Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Playroom

Do you ever just get pukey sick of blogging and wish you didn't feel so responsible for producing yet another post? And what do you do when that happens?

The other day, in a moment of silliness, I invited readers of my weekly vignette to fire questions at me -- and in a moment of even greater silliness, even agreed to answer some of them. Yes, questions were fired at me and I think I will have fun addressing some of them. But the question above perked my synapses out of their normal dormancy and I want to try to answer this one now.

The lovely, talented, and passionate Nance asked the question, and I can understand why she asked it. Like many of us, she has strong political and moral feelings, and many times uses her blog to eloquently express them. Her blog, 'Mature Landscaping' is witty and many times fervent and you would do well to pick your arguments with her carefully, for as a retired psychotherapist....she knows what you are thinking.

Now to answer the question.

On a weekend day I enter a playroom around 4:30 or so in the morning. The room is full of toys, fuzzy things, blocks, lego erector sets, pieces of multi-textured cloth, pillows, scraps of paper -- just stuff. Neat stuff. Imaginary stuff. Sometimes I enter the room and sit on the floor and stare around for a moment and sigh...and get up and leave -- for all I see is just stuff.

Then I enter at the same time the next morning. Sometimes when this happens everything looks different and I see a wonderworld filled with adventure. I start grabbing and pulling things together and then turn them upside down or turn them inside out or throw things against the wall and see how they will land. My greatest joy is discovering something that can be seen in a new or quirky way. Sometimes I will take a piece of a thought-rug and run my fingers across the nap and feel the texture and pull out a magnifying glass and study it deeper.

Mobius Strip
My imaginary room is my pleasure room. It is the room of my imagination and full of tones and texture, a room of words and sentences and semi-colons and sparks of inspiration and sometimes moodiness. But it is a room that is full of adventure for me. It provides me the opportunity to twist ideas creating little mobius loops just to see what happens.

I studied music in college and I am always amazed at how an essay or story parallels a musical performance...perhaps a symphony. Written ideas can purposely represent a musical chord with rich harmonics, or maybe even a dissonant chord blessed with half-tones that strips away the harmonics and lays a thought bare and challenging. The way words and sentences play together can flow melodically with warm minor sixth chords that provides for a cozy read maybe full of leading tone seventh chords forcing the reader aching for a resolution to the thought. Does the chord progression march dynamically forward with a crescendo to a magnificent conclusion, or is it a light jazzy piece that bounces all over the place taking the reader on a fun roller coaster? Words have sound and texture and I am not above making up a word to achieve the texture that I want.

Am I suggesting that I sit down at four-thirty in the morning to create a symphony? Of course not. But invariably at the conclusion of writing something I muse on is the texture, feeling, and harmonics (those side feelings evoked that move you or make you chuckle). Many times my conclusion is, "Oh well". Other times it is "Holy hell, I actually created something."

I need to answer Nance's question directly. I do not write a blog every week. I go and play every week, twisting and tweaking, and get silly, and pull up remembrances, and think of lessons I have learned and present them in unusual ways. I do this for me. This is my entertainment -- I want to have fun with weaving words and simply entertain myself. Then I share them on my blog.

My motivations are completely different. The only deadline I have is the desire for fun accomplishment. Sure I keep in mind that others are going to read it but I write more because I want to read it and react with a smirk, a chuckle, or a "Oh wow!". I look forward to my little time in my play room.
My Playroom

The Fun Desk
My wife will be horrified with me showing an actual picture of my real playroom -- for I am bombarded with requests that, "You really need to clean this mess up!" But there is something about a messy office, a junky desk top on a dilapidated desk that works for me. A clean and pristine play room is boring and sterile and has the tonal quality of elevator music.

And this leads me to my last thought. The name of my blog is 'Gently Said' and that it not by accident. If you were to see the title of a song called, "When Sunny Gets Blue" you know pretty much the mood of the song you are going to hear. The same is true when you see the title of my blog.  Even on those rare times that I tackle controversial subjects such as Blowin' in the Wind (which addressed what I consider the folly of wind power), I try to do so with humor and always honor opposing opinions.

I enjoy writing immensely and it is a fun adventure. I don't confront a deadline of blog writing. I write simply for the joy of it about once a week and then post it for your perusal, abusal and refusal.


  1. I like your blogging philosophy--I suppose I share it. When keeping up my own blog no longer amuses me, I suppose I will quit...and I do so appreciate when other bloggers amuse me (not only with their blogs, but when they leave comments on mine)--thanks for all that!

  2. You expressed a dubiousness about moving to ebooks. I see by your playroom that you have a tactile relationship with books. Your space is indeed comfortable and warm.

    The merit of the ebook is efficiency. My emotional direction is toward mobility, and my fondness for information (generally housed in books) worked against that. With ebooks my library goes mobile, and meets that need.

    As to you musical analogy, I agree. Word smithing is much like other arts, and music is another form of information and communication. It is part of our humanness.

    As to blogging, I have elected to avoid schedules and blog as expression. I cast my word seeds to the ewind and let them go where the wind takes them and bear such fruit as they will. My purpose is not popularity, but my hope is that my words may at some time reach someone who is enriched by them.

    Blog on, Word Smith. Blog on.

  3. Well, first of all, I must say how much I appreciate what you said to me a few days ago, you brought happy tears my friend :) Second, I can definitely appreciate your music to writing analogy, it is quite an accurate portrayal. And while for you, the casual, no deadline, post as you please philosophy is perfect and always a pleasure to read, for me it is slightly different but just as perfect. For me, I started blogging as a challenge to myself to get something down in writing at least once a week, whether it be poetry, a song or just my two cents worth. I am in the process of disciplining myself in several areas in order to better myself. I've always been a bit too casual with these kinds of things and it has ultimately lead me to failure. However, I know this is just a season for me, that's all. The pendulum swing will eventually come back down to the middle. :)

    It's so beautiful and amazing how much we are all so different and yet how much we share in likeness as well. Anyway, thanks for sharing your playtime with us and for taking the time to visit me in mine as well!

  4. I am, of course, crushed that you chose not to answer MY question.

    But really, I don't mind blogging because I am neither graded nor paid to do it, so WTF. But.. you just gave me a great idea for a post.

  5. Jerry, your writing is always a pleasure.

  6. I am always glad to see your posts, whatever their subject matter. And your playroom looks simply fab. I want one!

  7. I always enjoy your posts. You sense of humor is wonderful. Your posting "schedule" doesn't matter because I don't believe you would post anything until you are happy with it. I used to post EVERY DAY, but stopped when I realized I was posting a good percentage of crap. I've never seen any "crap" or anything close to it here...

  8. I prefer to peruse your posts....surely never to abuse.

    I love being able to see where you do some of your best work! And you consider that to be MESSY? You have kids, right? Are you kidding me?? I'LL show you messy.

    I love visiting here...and knowing that (almost) everything you say will be gentle. I get enough of the other kind of communication on an all-too-regular basis.

    Rock on, my friend....rock on.

  9. I agree with PatTillett, and I cannot add much more of my own here because everyone else replied very well. What a nice playroom even though it seems dark. If you like the dark, that is very fine.

  10. Ye'uh,, me too.. but clean that mess up, you got a deadline waiting for the next post. Feet off the desk,, :)