how long does it take to learn a language? i think i started giving myself a real talking to when, somewhere in the first couple of months out here in paris, i asked myself that very question – and answered myself in the most meaningful way that i could: your whole dang life.
entering into a new language is like entering into a pact – all the more reason, for a skittish kind of kid like me, to wanna back out.
i remember the story here of the patient hen who invited each of her friends to help her grow some wheat – and each of them said, uh, i’d rather be chewing cud, etc. the story goes on… from the seeds of wheat to the finale: bread making. when the bread is made, well, doesn’t it smell good… but none of the farmyard animals has a stock in this bread so the hen enjoys it all herself.
bring me my cud!
no, but, really. you have to, at some point, maybe as with all things – tell yourself that you are not putting a seed in the ground and getting a smoked turkey & corned beef on rye with russian dressing & mustard, pickles and health salad on the side. (ahem: especially if you are the chicken. that would be a grotesque fantasy, indeed.)
i didn’t come out of the womb prepared to take on poetry, to make metaphor, to comprehend subtlety, irony, and sarcasm.
i put verbs in the ground in september. grow, i whisper to them, grow!