Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It is good to live in the future.

It is probably no little secret that I love blogging. Oh, not the writing of a blog -- which is actually pretty fun ... most of the time -- but the reading of the works of other people is absolutely stunning.

My grandfather -- from whom I probably inherit my Gaelic love of language and words -- was a wit, philosopher and story-teller every bit as good as Will Rogers or Samuel Clemens. The only difference is that while they found sponsors and patrons that enabled them to write for a living, my grandfather stayed in the oilfield.

I seriously doubt if my grandfather was the only one. I maintain that for every Shakespeare there are ten, or a hundred, writers just as good who never leave their farms. For every Robert Burns, there are uncounted other poets whose poetry is only heard by their kith and kin. For every Dylan Thomas, Vladimir Nabokov, and Christopher Marlowe there were -- and are -- others, just as gifted, but because they had to make a living, and circumstances in general, they never got to shine.

This has all changed. This -- right here, right now -- is a Golden Age for the written word.

Right now, anyone can take his thoughts, his visions ... and through the medium of words, can paint wonderful works across the eyes of our minds -- from anywhere, read by anyone on this little green dirtball -- all on a blog somewhere.

Yes, there is dross. Great Googly-Moogly, but there is some utter and complete garbage written on the Internet.

But in amongst all off the drek, there is exquisite beauty. And each little spark of beauty makes the effort of wading through the rubbish all worthwhile.

Twenty years ago -- hell, ten years ago -- would the world have known Marko Kloo's thoughts as to civilization and guns? I'm not talking about his family and friends -- would anyone with access to a public library have known?

Twenty years ago, how many people knew about -- and appreciated -- Tamara's rapier-sharp snark? Far fewer than the number of visitors her blog received in the past 24 hours, I'll guarantee.

Twenty years ago, Peter's love of aviation could only be spread by finding a publisher to take a risk in publishing his articles. Today, anyone can appreciate his article on aerial gunnery with the click of a finger.

Twenty years -- ten years ago -- I enjoyed the writings of published authors too numerous to mention.

Today, I still enjoy those same wordsmiths, only now I add to their numbers Brigid, Larry Correia, CrankyProf, GwinnyDaPooh, Jay G, Michael Yon and an entire world of authors, funny, heart-breaking, serious, sad, snarky, illuminating -- absolute wonders in a little electric box -- none of whom would have been known to me without the magic of blogging.

Yes. There is drek. There is some truly awful stuff mis-written in cyberspace.

For anyone who loves language, though, for those who love words, for those who love the very stuff of thought itself -- the sheer number of diamonds revealed by Blogworld and the Internet is worth ten times the amount of drivel you have to wade through to find them.

It is truly great to live in the future.



Captain Tightpants said...

Great post sir, and you're right - the number of incredible things people are able to share, even if just a paragraph at a time, boggles the mind.

dreadnoughtpc said...

After I shared your latest cat post with my girlfriend, she asked if you were Irish. I asked her why and she said only an Irishman would write something like that. If you want a story, talk to anyone. If you want the story the way it's supposed to be told, talk to an Irishman.

Why am I posting this here instead of with Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds? Because it's about storytelling, and those who can write eloquently.

Drang said...

"Yes, there is dross. Great Googly-Moogly, but there is some utter and complete garbage written on the Internet."
I have no doubt whatsoever that I do not have to tell LawDog Sturgeon's Law...
For anyone else, Science Fiction Writer Ted Sturgeon stated that "Ninety pecent of everything is crap."
You may substitute a differant word for "crap" if you wish, but this in fact seems to be the original.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Lawdog...

From a reader's viewpoint, with out the internet, I would have missed your (very) funny and thought provoking missives, Lady Tam's snark, Breda's humor, and a fair number of other writers who inform, make me laugh and/or make me think. There is junk out there, but the good stuff is well worth sifting out.
Many of the people (not just the bloggers, but those who comment as well) are people who I would never have heard of, let alone read and considered without the 'net.

Anonymous said...

dreadnoughtpc-Dog is a descendant of the Nordic and Scots kings of a thousand years ago, and he has the heritage of the lyric speech of his ancestors, which has been preserved through family sagas through his grandfather's generation. His DNA is almost pure Celt.
Unfortunately, on my side of the family, I seem to be the last who knows the old stories, and what with the speed and pressures of the much-vaunted 'world of the future' they will be lost when I'm gone, because there is no one to take the time to learn them as they are and have been for hundreds of years. Families do not sit after supper and tell tales as they used to do.
And, what small soupcon of Irish my violently independent and Protestant self might have had, I pulled out by the roots when they gave shelter to German submarines during WW II.

Jay G said...


I am humbled, nay, stunned to be in such great company.



Thank'ee, kind sir.

Zdogk9 said...

