The Squiggle Liberates

by Garrett Graber, SUNY Cortland, December 12, 2008

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Does expression bind us to creation, or is it a freedom? Does expression actually allow for individuality? Can the same thing be expressed infinite ways? These are pertinent questions. It seems that "expression" usually connotes some sort of art form. Without expression, there would be no communication whatsoever. There would be no language at all. We would have thoughts, but no way to express them. Human beings are human beings because of expression. We are able to analyze life and share our individual results. This allows for evolution, for without expression, our instinct would reign, and we would be mere mammals, maybe even in reciprocity. If the human race blatantly lacked all forms of expression, it would perish, end of story.

Ah, but artistic expression... There's nothing more liberating then a blank page. A blank canvas. A block of marble. Whichever medium, artistic expression allows for a no-holds-barred approach. Anything can be said and anything can be done. For me, a pen and a blank page.

Artistic expression allows a person to create anything within their range of capability, from spray painting "F--- You" on a brick wall to painting the Sistine Chapel. However, artistic expression, the ultimate freedom, binds us to tools. To paint, to write, to sculpt, and even to speak requires tools.

Yet, we're also bound by gravity, bodily function, and any other law of physics that holds us down. The laws of man, the ego, seat belts and straitjackets also bind us. Constraint is nothing new. When do we feel free? When we break the constraints. Is freedom even real? Or is it like time - something humankind created that represents something too complex to understand, yet simple enough to govern.

Maybe freedom is the knowledge to decipher. Maybe freedom is the grave. All I know is that I am the free prisoner. I am the liberated slave. I am the handcuffed bird. I am the last soul, and I can not dissipate.

If there were other ways to write, I would employ them. Let my head be the paper, let my thoughts be the ink, and let my ass crack print documents. LET ME BE THE WORDS. The Bible begins with, "I am the Word." I always thought that was rather pompous. We are the words. We are dead symbols that allow for expression, liberators of thoughts held captive in my brain.

Oh, I mean OUR brains. But MY brain works the graveyard shift and has a day job, because I am what they call an "overthinker." I have therefore prescribed myself 10,000 mg of periods and commas, so I can simplify the run-on sentence that is my mind. The pill-bearing pharmacy is also in my head, and luckily for me, it's a one-stop shop, because by the time I hand myself the medicinal punctuation, it's already dissolved into my bloodstream. And the receipt prints out of my ass.

Now, that's freedom. Or is this:

That felt freer than any word I've ever written; it's more interpretable than any word from any language ever. The squiggle truly freed me, dug me out of the verbal graveyard, expressed more of myself than any word ever can, because all the words have been used before.

No one has ever drawn that squiggle.

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