Friday, May 07, 2010

Pass the Salt

I've often thought of my mind as a popcorn popper. A steady stream of small, hard kernels of thought keep dropping into the space between my ears and go round and round until they burst. While searching for a possible topic for today's blog, a kernel of thought with the word "blog" on it dropped into the constantly-rotating kettle of my mind and an instant later with an inaudible "pop" it became what follows.

My first "official" blog was posted here on February 25, 2007, followed by 551 (now 552) more, bringing us to today. Each blog averages around 750 words. That's about 714,000 words. Tolstoy's "War and Peace" clocks in at around 552,919, and the average word count on the list of Great Books is 136,604. Therefore, I have outdone Tolstoy by the length of one Great Book, with a 24,472-word novella to spare! (Yes, I'm painfully aware that quantity does not equal quality. But, hey....)

And in the single paragraph above I have fairly well explained why I refer to all my blogs as "Volleys from a Loose Cannon."

My popcorn-popper mind simply will not shut down, and I have almost no control over what kernels drop into it or which ones pop or don't. I seldom even attempt to figure out why. To be able to catch a single thought from among the hundreds forcing the kettle lid up and pouring out might be considered quite a feat were I able to be more selective in which one I grab. But there are far too many of them to be able to have that luxury very often. For each thought I do catch, countless others just cascade out and disappear forever.

But I do enjoy catching whatever thoughts I can. Like all forms of writing, blogs can be both therapeutic and cathartic, and they almost always are for me. Taking a closer look at them and putting what I find in writing provides not only the subject matter for my blogs, but challenges me to expand on it, understand what the thought means, and what lies behind it. Each kernel of an idea which explodes into what eventually become a blog means something, even if I can't always figure out just what it is. But I catch as many as I can, and lay them all out in individual, unrelated blogs and hope someday someone might put them all together and read something into them which I cannot see.

Without question, one of the most enjoyable things about my odd compulsion to capture as much of myself as I possibly can in blogs--and my insistence upon telling you far more about me than you could possibly want to know--lies in the fact that you actually read them! To my great surprise and delight I have discovered, from what people who read these kettle overflows have told me, that I am not nearly so unique as I like to think I am. When I pick up a random thought to examine and lay it out in front of you with a little boy's pride in showing you what I've done or what I've experienced or what I've thought, the response is far more often than I could have thought, "Yeah, me too!" And the person saying it is often as surprised as I am.

I think the advantage I have over most people is that I do not hesitate to talk openly about things most people do not feel comfortable in talking about at all, or to which they never have given much if any conscious thought until I mention it. There is a strange human tendency to hide things not only from others, but from ourselves. While I'm sure I am guilty of this myself, it surely has to be to a far lesser degree than most people. And I find the realization that I am not as isolated as I have always assumed I was to be oddly comforting. To think that my ramblings may inspire you to come to the same realization from time to time would be a high form of flattery.

Having a mind that works like a popcorn popper isn't always fun, and trying not to be distracted from one task by the beckoning of a dozen others is often counterproductive to getting anything constructive done. Yet, for better or for worse, I've learned to live with it, and if you enjoy a piece every now and then, so much the better.

Pass the salt, please.

New entries are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back...and bring a friend. Your comments are always welcome. And you're invited to stop by my website at, or drop me a note at


Knitrageous said...

I just ran across your blog and can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed everything I have read so far. I will be checking back!

Dorien/Roger said...

Thanks, "Knitrageous"...there are new posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I do hope you'll come back...and please spread the word.