A carpet of words

The blank white walls of the room are covered in illegible words. Totally. There is no spot that has not been written on. I do not know who wrote them or why, but they are the words that surround me, clamoring to break into my mind, imploring me.

Covered in words like tattoos, the walls are full of promise, cant, and reproaches. They make a structure as real as any built of stone or wood. Words create the world around me, provide sustenance, both reveal and imprison me. They are at once my jailors and the longed-for accomplices who come to spring me from my cell. They are a piece of everything.

But mischievous: They tempted me over the edge. Heeding them, I took the fateful step which should have been my demise but isn’t. I should be falling, but instead – to my surprise – I am rising. Before I had only repeated these words as if they were true, but I see now that I did not truly believe in them. But when at last I gave myself over to the words that I had been repeating, when at last I trusted in them, their wild promises proved true.

It is a lesson finally learned.

Curiously, for all my slavishness to words, the transformation is taking place through the unspoken language of music. It is as if the words needed to be unbound in order to be heard. Shackled to their known form, I did not know how to appreciate them. Transformed in music, they acquire their missing eloquence.

Writing and playing harmonica are the same for me. In both cases, I go to this high place where I am absolutely alone. The audience disappears, readers disappear. There is only a narrow path leading into the night that I know I must follow. The path is bordered on both sides by precipices over which it would be very easy to fall. Only I don’t. I just take step after step as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

But though it is music that is carrying me away, I know that it is on a carpet made of words on which I am flying.

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