Encoding inspiration

In a book to which she refers with no particular pride, Annie Dillard wrote:

One of the few things I know about writing is this: Spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book, give it, give it all, give it now… Some more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

Dillard understands that writers thrive on insight into each other’s process.

For a decade, the Web was dominated by writers. Programmers initially controlled the ways in which the Web was constructed, but writing and programming are fraternal twins. Both involve coding, and coding is simply the transmutation of something seen or experienced—whether tangible, ephemeral, or abstract—into symbols.

Since the mid-1990s, imaginative authors have been adapting written language to the Web. To suit their individual purposes, they experimented with hypertext and modified a multidimensional model incorporating links that can take readers (who came to be referred to as users) on a circuitous route through a complex subject in hyperspace. It’s taken years for an influential mass of casual users to recognize the value of information that is “linked up” to original sources, full texts, definitions, endnotes, illustrations, captions, encyclopedia entries, commentary, and—yes—shopping carts and checkout.

It’s also taken this long for Tim Berners-Lee’s original purpose for the Web to be taken up by mainstream users. Berners-Lee, who published his formal proposal for the World Wide Web in 1990, intended the Web to be used for the management of information and “collaborative authorship” as a service to the public. In other words, sharing ideas and knowledge rather than merely pushing products and services has been the goal all along. Calling the concept Web 2.0 only denotes an implementation phase that Berners-Lee hoped would occur six months after his initial proposal.

In 1999, Berners-Lee wrote in Weaving the Web:

The Web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect—to help people work together—and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world. We clump into families, associations, and companies. We develop trust across the miles and distrust around the corner. What we believe, endorse, agree with, and depend on is representable and, increasingly, represented on the Web. We all have to ensure that the society we build with the Web is of the sort we intend.

When technology evolves quickly, society can find itself left behind, trying to catch up on ethical, legal, and social implications. This has certainly been the case for the World Wide Web.

Purists decried the inevitable commercialization and segmentation of a global network endowed with the potential to unearth free access to knowledge and information. Echoes of those early advocates’ arguments can still be heard in the blogging community, among online gamers, in the words of inspired philanthropists, and in the creations of artists who work in digital media. Although the Web is well found for the voyage, the heartbreaking struggle to carry on the course toward a vision of unity is occasionally expressed. A single elegant word conjures the dread of barricades:

Geostigma text

Image from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children © Square Enix Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

For the poetry captured in those four syllables, credit belongs to the gifted Japanese writer Kazushige Nojima, about whom there is more to learn.

We all must make a living. Fortunate are the few talented enough to do so by encoding inspiration. Entire lives are devoted to work that is much less meaningful. Many of us endure a sustainable level of cognitive dissonance while we generate code—regardless of the language—designed foremost to result in profits that support our salaries and maintain our standards of living. The potential for community that the term Web 2.0 is meant to describe too often gives way to discussions of capturing market segments and ensuring profitability.

When our livelihoods depend on it, we conform to the implicit demands of our businesses or our employers. Our survival instincts sometimes prevent us from expressing our thoughts and acting on our values. Transparency is eclipsed when our jobs require us to overlook ethical and aesthetic conflicts and align ourselves with the more powerful. We leave risk-taking to those with less to lose: the young, the foreign, the radical misfits. We stop learning from each other’s process.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0 has struck a surging online community who possess an overwhelming array of creative methods to convey their messages. Relatively recent and ongoing technological developments have made the Web a visual artist’s wellspring. Without realizing what’s happening, we’re absorbing information in the form of Web-based video, audio, text, maps, lyrics, images, data, graphic displays, animation, and conversation—and, significantly, endless configurations of these channels of expression. There’s no stanching the flood.

“These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”

16 Replies to “Encoding inspiration”

  1. I fully agree with you; at the same time, I could present arguments for or against what Dillard so eloquently and emphatically states.

    FOR Argument goes to the author, hesitant about transparency, full of ideas, heaping over with ashes. Yes, she needs to share.

