fiction

Foolishness

DWQCanadian Geese

“What a fool?!” thought the old man, seeing a young man coming up the path. He wasn’t looking out at the pond. He seemed to see little more than his feet and the dog that would sometimes wander away from him.

“What a fool?!” thought the young man. This grandpa had stopped on the path, put down his walking stick and is taking out his binoculars. Binoculars? There’s nothing to see here through binoculars. Just some geese floating around on the surface of a pond. More of a puddle really.

“I wonder if I should tell him.” After all, this young man doesn’t know the beauty of all that’s around in this park. He doesn’t see the beauty of a recently thawed pond. Or of Canadian geese chasing each other around. If I’d been smart enough to pay attention while my eyes were good I wouldn’t have to be standing here now, large binoculars on my eyes letting me make out the geese clearly.

“I wonder if I should tell him.” After all, some old people don’t mean to be so careless. Maybe he doesn’t mean to block the path. Perhaps he’s just forgotten where he is, and that he’s making it harder for others to walk by. Maybe if he knew, he’d move out of the way, or better yet, keep walking.

“It’s probably not worth it.” He’s young and self-assured, certain that the world is his for conquest and nothing more. He may sometimes notice beauty, but he probably quickly blinks and hopes it will disappear. The young have no time–or think they have no time–for stopping and paying attention to little things, like the geese on this pond.

“It’s probably not worth it.” He’s old and ornery. He’ll probably just think that I’m an ignorant young man who can’t be bothered to walk around him. He’s probably doesn’t care where he is; probably thinks that he’s old so the rules don’t apply to him. After all, he probably always walked to school, up hill both ways, in the freezing snow.

“Then, maybe he knows.” Maybe he’s taking a look at this pond and these geese. And though he may not be getting everything from it, he’s probably getting something.

“Then, maybe he knows.” Maybe he knows that he’s in the way. Maybe that’s the point. Trying to get me and others to take a second and look at what he’s looking at.

“It sure is pretty, this world.”

“It sure is.”

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metablogging, personal, ruminations

But What Is a Blog? & My Answer

Source: topgoldA Blog is a placeā€¦

Aside from having been described by Jerry Seinfeld as a terribly ugly word (which it is), “blog” is a hard concept to pin down. Of course the word’s evolution from the original meaning of “web log” would suggest that they’re necessarily linear expressions of a set of idea, thoughts, and goals. A diary almost. But I’d hope that this “blog” doesn’t feel like a diary, or have substance very similar a teenager’s secret journal.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the difference between a “writer” and a “blogger” but came to little more than my frustration with, and inability to parse, the distinction. I wrote a few months ago about the different types of blogs I see on the internet. But neither of those seemed to answer the question of “what is a blog?” and more specifically “what is a blog to me?”

I think the easiest analogy–and it’s not really a surprising one–is that like a “book” or a “magazine,” it really varies. Like both of those forms, there’s a certain idea that people usually associate with the word “blog.” Where for books they probably tend to think of a novel, or for magazines, a news weekly (about politics, “news,” celebrities, what have you), with a blog the default assumption is roughly that it is a place for a person to write irrelevant blather to make themselves feel important.

But a “book” also includes the notions of long non-fiction, short fiction with illustrations (picture books!), short story collections, or diatribes about politics, gods, or “man.” So too can a magazine be a heterodox collection of fiction, nonfiction, short bits and long blather. It can be exceptionally experimental or staid and boring. It can be exceptionally timely or exceptionally timeless.

Of those two, my description of a “magazine” is closer to my understanding of what a blog is. But neither fits exactly. The point is perhaps as simple as this: a blog, like a book or magazine, is what it’s made into.

This is no revelations, even to me, but for some reason I can and frequently do lose sight of it’s truth. Too much time online regularly convinces me that all blogs (mine included) are the same. That it’s all inane blather that does little more than serve to create circles of people patting each other on the back and never realizing that they’re producing drivel.

Nor does it help that finding blogs I like which update regularly often feels impossible. Much of what passes for political discussion in the blogosphere feels like arguments about inane topics that no one but the most nerdy cares about (see: Kos, Daily). Most of what passes for discussions about life is journaling about the events of your day (see: dooce). When what I want–as Leslie said accurately–is “a new breed of philosopher” (see: my blogroll?).

The difficulty faced in finding what I want in the “blogosphere” is enough to make me despair and desire to run away from the medium. But I’m also pretty certain that flight and despair are choices built for fools.

The type of blog I’m making here is the kind of blog I’d like to read. Even if they sometimes feel few and far between–among a vast wasteland of seething and wasteful punditry, savaging of celebrities, and “get rich from blogging” sites–I persist. If only because of my own stubborn and insolent insistence that what I’m looking for, what I’m making, is worthwhile.

Perhaps I’m a quixotic fool. The artist who dies destitute and sad. Whose brilliance–whether real or imagined–is discovered only after death. Or not at all.

Whatever the reality, I must again thank those who read this. Whatever it is or is not.

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