Friday, September 18, 2015

Writing Nonsense

This is not a list of quips and quotes about writing. This post may very well fail in motivating anyone to write. Its inspirational quotient is doubtful.

The line of reasoning has vestibular uncertainty. It veers and leans, going places it never intended to. The line of reasoning may very well lie down at that point and hope the vertigo goes away.

This post may very well be nonsense. Writing nonsense, that is.

It all depends on whether writing is a verb or adjective. I cannot really tell from the fragment I have left myself.

1. Either I am writing out words that do not make sense, which may be what I am always doing.

2. Or, there is a specific type of nonsense characterized by a predicate of writing.

Regarding 1.

I might live in a careful universe that pretends to know everything I am saying.

Really, I am nothing more than a child. I know this, know what I mean when I write it, but then I can think of a number of things that are "more." I am certainly taller than most children. I have "more" years.  I possess "more" ignorance through the seeming paradox of maturity: i.e. the older you get the more you know how little you know.

The other main difference is that I cannot see many people who have any authority to nod their heads as I babble. Parents perform this act.

Instead, I seem to be surrounded by other nothings-more-than-children. Perhaps wiser beings in the universe can nod with authority? With authenticity? Celestial dragons and Rilkean Angels?

But do they understand me? Do they try?

Do they patronize me?

How could I possibly understand them? Perhaps that is why I do not see them.

Or am I like a dog? With people giving elaborate explanations for why they will either beat or feed me when all I really care about is getting away or eating something. They speak as though I understand them. Which I don't beyond the general intents I have just described.

Regarding 2.

It seems remarkable that  people can agree that a series of lines—most which are terrible artistic renditions of things—can constitute a mutually intelligible communication system.

Either there was a great deal of consternation, argument, compromise and bloodshed, or it was an unconscious accident. Considering human history, a messy mixture of the two hidden beneath the strata of time, dirt and dissimulation is the real truth of the matter.

Sitting here, I am well aware that writing is different than speech.

But is that any really different than speech?

Gibberish becomes a communication system when two people agree on what it means. It really becomes a language when one of them can lie to the other person with it.

Tadahiro Uesugi: NHK Cover Illustration
This is a hill in San Francisco. Actually, it isn't. It is a series of colors and shapes that suggest a hill and someone walking up it. It is by an artist named Tadahiro Uesugi.

I feel attracted to his sense of rhythm, how the flat planes of color suggest quadrilatitude but are not exactly perfect if you take the time to look closely: the shady street in trapezoidal contrast to the triangular buildings in light and especially that bow window.*

What does the woman's hair color actually mean? Or is it there as a flourish? The visual equivalent of "so as I was saying" which usually adds nothing to a sentence.

What is going on here? What is this saying to me?

It isn't saying anything. I am interpreting, but without the rudder of language. This is often the problem with art.

Or: I don't know if Tadahiro is lying to me or not. But unlike a piece of writing, this illustration does not appear to be nonsense.


So, as I was saying, words in conversation might mean something by being noise.

Yes, silence is important and also a sort of lie. Or a large container we grub around for in the darkness to fill with lies. The darkness is neither silent, nor empty. For the ears and the body the darkness is full of fur, viscosity and metals of different types.

An art critic or parent (or both) can explain all of this much better, I am sure. But she still uses words.

Sometimes the lies are well meant. This is all I can hope for. I feel I have written nothing. But I look over all of this. Nothing written does not seem true. Nonsense written could also be true.

*For more of Tadahiro Uesugi's illustrations, please visit his site.

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