Future, Present, & Past:
Speculative~~ Giving itself latitude and leisure to take any premise or inquiry to its furthest associative conclusion.
Critical~~ Ready to apply, to itself and its object, the canons of reason, evidence, style, and ethics, up to their limits.
Traditional~~ At home and at large in the ecosystem of practice and memory that radically nourishes the whole person.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
So during a month of "fasting" from the blog, I discovered to my great relief that I could still think with a pen in my hand. Typing words on a screen and writing on paper are very disparate modes of composition for me, more different than I can even articulate. There's something about the instant revisability of pixels that makes composition slower and more unsure, for me. I've found this translates to how I read online as well: on a screen, I am always scrolling down, before I've finished the paragraph; always looking for the bullet points, the money quote. After months and years of this, I began to get the queasy worry that something impatient and lazy had my mind its slovenly den. Would I be able to write anymore? Well, yes, as it happens, yes it is kind of like riding a bike. But the experiment demonstrated something more to me. I'm just plain happier composing on paper. The words covering the page in their indelible lines gives a shape to my thinking that the discrete increments of typing and the cut-and-paste-able blocks of computer text completely up-end. It's plain that this is an idiosyncracy of my own. Others have their own mental and creative hygiene, other conditions in which they can reach "flow," as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls the state of optimal creativity and production; for me, nothing beats a smooth-flowing, extra-fine-point rollerball, on the unlined white pages of a hardbound notebook. The lines are laid down indelibly; I can cross them out but I can't select-and-cut to make them vanish, or scoop them up and replant them three paragraphs later, and these restraints help me produce: without them, I'm just floundering. But of course transferring this to a blog post involves typing and transcribing, which besides being extra work always invites the revisionary demon, the "inner editor," who yes does valuable service but needs to learn how to be a little less pushy. The point here is that my posts will be fewer, not because I'm writing less but because I'm writing more. What I post will likely be shorter and just an indication of what I am thinking about off-screen. Questions are still welcome, more than welcome, because I think best of all when I'm actually engaging with a live person whose thoughts I can't anticipate because, well, they aren't mine.