Friday, December 25, 2009
Throwing Words Into Spaces
In the past year or so, I have posted 423 times. Writing a blog is pretty lonely business, but I am inclined to indulge in solitary fancies, so I guess the composition habit fits my personality. People normally don't read the posts, so I find I basically entertain myself by increasing my understanding of different topics and issues.
To be honest, most would find this exercise quite fruitless and needlessly laborious. I understand their point of view, respect it, but continue to write, anyway. By this time, I am pretty stubborn about pounding out letters and words that seldom find human touch. Call these exercises "shots in the dark" or "echoes from a stoney canyon." If all they do is rattle around for a few days, then they seem to be worth the production.
Every writer knows about the importance of audience and the benefits of readership. Some writers must have a daily injection of feedback to operate efficiently; others see writing as more of an obligation to self. I am of the latter school of thought. Although I would love to share my posts with many, I still treasure what I learn about myself when I press the keyboard. A personal satisfaction flows from each piece I write.
If you have never felt this kind of release and recovery from your personal writing, you may question this pleasure. I can assure you, writing your own words is addictive and often time consuming; however, writing can cause a catharsis through releasing emotions.
Great minds since ancient times have debated the value of purging and cleansing emotions. For example Plato contended that poetry encouraged men to be hysterical and uncontrolled. Yet, in response to Plato, Aristotle maintained that poetry makes them less, not more, emotional, by giving a periodic and healthy outlet to people's feelings.Aristotle employed catharsis as a medical metaphor. He stated, "It is the human soul that is purged of its excessive passions."
"In real life," Aristotle explained, "men are sometimes too much addicted to pity or fear, sometimes too little; tragedy brings them back to a virtuous and happy mean." (F.L. Lucas, Tragedy in Relation to Aristotle's Poetics) Tragedy is then a corrective; through watching tragedy the audience learns how to feel these emotions at the proper levels. Some modern interpreters of the work infer that catharsis is pleasurable because audience members felt ekstasis (Greek: ἔκστασις) (ecstacy) (literally: astonishment, meaning: trance) from the fact that there existed those who could suffer a worse fate than them was to them a relief.
I find writing most enjoyable when fluency pushes the process toward discovery as emotions help fill the sails, thus making stronger the movement of the vessel. I seldom know where the journey will end. Still, new discoveries along the way sometimes feed my mind and alter my course. My perceived destination becomes secondary to the journey as I pick up small treasures along the way. In truth, this initial adventure never ends...I merely stop at some appropriate place. I wait there for others to comment and increase my own comprehension of the chosen subject.
Yes, I know "it's all been said before." Writing, like my other passion -- music, is basically practice copied from those who have mastered style and expression, and I am guilty of patterning composition. When I am fortunate enough to add something coined uniquely by my limited talents, I feel very blessed.
To me, creating ideas is really like hitting a baseball: the missed swings only remind me that I am one step closer to a sweet connection. To drive the pitch for a single or, very less often, for a home run increases my self confidence. The challenge is most exciting when the pitches are the toughest, and, of course, the rewards of swatting these balls are the most satisfying. Yes, I know about the .300 hitter and the number of times the Babe struck out. Hitting an idea squarely is never easy and no one is content to strike out.
Well, it's taken a long time to say exactly what I intended to say in this post. I don't know if a summary is necessary, but I feel the need to re-emphasize. If you want to process priceless, rich information, go to the library and check out the classic authors. Build your insight from the ideas of professional wordsmiths who excel at the craft. Push every understanding a step beyond simple comprehension. And, use your knowledge to make the world a better place.
If, however, you want to wander some twisty paths, occasionally enjoy the adventures of getting lost, and communicate with other humans like yourself, read blogs. As common and worthless as they may seem, blogs represent the faults and flounderings of "word people." Some are explosive and loud with content. Others, like mine, exist mainly for self interest and for an occasional reader to stumble upon.
Better yet, start your own. I have earned a whopping $8.26 for my work on the blog. Now, let's see -- that is less than $0.02 an entry. So, you're probably not going to get rich writing a blog. Yet, I can at least say that I have got my two cents worth.