Sunday, July 13, 2008

Introduction by way of ...

Knowing that everyone should spend more time writing, and less time watching television, reading tabloid newspapers, nattering into their cellular phones, etc., I want to be held to the same challenge. Thus starts this particular project in journaling. Sadly, the weblog seems to be loosing its original raison d'etre of long form writing. As English internationalizes becomes increasingly twiter-ised, it seems that few bloggers who are not paid and edited, write for deeper understanding and context.


Among the many strange things I am paid to do, one is teaching a Media Literacy and History class. I frequently find myself explaining to my students exactly what context is. Many of my students are young and brilliantly headstrong. I don't expect the average 20-year-old working college student to spend much time contemplating the context of their words, actions and life overall. Attending college is supposed to change that. And that change is a long, slow process.

But so many "educated" "professionals" also ignore the context of their words, action and lives. Why? I myself will admit to being intentionally myopic at times. I understand that some selective attention, retention and selective exposure is necessary to stay sane in a chaotic world that can often appear random. But by shutting ourselves off from large chunks of our own sensory perception we can easily miss the connections within what initially appeared as random.

I occasionally make music mixes for family and friends. Decades ago this was the subtle art of the "mix tape". Years ago this was the techno-cratic bleeding edge of the "mix CD". Now, like so many other media, music mixes are hybridizing into equal parts physical and virtual. Be that as it may, my music mixes usually garner the initial response of, "Wow, that's random...but lots of fun." For those family and friends who have the patience to sit through several listenings over months, or even years, they return with many questions and theories of connections -- connections which I myself would only be liminally aware of.

By way of...

One of the most difficult aspects and/or angles of writing is the balance of structure with spontaneity. At its simplest, this weblog is a practice for me to write m0re, write better, and write clever(er?). But at the same time, to be open to the connections which appear within what initially appeared as random if I spend enough time being open and looking for the right mental structures which are flexible-yet-fixed enough to describe these connections to other people. People like you, who also have the patience and desire to find connections in the seemingly random.

Come'll be fun -- not necessarily easy or relaxing -- but well worth the trip.