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And, um, what exactly is the question to which this is supposed to be an answer?

November 11, 2009

Hi there!  Welcome!  Make yourselves at home.  Beer’s in the fridge.  Just throw your coats over there on the whatever.

So.  Why this, and why now?  Hell, I dunno.  No, no, it’s a valid question.

Um . . . I like the neighborhood, for one thing.  I know a bunch of people in the area.  Plus a lot of my, y’know, my peers have already taken this important “life step.”  Some of them did it a long time ago.  And what with the economy and the tax credit and stuff, I guess it just seemed like the right time.  I DO get a tax credit for this, right?

Okay.  I don’t imagine that the material I plan to deposit here is going to be well-thought-out enough to justify inclusion in an essay or review or academic paper or whatever (at least not at this point); at the same time, it’s going to be a little too involved to qualify as cocktail-party conversational fodder.  I have decided to put this blog-type-thing together with the idea that it ought to be a suitable container for this stuff.

To be somewhat more specific—and to award credit where it ought to be awarded—I should say that over the past several years I have been gently disabused of snobbish suspicions about the blogosphere by the experience of reading a bunch of really good online writing, much of it on abundantly-but-still-insufficiently-praised sites like k-punk and jane dark’s sugarhigh!  What has actually tipped me over into the implementation phase is probably my friend Elisa Gabbert’s blog The French Exit, upon certain posts of which I have made comments that exceeded Blogger’s length limits—a phenomenon I’m interpreting as evidence that it’s time to either 1) shut up already, or 2) start my own blog.  Elisa should not be held responsible for the course of action I have chosen.

Right off the bat I want to admit, in fact to INSIST, that I can claim no practical training in anything other than fiction writing, and just about no academic background whatsoever in philosophy or “theory”—although I do get a weird kick out of that kind of stuff, and find it useful as a spur for thinking.  I don’t intend to limit myself here to a few particular concerns, and I’m not going to make an aggressive effort to argue a particular thesis—although I DO expect that I’ll be spending much of my blogtime writing about forms of communication that might broadly be called “art,” with a particular eye to how they work . . . not necessarily whether or not they succeed, but what actually happens when they operate, and what their operations consist of.

I also expect to spend some time here testing a few current suspicions of mine, which— stated bluntly—are basically these: 1) there are a handful of intrinsic limitations built into the process of communication, and the stuff that we tend to call “art” depends on these limitations to function; 2) the quality that I have just mentioned defines MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE what is “art” and what is not (to the extent that I might even have this backward, and should be saying that art is a symptom of communicative impedance); and 3) the major limitation that makes art function and characterizes the experience of encountering it is the absence or the concealment of the artist, or at least of the artist’s intent.  That, in a nutshell, is why I’m calling this little enterprise “New Strategies for Invisibility.”  None of this is even a little bit groundbreaking, but it seems to keep being pertinent in ways that are interesting, at least to me.

(If for some reason your curiosity has been piqued by any of the above, you might take a quick glance at the “Strategies” page, which I’ve assembled as sort of a statement of purpose with the actual statement deleted; it’s there mostly to help me navigate when I get lost.  I should also mention that this blog shares its name and its concerns with an essay of mine that’s forthcoming in the litmag MAKE; I encourage you to seek MAKE out and to support it with cash and accolades.)

And that is probably more than enough to get us started.  I hope you’ll drop by anytime you’re in the vicinity.  I recognize that you have many choices when it comes to wasting time on the internet, and I thank you for choosing New Strategies for Invisibility.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2009 4:14 pm

    Welcome to the dark side, Martin. (You’re eating worms.)

  2. November 15, 2009 10:45 am

    Thanks, EG! Look inside for weird and wormy recipes!

  3. November 16, 2009 3:19 pm

    Ack! Just saw a link to your blog on Kathy’s website and of course am thrilled that you are no longer confining yourself to witty blog comments, but are instead making a witty blog. Looking forward to loads of fun here :-)

  4. November 16, 2009 4:03 pm

    I can’t wait to read more of your posts! When does your piece get published in MAKE? I didn’t know you were getting published there. Nice work!

  5. alfred max permalink
    November 16, 2009 4:32 pm

    So what do you think of The Elegant Variation? I’m still trying to figure it out. Oh, and anyone who has two references to MM on their blog has to be worth knowing. I always wanted her as one of my dinner party guests along with Lincoln Kirstein.

  6. November 17, 2009 10:34 am

    His piece in MAKE is fantastic and it’s coming out in the next issue (said the contributing nonfiction editor, who happens to be his spouse).

  7. November 23, 2009 10:12 pm

    @ Aarti: oh, I’ll try to keep up the zesty aperçus elsewhere, as this site will probably be less about witticism and more about numbing pedantry. Woo-hoo!

    @ Beth: I bumped into Sarah Dodson (MAKE’s estimable managing editor) just last night, and the word on the street is February. And Sarah of all people should know. Woo-hoo!

    @ Alfie: I dig the EV; it seems to be interested in a lot of the stuff that I’m interested in, and that I would actively seek out if my dayjob provided me with a bunch of unstructured downtime, which it regrettably does not. (On the upside, I probably won’t get laid off this month.) I really recommend clicking Ventura’s name and reading the Austin Chronicle column it links to, which I think is really good. I’m embarrassingly ignorant of Lincoln Kirstein, although what Wikipedia tells me makes me think I should try to snag an invite to that dinner party. Are we doing potluck again?

    @ Kathleen: Thanks, wife!

    Thanks for dropping in, folks . . .

  8. Angelope permalink
    November 24, 2009 9:32 am

    YES! YES YES YES YES! Oh, this is such great news.

  9. November 29, 2009 11:16 am

    Welcome to the ‘hood, indeed. Glad to have you.
    b to the p

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