    AGAINST Argument in the name of the author, who is frustrated when so little of her meaning is understood or so little is even read at all–“I could share, but who would share with me? Pearls before swine?”

    FOR Argument going to the reader, for I could miss something and kick myself daily for all I’m missing, so it’s a good thing I have choices to pull from. I could stumble on someone who understands me, which is extremely rare, and then we would share, and connect…

    AGAINST Argument the reader rests on is best laid out by Barry Schwartz in “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less,” or by Flannery O’Connor when someone would ask her if the universities stifled writers–“In my opinion, they don’t stifle enough of them”–too many choices. How do I spend time with an on-line writer who gives me the truly banal (like me, when I write about the dentist), or one who writes beyond my level of understanding (my mother’s quote: “It must be good–I don’t get it.”), or who just doesn’t leave you enlightened when you finish reading? Shouldn’t there be some sort of standard that filters drivel?

    Or is one man’s junk another man’s treasure, and we go with the flow?

    I’m all for leaving the floodgates open. Thanks for provoking thought and writing another satisfying and wonderfully read-able piece.


  2. Jo:

    You’re right. Thick skin and a tolerance for information overload are required. Don’t assume that no comments means no readers. I read scores of blogposts without commenting.

    It’s just a matter of time before aggregators find better ways to filter content, but I’ll probably always enjoy finding something remarkable they didn’t discover.

    Cutting down on randomness (which, delightfully, the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing defines as “an inexplicable misfeature; gratuitous inelegance”) is Meetup.com, which lists a Cognitive Science Reading & Discussion Group in Berkeley. That sounds interesting. You could take Mike and his latest chronicles along for show and tell.

  3. I gotta keep remembering that:

    No comments does not = no readers

    I forget it all the time. Silence is present in so much of my life that I constantly have to test that I’m not going deaf. Nat says to write no matter what, and so does Annie, above. I have to utilize that silence and listen to you ladies.

    I also have to be better at not reading what I don’t understand–instead of reading it and feeling stupid and small–as well as steering clear of on-line therapy sessions–I want to write better, and reading contributes, certainly. The challenge for me is finding thought-provoking and inspirational sites, and I’m grateful when I do. (Present company at top of said list of inspirational/thought-provoking.)

    Meetup.com–what a wonderful site! I enjoyed reviewing and a quick skim by topic…that Cognitive Science Reading & Discussion would probably be more up Mike’s alley than mine, however. The title alone is smarter than I am, and the topics are probably roughly on par with when I try to visit my Unitarian church for a sermon–I like how welcoming it is, but I don’t know what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks they said.

    I do better with group names like English 101, History of Short Story, and Poetry for Lovers…LOL…put adverbs that end in -ive and nouns that end in -ism in there and my eyes tend to glaze over…

    How do you find these sites? Is it a random act, or do you get pointedly curious and use a search engine with a topic word? Just curious on method…and trying to learn from the master. Any more the WWW annoys me as one big sex ad, so if I could start seeing it as the developer of it intended, I could use it for good instead of evil.


  4. Jo:

    It’s so good of you to share your perspective. T.T.’s also played the devil’s advocate in response to this post, and I can’t tell you how helpful it is—to receive the services of an editor for free.

    I’m not sure everyone does this, but I tend to assume people think more like me than they really do. I love silence and solitude. They allow me to focus. Most people prefer more noise and activity and companionship, which explains the perennial fascination with online social networking.

    Back in the day, online networking was conducted through listservs (electronic mailing lists), bulletin boards (now referred to as forums), online games, and email. Ah, except for email, you really had to be a geek to love it all. Wikipedia has a great link to old messages posted by Ward Christensen, who ran the very first bulletin board system.

