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March 4, 2008 / Brittany Hendrick

Ceci n’est pas un blog

We’ve all seen the “this is not a pipe” painting by René Magritte, right:

I could go on and on about the function of this simple work and how it subverts people’s perception of reality; after all, the title of it is “The Treachery of Images.”  On one count, this painting exhibits clever paradox: Haha, there’s a pipe but the words say it’s not one, funny!  On another count, most people would argue, “Clearly, it is a pipe!  What was Magritte smoking?”  Well, I SEE a pipe, but IS it a pipe?  Technically, no, it is a two-dimensional interpretation of a pipe.  On a third count, we can stare at that pipe and try to figure out what other sort of Earthly object it could possibly resemble.

What I like most about this painting is how Magritte, as the artist, controls the viewing public.  Is he being ironic?  Literal?  Imaginative?  Smug?  Bossy?  It really doesn’t matter, because the conclusion is the same: even though it looks like a pipe, it is not a pipe.  Because Magritte said so.

Hence I must state:
This is not a blog.

I hate that word.  Blog.  Blahg.  Blargh.  It reminds me of that time, way back in June of ’05…

In 2005, I didn’t even know what a blog was (much less MySpace).  I was too busy completing my English degree, writing essays and poetry; writing for my school’s online publication, Rampway; writing album reviews for my friend’s print publication, Stomp & Stammer; writing satire stories for a website a friend and I have.

But since I’ve graduated, my literary output has dwindled.  I no longer have to write essays.  I write, on average, one poem per year.  I can’t write for Rampway.  I don’t write album reviews because the CD player in my truck is broken, inhibiting my quality music-listening time.  And the satires… well, who cares about the reasons for that.  The point is, I haven’t been doing anything that pertains to my field of expertise, my livelihood, my skill.

I’d recently come to the conclusion: if I don’t do something about this, soon– this lack of creative expression and brain usage– I’m going to have some negative issues.  Dementia scares me.  I like to think, opine, observe, philosophize, humor, complain, analyze, daydream.  I enjoy critical thinking, linking seemingly disparate events, finding reason within a scenario or a person’s behavior/psyche.  I also like to write.

So, if this isn’t a blog, what do I call it?  A diary?  No, too sissy sounding.  A journal?  No, sounds like a grade school assignment.  Missives?  No, too propaganda broadsheet-like, and not in a good way.

I thought of Dr. Lupi, my Latin (and Italian) professor, and the way he explained the meaning of the word “littera” to the class:
“A letterl* of the alphabet– orl*– an epistle.”

An epistle, yes!  Epistles.  Letters.  That’s what my writing shall be called.  So even though MySpace categorizes this as a blog, even though it may look like a blog because my words appear within the category, even though the phrase “view all blog entries” displays on the screen, this is not a blog.  Because I say so.

My goal– other than to keep my skill and sanity– is to look back on these when I’m old, to have record of my personality, the inner workings of my brain, my creativity, my consciousness, my memories.  I’ll think either, “Wow, I sure was funny!” or, “Whoa, I sure was a bitch.”

*That’s “letter” and “or” with an Italian accent.

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