Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My genius is silence

When I write a blog post, as part of the process of assembling it, there comes a time where I give the post labels. If you're reading this on blog you can see them down at the bottom of this, mostly in red, little subject words like "blogging" or "Van Gogh" or "writing". You click on one of them and it brings you to all the posts I've written that employed that subject label and thus, that subject. Of course, if you have signed up and received my post via email, you won't see those subject labels. This, I suspect, will be no great loss to you since, as far as I can tell, people hardly ever make use of these labels. I rarely find readers roaming around deep in the history of my blog.

I do, though, roam in that history, all the time. And with 700-800 blog posts I find these subject labels helpful in my doing so. As the number of clerkmanifesto posts steadily climbs, any organizing tool I can use for plumbing and rewiring the history of this blog is useful. 

Consider Van Gogh, famously selling no paintings. He had an awful lot of paintings that were not selling. Basically all of them. Clearly he didn't throw them away. They must have just kept stacking up. They were so bulky and there were so many! So what did he do? I picture him piling them up according to categories: landscapes, flowers, portraits, city scenes, and so on. No one was asking Van Gogh about his "Night" paintings, but when Van Gogh was wondering about his old "Night" paintings, or just wanted to look at a couple for fun, he knew where to go.

Not that I am necessarily the Van Gogh of bloggers. I mean, that wasn't my point. But, coincidentally, I am, actually, for the record, the Van Gogh of bloggers, only with more ears and a greatly expanded lifespan.

I always add one subject label that is kind of a code. The code label refers to how good I think my particular post is. "Wee" is for a post I feel is particularly essential, sort of iconic of my blog. I probably use that less than I should, either from my trace of humbleness that I like to secret away from you, or perhaps from a persistent desire to leave some room at the top. "Tombs" is for the posts I feel are particularly winning, the kind I always think I will be delighted to run into later on. The "Rok" label isn't necessarily for posts that are less than splendid, but does tend to refer to silly posts, bread and butter posts, and often enough is just a designation to say "I really have no idea how good or bad this one is."

The funny thing is that I tend to put my labels into a post when I'm about halfway through writing it. My self rating is oddly speculative. If I put down "Rok" I'm fine chattering away, a little like I am now. I don't mind plowing flamboyantly to the finish. If I am feeling a touch of the writer's high, and write in a "Tombs" label in a fit of confidence, I soon find myself leaving out more. I get spare with words. I get elegant, mercurial. I reach for the stars. 

But I don't think I'd ever have the mad courage to put in the label "Wee" in the middle of a post. If I did that I don't think I would dare to write one more word.

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