Please put the stories on tape. I know that you are more than capable of writing them down, but they will lose much of what makes them precious and valuable if they are not spoken.
I remember my grandfather singing songs that he'd learned from his father, who had in turn learned them from his grandmother. My aunt who didn't take the time to learn the songs, (nor did any of his other children) did record him singing when he was in his late sixties, unfortunately it was on wire and deteriorated to the point where we couldn't copy it onto tape. Aside from the very small amount I remember from fifty years ago it's gone.
By the time I was ten he was living mostly in another time and had quit singing except for Jimmy Rodgers. Our time together was spent with him showing me about hunting and the world outside cities, which is what he thought important.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Part of the fun is seperating the wheat from the chaff, with the exception of the mindless "I've been blogging for X amount of time" posts. I'm pretty sure that Clemens and Shakespeare never saw the need to toddle down to the town square to bellow out, "Hear ye, Hear ye, I've been writing for another year" to all within earshot. If I never read another, it'll be too soon.


Rogue Medic said...

The internet does a great job of exposing us to a variety of ideas we would not otherwise encounter. Most do not seem to know how to use this vast information, believing everything that is written to be true, or even important. Others only seek reinforcement of their own beliefs.

It is not an entirely new world, just a bigger, more accessible one.

Ambulance Driver said...

Amen. I'd also add you to my list of truly entertaining authors...one who I'd have never discovered without the world of blogging.

Anonymous said...

Of course, a story half told,(Pink Gorilla anyone?) can still be entertaining and well written.
Just like an unfinished symphony.

Home on the Range said...

Thank you so much for including me with the likes of those you did.

I'm honored. It's been fun.

breda said...

...as a fellow Celt, I am also in love with the written word - and yours are often some of the best, sir. It's an honor for me to be on your reading list.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty there is as much drek or dreg sitting on the shelves of Borders and Barnes & Noble as there is on the internet.

phlegmfatale said...

For some time, I've been referring to the process of a community cobbled together here as finding one's tribe. These exchanges of news seasoned with goodly doses of personal lore have enriched my life tremendously. I'm honoured to be on your blogroll.

Anonymous said...

zdogk9-I have written down several of the Civil War stories which came from my gg-uncle Tobe and from his sister, my g-grandmother, who were most vividly in it. I recommend those who are interested to go on the net and look up the journal or diary of Belle Edmondson.
I have to concentrate very intensely to get into the language of the time. It's essential to the story not only to re-find the language, but to attempt, at least, to get into the mood and thought patterns of the time. The language is lyric, almost poetry, and the expression of it and the feelings of the original person are right on the surface. It's a very rigorous process.
There are more that I should write, but although this sounds very self-indulgent, the 'time' hasn't been right.
And then there's the story of my 5th great-grandfather, a fascinating man, but such an enigma that although I know much of his history, I can't get into his mind yet.
I am really sorry that my children haven't grown up with the constant repetition of the stories over the years. I was always fascinated by them, which is probably why I memorized them. However, kids tend not to be patient with something that takes an evening to tell when there is the distraction of the ever-present magic box.

Anonymous said...

"...Science Fiction Writer Ted Sturgeon stated that "Ninety pecent of everything is crap."

I believe Sturgen's actual observation was "98% of everything is crap."

There's no question that the internet will have a bigger impact on the world than the printing press, movable type, radio or teevee.

Anonymous said...

Your story telling is so reminiscent of what my paternal grandfather called "singing in plain voice." As my father would say, members of my particular family have no musical voices. He would say of himself, "I know two notes. One is A flat. The other one isn't."

As a Quaker, my grandfather was reluctant to speak of himself and his achievements. However, he would tell tales of growing up in the aftermath of the Civil war and the social upheavals and sheer comedy of civilization in those days. He spoke often of listening to others in his community speaking at Meetings and during other gatherings. Listening to him tell of people and their ways and their actions brought those days out of the mists of time into the bright light of the present. "Singing in plain voice." Indeed, you do, sir. Thank you.

Now, get thee hence and THINK PINK.


Anonymous said...

How about a link to that post on Aeriel gunnery?

It's obviously not a blog I read and I couldn't find the post just randmonly checking your blogroll.

dr mac said...

Sometimes I enjoy reading you just for your sheer eloquence.

There is something to be said for that.

CrankyProf said...

Aw, shucks, 'dog...

You're the gi8ant among bloggers -- your turn of phrase is stunning.

I just cuss a lot.

Roberta X said...

Well said, sir, well said!

...One of the effects of the live-text mediums -- wire telegraphy, radio telegraphy, Usenet and most of all, blogging -- is that they give a voice and a soapbox to those of us who are terminally shy, distant and struggle to find words in RL.

And without it, I'd've never have met you and the wildly assorted inhabitants of your life.