written some compelling, thought-provoking articles on a variety of subjects – whether women are too far out or too far in to be considered outsider artists; how women use their bodies as well as their voices to express outrage instead of sexuality; which moments in time really matter in women’s history. However, unless you are gifted with ESP or some other form of mind-reading, you probably missed these articles. That’s because they exist only on the media platform known as my mind.
I did not treat these pieces lightly; they were more than random thoughts that flitted across my mind and then vanished never to appear again. I spent a lot of time with them. I thought them through; I researched material and interviewed subjects; I attended events and jotted down notes in a notebook. I even edited the copy, debating which words to use and what titles to give each piece. But ultimately they remained imprinted only in my consciousness and not on paper.
Now the mind is a very powerful thing. It can affect the way we feel and behave, it can influence our health and our emotional state. But one thing it cannot do is write. It cannot, on its own, change thoughts into concrete form. One might say that words have their own ephemerality (perhaps a made up word, but it does say what I mean). The squiggles on a piece of paper have meaning only because we have collectively and culturally assigned a certain sound and a certain sense to them. Nevertheless, they are more corporeal than thoughts. They can be shared, they can be preserved.