How To Make Confusing Bullshit

I’ve been writing abstract blog entries lately.

When I wrote my most recent book, I chose to use a voice that made as much sense as possible. I didn’t want the writing itself to be the focus. I wanted it to be so conversational and relaxed that you’d forget you were even reading.

That meant:

Get the author out of the way.

No big words. No long sentences. No showing off.

The subtext isn’t, “Behold! I shall bestow my superior intelligence and esoteric knowledge unto thee. Plethora. Utilize. Lest, thus, indeed!”

It was helpful that I studied screenwriting for a year. That sure shut me the hell up. I recommend it to anyone who thinks they know what writing is about.

My previous book was a complex artistic mess. For that voice, I followed my intuition, invented words, and used every trick I could think of to be kooky and mysterious. I even copied and pasted spam emails into the middle of random pages. Readers called me out for grammar and spelling mistakes, not getting the joke.

I do a lot of Lateral (not Literal) Creation.

Sometimes the “point” I’m making with my blog posts can’t be found in only the title, body text, links, or the video — but in the way they harmonize. Or I’ll just smash them together to make an ugly chord.

As an exercise in communication, it’s fun to use a headline that has nothing to do with the body text, and see what kind of reaction that gets. I’ve written essays that are about an ex-girlfriend, with a title that makes the reader think I’m insulting Tool. It proves that no one is paying attention. Knee-jerk insults, condescending answers to my “questions” and death threats are something I’m used to.

I like art that argues with itself. Makes it more alive, I think. Some people can’t stand it, but Fictional Philosophy (instead of Philosophical Fiction) is one of my favorite genres.

There’s just no place for that in Instructional Videos, Recipes, and Encyclopedia Entries.

Sometimes the strange things we eat only require a spoon.


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5 Responses to “How To Make Confusing Bullshit”

  1. James King went to the beach and complained:

    I had always considered that the purpose of art in society is to tell us something about ourselves we previously did not know. Often, this can be as simple as an emotional response to the colors in an abstract painting, or it can as complex as the undercurrent in a T.S. Elliot poem. As I see it, art ceases to be art when it no longer can communicate effectively with it’s intended audience. At that point it simply becomes self-indulgence, and has no real use outside of the theraputic value derived by the creator. Things presented as art that are “open to interpetation” to me sounds like the self-indulgent type, more like throwing crap up against a fence and hoping someone somewhere thinks it means something. Things I would consider solidly in the catagory of art are carefully crafted and designed to connect in a specfic way with the audience. A tree that falls in the vacant woods makes no sound, and unappreciated “art” is really just noise.

  2. Scott went to the beach and complained:

    I refer to a comment Trey Anastasion made with regards to communicating with music. To paraphrase, you can’t. At least, you can’t communicate what you intend to communicate, and especially not to everybody. What you hear as a sad chord, another person might hear as a funny one. Same thing with poetry and certain forms of film. We all bring our previous experience to interpreting some new experience. So, we will, if not interpret it differently, have different paths to arrive at our interpretation. Its as simple as the word love. What you think of when you think of ‘love’ is not the same as what I think of. We have different associations with that term. Different life experiences.

    I appreciate the authors that write in the style they find to be most effective. When the piece is intended to do something other than to be instructive. So, I agree with Carl, that if you are writing a manual, it should be as effective as possible to the widest intended audience.

  3. James King went to the beach and complained:

    I think most of the people in the crowd enjoying this song at this concert are feeling similar emotions and getting a similar message. Of course there will be variations, but for the most part the audience is in agreement. I would say the artists are quite effective at communicating, and it’s art, not a manual.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxgeSv88c2w

  4. Max went to the beach and complained:

    WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME WATCH NICKELBACK.

  5. georgio mediacurtain went to the beach and complained:

    I am always VERY amused when I see a popular figure using a sofa as their pedastal.the movements they make,and the way they use the “sofa pedastal” seems to expose them in a way they are unaware of.my conclusion is this:what you think of others does affect what you say.
    Cheers!!!

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