Haydee (_haydee_) wrote in devouringwords,


I am going to take it upon myself to write the first Post With Substance. *chews fingernails nervously* As per the rules (see the user info page if you missed them [they're really not overly restrictive, I promise]), my thoughts are going under an lj-cut. I'm abbreviating The Man Who Was Thursday as TMWWT, because that just makes sense, and I'm noting which chapter I'm writing on so that you have fair warning about possible spoilers. I think this is a useful format.

So with that out of the way!

One of the very first lines to give me a pause was this:

"An artist is identical with an anarchist," he cried. "You might transpose the words anywhere. An anarchist is an artist. The man who throws the bomb is an artist, because he prefers a great moment to everything. He sees how much more valuable is one burst of blazing light, one peal of perfect thunder, than the mere common bodies of a few shapeless policemen. An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions. The poet delights in disorder only..."

If we were really ambitious we could debate the definition of art or something, but.. uh... that intimidates me. But I do have to wonder (and ask you, my literary companions!): Is art ultimately about order? Or chaos? Or is it about finding the ideal balance of both? (Or perhaps all this is silly and art has nothing to do with order OR chaos?)

It seemed to me initially that art comes from order. I think of paintings or sculpture, where the goodness is represented by things like the balance of light and shadow or of color, or contrast or symmetry... all things which create an image something arbitrary, contain it by putting a frame around it, and alter it to fit the standards of beauty of the day. Or, if you think of poetry- isn't poetry poetry because it is an ORDERING of words, whether it be by number of syllables in a line or rhyming or something else? Or, dance- isn't dance distinguishable from random movements by it's order and pattern?

But then I thought that if all that were true... the best kind of art would be something very static and patterned and predictable and in the real world, this seems to not be the case. In the real world, don't we love to view the spectacular? The surprising? The unexpected?

Maybe it is a balance of both. Aristotle wrote that every virtue is the balance between two vices (for example- courage is the balance between cowardice and rash stupidity). Maybe art finds the balance between order and chaos, between monotony and the arbitrary.

(Just thinking as I type. Please comment?)

I also wanted to note this quote:
"My dear Miss Gregory," said Syme gently, "there are many kinds of sincerity and insincerity. When you say 'thank you' for the salt, do you mean what you say? No. What you say 'the world is round,' do you mean what you say? No. It is true, but you don't mean it. Now, sometimes a man like your brother really finds a thing he does mean. It may be only a half-truth, quarter-truth, tenth-truth; but then he says more than he means- from sheer force of meaning it."

I don't have much to say except that that makes me thoughtful and wonder if it's true. (Or does he mean it? Haha! ... Ahem.) Do I really not mean it if I say that the world is round? Hmm.

To my embarrassment, I see that the lobster to which I referred in the title of this cut does not appear for two more chapters. Oops. Ah well. I know you'll all be in suspense now, yes? I can see it now... you'll all leave your computers and go speed-reading through your books looking for a reference to a random crustacean.

Okay enough. Bedtime for me. ;)
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