A few weeks ago I became aware that Colin McEnroe, author, radio talk show host, and Hartford (Conn.) Courant columnist, was teaching a course on blogs at Trinity College in Hartford. I had begun to notice a trickle of traffic, and then quite a bit more than a trickle, into JingoLand from the Connecticut area. I followed it back to its source, and found that I'd had the signal honor to have been Blogrolled by Colin. We got to yakking, and he hinted he was going to use Neddie as course material, which I thought was pretty keen.
The other shoe's dropped, and By Neddie Jingo! now appears in his online syllabus, in this week's unit on words, rhetoric, and writing style. The link, which gave me a hearty guffaw, is labeled "Clearly attempting literature"; I can imagine borrowing this the next time I'm asked to say something nice about some wretched musical act: "Well, I think it's undeniable: They're clearly attempting music."
Now that I'm expecting a brigade of blog-students and their Nutty Professor to come wandering through here, scribbling notes about my run-on sentences and scattershot subject matter, I confess to a certain debilitating self-consciousness. Clearly attempting literature! That's quite a presumptuous undertaking, Sparky. And I worry that, in my recognition that my little needlework is being pored over for clues about the Glogosphere, I have violated some academic Prime Directive, some Heisenbergian First Principle, about the relationship between Observer and Observed. A paramecium doesn't feel the need to primp and tidy the water-droplet when the microscope focuses in. I'm not so blithe.
Colin's amusing characterization aside, I guess the question is valid. A little self-examination never hurt. Besides "attempting literature," what the hell am I doing, here?
I started this thing back in January, when I was in a bit of a blue funk about aging, about leaving something for my children to remember me by should I suddenly go under a bus. I've watched my father-in-law sink into the dreadful abyss of Alzheimer's, and have had to think very hard about all the memories, all the joy and sorrow and melancholy and love and goodness and humanity that's just been ...lost...because his brain got gummed up with plaque. It's a strange and terrible thing, how the cold inevitability of chemistry can trump a human soul, how something as simple as an accidental surfeit of carbon monoxide in a room can snuff out an entire human universe.
(Smack! Attempting literature!)
Back this summer I wrote a post about why I don't write about politics very much. Rereading it, I still like it very much and think it's a pretty good Statement of Principles. At the risk of attempting more literature, I have consciously tried to adhere to the principle of the Universal arising out of the Particular. I believe (see, for a hint, the organizing categories of my Blogroll) that we reflect the world and the world reflects us -- and that to study the tiniest thing is to study the biggest thing of them all.
Oh, yeah: I also really hate people who are boring. I'd rather be thought pretentious, precious, dilatory, verbose, captious or even diametrically wrong than be thought boring.
Ah, well. Enough thumbsucking. Welcome, Colin's Kids, I'll try to carry on as if you weren't here watching, watching, always watching....
Next Up: My keenly observed musings on Rectal Pruritis! Foreshadowing: I'm agin' it!