An online dictionary describes fluency as (being) capable of flowing; capable of moving with ease and grace… Ease of expression, and ease of movement yes, but more than that – the facility for doing so. Gift, as the saying goes, is born out of hard graft, in a sobering10:90 ratio. Another dedicated somebody has also gone mathematical, claiming that it takes 10,000 hours to gain mastery, with the underlying suggestion that anyone can get there, if they have the grit. One of my offspring has taken this to heart, and is off at a jog, though still in the early miles of the marathon. As for me, I look and am daunted. Is there not a route to fluency via my own wellspring? A being place where the bubbling water will unknot my limbs and my larynx.
My recent experience reminds me, well … no. A traveller who is multi-lingual has been staying for the past fortnight on a helpex scheme where guests help out in exchange for board. One of her gifts to our household was to talk to my partner, daughter and myself in either Spanish or French. I watched my daughter enter the dance of conversation. She was ‘capable of flowing’ with accompanying gestures and laughter – the hard-won fruit of her solo stint in Central America. Partner JB also, after months of regular propping of self with Spanish text books, also did the biz, but with perhaps more perspiration. I entered my child self, wobbling on one foot - able to stammer a simple sentence en Francais, but lost in the response.
I’m not that interested in languages I tell myself, and it’s true. I am interested (deeply) in developing fluency in music, but hold that at bay for reasons I’ve not yet plumbed. But here I am, on my blog, in the medium of English. I have fluency here, as do all who happen to be reading this. We do have language. We can speak, and we can choose not to speak. Is this a case of love the one you’re with? All I need was laid down when I was a toddler. Here I am with an ocean to play in. I can decide what words in what order. I can choose when and to whom. Seven years ago I ditched journalism as a career, and told myself I would never again write to someone else’s deadline. This blog is my own; my one (kind of) public container for my thoughts to take expression through writing. I’ve been away from it for two weeks; wondered if, and when and how I would return. And here I am back again. Fluency in this medium of English: a constant, whether my words are in ebb or in flow.
p.s. I have learnt that affluent is also a noun, meaning a tributary into a main river source. It seems to me that affluents are riches indeed. May there be many for me and thee.
Fat Tuesday with Abe
2 weeks ago