Friday 25 October 2002


Burningbird is (uncharacteristically) lost for words:

The Bird you can’t shut up to save your life, Ms. Jibber Jabber herself, can’t find a bloody thing to say today. I’m wordless.

In a comment I admitted to suffering from the same affliction and suggested that Bb and I might ask Dorothea Salo if she could spare us each a thousand words or so. Caffeinated soda or no, Dorothea is writing up a blue streak—as Bb said: “Hot blogger coming through.”

On reflection, though, I realized that I’m lacking neither words nor subjects . Rather it’s that the words are dammed up inside me. All I need is a Lancaster or three from 617 Squadron (The Dam Busters) to release a few bouncing bombs that will fracture the walls of the dam and unleash the torrent.

(It’s no accident a bombing metaphor came to mind—I’ve just finished reading Martin Middlebrook’s account of the RAF’s disastrous Nuremburg raid and have started his book on the ill-fated mission to Schweinfurt and Regensburg by the US Eighth Air Force. For the last few years I’ve been preoccupied with the firebombing of Tokyo on the night of March 9-10 and I realized I needed a better understanding of how the theory and practice of strategic bombing developed during the European air war.)

Where was I? Right, plenty of topics but unable to unleash the words. Burningbird offered some advice:

As for our own wordless state, perhaps now is a time for us to quietly enjoy the writing of others. Weblogging is as much listening as writing, and maybe we’re in a “listen time”.

Maybe we are in a “listen time” though I can’t help but think that the defining characteristic of weblogging is the relentless pressure to write. Perhaps, as Matthew Arnold wrote, we have not the word because we have so much of the thing.

(Note to faculty members of the University of Blogaria: Tips and Tricks for Writing Regularly, Fluently, and At Length would be greatly appreciated by your blocked colleagues.)

I’m sure Dorothea used to have a category for “blog entries in progress” or “subjects that need to be blogged”—something like that, but with a far more impressive name. Since she moved her blog to the category has disappeared. I need a category like that, desperately, to encompass my responses to:

  • Norm Jenson’s post on the statement: “The decision to go to war is not yours, its the decision of the state in which you live and if the state decides to go to war you are not responsible for that decision.” (Who said it? Any comments?)
  • Burningbird’s posts about the Andrew Orlowski/Beth Goza/Doc Searls/Dave Winer fracas and Dorothea’s suggestion that Bb deserved more support than she received.
  • Steve Himmer’s analysis of the value of comments: “I wouldn’t want a bunch of yes-bloggers congratulating me on every word, nor would I want my comments to become a haven for opinions and aggressions far removed from my own—a cracker barrel for bigots, if you will.” (Now there’s a subject on which I can write authoritatively.)
  • Dorothea’s thank-you to Tish for publicly getting her post on the appropriation of body image (posts that forced me to re-consider the worth of a post of my own).
  • Steve Himmer’s question—“How do you engage and participate in a system while simultaneously working against it?”—an issue I’ve been thinking about while watching Mizoguchi’s 1941 film Genroku chushingura (The Loyal 47 Ronin) for the fourth or fifth time.

There’s a ton of other stuff to write about but these posts cry out for attention: either because they are associated with unfinished business or some recent concern or because they speak to my long-term obsession with the Pacific War. (In addition, there’s technical stuff about PHP & MySQL, the long-delayed move to Cornerhost, plus some thoughts about accessibility.)

I’m not the kind of person who confuses making a list with actually accomplishing the listed tasks. I’m hoping that making the list public will encourage me to settle down to writing.

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Now that seems to me to be an almighty large amount of writing. Get to it, Jonathon. Type, type!

I do hope, though, that you finish your documentation of the move to Cornerhost first (though I look forward to with much anticipation reading all the other items on your to-be-written list). I, and Stavros ( have to move our weblogs _soon_, and I can't find instructions about moving a MySql based weblog from one system to another. And my tech energies have to stay focused on RDF right now.

Now, stop reading this comment...type, type!

Posted by Burningbird on 25 October 2002 (Comment Permalink)

After reading this it was bugging me that I couldn't remember Dorothea's category...after a search of Google's cache I believe it was "Blogclog".

Posted by Bill Simoni on 26 October 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour