It is too bad for the wood which finds itself a violin

This entry is essentially a continuation of “je est un autre” and I thank the handful of you who read it at least enough to give me “likes.” (“Handful” is right; myself as the “thumb” and four others. I suppose I really am “all thumbs.”)

Some of you will not click the link and read the previous writing. Others did, but may be scratching their heads and wondering “what was his point?” Let me summarize: (1) many have tried to critique Rimbaud but his work is so abstract yet poignant that we are left with many differing opinions; (2) like others, I think Rimbaud had many brilliant moments or “brainstorms” and was having one when he opined “je est un autre” (“I is another”); but (3) I differ from others in that I think Rimbaud was actually complaining about might be called a “capacity issue.”

His profound ideas and experiences vastly exceeded the capacity of words to convey to another (us) his experience. Since the days of Rimbaud (mid 1800’s) some philosophers (notably “phenomenologists”) have addressed this problem extensively as have early psychologists (“structuralists”) in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The problem may be even deeper, as the renowned anthropologist Gregory Bateson (mid to late 20th century) has argued that this kind of consciousness should not be made available to conscious examination.  Since Rimbaud could not have known of the later work, we are left with the elegance of his poetry resulting from his struggles with the problem.

That is the article in a nutshell, but if you want more depth then you must read the original.  And, one more thing: if you are “brilliant” or have fleeting moments of “genius,” then you suffer from precisely the same challenge.

In this article, we build upon a less cryptic, but still debated, comment of Rimbaud: “It is too bad for the wood which finds itself a violin.” Opinions vary, but one popular one is this: what many consider to be a “gift” can be a curse to the one who has the gift. In Rimbaud’s case this would be his writing in general but his poetry in particular. He honored this expression of his feelings and insight when he permanently turned his back on poetry at age twenty never to revisit it again. Instead, he became a successful merchant (in particular as an arms dealer in Africa selling weapons to people who desired to kill each other).

In this article I will not explore the other abstract and a bit weird interpretations of “it is too bad for the wood which finds itself a violin”, like the one by some philosophers that claim Rimbaud was making a distinction between the material of an object and the form of an object. This might possibly be true, but it is like making a distinction between the DNA in one’s cells and how one’s life has developed. At one level it sounds rather profound, and is profound, but at another level one has to ask “so what?” I think, too, that they missed the point that the statement is a metaphor about “giftedness.”

I am no Rimbaud, but I resonate with this statement of his. Over the course of two years, I have built a small family of blogs that has a respectable level of traffic. (Nine years, actually, but the more serious work in the last two.) But since advertising typically pays $10 for 10,000 “impressions,” and I have 30,000 to 50,000 page views per year, I cannot “make a living” out of my blogs and my writings. ($50 a year is not enough to sustain me.) I am not asking for a “go fund me” page or anything like that, but if I do not find a solution to the problem of monetizing my work, soon I will give up (as Rimbaud did) for something more lucrative that likely will be even less memorable than being an “arms dealer in Africa.”

Something tells me, a hunch if you will, that I am not the only one in this position. Please do understand, at this moment, I am not speaking of a teenager or twenty something who believes they have something to say and makes one or two blog posts that sound suspiciously similar to 10,000 other similar posts. (And, I know that the young can have profound things to say; Rimbaud himself is the “poster child” for such things.) I am talking, though, of those dedicated individuals at any age or background who persist in writing entry after entry, poem after poem, but cannot sustain themselves on what little money, if any, that they receive from the blogosphere. I think I am not alone; I think many others face this same problem.

And, I face Rimbaud’s other problem (as I see it) as well: “je est un autre.” Who I am at my core, and what I have to say, only makes it out of my head and through my fingertips into the internet in the thinnest of slivers. It is these tiniest of slivers of which I speak in my piece “And When I die”   Sadly, the remainder will perish when my physical body does, unspoken, unwritten, and lost forever.

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Author: Grandtrines

Like so many people, I am a paradox. I am a politically conservative vegetarian. I am from a Christian background, and still tend to like those values, but am a metaphysical astrologer trained in science who has an interest in the magic of ancient Egypt and a weird belief that some piece of our essence can live on a server. I live in Texas, but like chatting with my international Wordpress pals the best. I learn by teaching. Technically, I am a "Leo," but I am very, very Aquarian with a dose of Scorpio. I bitterly complain about Algol (and Algol personaliites), yet it is the one star that defines me most (other than Regulus). (Which, oddly, makes me an Algol personality.) I am a reclusive lover of peace and quiet who has the Ascendant in the Via Combusta (the most conflict ridden part of the zodiac). I am an incredibly private person with a blog with over 800 followers and 50 to 150 regular daily visitors. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

21 thoughts on “It is too bad for the wood which finds itself a violin”

  1. I’m with you in spirit. Many days anymore I consider abandoning blogging activities. They have always taken A LOT of time and thought with very little ROI [Return on Investment] – but it seems to be headed in an unfortunate direction I may not be ABLE to continue to follow. This may actually be the year I will be forced to quit, as the WordPress Gremlins so-called “improvements” continue to INCREASE the time it takes to edit, format and publish a post that’s much more than a tweet or an image.

    Even the time it takes to leave some kind of thoughtful comment has slowed to a crawl I’m not sure I can afford to accommodate much longer. They seem to be programming to encourage “likes” on two-line reblogs – but when those of us who write the articles jump ship, what will there be to reblog beyond the tortured frustrations of the teens?

    Sad for our world that Corporate Capitalism runs rampant, making it increasingly more difficult for those of us who are NOT among the 1% to make a living that is more than marginal unless we toady to their myopic ways.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WP is trying to capture the mobile market, and 50% (or more) of the traffic is mobile. That said, I think they have a problem. Those of us using desktops / laptops do not like tiny pieces nearly devoid of content. I think the collective decision makers at WP need to think about a spinoff that focuses entirely on mobile and then make mobile more of an “afterthought” here (not excluded but not primary, either). Just “IMHO.” And, yeah, I may have to quit, too, for the reasons you list and the ones I placed in the article. Same thing. Not enough ROI and have to make a living somehow. As the guy in “Ghost” liked to day: “ditto.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Twitter owns the mobile market, and that is just a FACT. Facebook is the only real serious competitor to them, and even that is questionable. (Some of it is age group with Twitter having more of the under 30 share / FB having more of over 30.) But, basically, I think you are right. Platforms come and go, and I hope that WP does not go the way of Geocities and Tripod. (I have a number of old Tripod sites, including the original Grandtrines site: (popup WARNING!!! not my popups; Tripods): Note: somehow “Webring” hijacked my site, so you will probably have to find a way past that mess to see the original site.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That is what I hope. None of us are immortal, so I hope that what I leave behind me can somehow inspire others. Actually, I have been pondering the idea of drawing a comic, so your posts inspire me as well!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We wanted to read the kind of children’s they used to make in the ’70s and ’80s, with great adventure stories. And also we wanted them to have vegetarian characters, and so we decided to start making them ourselves! They say you should write what you want to read 🙂

        And so we just started drawing and writing! The way we do our pictures is not the same as the way Peanuts do it, or Batman, we just started, and this is how we go along 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. And if we do grow tired, then “passing the baton” needs to be well done. I tend to keep that as an underlying theme on my work. I know I will be gone one day, so I hope that I am leaving work that some similar minded person can pick up one day….

        Liked by 2 people

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