Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

contrivance

"These days nobody's primitive and I don't think you can set out and pretend you are. Once you've lost your innocence, you can't go back. If we tried a naive approach, it would come off really contrived so we really make contrived songs so it's eventually less contrived".--Ron Mael



I think of myself as fairly straightforward in so many ways. I tend to have the same half dozen thoughts, which I express in the same dozen ways. The weblog process appeals to me as a writing exercise, to permit me to play with different ways of expressing the dozen. It's a bit like that cheap stuff that one gets to soak Easter eggs in. Lots of colors--solids, tie dyes, stains. Underneath, it's all eggs.

In the 1970s, people worried a lot about whether music was "pure" or "contrived". Rock critics such as Dave Marsh posited that some "authenticity" attached to some rockers that failed to attach to other rockers. It became a kind of aesthetic--a really contrived aesthetic, really.

It became fashionable in that time just after prog and just before punk to refer to everything as "post". You know, post-mod, post-soul, everything but "post-hole digger".

The late night radio the other night played a couple of Supertramp songs, from that album "Breakfast in America". I remembered all the words to "Long Way Home", and thought of a review in which an expert said that this album was pop's last great gasp before punk swept pop music away. But the review was incredibly contrived. Punk itself was incredibly contrived in so many instances.

I think that people loathe wilful dishonesty, but I wonder sometimes if the stage dramas of rock stars isn't something dependent on contrivance. But I have no wisdom on that score. It's just a passing notion, rattling around in my head.

Tonight my car ran out of gas, some fifty feet from a convenience store with gas pumps. I get oblivious to things like gas gauges sometimes, when thinking about a law case or a weekend plan. My car is a huge old Crown Victoria, but I found myself pushing it the last fateful steps. I was just patting myself on the back for a Charles Atlas feat, when I felt the back of my left calf begin to strain when I got to the "uphill" entry into the parking lot. An on-looker graciously helped me push it to the pump. He sought no reward but a smile and a wave.

Now I've got a minor strain in the calf, and I suppose that is about as "real" as a sensation can get. But I'd rather have a little less reality, and perhaps a new CD.

In this journal I pour out torrents of words, but I wonder if I am "easy to get".
I say this in self-obsession, because all my life people have always told me that I am complex and difficult to understand. I imagine myself simple and almost entirely transparent. I do not work to be obscurantist, but sometimes I have that effect on people. In this weblog, I say so much more about myself that I usually say in day to day life. But what is all this but words?

I work hard to make every word in this journal true, and think I fail only in minor matters of memory. I tend to aim for self-denigration from time to time, because I am aware of the pox which afflicts all trial lawyers, a kind of a cross between boasting and self-absorption. But amid all the words, I wonder what is the overall impression--a clarity, or a cloud?

I don't think that one should worry too much that a weblog is a contrivance. I learn a lot from the way other folks' are contrived. One of my favorite non-LJ journals is by a woman whose contrivance is to try to make her journal entirely down to earth. I know her, slightly, off-line. She's not really a down to earth person, but instead a popcorn popper of ideas and imagination and sheer vivacity.
But her journal, while true in each detail, gives an aura of being entirely
"folksy" and down to earth. It's not a matter of "fault". It's just that she's built one weblog, but it's incomplete. She's a nice person, either way.

I love this world in two dimensions, but it reminds me how much I like to live in three. I hope my strained calf is better by Friday. Tomorrow I fly to LA for an early hearing Friday. But Saturday morning, the hike begins. I want to be a hiker, not a hobbler.

I think lately how many of my LJ friends I'd love to meet in person. I'm offline friends with a few, I'm online friends in other settings with a few, and I'm actually an in-law of one. Last night a friend of mine I know from a business setting told me he reads my weblog. I like that idea of unknown readers.

Sometimes I think that there's so little to me, really. But it's fun to write, even if I am small potatoes. I'll leave to others the brilliance and the transcendence, and just write my little homilys and rumblings.

But if you met me, what would we discuss? Would you be disappointed that I am as boring as the adjectives I use to describe myself? Would it really matter, anyway, because don't you learn more from a weblog? What if the contrivance is that I show you my mirror, and you may find it cracked? What if the contrivance is that you find it frighteningly accurate? What then? What next?
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