    The first search engine I ever used was Archie, so when Google came along, I was on it. Through most of the ’90s, I had an assignment in research and development for a government agency, which involved online research into very specialized topic areas. Today, I’m finishing a year-long part-time project evaluating search results for Google as one of the company’s many “human evaluators” around the world. I’ve also contributed a few pages of “human-curated” search results to Mahalo, which is still in alpha. For the past 14 years, my work has in some way involved extracting information from the Web. It’s not just an entertaining diversion.

    You’re not the first person to express curiosity about how I find the articles and sites I share. There’s no single answer, which is what I think people want when they ask that question. I probably see a great deal more of the Web than most people do, so my chances of encountering something good are increased. I follow links. When I find a good blog, I check out its blogroll. I have infinite patience when using search engines.

    When I make specific recommendations, I try to be discerning and, if possible, to tailor my suggestions to a particular individual’s tastes.

    I might avoid reading about something that doesn’t interest me, but if it does, and I don’t understand what I’m reading, then I read more on the same topic. The repeated exposure, especially to professional jargon, can eventually render it familiar and decipherable.

    My neighbor’s daughter is applying for admission to medical school. Her native language is Spanish, and she completed her pre-med studies at Ohio State University. When she wanted a better understanding of a particular subject, she’d buy a different English-language textbook and read it in addition to the text used in class as a strategy to overcome the language barrier. More is sometimes better.

    Quantum physics. I’ll be taking my time with the topic. (laughing)

    I’m always sorry to hear people say offensive sites keep them from exploring the Web. It reminds me of those color-coded territorial boundaries. The tension between the sublime and the tasteless, good and evil, love and money will always exist.

    I hope to offer some step-by-step suggestions for online community building over the next few weeks. Several book authors have asked me how it can be done. The most important thing to realize up front is that networking and community building are labor-intensive.

    Thanks to you and T.T. for giving me lots more to blog about.

  5. Cognitive-science reading and discussion… [looks over shoulder] Yeah, I thumb through books like that but I have to say, I would think a discussion group on them would be too precious, because I really do thumb through them, rather than really Getting them from cover to cover.

    Since you’ve got such an immense pile of things that you find, have you considered using a social-bookmarking site so that others can see what you’ve been looking at? del.icio.us is the platform that underlies my “detours” section, but I’m sure there are others. Dan used to use it, before he got buried. He may have abandoned it for something else, as he hasn’t posted anything there for a month or so and doesn’t link to it from his site.

    Jo — I also wish for a web drivel-filter. I find that getting people like Robin to open up their recent web-reads is the best way to implement it. It means finding enough people who do this (again, wishing for Dan to return to doing it) but this way, you only look at things that (a) a trusted person “votes” for and (b) looks interesting to you too, based on the title.

    My problem is that what I think is drivel one day can be riveting the next. I would never sit and write a New Yorker-size comment on a weekday, for example. What I read by day, at night, on the weekend, when happy, sad or 28 — it changes constantly. My experience here may not be unique. I also do not bookmark as a “detour” anything that I think could be construed as drivel in any of these contexts, so those are about 40% transparent as well. That 40% represents the intersection of all drivel-filters.

    It’s interesting that Robin mentions Mahalo — it happens that I went and checked up on a couple of their pages (which regard drivel) and noticed a couple of errors. They were corrected very quickly.

    Oh boy, that post was completely incoherent. Robin will fix it! ;-)

  6. Whew! I have more than 200 folders full of favorites. I’ll worry about adding a del.icio.us widget tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but Arts & Letters Daily remains the best aggregator of articles, reviews, and essays. I highly recommend it.

    I occasionally take the detours. Do your site statistics reveal that? WordPress.com lets me see what links people click on my blog each day, blocks spam, and performs other neat tricks.

  7. You guys have got to quit commenting…LOL…this is a wealth of stuff for me to write to here. I probably should move my portion to my blog to avoid bringing in too much of the personal here, but I’ll try to be as brief as possible–only two or three hundred pages. (Sly smile.)

