I’m male, older than I was last year, and feeling it more and more. Some of that feeling is physical but mostly it’s ideological. I’ve become stubborn. Some would say that’s not a change at all, but I don’t listen to them.
This current exposition of random thought and prosaic affectation is kind of a reprise of something I started several years ago and then, for a number of reasons, stopped. I’ve felt the void that previously was filled with the pleasures of writing, and so I’m back again. Hope you get something out of what’s to come, and visit often.
About the site—
I’ve always loved writing. Whether essay, humor, fiction or reportage, it’s just something I like to do. There is nothing in my educational or professional background to betray the presence of this passion, though, and even I have to admit that’s a little strange.
I grew up with the admonition that to be successful you had to “be someone”–have a title or something, that is. In response to that imperative I eventually went off in pursuit of a professional identity in a couple of areas I probably should have stayed the hell out of, architecture at first, then law. Trouble is, I loved the architectural stuff but really wasn’t all that good at it, at least the three-dimensional design parts. Turned out to be pretty good at law but didn’t like it all that much. Both these pursuits rely primarily on communication underneath it all (most things do) but it’s secondary to the essence of each. That essence, in the case of architecture, is successful execution of design intent, to be advanced and promoted by communication both verbal and graphic. In law it’s mainly blather.
Writing, in contradistinction, is itself primarily and essentially pure communication, elevated to art by the skill of the writer. While striving to have compelling ideas behind the expression is always important–ideas that are, meaningful, poignant or even revolutionary–it’s the vehicle itself that is the focus. The most vibrant idea in the cosmos, expressed ploddingly, isn’t really writing, it’s a series of polysyllabic grunts disparately strung together in an attempt to convey some thought. On the other hand true writing, if it’s noteworthy, can and does exist on its own merit if necessary, content be damned (see, Raymond Carver, for example). So what’s this got to do with anything, and what does “underblaze” mean, anyway? Well, hang on and I’ll tell you.
Aside from writing and a couple other, more visceral pleasures, the remaining delight in my life is my acquaintance with that most agreeable and entertaining being known as the English springer spaniel. If you happen to know a little bit about dogs you may also know that certain canine attributes, appendages and markings have certain specialized terminology attached to them. Chief among these with respect to a springer is the distinctive white stripe many of them exhibit, a stripe that typically runs from the dog’s snout up to the middle of the its head. This, in spaniel lexicon, is a “blaze”.
Now, there’s another thing you need to know about springers, and that is that they’re very active. Not calm. They sprint and spring (hence the name) and slap and flop. Continuously, sometimes. On those certain occasions when the dog is quiet and content just being petted, it will likely as not roll over so you can continue the exercise by rubbing it’s belly while you’re at it, stretching its head back to fully luxuriate in the experience. It’s then that you can see, on the underside of the animal’s lower jaw and extending to the throat, another white area that is, as it happens, the softest and most tactilely delightful part of the whole dog. This marking, being directly obverse to the blaze, I have dubbed the “underblaze”. I discovered it, so I can name it, and it’s a wonder.
For me, at least up to a certain point, writing had been done mostly in connection with the more obvious and mundane requirements of my trade(s). In the space beneath the immediate strictures of the work I’ve had to do I’ve found at least some pleasure in expressing my ideas through the written word, regardless of the required context. For me it has provided satisfaction that many times has outpaced any derived from the actual substantive practice. If law or design were the blaze, emblematic of those professional endeavors themselves, then the authorship accomplished within those pursuits was the true gratification for me, as it continues to be today, at least until I can make writing my real livelihood. Until then, it remains the underblaze.