Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Why My Blog Posts Are So Long - Part Two (And If My Blog Posts Weren't So Long, I'd Have Finished In Part One)"


I have to apologize for yesterday.  It’s like the top of a popcorn machine blew off and blizzards of “verbal popcorn” went flying all over the place.  I knew it would happen.  That’s why I was hesitant to write about it.  “Why My Blog Posts Are So Long” – and my subsequent blog post is prohibitively lengthy.  That was so predictable.  And – humbly expressed – truly regrettable.


Yesterday, I only got to elaborate one point explaining why my blog posts are so long:  My desire to simulate “talk”, with its surprise detours, dazzling inspirations, and spontaneous side trips. 

That is simply what happens when trying to simulate “talk.”  You put down something, it reminds you of something else, and you include that part as well.  Not always, of course; you are a disciplined writer, after all.  Still, every inserted addition expands your post’s length beyond what was originally intended.  (Reminder Example From YesterdayFirst Draft – 972 words; Final Version – 1138 words.)

Truth be told, it is functionally impossible to successfully “put ‘talk’ on the page.”  I once read a book called “The Essential Lenny Bruce”, in which all his classic comedy routines had been scrupulously taken down and dutifully compiled into a book. 

That book is virtually unreadable.

Fragmented sentences. 

When spoken out loud, they are augmented by timing, inflection and physical gesticulation, most prominently by the face and the arms, but sometimes the whole body chips in, clarifying and contextualizing the intended communication.

Reading the material alone?  It’s like studying comedic “testimony.”  It’s all there.

Except for the meaning.

Writing “talk” inevitably requires you to add words, so that reading it is comprehensibly coherent.  For example, onstage you might say, “Writing ‘talk’.  Can’t do it.  (CONFUSEDLY STARING AT OPEN PALM, REPRESENTING READING A BOOK OF STENOGRAPHIZED “TALK”)  “What?”  (YELLING DIRECTLY INTO HIS PALM)  “Speak English!” 

Summary Conclusion:

Simulating the “talk” experience inevitably makes posts longer. 

Delivering the “talk” experience comprehensibly on the page inevitably makes posts longer still.

And there’s more.

Okay, lemme just dive in here, so we don’t repeat the disastrous “Debacle of Yesterday.”

There’s a hot new phrase going around.  You came in late for “unpack”, “transformative”, "It is what it is" and starting sentences with “So…”?  Jump aboard this one.   You’ll  be “catching the wave” at precisely the…

Who am I kidding?  I don’t surf.  Although I do know there is an optimum moment for “catching the wave.”  And in this recently minted “catchphrase” situation, it is “Ride that baby right now!” And feel on the “Cutting Edge” of an eventual cliché.

(Note:  If this phrase is, in fact, already yawningly “Old hat”, humor me and pretend that it isn’t.  I haven’t “been in early” on anything since the “quite the…” craze of 1958.  (As in, “That is quite the plaid cardigan you’ve got there.”  Ask your grandparents.  It was really popular.)

I first came across this fashionable catchphrase in the program for the play The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time.  There, the play’s “mentally different” lead character is referred to as being – get ready, ‘cause here it comes –  

“On the spectrum.”

Which the cognoscenti – of which I am now a proud cogniscentus – Latin masculine singular know refers to the autistic spectrum.

Judging from his behavior, the lead character in The Curious Case…etc is at the “symptomatically significant” end of that particular spectrum.  The thing is, as I realized watching the play, although demonstrably not as severe,

I myself reside on that spectrum as well.

Supporting evidence, accrued from the play:

The lead character believes acting is lying.

I too believe acting is lying.  (How can Matt Damon simultaneously be Jason Bourne, “Mr. Ripley” and the abandoned astronaut planting vegetables on the moon?  He’s Matt Damon.  The rest of the time, he’s lying.)

Two:  The lead character in the play is unable to suppress the truth.  In that regard, I, who’d have been advisedly better off not to, said to Bill Cosby on the first week I was working on his show, “I really wish you would learn your lines.”  (Note:  I was unaware of the more serious behavior.  Although I must acknowledge, residing as I am unashamedly “on the spectrum”, that I am not sure I’d have been equally truthful about that.)

When writing in this venue, I feel compelled to fully articulate the truth, even when my doing so is transparently stupid.  For example, I will write – as I recently did – “For those who do not know Spanish – and also for those who do‘Abierto’ means ‘Open.’”

Why did I need “… and also for those who do”?  I didn’t.  I mean, it is hardly some “big joke” interjection, begging for blogatorial inclusion.  It is unnecessary and dumb.  It is also, however, and therefore screams to me as someone decidedly “on the spectrum” …

…. the fully articulated truth.

Whether you know Spanish or you don’t, “Abierto” still means “Open.”

I tried to keep that out, I really did.  But I could not help myself, so it went in.  This psychologically driven phenomenon – along with similar examples of its ilk – against my seemingly futile resistance, make my completed blog posts irresistibly longer.

In fact, of all the available reasons – I just went back and put in “available” – as there may “truthfully” be other reasons I am currently unaware of and I am unable to pretend that there aren’t – reasons including “extraneous adjectives” – does, as earlier written, the word “debacle” really need “disastrous” in front of it? – my posts become significantly extended during the rewrite process because, situated at some unspecified location, on the proverbial spectrum, I am compelled to cover all my hypothetical bases.

I put what appears to be extraneous stuff in because a voice inside me adamantly insists, “It’ll be missing something if it’s out.”  Though it objectively won’t.

I shall now end this exercise before I am compelled to reveal that, living a relatively isolated life – perhaps not compared to the Eskimos but close – I have an irrational impulse to retain this communicational connection for as long as I can.

Oops, too late.

Well, what do you expect from a recognized resident “on the spectrum”?


First Draft – 858 words.

Final Version – 1022 words.

Oh, no! 

It’s getting worse!

1 comment:

Al Melon said...

Interesting. Go Cubs!