Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The disdainers of hope

I am wandering around the library trying to come up with a good idea for a blog post. Or, perhaps I should say I am wandering around the library trying to get interested in one of the many blog post ideas fluttering around me. Like little birds, in their dozens they come. They perch on nearby shelves, their heads darting about as I phlegmatically observe them. They hop on the floor. They fly here and there. But somehow I just can't be bothered to reach out.

I suppose this all started with my earlier, abandoned attempt at a blog post. This morning I started a little essay here that possessed such astonishing nihilism that I think it would have impressed even the most passionate disdainers of hope among my readers. That's funny, "Disdainers of hope", like I have all these thousands of readers, among whom there are a couple dozen who disdain hope. Usually I am trying to gently tease the disdainers of hope into hoping just a little, but sometimes I do an end run and am so nihilistic and hope destroying that it makes them feel almost hopeful. Maybe even a few of these hope disdainers, who never comment because, really, what's the point, suddenly find themselves commenting after all. They find they just have to say, hopelessly, that although there is actually no hope, there is not so very little hope as I suggest.

I suppose we won't know if any of that would have happened because I abandoned my nihilistic post a paragraph in. It's not that there was anything wrong with it, really. It probably had more to do with my over fondness for wrapping up my essays with a nice, punchy, final sentence, one that jostles the focus at the last second, providing texture, depth, delineation, and reconsideration. But pithy concluding sentences are kind of unavailable in the truly nihilistic post. One is limited to the following sorts of conclusions:

Which goes to show you may as well stay in bed.


And so we will all die, but it would be wrong to take comfort in that.


So, um, I guess that's all.

When I finish a post with sentences like that I just can't get that feeling that I've accomplished anything. So I have kept my nihilistic paragraph in my little box of tricks. It's pretty good, but it's unusable.

There it is. And there I was with all those little songbirds of blog post ideas, fiery ones, silly ones, thoughtful ones, but with all that nihilism ringing in my ears I just couldn't get motivated to reach out to any of them. But when I have the least to say to you, I have the strongest need to say it. So I picked this bird, the one you are reading now, the one that was sitting so still and quiet that I thought it might be dead. I have extracted one small "chirp" from it, and set it free to fly about the library once again.

So, um, I guess that's all. And one day we will all be dead. But I guess it will all be okay, don't you think?

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