Back to blogging. With no further ado, I'm gonna break out a monster update here. What better way to get this baby up and running than blogging our way through the annual bonfire of the vanities that is the Oscars?
...is beeker's new blog about classical music. I'm joining her there, so maybe it's even our new blog. Anyhow, feel free to pop by. No prior experience required.
And I promise there won't be any 'classical music is slow and beautiful'-thing going on. Just a place for people who'd like to know more about great music to meet, listen, discuss. And if someone knows a bit that might help people out, sharing is encouraged.
On that note: just after doing this rant on how it's a shame to always introduce people to classical music by playing all the slow melodies that are used in boring tv ads, I found this video of comedian Rob Paravonian ripping the dreaded "Pachelbel's Canon in D" (a classical mainstay to the point that an old cello-teacher of mine used to crack "...composer unknown").
I'm always intrigued by blogs that are born from one very specific idea or theme, and then stick with that. Seems like the persistence it takes to stay with the same thing is a catalyst for some very interesting blogging.
Some of my favourite blogs are monoblogs (not monoblogues, which apparently means blogs where you can't comment): like Stefan's fabulous Daily Monsters, Kirsty Burst's view-collection on The view from your window, or the massively poetic Postsecret project, where people send in anonymous postcards with secrets.
Now, here's a little tribute to my newest monoblog-darling: Kirsty pointed me to Jessica Hagy's brilliant Indexed, brimfilled with intelligent, satirical, sometimes nonsensical, often empathetic, always funny stuff like this:
While I'm at it, let me just point out a sentimental favourite among monoblogs, the always hilarious Go Fug Yourself, where celebrities go to be ridiculed for their latest red carpet disasters. If "Fugly is the new pretty", as the tagline says, then "Petty is the new Funny". An absolutely hilarious blend of sarcastic wit, impeccable fashion sense, and 5th-grade-girls-beyotch-fest. You'll hate yourself for how much you'll enjoy it.
These days nearly everything I write is in English. Working, blogging, pretty much everything. I thought it was about time to address this weird situation of choosing to write in a foreign language. Oh well, choosing might be stretching it. Writing in Danish would weed out the readership, wouldn't it?
So, I guess it has practical value. Still, I suspect it's partly responsible for the sort of crippling feeling I get once every 5 posts or so. Douglas Hofstadter is famous for linking creativity to "the welcoming of constraints". Limitations in linguistic ability is, however, not a very inspiration-inducing constraint. If Hofstadter is correct, and I think he is, it's only true to the extent you're in absolute command of your basic tools, be it language, a musical instrument or your body. When you feel total control over your means of expression, constraints can be exhilarating challenges, pushing you further than you'd otherwise have gone.
Grasping for words is just frustrating. Not that it's not rewarding. Nobody's forcing my hand, and I'm doing this because it's exciting in ways that writing things you know are perfect is not. It's kissing blindfolded, it's a nighttime walk without a map in a foreign city, it's riding a bike the wrong way on a oneway street, it's doing a Viennese waltz to a Tom Waits song.
You know it's not perfect, and part of you wants it to be - but there's a certain newness to it that seems to be worth the trouble. Especially the occasional 'trying a new word for the first time'. Like trying on new clothes, but much more intimate, almost like trying on a second skin. Letting it roll off, like touching a freshly mowed lawn.
I think I have to stop expecting the same sort of result as when I write in Danish, and start hoping to maybe convey a feeling of, I don't know, foreignness? Estrangement? I'm not sure my English is quite strange enough for that. One strategy would be to stop looking up words when I'm unsure if they exist or not, I suppose. I'll look into that.
So how do people feel about blogging in a foreign language? Bit strange? Retarded? Would you do it?
Great competition over on Twitter, one of those places that seem innocent enough, but if you think too much about it you''ll see how weird it is. It will have you hooked and converting your whole life to one-line present-tense events within minutes. It's all very now and poetic. So do go there. But if you do, have fun, like the rest of us freaks. And do check out that competition:
To write your memoirs in 6 words, like this post's title. The classic is Margaret Atwood's: "Longed for him. Got him. Shit." But the Twitter crowd churned out a couple of gems as well. Like: "He wore dresses. This caused messes."
So have a go yourself. It's quite a challenge. Of course, you'll ideally want some kind of beginning and end, at least implied. And some juicy action. Sometimes the action can be implied as well. As in Hemingway's brilliant little "For sale: baby shoes, never used".
Paradoxes are good for implied action, I think. Something like this: Died too young, but lived younger
Since I'm still alive, I can't use it, so feel free to submit as your own. I'll let you know if I strike up gold.
Somebody asked about my blog's name. Yes, it's named after the Baudelaire prose poem Le Mauvais Vitrier. Pretentious, moi?
The poet, living in a poor Parisian area, gets a visit from a glazier; he calls him up the stairs and examines his panes. Once he finds out the glazier only brough clear panes he's enraged, pushes the poor guy down the stairs and even throws a potted plant at him, crying "La Vie en Beau!"
With life being sometimes a rather bleak affair, don't bother to come knocking if you're not bringing "rose-coloured panes, magic panes, panes of paradise", anything that let's us look at life a little differently than before. So, this is my collection of coloured glass. Cute, isn't it?
Go read the text if you have time. Or some of the others from Spleen de Paris. Fascinating stories. One could write a book about them; but then, Charles Baudelaire already did.