I have some troubles with easy little words (food words, animal words, sea creature words, plant words and many more), but I can usually visualize what I'm trying to think of.
A young pottery artist gave me a handmade mug and another piece of her art and I was trying to explain the appearance of her art to my mom, but the words wouldn’t emerge.
The art seemed to be reminding my brain of some sort of plant-like sea creature hybrid fusion, but I couldn't think of the plant or sea creature words I wanted to say. I knew it wasn't rose-like;what was it?
I tried to explain a common kind of fish with many size variations to my mom and she asked if I was talking about a goldfish - and I thought that I WAS – but wasn’t there another word for goldfish; a shorter but slightly more uncommon word?
I seemed to be visualizing that a lot of people had tattoos of this kind of fish; then I started to wonder if maybe my brain was not making much sense.
But then I googled 'Kathy Acker tattoo' and then 'fish tattoos'.
Koi was the first word.
I then finally managed to find the rest and realize that her art made me think of koi, lily pads, and water lilies.
According to Japanese legend, if a koi succeeded in climbing the falls at a point called Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it would be transformed into a dragon. Based on that legend, it became a symbol of worldly aspiration and advancement.
More generally, the Japanese associate koi (also known as carp) with perseverance in adversity and strength of purpose. Because of its strength and determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.