The Ripple Effect

Blogging isn’t for everyone. That needs to be said. For every trend that comes along, the opposite must be part of the picture. For without traditional and even retrogressive avenues, trends could not breathe. As an artist, you have to be true to your voice. And not only do you have to know yourself, you have to find the right conduit.

I feel the same is true for my blog. It’s been cathartic in some ways and has helped me understand myself better as a writer and as an artist. I now understand that while I’m good at analyzing and observing, I’m not so great at storytelling and condensing, which seem to be the most common formats for blogs. In my mind, an idea is visual. It should just be there, wordless but not mute. While the artist gives it structure in terms of composition, it hits the viewer’s eye all at once. Then the eye, the mind invents its own structure as it travels around the piece.

And it doesn’t even have to be art. It can be a hand holding a cherry red purse hanging out the window of an old pick-up truck, against seafoam green paint. It can be a poodle riding on the back of a Harley. A smashed computer monitor in the middle of a busy intersection. There’s a story to be told, and yet all you need is the one image. Calculated and improvised, elusive, full of inexpressable meaning. There is an old Coptic text written from the voice of Wisdom/the Goddess. It reads: I am the silence that is incomprehensible… I am the voice whose sound is manifold… I am the utterance of my name. An idea is static, it stays in one place, but its facets are infinite.

This is the difficulty I have with writing and, occasionally, speaking. Trying to say everything at once and describing as much as possible. When speaking, I call it Porky Pig syndrome. I often think of two synonyms at the same time, and what comes out of my mouth is a jumble of both words. I have practiced slowing down when I talk, to plan what I want to say. You can imagine how slow I am at writing.

Words, to me, are linear no matter how they’re put together. You can have fragments of a story, a thought, mixed in different paragraphs, twisting and turning back on itself. But the reader’s progression through the work still moves one direction: forward. You are heading towards something, even if it’s the same thing over and over. Thoughts visit me like stones thrown into a pond, sometimes like blows to the head. The reprocussions move outward in all directions and cause different sensations, yet is one event wholly felt.

Art and graphic design allow me to say everything at once, unencumbered by a particular direction. To establish a sense of navigation that can be revisited and looked at in different ways. As you change, the image changes with you. The fundamental experience is that it comes at you all at once. And that is also the experience of making it. Like physically taking an object from inside of you and placing it outside of yourself. Those things you can’t take apart on the inside and rebuild on the outside. You can see it from different angles but you can’t see what’s inside. It’s your decision to leave it whole or to hack away at it, but you may never find the source.

Some things can only be expressed linearly in writing, for the sake of knowing where it came from or where it’s headed. I write when I’m looking for answers, escape routes, not so much to suspend a state of being. The unexpected beauty of reading can also provide this. In a book, you can suddenly find answers you didn’t know you were searching for. Those answers that tell you about your own story.

Words and images are like magnets. They repel each other on one end, and attract on the opposite. Words sustain our need to explain life as we experience it. Images fuel our desire to experience the inexplicable.

Comments

  • César

    Wow, this is great. It definately puts words to the things in your head. Blogs tend to be rather story-like and perhaps that is what attracts me to the well-written blogs I have begun to read.

    You’re a great writer. You’re analytical writer, you don’t need to share a story to explain your idea and your purpose and here lies the two sides of your entry. I think the blog format isn’t the best venue for your writing, perhaps a more art-perspective magazine or academic journal flows better–a la Ways of Reading.

    However, you’re right, you did have to try this out and know not your limitations as a writer, but the direction and aim to where your ideas and visions should go.

    However, I both agree and disagree with your views of writing being linear. Yes, a writer’s work must lead to something, even when PoMo standards begins to lean towards not leading to anything at all, which in turn is still leading to something, if that makes sense, but as a writer, a devoted and strong creative writer, will find ways to make those words bend, and move in all directions.

    I think very few writers have been successful, and commercial the only one that springs to mind that challenges the conventions of what a book should be is–hell, no not Jonathan Safran Foer (I read that Atlantic article on him in Hallettsville)– Irvine Welsh. Very few writers have been successful, but a writer in love with the word–strives can strive to do what you say and how you think.

    As a writer and your future husband (woo hoo!), I encourage you to continue writing, continue your art, continue putting your ideas together (not on a blog) but in other places. The way you write so fervently about art, design, and what it means to you as an artist or society needs to have a place to be published.

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