I’m starting to tackle the My-Kids-Are-Now-Attending-School Major House Clean-Up, but I’m pretty intimidated. How do you face seven years of chaos shoved into drawers and closets?
“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
–William Faulkner, American Novelist
Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Factoid. Blah. Blah. Blah. Pic. Pic. Pic. Grammatically tortured sentence. Blah.
“Orderly people don’t make news. It’s the disorderly ones.”
–From the film “Her Kind of Man” (1946).
Of course they do.
They say (or sign) things like—I’m hungry. Hey, great stash of food over here. Macadamia nuts—Suweeet! Mommmmy!! Get off me. Scary predator rustling at 3 o’clock. OMG It’s a RBAL (A Really Big Ass Lion). Where have you been all night? I’m lonely. MOMMMMMY!! Hey, buddy, you’re doing a crappy job of tending these eggs—go find another fire coral. You’re cute. Wanna hook up?
How else would they survive?
It’s not about projecting “human characteristics” onto other beings; after all, we are animals, too, and we especially resemble those that travel in pairs, or packs, or schools, or herds. It seems that Tweets and texts are particularly similar to the staccato chatter exchanged among the rest of the animal kingdom.
And, no matter how you parse it, it’s pretentious of humans to assume we’ve got a lock on communication and connections, on wants and needs. I doubt we are the only creatures on this Earth to say “I love you.”
We’ve been nominated for the Baltimore Sun’s favorite blog contest, the Mobbies. See the Misfits and Personal categories. Get out the vote!
“Attention is the holy grail. Everything that you’re conscious of, everything you let in, everything you remember and you forget depends on it.”
–David Strayer, psychology professor at the University of Utah, in an Aug. 15 New York Times article, “Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain.”
I bought a Scholastic Children’s Dictionary at a used-book store the other day. My daughter was turning eight, and I wanted her to have the joy of seeking and discovering new words. What I didn’t see, inside the front cover, was that it was already inscribed:
“Bethany, Everything you learn will help you achieve all life has to offer,” Love, Mommy.
The date was 2002, just eight years ago. My stomach grew tight. Eight years from now, will my child sell this book to another used bookstore? So quickly outgrown and discarded.
Or will I?
The writing of fiction is a lot like lucid dreaming. You control the narration. Sort of.
Do you remember when e-mail used to be fun?
Little notes exchanged. Thoughtful moments. ‘Hellos’ from afar.
Then, this once-new mode of communication was co-opted—like regular mail and telephone (think direct-mail ads and telemarketers and robocalls)—by the powers that be, the powers that want to be, and commercial profit-seekers who want more of you.
Your money. Your vote. Your time. Your attention. Your money.
Watch out texters and Facebookers. The “business” of crowding out our private moments, interrupting our personal space, and overwhelming us with worthless static and “ca-ching” chatter is on the way.
Happy Anarchy will be co-opted once again.