    In regards to offensive sites…it’s not so much offensive sites as much as a good deal of servers have to advertise and the banners are usually large and are blaring the answers to finding the perfect man, getting the perfect body, etc. It’s worse than thumbing through a women’s magazine. There is no way I will ever be that kind of beautiful or wanted and on certain days it feels like someone’s rubbing my nose in a poopy diaper when I’m not the one to do the pooping, if that makes sense.


    In regards to reading more to understand…YES, I wholeheartedly agree. Look at the medical books by Atul Gawande. Look at the “Don’t Know Much” series by Kenneth Davis. And yes, I suppose that if I don’t get one author’s interpretation I can always read a simpler version by someone else, but, to pull from Dan, In My Humble Opinion life is short and I will probably stop with the easier book and completely skip the book that requires 6 other books to understand. This is a weakness on my part that probably won’t change.

    In regards to how you find your sites…Nat once said in order to find your own method of writing, you should ask LOTS of authors how they write. No two do it alike–it just gives me ideas on what’s possible as a writer. I think the same would apply as a searcher of truths on the ‘net…if you use lots of different methods I am open to hearing all, not so much to copy them as to observe how your mind is shaping this Jell-O and how you find patterns in the chaos. I am particularly pleased when you make suggestions of stuff I would like based on reviewing my chaos, but I don’t want to sit and whine and say, “So, Robin, see anything good out there for me today?” It’s like a cyber version of “Fiddler on the Roof” when I start doing that…LOL…

    As to the silence…


    Oh, if any of you would have met me prior to 2001. I LOVED silence then. I loved being alone, much to the chagrin of friends, while I was working my way through the wonders of literary study and teaching people how to be professional on business calls. My brother used to whine that I never wanted to play with him as a kid. I loved my peace.

    Then my mother got sick. Then my father fell apart. Then 911 happened.

    Then I got needy.

    Trouble was, I knew I was needy, so I would try to stay alone so that I didn’t abuse anyone’s good will. People thought I healed. I told them I was moving to California to be closer to my brother; family suddenly seemed more important to me, regardless of the noise. Noise suddenly seemed desirable. When I got here I was (and still am, obviously) homesick, and made a lot of dumb friendship and romantic decisions just so I wouldn’t have to be alone.

    Mark me, I’m working on this. Someday I hope to be back where I was so I stop hurting so badly, and because I know now that a lifelong partnership and children won’t happen. I think of it like a fault-line; a series of quakes and aftershocks took me from:
    Solitude as peace to solitude as apathy
    And a significant amount of shifting will be needed to move it back to:
    Solitude as peace.

    I liked it better that way, to begin with.

    Hope that wasn’t too much of a ramble…


  8. Jo said:

    Someday I hope to be back where I was so I stop hurting so badly, and because I know now that a lifelong partnership and children won’t happen. I think of it like a fault-line; a series of quakes and aftershocks took me from: Solitude as peace to solitude as apathy
    And a significant amount of shifting will be needed to move it back to:
    Solitude as peace.

    Hmmm…well, this isn’t the post I was going to write in response to Robin’s original post, but I can write that some other time. (Basically, I was going to ask Robin what the hell she was talking about…(laughing), and how what she said doesn’t make crossing the bridge from community to capitalism and back again one bit clearer, to me.) Instead, I’d like to say something about what Jo said above.

    I went from solitude as apathy to solitude as peace. I was pretty sure at nearly 50 that I was never going to find, form and not completely f**k up a lifelong partnership. But worse, I was just basically sure I was never going to find it. I was the person who had perfected the art of serial monogamy, and I’d done so about 20 times! Each time a relationship ended, I would pick myself up, say something stupid like “hope springs eternal and dope’s outta the question,” and take my only slightly tarnished enthusiasm, bravado and joie de here-we–go-againness out into the world, whereupon my attitude that what I lacked in good judgment I made up for in good taste got me right back in the same kinds of messes.

