“Silence is more eloquent than speech – a truism; but sometimes something that someone has written excites one’s admiration and one is tempted to write about it…one feels that what holds one’s attention might hold the attention of others. That is to say, there is a language of sensibility of which words can be the portrait – a magnetism, an ardor, a refusal to be false…”
Marianne Moore published the perfectly titled Predilections, a selection of her literary essays, in 1955. The passage above, typically sharp and elegant, is drawn from the volume’s brief foreword. It reads like a defense, against all reason, for blogging: “sometimes something that someone has written excites one’s admiration and one is tempted to write about it.” Of course, one thinks of blogs that are something else – excited discontent or rage, or simply agitated ego. What a privilege it is to read and write what one wishes, with the reasonable hope that others, a few, will share your enthusiasm – “ardor.” Moore’s point, made almost half a century before blogs mutated into being, is that literature is a shifting network of affinities among readers and writers.
Bill Vallicella at The Maverick Philosopher lists eight reasons for operating a blog. All are admirable and many I share, but six and eight best articulate the improvisatory, essayistic (in the etymological as well as the other sense) nature of the enterprise:
“An experiment in what blogging might be good for.”
“An open-ended project some of the purposes of which have yet to emerge.”
I once asked the late baritone player Nick Brignola if he ever knew, note for note, in advance, where a solo was going. He answered, “Sure, but then I don’t play it that way.”