I have fallen into the habit of nonthink-speak. Love has become my catchall word for... what?
One of my problems has always been distilling all my thoughts and feelings about something into a manageable number of words in, what feels like, the required timeframe. I'm not really a conversationalist, and am one of those people who think: 'I wish I said...' hours, sometimes days, and, truth be told on the odd occasion years after the event. Actually I don't often think that anymore, but for years I did. These days I just accept the way I am and continue the conversation in my head. This is probably where most of my fiction and poetry comes from, so I'm even beginning to embrace being this way now.
However, when time is short and verbal reactions are required I struggle. (I'm struggling now, to order my thoughts in a way that will make sense to you. I began to write this post at ten past nine (am) and it will undergo several rewrites* over the course of the day, as I come back and forth between it and all my other jobs, and bits of senselessness jump out at me. I'm unlikely to publish it until supper time, and it will still be less than half as effective as I'd like. That is, it won't say quite what I intend.) And what with all the interaction of blogs and other web based social networks, I often feel a need to say something before the opportunity is lost. I don't mean to suggest I feel under pressure, it's not quite that: I enjoy being part of the conversation, I want to continue, I want to fully engage for several reasons (I've learnt a lot, and have much more yet to learn, and, I guess, I feel I have something to add) and so I just don't want to let it slip.
But I must face it: I really ain't adding anything when I just say: 'I love that!' and move on. What am I doing? What do I hope to achieve when I do that? It seems to me that it's a rather pseudo-cheery-polite way of saying: 'Eryl wos 'ere!' done in the hope that I'm not forgotten, so that when, one sunny day, I have more time to actually add something I'll still be part of the crowd. It is possible though that this relentless loving will alienate the very people whose sphere I wish to remain in. And, I do mean something when I throw out the phrase, so it seems time to find a more effective way of communicating whatever that is.
So, back to my original question: 'Love has become my catchall word for... what?' Obviously it's slightly different each time.
In the case of the cuff treatment in a photo on The Sartorialist, I meant: 'I'm really not sure about the coat over all these luminous colours: I can't help thinking of a brown paper-bag stuffed with sherbet bombs. Also the coat is a little too reminiscent of removal men (and I'm thinking in particular about a comedy sketch by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore here) to work with the rest of the look. Her hair, make-up, glasses and socks combine perfectly to reference the current 'Poetess' trend seen at several of the a/w shows last spring, and she makes me wish I was young enough not to look like a frump in tweed, but the coat seems to take the look from the library to the basement: it confuses (dulls) rather than illuminates. This is a jolly good effort though and the aspect of her look I find most impressive is the way she has folded, origami like, her sherbet coloured chiffon cuffs over those of the paper-bag brown coat, it reminds me of a Terry Frost painting.' Or something like that. It's taken me forty minutes to write that (and it's a bit too negative for my liking, I don't want to upset the poor girl) so you can understand why I don't have time to write considered comments on every blog I visit.
When I say I love cake what I actually mean is cake makes me happy. From making it to smelling, looking at, touching, and finally eating it, if it's good: fragrant from having been baked in a proper oven in a solid metal cake pan, springy, moist and either dense, like an Italian chocolate torte, or open textured with egg trapped air, it brings more than a little, if fleeting, spark of joy into my life. And this is true for many of your blog posts: from the photographs to the anecdotes to the descriptions of your own happy making events and finds. I say, 'I love this,' when something does give rise to that nice warm feeling of contentedness that love brings, if only for a while.
That's also what I meant when I said: 'I love graffiti!' Graffiti generally makes me happy, even the rubbish stuff. I have been know to spend far too long in bar loo cubicles because I was reading all about how Kit hearts Pongo and what a bitch Amy is. That anyone feels strongly enough to locate a pen, or scratching implement, and make marks on the laminate of a loo door, to me, shows they're alive. And that cheers me. As for those who risk their safety to spray paint motorway bridges with messages, regardless of the ugliness of their methods, technical skill, or artistry they always bring a smile to my face.
Here is some I came across in an alley on a recent trip to glasgow. I liked it so much I wanted to bring it home with me, so I made poor Bob hang about while I got my camera out and snapped happy:
This isn't, I know, graffiti. It's a window above I spotted as I was snapping, and something about it appeals.
So there you are: a meditation, of sorts, on my use of a cliché as a shortcut. In future I'll try to stop and think before I throw it at you and maybe throw something else instead. Thanks Jenny, for bringing me to my senses: the great contempt continues.
*Fuck it: I've now been at this for nearly four hours, and I still have: laundry to deal with, the house to clean, a pile of receipts to record on the business spreadsheet, supper to think about and make, the stuff for next week's seminar to read, and I haven't even cleaned my teeth yet. So, in order that I may visit at least a few of your sites today I'm going to publish this in its unrefined state: like crude oil I drop it on blogland's ocean floor in the hope someone else will clean it up.