Adoxography is an obscure word meaning something like “skilful writing on a trivial subject.” The ancient Greeks supposedly considered it a worthy exercise for intellectuals, because it cultivated rhetorical skills and logical reasoning. Arguably the word describes a good proportion of writing on the internet, since nowadays many otherwise intelligent and sensible people devote a great deal of their time to contemplating and writing about complete bullshit that doesn’t really warrant such fulsome attention when viewed objectively.
I thought I could probably do that, too. Really easily.
Recently I was talking to a friend about writing. I was trying to find some meaningful analogy to make it clear to her that unlike the majority of people, including many professional writers, I don’t find writing difficult at all. Some people find writing torture, or a hardship, or a black hole of effort and energy. They have to make themselves sit down and not get up again until they’ve written 2000 words whether they’re crap words or not, they need to threaten and cajole and guilt-trip themselves into doing it as if it was some kind of odious, exhausting and probably even unnecessary task like digging a grave for your mother who isn’t even dead yet. I think they’re probably doing it wrong. Writing, I mean. I have actually dug graves too, although not for my mother (who isn’t dead yet). Digging graves was more difficult than writing a book. I’ll tell you about that another time. Stop changing the subject. Most of these people who find writing such a chore should just quit while they’re still sane and they still have some friends left. They should do something else with their lives instead of masochistically persisting at something that obviously drains and damages them.
I’m totally the opposite of that. Anyone who knows me well is by now inured to occasionally receiving lengthy and often extensively hyperlinked, referenced and/or footnoted emails in response to simple enquiries. Woe to anybody who writes to me and commits the sins of sloppy thinking, faulty logic or unexamined assumptions. That means you too, commenters. Expressing myself in text is almost as natural to me as breathing. If I wasn’t doing anything else I could easily write at least one full-length book a year, probably two, possibly more. It’s not a perfect analogy, but for the purposes of the aforementioned conversation I settled on comparing myself to a woodpecker. If there’s a tree, I have to peck a hole in it. It’s a habit, it’s my life, it’s my best way of expressing myself, being willing and able to do it is hardwired into my brain. It’s more of an effort for me not to write. Possibly a slightly better comparison would be to the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker, who seemed to have a mania for pecking holes in anything and everything, not just the trees to which his DNA should have led him. He didn’t necessarily want to do anything with the holes he was making. He just wanted to make them. He had to.
The initial selection of essays includes writing on the current ubiquity of zombies in popular culture, something about ontological realisations occasioned by excessive playing of Katamari Damacy, and a sincere appreciation of what a miserable old bastard Werner Herzog is. Forthcoming posts will be psychoanalysing social networking profile portraits, and trying to understand why online spoilers make some people so ridiculously angry, among other things. So, yes, random. This is me, pecking mostly pointless holes in some stupid trees.