Thursday, July 03, 2008

I know, I know. Another post already? Just hear me out...

I wrote this on Sunday but didn't finish it, so I emailed it to myself so I could post it at work by the Word programme I have on my work computer and my home computer aren't the same- meaning they hate each other- and I was never able to open it. Then I forgot... then I found it, polished it up, but got distracted... so it's a few days late.
Sue me.



Went to the movies today. Saw Wanted. Good flick. Lots of gunplay and car chases that somehow involved trains too...plus bullet vision. I enjoyed it. And I liked the moral of the story, which was this: doesn’t matter what “code” you follow if only one person controls all the information, thus makes all the decisions, you can never be sure that your "code" means a damn thing. This same moral is being played out over on Whedonesque with the bru ha ha of finding out just two days before this years Can’t Stop the SerenityScreenings that funds from two of the screenings last year never made it to Equality Now. The powers that be behind this year’s event saw fit to keep this information quiet, saying that they were going to tell everyone “at the right time” and that they couldn’t say anything in the four months they knew the money was missing because it could “jeopardize current investigations”. Except they won’t say what kind of investigations are going on and by whom, despite being repeatedly asked. Which in a way brings me to my next topic:

Before the movie, I went into the bookstore. I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anything.

I lied.

I bought another book on writing. I fear to count how many that makes. Some are just reference, as in the information contained within will always come in handy, but a lot aren’t. A lot are just another way to say, “just do it, stupid.”

After I got home, I pulled this latest tome out and sat on the porch in an attempt to find a place without distraction and give it a cursory read. After just 3 paragraphs into the introduction it occurred to me, not only do I have quite a few books on the art of writing, but so do a lot of other people. They have to, or publishers wouldn’t keep making more. Why is that? Why are we so consumed with the act of communication, so much so that there is an entire section in my rather large local Borders bookstore dedicated to just that subject? What is it about humans that make us not only capable of communicating, but makes us need to communicate?

And are we really all that good at it?

We’ve been at this for who knows how long. Since before the first cave paintings, I would wager. Since the first time Oog (thanks Mr. Schprok) yanked the hair of soon to be Mrs. Oog to let her know he liked her, we, as a species, have been trying to tell each other... stuff. Who, what, why, where, how many, how silly they looked doing whatever, expressing opinions, telling tall tales... you name it! And yet, we still need hundreds of books to tell us how to do it better.

I think all this time, we’ve only gotten it half right. We talk, talk, talk all the time, but is anyone really listening? Really? If so, then why do so many people have to keep saying the same thing over and over and yet remain ignored? Where are the books on the art of listening? Is it really communicating if the only thing you are listening for during a conversation are key words so you can formulate your response as soon as you hear the final “.” from the other person? We only listen with half an ear, and that’s about one and a half ears too few. No wonder the world is so fucked up.

We need a new word for listening because, to borrow from a rather obsessed sword swinging Spaniard, I do not think it means what we all think it means.

8 comments:

cali said...

I totally agree with what you're...... wait, what were you saying? (I formulated that response before I even got to the end of the post.)
But I think you're right - it is indeed why the world's so fucked up.

LL said...

Three? THREE? Wow...

ctheokas said...

Honestly, I think it would be news if you went to a bookstore and didn't buy something. So from now on, when you say you went to a bookstore, we'll just all assume you bought something. ;P

fermicat said...

One word for listening? How about two: "Not talking." Or not thinking about what you are going to say next. It's a start, and hard to do sometimes.

wa11z said...

The reason that there are so many books on writing is because it allows writers to procrastinate actually writing anything and yet still feel like they are accomplishing something ("Hey, I'm learning about it!"). My advice would be that it isn't gonna be perfect the first time out. Or even the second. Just get it out first. Then polish it until you are comfortable showing someone else that isn't related to you.

And the reason I think humans are so concerned with communication is because we are all extensions of this world and it is just trying to learn about itself.

Stellar said...

"...so I emailed it to myself so I could post it at work by the Word programme..."

Programme? Really? To what prolific degree must one read before one becomes British?

NYPinTA said...

None. Just grow up watching Black Beauty and Tomorrow People on Nickelodeon. Follow that with the new wave of British pop on Mtv in the 80s. And after that? BBC America. And voila! You get someone that occassionally uses a British word in place of an American one. (But like most Americans, I do it inorrectly.)

Stellar said...

Well that's a horse of a different colour.