Wednesday, June 16, 2004

I think I should read Ulysses at some point.

In an article on Bloomday, a reporter copied Joyce's description of Bloom's talkativeness -- how we could see a straw on the floor and talk just about that straw for an hour, without taking a break. I could not do that. I rarely speak more than a few sentences in an ordinary conversation without pausing to think and sort my words. And I rarely write even a single sentence without first pausing to chew the words over in my mind. That doesn't mean I never speak a thoughtless word or write a careless sentence, but it does mean that I spend a lot of time staring into space when I write, or even sometimes when I talk.

Sometimes I think a lot and don't write at all. Silence and white space can both be beautiful; there's no need to fill them without purpose. Pensive moments often sound more foolish than thoughtful, once they're recorded; and, as Samuel Clemens wrote, it's better to remain silent and appear a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

I wonder if I could sell the visual variant of John Cage's music -- 4.33, a blank sheet of white paper 4.33 cm in length. It has probably already been done. I prefer landscapes.