everyone who has ever used those words is there in the language

When I teach, I often tell my students, "The writing knows more than we do." What I mean is that language is a vast repository, a great archive, a word hoard, a storehouse of accumulated knowledge and experience. Everyone who has ever used those words is there in the language. Or is pointedly, not there. Language can be a Stolperstein, a stumble stone. A marker which remembers, which reminds, which draws your attention to time, place, history, culture, to the world. Just by virtue of being a speaker of the language, you have access to this knowledge. You have access to something much larger, much deeper than just yourself. You're a tree connected to the rest of the forest by its roots. Or maybe you're a leaf on a tree, connected to a trunk, connected to a system of roots, which connect you to the entire forest. And as the song goes, the green grass grows all around and around, the green grass all around. But you can see the forest because you're a tree. You're an antennae upside down in the ground.

- Gary Barwin, from his essay "Writing as Rhizome: Connecting Poetry and Fiction with Everything" in the Summer 2023 issue of The New Quarterly.