Failure of Language

As I was writing in my journal sitting outside a coffee shop a few years back, a woman came up to me and told me that writing in a journal had saved her life. She didn’t go into specifics, but she said that it allowed her to work through the things that she had been dealing with.  “Failure of Language” (CUA Primer, pages 34–35) begins with the author describing his son having a nightmare that he said he wasn’t able to describe in words. The author goes on to talk about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the power of words to give us comfort by giving us a tool by which we can organize our experience. The woman who talked to me outside the coffee shop about writing in her journal experienced that comfort. Have you experienced anything like this? Why do you think that expressing things in words can help people?

Photo: “World Trade Center in the 1970s” by Mr.TinDC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jaesen Evangelista says:

    Recently, I got into journal writing. I heard that it can save lives, clear minds, and fix broken relationships, so I decided to try it. It was really hard to get my thoughts on paper at first because when faced with a blank paper, you kind of get stuck and try to figure out what to put on it. You don’t know if you should talk about your day, how you feel, or just get right into it and start talking about the deep stuff. It wasn’t easy. But with time, it seemed a lot easier than keeping all the thoughts bottled up inside. I wrote about how I felt in school, at home, with my parents, with my siblings, my dreams, my failures, everything really. Everything and anything I could write about myself, I wrote it in my journal. Soon, I realized more clearly what made me happy and what made me not so happy. It showed me where I needed to fix things and how to fix those things. I acted on those things and made my life a lot happier. I talked to people. I apologized to people and I forgave people too. I don’t think my life would have been this good without writing down my thoughts and clearing my head. And that’s how I would best describe it.

  2. Diego Amaya says:

    Sometimes when I can’t describe something I would try to act it out. But I never have used a journal to write it down. Even though I feel like a journal is very helpful to communicate. I had a friend who always fought with her sister. So instead of them just arguing and not getting anywhere they would write it down on a piece of paper and give it to each other. In the end they would figure it out.

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