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Joanna Manning is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Her work has appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Women's Health Annual, A River & Sound Review, Collateral and in content marketing materials all around the web. 

When she is not spending time with her family, she can be found working in her garden, staring off into space, burning dinner, or unearthing stories from her family history.

Conjugation

Conjugation

When learning a language, we must first learn to conjugate the verb to love. The Catholic-school nuns, their hearts given over to God, dutifully outline its Latin forms:

amo, amas, amat. . .

and praise God that they do not have to touch on the Eros of Greek. But they are world-wise enough to know the essential nature of love, so the drills continue:

amamus, amatis, amant. . .

The French speaking couple at my children's school call each other mon amour—my love. Nothing else. Nothing of the excessively sweet pet names used in English—no honey or sugar or sweetie—words that depict love as an object of consumption. This couple is not consumed by the other's love; they are the other's love. I can't help but smile every time I hear them.

In Spanish, lovers may also call each other my love—mi amor—but they also may call each other mi corazón—my heart—or mi vida—my life. Consider the subtleties between English and Spanish:

I love you with my heart.
You are my heart.
I love you for my life.
You are my life.

My love, my heart, my life—no grammar lesson will ever teach me how to translate you. You are a mood, a subtle shift in tone. Both foreign language and native tongue. I will spend a lifetime of learning and forgetting, succeeding and failing. But you are my heart, the steady rhythm of my life, fluent in a language I cannot speak but understand.

 

Processional

Processional

German as a second language

German as a second language