i spent an inordinate amount of time over the last two days writing up a very longwinded answer to someone's question about a poetic device, lineation -- which, as it turns out, isn't so much a poetic device at all, as it is an exercise in semiotics. semiotics is a subject that most of us exist in blissful ignorance about, yet delve into multiple times in the course of our daily routines.
simply put, semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and how we derive meaning from them. umberto eco did his best to inflict it upon an unsuspecting public in the name of the rose, but it didn't make the conversion to film. i won't go into the longwinded answer i gave, because it's quite boring to anyone who's not curious about how lines and feet of poetry are broken up, how we derive meaning from syntax, and other obscure things. but, i did enjoy dusting off the linguistics and literary criticism books, and doing a bit of research. sometimes i miss that other side of academia.
in other news, i'll soon have a new minion. i look forward to no longer wrangling 65+ projects at a time, and cutting it back to something sensible like 30. the trick of doing so many things at once, is that they're not all in the same stage at once. it's like a very complicated juggling pattern. you send one proof out to be reviewed, as you sign off on another's matchprint, as you meet with a client to begin yet another. however, even the ones that i'm mostly done with have a way of coming back for some attention, like feral neighborhood cats, so i never feel relieved until i officially close the file and throw the job folder into my growing pile of Things I Should Sort.
the paying freelance work i've been doing is good, though i'd like more of it. if you know of anyone who needs graphic design, web design, technical writing, editing, photography, or illustration done, please send them my way.
art class is going well; going down for a day of drawing before the day of painting was helpful, mainly because i could see some real progress on the paper. discovering i could indeed manage to get something i didn't hate accomplished was gratifying. simply copying from photographs is a very poor way to learn to draw, because you don't get any practice in translating a three-dimensional object or scene into two dimensions on a surface. you learn next to nothing about anatomy, and instead just blindly put down values and shapes without knowing what those values and shapes represent. art is all about semiotics; what do the marks one puts down correlate to in reality? what are the concepts that go with the marks? if you never take the time to look at the reality you're supposed to be rendering, how can you make any sort of sign or symbol to represent it?
one symbol i've been thinking about recently is the white plume of panaché, as i've been rereading rostand's cyrano de bergerac, and hoarding the dvd of the 1990 adaptation from netflix (with the outstanding anthony burgess translation. alexandrine couplets!). one soliloquy in particular sums up my life of late:
S'aller faire nommer pape par les conciles
Que dans les cabarets tiennent des imbéciles ?
Non, merci ! Travailler à se construire un nom
Sur un sonnet, au lieu d'en faire d'autres ? Non,
Merci ! Ne découvrir du talent qu'aux mazettes ?
Etre terrorisé par de vagues gazettes,
Et se dire sans cesse : “Oh, pourvu que je sois
Dans les petits papiers du Mercure François ?”...
Non, merci ! Calculer, avoir peur, être blême,
Préférer faire une visite qu'un poème,
Rédiger des placets, se faire présenter ?
Non, merci ! non, merci ! non, merci !
i might not have climbed as high as those around me who have been handed their positions in life or who abdicate their independence, but i can say i climbed alone.