Could I embody and unbosom now
That which is most within me,--could I wreak
My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw
Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or weak,
All that I would have sought, and all I seek,
Bear, know, feel and yet breathe--into one word,
And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
--Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III, Stanza 97
When I first read this passage of Byron's, I knew that I'd found my words. You know the ones: that perfect combination of units of meaning, the sequence of letters and spaces and punctuation marks that becomes your totem.
Of course, Byron, being a poet overwrought with great emotion about the perfection of his craft (among other things), seeks one word, one mighty utterance that would perfectly encapsulate the who, what, where, when, why, and how of him. Perhaps that's the place where writing comes from: a place that has no name, that wants to be named, that compels its own naming. Perhaps there is a word for each of us, one perfect set of symbols and sound that would render us as instantaneously as a lightning bolt.
( I try on a few words. )