    As I tended to specialize in people who were emotionally unavailable, in a gargantuan, yet oddly invisible, way, I finally did reach a point where the melted ice cream from the good humor truck no longer surprised me. A few more steps and I would be in abject apathy. The quickest way to get there, I reasoned, was solitude. Why go out and have heartbreak happen when I could stay home and depress myself just fine, thanks.

    Then both my parents died within a couple years of one another, then Princess Diana died (?), jobs were lost or forsaken and the Volvo dropped its transmission, but, since I wasn’t planning to go anywhere, no biggie.

    Well, I did go somewhere each day: the supermarket. It was, together with CNN, my entertainment. I had friends but, except for the ones who were a thousand miles away, I didn’t want to spend much time with the ones in town. They bugged me. And sometimes they made me laugh, which, as anyone who really understands the finer points of solitude as apathy readily knows, laughing is the absolute death knell to solitude, and it has been known to kick the ass of apathy, too.

    Anyway, because one can only watch just so much CNN and prowl the imported foods aisle at the grocery store just so often, I started writing again on my old DOS-based computer. I was complaining to a friend that I needed to take a room at the local library because I was constantly needing to research things. Soon thereafter I saw a demonstration of the Internet, and, not knowing what I was getting myself into, but knowing I had just seen something very exciting, I wanted it, I wanted to be there. I got a laptop and signed on. Oh My God! What was this? Who were these people in this thing called a chat room? What was this posting stuff? And, most amazing of all…after a while, Google was my new best friend.

    One day I posted something on a message board. My message was somewhat controversial, but I had put a lot of thought into it. I had been posting on this particular board for about two years, meeting people I didn’t mind posting with but probably would never meet. We would “talk” to one another in these posts. But this post sat atop the list for hours, with no responses. Feeling more annoyed than dejected, I logged off—to go to the grocery store, naturally. I came back, had some dinner, watched CNN for a while and then logged on again, dreading that there would be no responses. I had one response.

    The poster wrote: “Wild applause,” in response to my post.

    I’ve been in a committed relationship with that person for nearly seven years. That’s how it started. That’s where it started. That’s pretty much all it took. I figured everyone hated me, and no one was listening. When I saw those two words, wild applause, I realized I didn’t want a huge amount of applause or notice or agreement or confirmation from a lot of people; I just wanted some “wild applause” from one person. Just one person to know what I was about and say so. I sent back a thank you email. I’d never met her, never spoke to her, never really responded to her posts…but when I heard (read) her wild applause, I realized that for months I had been watching for her posts. I had been wondering about her.

    When I saw “wild applause” I knew I had one shot. I don’t know what I said in that thank you note…but I think it was something funny. Overnight I began to finish my solitude as apathy journey and was on my way to discovering the mutual solitude of peace.

    I don’t care what they say, wild applause is great for the soul and absolutely mandatory for an efficacious life. I’d like to say it was that easy, but honesty compels me to acknowledge that the wild applause really was hers; by that I mean, as much as I loved seeing that response, I didn’t trust myself to believe anything would ever come of it, and when something did, I still didn’t believe it. To say that I resisted that which has been the best thing in my life would be a paltry understatement. I couldn’t trust myself…but she did…and she just kept believing until I finally could.

    Your wild applause will come… Just keeping showing up. And I love your posts.

  9. Thanks for the hope, T.T….having been in the solitude as apathy place in your past, you’ll understand if I am skeptical, but like a grateful gardener I take the plant you’ve offered here, plant it in amongst the rosemary and mint, and will nurture it with the others to see if it takes off. :)

    Meantime, you write a pretty rockin’ set of posts yourself…keep up the good work, wordsmith.

  10. First of all, let me point out that Mike responded to my questions, but he’ll only talk about top secret stuff like site statistics off the record. (laughing)

    Jo, I encourage you to carry on these discussions here. The only reason to take them back to your blog (and it’s a good one) is if you feel they’re proprietary. The optimal solution, then, would be to duplicate them. If you include your blog’s URL in the comment form, then your name will be hyperlinked to your blog, and readers can travel back and forth.

