Monday, August 8, 2011

Nonsense!

It's been said that when L. Frank Baum was first telling the story of Dorothy and her special shoes, he was momentarily stumped when it came to naming the magical land. His eyes fell upon a filing cabinet across the room. The top drawer was marked "A-N" and the lower drawer was marked, you guessed it, "O-Z." I don't know how much efficacy there is to this story, but I've always liked it.

When Lewis Carroll penned "Jabberwocky," he wanted to prove that a writer could evoke emotion using nonsense words. In my opinion he did.
`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
One can't read that stanza without feeling something from it. For me it always brings up a feeling of something mystical and full of magic, but with a dark side just waiting to spring on the unsuspecting... a feeling of going for a walk on a beautiful, sunny summer day and stepping into something dead and rotting, but fascinating nevertheless.

Ever heard of the Voynich Manuscript? Anyone? Beuller? I've been aware of it for a number of years, but found a new fascination with it recently, sparked perhaps by the art journals of various friends. Anyway, the Voynich Manuscript is a handwritten book thought to have been written in the early 15th century and consists of about 240 vellum pages, filled with various illustrations and writing in an unknown language/text. No one knows who wrote it. No one knows exactly where it came from. Confounding scholars and codebreakers throughout the centuries, no one has ever been able to decipher it, much less interpret it.
I'm fascinated by it. As a writer and an artist, I can't help but be fascinated by it. Plus, I love a good mystery. And I love things that make people who think they know everything realize that they don't really know everything.

I'd like to think that the Voynich Manuscript is maybe the ramblings of some moderately insane, but ultimately brilliant soul who simply wanted to get the gunk out. I'd like to think that for some it was the art journal of it's day. To me, it's beautiful and should be taken just as it is - that the feel of it be interpreted rather than the meaning. In short, I believe that it is art and should be understood only to the extent that any art can be understood.

All that being said, I got myself in mild trouble today for questioning the syntax on someone's facebook post. Okay, truth be told, I did that on several posts. I can't help it. It's who I am. But I did stop myself for a moment and wonder if perhaps I was rather unceremoniously squelching the creative and/or philosophical fire in others - which is never ever my intention. And I never do it along with the claim that I'm perfect in any way.

*heavy sigh*

Perhaps I need to stop deciphering and simply catch the intent.

If only I were able to do so.

1 comment:

  1. I can't read that stanza from the Jabberwocky wihtout hearing it in the voice of the Cheshire Cat in the Disney cartoon film :)

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