Tuesday, May 15, 2007
On occasion, more times than I might wish to admit, I struggle to find a subject about which to scribe. It isn’t the lack of desire to write, it’s sometimes this and other times that, that the subject to mind is rejected. So I think and ponder another subject. Many times failing.
I developed an interdisciplinary forced labor technique. I’ve used it many times. Some successful, others an abomination of sick imaginary scribble. Before the technique was even moderately successful, I found that I had to apply restrictions. Many times the restrictions have been . . Well, restricting. I persisted. One of the major restrictions was borrowed from the medical profession — First: Do No Harm — which is why I seldom use names in any of the stories I place on the web. Actually, there have been times I use “I” rather than regard even the sex of the subject of a story or bothering to invent a name for that subject.
But, I’m drifting. The disciplinary technique is simplicity itself; I close my eyes, riffle the pages of the Webster’s New College Dictionary, firmly place my finger randomly in the blind, so to speak. I then open my eyes and the word or definition of the word there under becomes the bones of the entry I must begin to write about that day.
There have been times I have violated the First Rule. The transgression of that rule as it applies to myself. I constantly find that fickle finger choosing subjects to which I can apply no discernable measure of personal knowledge. None. So I write the word, the definition of the word, on a small scrap of paper and do that which I do best – ponder nothing, while staring at the snake of my mind given reality on my desk top.
The “nothing” being pondered is the knowing one must: a) write about the subject selected; and: b) ground oneself in enough knowledge to avoid the “fool” to result from someone knowledgeable in the subject. It’s the “grounding oneself” that is, at times, the downer. I pay very well for access to the web, which in turn would yield virtually unlimited information. I pay even more liberally for the telephone land line, which could with the flick of a finger, connect me with the library and the librarian, who quite possibly would supply information and references.
It is the “doing” which sometimes hinders my learning the subject matter. Today’s subject is particularly difficult for me and I find myself allowing stray and direct interference from thoughts. One in direct connect to today’s effort stems from an English Teacher for the University of Maryland, ex-patriot-ing his way through life working through the University of Heidelberg, at a US military base in Germany.
At one point in the class he indicated that it was acceptable, failing knowledge of a particular subject, to weave a plausible story, using ones knowledge of: a: either other portions of the subject under discussion, or: b: redirecting the conversation or subject to ones knowledge base.
At times fate is both fickle and specific. It is. In this case, later in the class this teacher gave a pop quiz. Each student was given separate questions of the subject. My particular question was “What did the letter mean?” The question stemmed from the book under consideration. Which was the Scarlet Letter.
I could not, for the life of me, remember what the Letter was. Not a clue. Not a hint. I did remember the story and was somewhat hung up with the characters and the plot and the fact we were three-quarters through the book and the semester. But I could not remember what that letter was. So I wrote about the story: I wrote about the characters: I wrote about the book. But not about the Letter.
Today is a grey day. It is raining. It is a blahsys day. The dog snores in the corner. The fickle finger choose the subject as follows:
Magi pl. n., sing. Magus: 1. Members of a priestly caste of ancient Media and Persia. 2. The wise men from the East (in later tradition, three in number) who came bearing gifts to the infant Jesus: Matt. 2:1 – 13.
I received an A in the pop test. The teacher graded in red ink.
From the reaches,