Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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prolixity as a virtue

I always liked the words prolix and prolixity.
Because I am a prolific writer, and because my
most "intellectual" writing tends to be really drawn out and long (i.e., prolix), I was delighted when I first heard the word. I was no longer merely wordy or run-on. I was *prolix*. It sounds like really cool technology.

I once had a poem published (in a typical grant-driven magazine so small and ordinary that they would even publish poetry like mine) with the title "The Word Mordant". The first line of the poem was "Webster lists no meaning/for the word mordant". It's not a bad poem, but it's based on a fallacy. You see, I thought I had made up the word "mordant", but it turns out there is such a word as "mordant" (caustic, biting). It's just that the collegiate dictionary I was using was too limited to list it.

I've always felt a bit like that about life--I'm using an abridged reference, and all the cool words are in the unabridged version that eludes my grasp.

I see my poetry book has now garnered a bid of one nickel on This is gratifying news. The bidder is even from another country, and hence, in m limited Arkansas-derived understanding, is instantly cool. In Arkansas, we felt like if a prophet was worthy of honor, he'd move to someplace good at that sort of thing. Based on the last 3 ebay auctions, we can say that the book is worth at least a nickel, but less than two dollars. That seems about right to me. I'm just praying that bidding frenzy before Tuesday drives the price up north of a quarter. Ebay auctions are fun and funny. Sometimes the book has even generated a "bidding war", and driven the price up a bit. I believe it's high auction was in the 5 dollar region. One bidder must have bid on it 10 times, to be "primed out" by twenty five cents by a sniper(the ebay term for one who bids at the last moment to win an auction, after laying behind the weeds until the end). Of course, it's just between me and my journal that if folks know me, the best way to bid on a book is by asking me for one. Once in a while, a stranger will ask for a sample of poetry prior to bidding. I always wonder about this, because a sample of one bit of heavenly creampuff confection from me doesn't mean that I didn't use whole cloves by mistake in my next batch of gingerbread men. I once tried putting a poem in the ad copy, but I've found that the best ads are largely numerical in nature. Don't tell me what it is, just tell me the word count.

My old college friend J. told me she loved reading my silly free verse about weak chess players because it was so much like me. It's a curious identifier...being tagged as someone who would write this form of bad poetry. A charge to keep I have, though, so
I'll treat it as a gift.

One thing I've noticed is that no matter where I write, my narrative voice is almost exactly the same. gregwest98 has known me for decades, and I believe that he would have been able to look at this journal having no idea what it is and tell it is mine. I suppose this means I'll never be a novelist, but I might make a good solipsist.

Being prolix has its disadvantages. It's just a few weeks ago that I felt the best way to continue an established and pleasant correspondence with a long-ago old flame was to detail in an e mail my recollection of the entire history of our relationship which spanned 19-25 years ago. I typed and typed and typed. When I was done, I had a prolix, humorous, charming work of art. It would have made a nice entry into a "private" journal to which even I was only allowed access if I could define the word "prolix". Unfortunately, I sent it. Sadly, the initial reviews focused less on the ironic turns in the plot than on the particular tilt in favor of one of the characters which was perceived in the narrative. I tend to be someone who thinks that one can talk about anything with anyone, if one merely uses the right tone of voice. But I am reminded of that Doris Lessing tag about how the fundamental mistake of western civ. is the belief that if one understands a problem, one has solved it. I am just intrigued that I could stir up something in the past--why bother, when there are yards to mow and boxes to unpack and scissortail flycatchers hovering overhead?

As my wife said, it's *history*, just *history*. I myself feel that as we both ended up married and happy elsewhere, it might have made more sense to continue sending e mails about books, movies and wildlife. But it is a fine line--does one bottle it all in, or does one say those "that hurt" stuff, even after all that time? I don't know, but I'll bet I could write a prolix essay about it.
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