Dennis at derwerff dot com is a place where I try (essay) to sort things out. Writing helps me sort out what I think. Blogging observations on what I think about the books I read, the movies I see, the culture I live in, the life I experience helps me sort out what I think and understand. Blogging is especially useful in the sorting out process because it is—it can be—interactive.
Blogging is a way to collect ideas, record thoughts, express opinions, offer explanations—plausible and implausible—of what it’s about. Gathered together in one place, sorted out, thought about, written about, and learned from, a blog becomes a kind of commonplace book.
The New York Times Literary Companion defines a commonplace book as “a collection of literary passages, quotations, ideas, and observations that an author collects for personal use.”
Commonplace books (or commonplaces), as used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, were compilations of knowledge and information recorded in notebooks. These notebooks were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: opinions, quotations, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, medical recipes, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces, kept by readers, writers, students, and scholars, were storehouses of knowledge, useful concepts, and ideas. They served as aids to organizing and retrieving all their owners learned. As such, a commonplace book was unique to its creator’s interests.
Dennis at derwerff dot com is a twenty first century commonplace book. Though modern technology makes the task of keeping a commonplace book easier by facilitating the organization and retrieval of information, the modern commonplace book still reflects the unique interests of its creator.
Dennis at derwerff dot com is a place to sort it out. It’s a place to begin.
What’s it all about when you sort it out? That’s the question. I answer the question with a question that has perplexed humankind for centuries:
What if the hokey pokey is really what it’s all about?