Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Empty Vessel Makes the Loudest Sound

Two years.  159 posts.  The good thing about an empty vessel is there's no need to refill it.  It's hollow sound reverberates with every thump regardless of the skill of the player.  This post started out as a parody of other blogs' "best of 2010" posts but I couldn't make it work.  Why not and what has it all meant?

Blogging is primarily about words, large and small, placed in a certain order, given a rhythm and sent on their way. It takes an incredible amount of effort to craft a sentence like "Carstairs-McCarthy expounds what he takes to be the three main peculiarities of human language: vocabulary size, duality of patterning, and the distinction between sentences and noun phrases" which is why I don't bother and instead write things like "poo" and "LOL."

Pictures are important in blogging too.  Which is why I won't include one here.  They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but I believe that's only true for the hollow vessel.  Fill that vessel with the richness of Faulkner, Dickens, or Shakespeare and the sound is not just loud, but silent and tremulous, cadenced and boisterous, a roar all around us and a whisper deep in our hearts.  But that's wrong too.  A painting by Rothko, Pollock, or Innes can bring you to the same place, a place with no words but yet still infused with meaning and emotion.

Is that the quantum nature, the word-picture duality, of communication?  Sometimes meaning is conveyed by discrete, word-sized packets of information while at other times it is a continuous, wave-like stream of color and shape.

Sadly, in a place we don't care to go, blogging is about ego, it is about the one tree falling in the forest, it is about the street corner soapbox and the lonely court jester laughing at his own jokes.  What kind of primordial lizard brain does it take to believe that one's thoughts are worth making public?   The paradox, the Catch-22, is the adage to write about what you know, what you're passionate about.  And then dare to hope that anyone else reads it.

So blogging is ultimately about readers.  I like to pretend there are hundreds of lurkers out there.  You commenters, unfortunately, I've written off as spam bots. During the coming months I promise to inflict upon you web sites and commentary that only I find funny or interesting or cool.  If things go as planned, soon you won't have to suffer through many CFD links as those will move to another blog.   But for now, accept these best wishes for a merry holiday season.  And for you spam bots, no I don't want to make money using my computer from home.


Francis Shivone said...

Very well said.

Although, I do think there are elements of the creative intuition in your posts that are not just "about ego," as you say.

Artists paint, guitarists play, writers write, in some ways because something's there, something's "in" them. I'll never play basketball like Michael Jordon but that doesn't mean I shouldn't play.

Of course, there is "ego" involved in all this -- we should never underestimate the power of vanity -- but in other ways it's a conversation of friends at a pub.

Regardless, this spam bot enjoys the hell out of your thoughts and links.

But please -- more dancing girls.

Jim said...

Hot CFD simulation is just a click away!


Would it help if we spambots posted our top ten most enjoyed parts of your blog?

John said...

Jim Bot: Racking your brain to cite the your favorites, let alone 10 of them, is worth the effort.

My favorite was the parody for our intern Travis after he said he didn't understand one of the posts. And that's a favorite only because my boys and I are way too silly.