Novel ideas

ENTRY # 91 George says this in his entry “Be Like the Squirrel”…

Now, if this blog were a novel, the following would considered a clunky and obvious metaphor. The house is empty, the yard is overgrown with knee-high grass and weeds, and the neighborhood has clearly taken a turn for the worse. But this blog is not a novel, and the dilapidated state of the house signifies nothing beyond the state of its own decay.

I’d argue, that as far as I’m concerned, it is a novel. And I assume, non-fiction. For me, George is a character. Hes some guy who got my attention, and painted a very clear picture of an experience. And Ill visit again to see where he goes next. Reading various blogs for education, research or news and events, it is always tantalizing when nuggets of information about the person come through-whether obliquely or right out. It lends a touch of humanity. Think character development, or reaching out across the ether for common bonds.

comments

ray orkwis, raymondo@cec.sped.org, 206.181.168.3, 1060654296, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, I would say blog=novel only in the scope of what it scoops, but the novel is so contained, and, as George pointed out just following the paragraph you quote, that in a novel things are what they are and something else, something metaphorical or relational, somehow like a theme in a symphony (Im veering from Georges idea toward my interpretation of his idea). To me, the form of the blog is less controlled, not centered around the movement of one person through her thoughts. It moves like a conversation but a conversation in its own time and space, and thats the real beauty of it. Spontaneous, unpredictable and timeless. If a posting stays there long enough, you can come back to the ideas, the feelings at any point and open them up again. Its like a correspondence thats always waiting. Or not. Which makes for the peculiar rhythms. Threads start, continue, stop. And theres no overall picture, except what you choose to add to your consciousness, what you choose to follow or respond to. Maybe its like visiting your out-of-town family; it doesnt matter where you left off or where you pick up because its all there waiting in the interactions that you set in motion a long time ago, and that are part of who you are together. I like novels but I dont get to be part of any the way I do here. I read an entry and either feel compelled to comment or I dont. I send out my words and have absolutely no idea who will read them or who will care, and thats whats so cool, because theres so much potential in that action, so much hope, as there is in most writing. Here especially it seems a subtheme.

Elouise, ero@it.rit.edu, 24.24.58.160, 1060656730, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, “To me, the form of the blog is less controlled, not centered around the movement of one person through her thoughts.” Interesting, to me, the blog is that. Its a singular point of view (assuming its a one person show). While entries may vary considerably, theyre all filtered through the writer- what notion grabbed focus that moment. While blogs lack structure and a sense of the finite, I think over time, a reader could envision the story lines., threads of importance: politcal leanings, a quirky sense of humor, a vulnerability in some spheres and competence in others. It becomes a story of a life, rather than the documentation of one.

ray orkwis, raymondo@cec.sped.org, 158.59.27.31, 1060725110, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, What youre describing about the blog is where it starts, not where it lives, and definitely not where it ends up. Yes, of course, its “your” blog, and indeed what you choose to put out there is where the stone hits the water and the origin of the ripples, but the water is what Im interested in, and I still maintain that its the conversation (that word harking back to the slow poison thread and relating to voice and silence in marriage) that seems to me the real soul of the experience. Im trying to think of a metaphor to capture what Im trying to get at… maybe like that book “Humument,” where the artist (is it Tom Palmer?) took a Victorian novel and painted new meanings into it. It might start out as a one-person show, but it keeps morphing, at least in my mind, into a drop-in exchange of characters. Maybe the metaphor should be more like the show that goes on in the classroom: its the teachers curriculum but the experience of the class is what the energy between the students and the teacher makes it. Its something that cant really exist without the interplay. Or maybe Im misinterpreting the energy/idea flow. Wouldnt be the first time. The food analogy youve used is so apt, though — this feels like sitting down to a good meal of conversation.

Elouise, ero@it.rit.edu, 24.24.58.160, 1060738385, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, She tucks in. Ah! so the main vibe youre picking up on is the notion of conversation. The ability to interact with the story/storyteller (and possibly effect the direction and outcome). True, that isnt something static media provide. The novel aspect – the vibe I was focused upon was the continuing notion of abstraction. Even to the degree that right now – this discussion is by characters rather than real human beings. When I visit again, even though the words come from me, my sense will be that they exist apart from me. So I guess those are ripples. Later to be dampened by the larger body.

George, williamsgh@umkc.edu, http://ghw.wordherders.net, , 64.200.28.229, 1060748398, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, I wrote something sort of related to this thread back in April: <a href=”http://ghw.wordherders.net/archives/000208.html”>http://ghw.wordherders.net/archives/000208.html</a> Very interesting conversation here.

Elouise, ero@it.rit.edu, 24.24.41.238, 1060752610, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, George! You do exist. (Though, you will always be a character to me). Thanks for pointing me to your entry. “A novelist writing an epistolary novel probably has some idea of how things are going to turn out, even if the characters dont, but an individual writing a blog doesnt. In that way, were more like the characters than the novelist…I think to some extent you have to imagine yourself in the middle of a narrative that has a positive ending.” What I think is interesting is that a reader may be able to pick up cues that foreshadow future events that the author does not, because like the aforementioned characer, we have no sense of the larger context because we are myopic. Or hindsight is 20/20.

ray orkwis, raymondo@cec.sped.org, 158.59.27.31, 1060876177, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, Weez, the distinction you posit between character and human being is quite thought-provoking. I wonder where one lets off and the other begins. Its easy to see the abstractions that lead to character — indeed, reading Salons “Match Made in Heaven / Match Made in Hell” shows the perils of relying on abstractions (and even web-based images) of people to make assumptions about them as human beings. But the move in the opposite direction is more ambiguous, isnt it? Because its so much about what there arent words for. You can touch a human being but you have to create (or re-create) a character. When I say, “Ive always been attracted to characters,” I guess Im saying I feel attracted to the story we both appear in. All my friends are “characters.” But theres the human being who fuels the character, whose soul animates their “characteristics” and so much else, the human being who is there no matter what our judgments are about their character. Thats what makes friendships and keeps conversation alive. Here, online, there are characters about whom we assume a human (and perhaps honest) being. Thats what makes hope. Im understanding more about what youve been driving at, Weez, but I still maintain that theres more to the story, perhaps just as potential. Along with the intellectual musings, its the coolest part; its the area most open for exploration.
COMMENT VALUES (189, 1, 91, 2, Elouise, ero@it.rit.edu, 24.24.41.238, 1064641507, 2004-05-16 20:41:18, Funny. I read my own words and dont recognize myself. (Although its a good thing I still agree with me – I guess). I have become a distant character. How odd.

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