Thursday, June 08, 2006

Writing Nothing, Reading Everything

There Really Is Much Ado About Nothing

It is an art to write about nothing; it is a much greater art to write about nothing so that your readers think it is everything. Many have perfected the art of writing nothing; but few have perfected the art of making that nothing seem like everything.

(At the incalculable risk of boring the hell out of each other, we will not use our valuable ink and invaluable time to actually write about something – unless, of course, it is in the context of nothing.)

Nothing is more exciting than something: something demands something in return – a thought, an emotion, at least a reaction – nothing, however, demands absolutely nothing – not even a shrug. You shrug? Well, that was superfluous.

If a writer writes about nothing, and a reader nevertheless takes his precious time to read that nothing, does that make the writer great or does that make the writer disappointing? Artistically – things-are-beautiful-because-that’s-who-I am – speaking: the writer is great; I care not if something or nothing was conveyed, all I care about is the beauty of the conveying. Practically – things-are-beautiful-if-they-make-a-difference – speaking: the writer is a disappointment; I care not for the means of expression, I care only for the message expressed.

Of course the psychology student would argue: “It is an impossibility for the writer to write about nothing: every nuance, meaningful or seemingly meaningless, is something and not nothing.” Of course the Talmudic student would argue with that. However, we do not discuss here whether one can or cannot write about nothing; we merely discuss whether a brilliant writer consists of his message or of his method.

But that too was not what we originally setout to accomplish: all we ever wanted was to simply write about nothing. But, as nothing cannot be bottled, we are having a terribly difficult time trying to stay focused:

If one were writing about something, say food, it would be most exhausting (or, at the very least, most unpalatable) for the writer to flow into plumbing – lest the writing become clogged and, therefore, the reading flooded. But, for the collective we, the collective we who write about nothing, it is most impossible (or, at the very least, a nonentity) to remain at simply nothing without branching off into nothing at all – lest nothing be limited to nothing.

So here we go, writing about nothing, from one nothing to another… with nothing holding us back.

The beauty of writing nothing is that we can conclude with nothing (if we began with nothing why should we not conclude with nothing as well?). The ugliness of writing nothing is that there is no structure – nothing, absolutely nothing, has a structure problem like nothing.

The title of this no-thing, “Writing Nothing”, implies that this writer writes nothing. However, the words following the title and subtitle, “It is an art to write about nothing”, seem to suggest that this writer does not write nothing, but rather, about nothing. What is the difference, you ask? Take poetry: one can write poetry – from haikus to ballads to limericks – and one can write about poetry – analyze, study, dissect the poetry another, (or, for the self-conscious (defacing?), oneself) has penned.

So, does this writer write nothing or does this writer write about nothing? I, the leader of the collective we, think this writer writes neither nothing, nor about nothing – rather, this writer writes nothing about nothing.

Why, then, is there so much ado about nothing – if indeed it is nothing, should it not be treated as such?

The answer lies not in the writer of nothing, for he writes what he breathes – if he breathes life, he writes life; if he breathes hot air, he writes hot air; if he breathes nothing, he writes nothing – only, the answer lies in the reader – as long as the reader reads everything, the writer will continue to write nothing.

After all, the costumer is always right.


Anonymous shloime said...

Yo... love it ..your writing just get's better and this time b/c it is about nothing i understand it..

6/08/2006 6:39 AM  
Blogger Grajee said...

esp considering the reader is more likely to make sense out of nothing, than something

6/08/2006 10:29 PM  
Anonymous the customer said...

I enjoyed that piece of nothingness- good stuff!

6/09/2006 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

indeed it is a talent to make something out of nothing- or nothing out of something...
there is something to nothing or it wouldn't be anything at all i suppose...
recently someone showed me your article on Shakespeare-
i know its from a while back, just thinking that its important to remember that Shakespeare never saw a Jew [apparently]. they were expelled from England in 1066.
Also there is a reference to using a "Jew's liver" in one of the witches' potions in MacBeth.
and by the by the great critic Harold Bloom has also declared, "one would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to recognize that Shakespeare's grand, equivocal comedy The Merchant of Venice is nevertheless a profoundly anti-Semitic work."
just a thought.
i think it was once discussed whether or not Shakespeare beat Joyce with inovative verbiage...

6/09/2006 6:03 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

yes, i think i mentioned the Jews' absence in one of the footnotes.

i should think it very difficult to prove Bill's innovation over James's, or, for that matter, James's over Bill's.

(though it is intresting to note that both Leopold and Harold share blooming last names)

6/09/2006 6:49 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

This is inspiring in a weird way. A way that extends past the "issue at hand."

Creative? Smart? Brave?

Nothing at all?

I don't know.

I like, though. I like.

6/09/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

What does it say about us readers who consiously went through this entire piece which didn't even attempt to conceal being about nothing?

6/10/2006 4:37 AM  
Blogger Chasidishe Shaigitz said...

Now that's called making a big something out of nothing, now I truly understand the saying
"If you have nothing to say, say nothing"

Nice blog :)

6/11/2006 5:26 AM  
Anonymous dr. suess said...

can you explain your punchline? are you saying were all dumbasses for reading the whole article? frankly your rant about nothing drove me to hell and back again. Therefore, i decided to read nothing more. (i wished iwould have read nothing at all,a nd then i would have nothing to drive me mad.) so i quit. but tonite i figured, heck, let me continue reading nothing. It's not like i have nothing to do, though. Let nothing worry you. So m'dear i finished reading all about nothing. after all that- you OWE me an explanation about everything. and it better not merely be about anything, but address the matter at hand: nothing.

6/13/2006 12:11 AM  
Blogger ponys are people too said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6/15/2006 4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like the brain of a pony, but hey, let them theorise too.

6/15/2006 4:47 AM  
Anonymous noone said...


6/16/2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

NOTHING can beat that comment.


6/16/2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

and why'd u remove that post? 'twas a good one.

6/16/2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger ponys are people too said...

what, me?

6/17/2006 11:40 AM  

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