    Your response and T.T.’s comments demonstrate there are many interpretations of “online social networking,” and they overlap, just as our social interactions in the physical world do. The complexity of these shifting relationships calls on all of our accumulated social skills. Coworkers fall in love, and their supervisor’s workload increases exponentially. Family members feud, and holiday get-togethers become minefields. Email correspondents write confusing sentences, and friendships are jeopardized.

    Without trying, most of us acquire a broader perspective as we age. Among those who have commented on this post, I’m in the middle age-wise. As someone who instinctively looks for patterns, I believe perceptions and attitudes reflect a person’s age (or, more accurately, a person’s life stage) more than his or her gender, occupation, nationality, or religion. There are certain things we all just have to live through to understand.

    Another dimension that influences comfort with social networking online and offline is a person’s tendency toward introversion or extroversion. It becomes important to distinguish the personality trait, which is more or less constant, from a state of mind that is only temporary. I understand you’re trying to explain your current state of mind, Jo.

    I’ll be happy to share more of what I read. I’ve listed books and articles on my Facebook profile and my business website, but it would be convenient and more user-friendly to include the links on this blog. I just finished reading The Exception, a novel by Christian Jungersen that illuminates how the will to power is an ineradicable aspect of human nature. I would not suggest reading Nietzsche until well after one’s midlife crisis.

    Which brings me back to some questions Dan asked right before he temporarily lost his mojo. Yes, I am among the minority of Americans who are introverted, and I happen to be the eldest of my parents’ five children.

    Come to think of it, Mike tagged me with some similar questions a day or two ago.

    Name four jobs you’ve had.
    For some reason, Mike likes to think of me as the canary in the coal mine. I can’t resist.

    Clerk (for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation for a couple of months when I was 22)

    Police detective

    Human evaluator (as mentioned above)


    Does anyone else recognize a theme here? (laughing)

    Name four favorite foods. Häagen-Dazs raspberry chocolate truffle (tragically discontinued). Omelette au fomage. Linzer Torte. Chili cheese fries.

    Name four places you’ve lived. Columbus, Ohio. Washington, NC. Canal Winchester, Ohio. In a tent.

    Name four places you’d rather be right now. In a tent. In a yurt. In a cabin. In the garden.

    T.T., you’re hands-down the best communicator once you get going. When a publisher tells you the same thing, I’ll be a very happy camper. Thanks for a story that says it so much better than mere advice ever can.

  11. Thanks much, Robin…I will steer clear of Nietzsche. :)

    I think my main problem with past friendships is that I have no will to power. Neither did my mother. For this reason, I’m sure, friends and lovers find me boring or a doormat (or both).

    Small confession…I have no clue how to turn words in text into a link for people to click on and go to my site from your comments. I told you I was internet-challenged… ;)

    And I HAVE to say this, because the curiousity will kill me if I don’t…your chili-cheese fries that you love…would that perchance be SKYLINE chili???? My brother and I used to live off of Skyline when I visited him at college off of High Street…

    Much thanks for your guidance, as always…


  12. Jo:

    I’ve been to Skyline Chili, but the Rusty Bucket lets me special order chili cheese fries that are delicious. The waiter also suggested chili-onion ring-cheese fries. (laughing)

    When you leave a comment on WordPress.com (and most other blog services are like this), there are several boxes to fill in: Name, Mail (will not be published), and Website. In the Website box, enter your blog’s URL (yours is http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-jGxyplQ7dLXEzP9MAuBA7iiPVQ–?cq=1). When you submit your comment, a link will automatically be created from your name at the top of the comment. It drives traffic to your blog, if you want it. If you’re planning a hit-and-run comment, then skip that little revelation.

