The Macquarie Dictionary defines linear as that ‘involving measurement in one dimension only; relating to length’. One theory is that ‘books are linear and foster concentration, while the web, with all its hyperlinks, is kinetic, scattered, all over the place.’
You know, my brain sometimes feels like the web would look if it could ever be mapped visually – scattered, fragmented, incomplete but seemingly connected. Conversations with colleagues stop, start, stop and then fizzle out. As I issue instructions to the kids, words that aren’t connected to the moment fall from my mouth. They relate to tomorrow’s thought and have arrived too early: brush your homework, can you pick up that dog ? Put her on the cupboard!
Conversations take tangents. They don’t always resemble a straight thread and can start at one point and end at the frayed edges of a thousand others. For example, every Saturday morning I have coffee with Margot. The conversation usually starts with her apologising for something. She’s that sort of person – very apologetic – even though it was I who was late because I had to return some books to the library.
I’m reading ‘Middlemarch’ by George Eliot (I love a good frock drama). Margot is reading ‘Just Kids’, by Patti Smith. She doesn’t really listen to the music anymore, but we both agree that ‘Horses’ was her finest album.
Anyway, Patti Smith’s boyfriend at one time was Robert Mapplethorpe , the photographer of some renown. They both listened to Tim Buckley, who coincidentally Margot is wearing to death on her kitchen CD player, and Tim Hardin. Not knowing who Tim Hardin is, Margot did a Google and discovered that he wrote ‘If I were a carpenter’, which has been covered by just about everyone from Bobby Darin (my favourite) to Robert Plant (yuck).
I didn’t know Margot used Google. She’s in her fifties and only recently learned how to use email. She is a big fan of blogs, having discovered craft blogs when she started a textile diploma last year, and told me her favourites. She visits sosewpoppy (created by a colleague in her class), wrenhandmade and the brooklyn flea (which can take you to a myriad of places).
So we talked music and craft and latest finds at op shops. Margot is going to set up her own blog soon (I can teach her now!) and call it “What have you got, Margot?” (as McGarrett said to Danno, in Hawaii Five-O.)
Anyway, my point is that conversations can be like reading on the web. They are networked, like spaghetti.
They can end abruptly, like this.