December 14, 2006

Through the Bloglands*

In the beginning, there were 1s and 0s, on and offs, bytes blaring their clarity like the trumpets of Jericho. Strung together they represented a single character, neutral in itself, a symbol of sounds or notes: "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. When you read you begin with A, B, C." The characters arranged formed a word, which conveyed meaning, and the words formed sentences, conveying more meaning.

And meaning they did -- oh how glorious was that first website! Like a large net it caught all manner of word, their backs gleaming like marlin under the sun. There were jokes, asides, photos, boasts, poems, quotes, Hibernianisms, Romanisms, Holy Writ, evocations of trips, juvenilia and paraphernalia. Basking in the daring public privacy of anonymity I swam like a dolphin through the sea-tossed bits and bytes and 1s and 0s. I liked riddles and hidden doors, so I created nearly unmarked links leading to arched garden paths which in turn led to Poe's poems, linkways discernible only to the most observant which would likely only be me: "It was many and many a year ago / In a kingdom by the sea / that a maiden there lived whom you may know / By the name of Annabel Lee."

But was it good that man should be alone and his words unshared? If God should take a rib while I wrote I'd not object, and I pseudonymously added my URL to a high school alumni list. Keen was the shock when my identity was uncovered, a fellow grad emailed asking, "are you Stephen Colbert?" by the clues I'd left concerning my name. Vanity thy name is writer! I could not tell a lie and hoped that the forceful ringtones of the gospel didn't turn her off, and truth be told there were visions of conversions dancing in my head.

I soon happened across - I know not how - the web of a stranger (an heir to Belloc) which was updated often and I fed on it, checked it daily, liked the liveliness of it, her capacity to surprise and the fresh, born-on dating aspect of it. She called it a "blog", an immediate turn-off, for I distrusted any newly coined words that I hadn't coined, thinking them otherwise trendy and I loathed all things trendy.

She responded to my query explaining that "blog" was a contraction of "web" and "log" and I felt better about it, seeing how two proper Anglo-Saxon words had mated and likely married first. She told me it was reading Andrew Sullivan's blog that inspired her to start her own, and she, in turn, became my own blogmère.

Soon after I met (virtually) a poet and an engineer. The poet spoke of love and dark nights while the engineer spoke of knowledge and the Cross. How to marry the heart of the poet and the mind of the engineer? ? ...

* - self-indulgent post alert!

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