    I hear words like “guidance” and then I feel ancient (smiling), not to mention cynical. All of us possess the will to power, as Nietszche called it, but the instinct can be difficult to identify when it’s repressed and inwardly directed. Let me introduce you to the ultimate cynic:

    The man who, from lack of external enemies and resistances and forcibly confined to the oppressive narrowness and punctiliousness of custom, impatiently lacerated, persecuted, gnawed at, assaulted, and maltreated himself; this animal that rubbed itself raw against the bars of its cage as one tried to “tame” it; this deprived creature, racked with homesickness for the wild, who had to turn himself into an adventure, a torture chamber, an uncertain and dangerous wilderness—this fool, this yearning and desperate prisoner became the inventor of the “bad conscience.” But thus began the gravest and uncanniest illness, from which humanity has not yet recovered, man’s suffering of man, of himself—the result of a forcible sundering from his animal past, as it were a leap and plunge into new surroundings and conditions of existence, a declaration of war against the old instincts upon which his strength, joy, and terribleness had rested hitherto.

    Let us add at once that, on the other hand, the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that the aspect of the earth was essentially altered. Indeed, divine spectators were needed to do justice to the spectacle that thus began and the end of which is not yet in sight—a spectacle too subtle, too marvelous, too paradoxical to be played senselessly unobserved on some ludicrous planet…

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    from On the Genealogy of Morals
    Second Essay, Section 16 (1887)
    translated by Walter Kaufmann

    As I typed that out, I noticed the words “animal soul” and suddenly recalled a book of poetry with that title, which I’ve been meaning to buy. Each thing I read leads to another. Now I want to know whether the poet, Bob Hicok, was referring to Nietzsche. See what I mean?

  13. YES, YES, I used to ask the very same question in my college lit courses ALL the TIME (I get excited and the Kerouac comes out in me…got to cut down on the capitals, Jo)…did Camus think of Dostoyevsky when he wrote “The Plague”? What did Williams and McCullers write about in France, sitting across the table with each other? Did Hemingway ever get his a** kicked by a woman in his real conversations, not the ones in his fiction?

    My mind wanders like that…I just sort of cloud over when it gets to the technology…but I’ll give it a spin on the search engines…

    Let’s see if this link thing works…cross your fingers, since I’m a cyber-klutz.

    Oh, Robin…this is the line that pinned me to the curb:

    “this deprived creature, racked with homesickness for the wild, who had to turn himself into an adventure…”

    I am raw with the beating, too. You were right, this guy is for later, if I have 6 kids and a husband with a strong sense of humor, a cat named Girl and a dog named Boy, and three hamsters. That author is for the ESTABLISHED happy.

    As to guidance? Let’s pull a Robin here and reference online, with Merriam-Webster.com, the meaning of “guidance.”

    Nope, no ancient references there…(AND how do you know I wasn’t talking about definition 3, since I would consider myself an oftentimes projectile?…LOL)…Or how about the definition of “guide“?

    Hmm…no, nothing ancient there…how about “mentor“?

    Noooo…nothing ancient there except the origin…shall I keep going? LOL.

    I’m not really looking at your age, whatever it may be. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

    Now there’s a thought that’s gonna fester, like the thought of flying to Columbus to try onion-ring chili fries (I split the infinitive, neener neener nee-ner). I have to ask my brother about the Rusty Bucket…


  14. [DTMF tones]
    [ringing tone]

    MOC: Hello, 511? I’m lost.
    511: [wah-waah-wah-wah-waaah]
    MOC: That’s scary. I didn’t know you could do that with cell phones. OK. Can you get me home?
    511: [wah-wah-waaah-wah-wah-la-la-laa-la-la-la-la/la-la]
    MOC: You’re kidding, right? Click my heels three times? Won’t that send me into the badlands?
    511: [wah-waaah-wah-wah-waah]
    MOC: OK, I’ll try that.
    MOC: [types on computer] “LOOK UP.”

  15. Mike wandered back here and began to suspect he’d entered The Ladies’ Women’s Room. He did notice that I’d installed a del.icio.us widget at his request. His comment above might be interpreted as “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” With the help of technology, no doubt, he found it. (smiling)

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