“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”
The Abstract Blogger
I’m a fan of Abstract Art. It can be powerful stuff. The idea of abstraction is what we are talking about today. Again.
Facts are facts. 2 + 2 = 4. No one can doubt it. Except: we also know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The second is an abstract idea that is strong enough to refute basic math. Powerful stuff.
I have an abstract idea of me holding a compass. The compass points to true North. North represents truth or real or any other similar word. As the needle drifts off of the truth, things become more abstract.
Lets say I want to write about a profound moment; the birth of my first child. As I point that needle straight at the truth, it is an honest telling of my experience. If I let that needle drift just a bit to the abstract, it becomes Universal. Now it is something that everyone can relate to as life. And it can still be honest.
If I want, I can let that needle drift pure South and go extremely abstract; maybe throw paint at a wall while using a violin bow on a bicycle tire. There might be something there but it can be very hard to find. Going Full South can leave your audience mystified and hungry for something else, maybe an honest ice cream cone.
We are layered with abstractions, we can’t avoid it. Those things modify our behavior. Things like job titles. Or being a Dad. I like that the military uses this with their men. Think of the Seals and Top Guns and SWAT teams. Those guys all have special names like Goose or Shooter or Pinky. This is so an otherwise sane human being can don a persona and do extra-ordinary things. It is not being part of a club or team, it is deliberate psychology.
As a blogger, I try to be honest in my writing. But, it isn’t all about me because that is not communication. If I can abstract my tellings, then the reader can see how those observations can apply to themselves and therefore be a much more powerful and rich experience.
Those applications of abstraction can be found easily enough in the blog’s name: The Profound Bartender. A lovely abstract idea that suggests that there is much more than immediately seen on the page; a higher concept. The same is true of my name, I can assume the persona of Kubla Khan and speak from a more confident place; just like Goose and Shooter and Pinky.
In my personal walking-around life, I try to point that needle to North. I want to be true, or try to be by shedding the abstractions layered on me; ideas of age, gender, responsibility, titles; all of those things that do shape me in the abstract but are not what is really me. I do not want those things to define me either. Snidely, I’ll say that anyone who riffs on “I identify as …” is not being honest about who they really are to themselves.
Be abstract in communication, seek true North in yourself.