Well… I need to write something.
Odd that I do not care to write but can be spurred by watching the beginning of a film—Mr. Holmes—after eating a bowl of steel cut Irish oats… suddenly this desire to “record something.”
There I am finishing the last bit of my tasty oats, beginning the rather beautifully filmed opening of my chosen entertainment, and suddenly I want to write. But not really write about any of the things I am assigned to write about. And certainly not work on any of the projects that I have which will come due soon.
If I write, the words flowing out of my mind recorded on screen or paper, what is the activity?
Is it release once again from something clogging my attention? Is it thinking? Is it disciplining the mind? Is it overcoming the moment?
I mean, of course, to distinguish the action from jotting down a doodle or making a list—maybe even penning a hasty thank you note. (Hasty being the operative word there—something not from the heart but pro forma.)
So writing as thinking and if as thanking, a thanking that has come from some thinking.
My writing is not something that happens as a practice. Like much of my expression, it has a spontaneity. I would call this a kind of habit—surely some would say bad habit as I do not make myself write.
But yes, a habit, something that I have been doing for forty years that never really goes anywhere other than a little ways beyond what I have been thinking recently.
I have a colleague who believes that perfecting the craft of writing is necessary to show you are worth being paid attention to in the academy. He usually means by this that you cannot be heard or taken seriously if you do not write and write well at that.
This is true, esp. in the research university. Someone who only teaches well but may not be that great of a writer will never be so respected as someone who writes a great deal.
But then the same colleague says that almost everything written in the academy is not really worth reading because it is so very specialized. Nook dwellers scribbling for nook dwellers.
This is true as well. And maybe a good reason why folks who concentrate on teaching are not lauded more since—even if they are teaching a very focused course—they must be more general in their approach.
Is there some contradiction between saying none will take you seriously if you do not write well but then recognizing that almost everything—even that written with the finest style—is so specialized few care to know what it says?
Well… as I am wont to do, I’ve veered away from what I originally began to think or pretend to think… is this activity thinking?
In the broadest sense it must be thinking because it puts things together and offers some connections, maybe some comparisons or a contrast. At times these things even go down a few layers beneath the surface.
What does it mean to go underneath? Is profundity different from nook dwelling? Do we destabilize the base in order to break down the walls?
Dwell in nooklings or dig among rootlings.
Thinking though often soars to new possibilities, gets transcendent—the good way of describing something too abstract and/or speculative. The sky is the limit, overcoming par excellence. For excellence… and beyond!
Nookling in dells or soaring on winglings.
Oats sound good again, a hearty bowl of old whole grains.
Dead, cooked, consumed, transformed, living.