Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Essayification

I enjoyed reading Christy Wampole's The Essayification of Everything. It felt affirmative in a "idle musing is positive" way - too often I end up writing blog posts that ramble on, and abandon them when I feel I've not made the point I set out to make originally. But Wampole puts forward a history and case for writing as meditation, and self-interrogation, and ultimately perhaps, a non-rational exercise. A defragmentation of the mind. A surrealist pursuit, even when the output makes perfect sense.

When I say “essay,” I mean short nonfiction prose with a meditative subject at its center and a tendency away from certitude. Much of the writing encountered today that is labeled as “essay” or “essay-like” is anything but.
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These texts are not attempts; they are obstinacies. They are fortresses. Leaving the reader uninvited to this textual engagement, the writer makes it clear he or she would rather drink alone.
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The essayist is interested in thinking about himself thinking about things. We believe our opinions on everything from politics to pizza parlors to be of great import.
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Without the meditative aspect, essayism tends toward empty egotism and an unwillingness or incapacity to commit, a timid deferral of the moment of choice. Our often unreflective quickness means that little time is spent interrogating things we’ve touched upon. The experiences are simply had and then abandoned.

 Once again, I've been thinking about (re)surrecting the Empty Tech meme. I'd like a kind of on-going series of reflections, fitting in between overly-masculine argument and idle blogging. Maybe the Leanpub model of re-iterative publishing would fit well into a "cumulative" essayist approach?

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