Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Should Have Listened to Willem

All this time that I've spent wondering about skills, I really should have just listened to Willem. He pointed me in the right direction a long time back. As he wrote in his latest magnum opus, "E-Primitive: Rewilding the English Language":

Animist languages seek to describe patterns of activity, and to connect similar patterns to each other. To separate the way of the coyote away from words describing sneaky behavior, destroys connection, destroys layering. In fact, to use the word "coyote" also means to "act like a coyote," or "to sneak." In fact, the word talêpês means most properly "to act like a coyote." ...

So, if you want to sneak around the village, you might coyote around the village; if you want to trick someone, you might coyote them; if you want to devise a clever plan, you want to coyote up a plan. And there you have Flesh, Word, and Breath, respectively: to coyote your Flesh would mean to move in a sneaky manner; to coyote your Word would mean to relate and speak in a sneaky manner; to coyote your Breath would mean to think and imagine in a sneaky manner. One of the points Willem comes back to focuses on restoring the "thickness" of our language; layering it with stories, meanings, and references back to our sensuous engagement with a more-than-human world. I think we could help push that goal forward just with a story-game character that uses "skills" like this.

Giuli and I will spend some time with the Raccoon Creek this weekend, and we plan to take some beads and see if we can start to work something out. I feel like this has given me another one of those big breakthroughs towards making the Fifth World really work, so hopefully next week, we'll have something to report!

1 comment:

Willem said...


p.s. i forgive you for not listening to me. :)