Sunday, February 28, 2010

cessations, part 1

Happy to have returned to this blog from a hiatus of almost two weeks, I ponder the meaning of hiatus and feel compelled to compare it with other kinds of stopping.

When one of my grad school buddies (could've been student or faculty) described Spencer's Faerie Queene as "elaborately truncated" I almost laughed in his or her face. Hey! The man stopped writing. To me, truncate suggests a chopping off of something that's already there. Did someone think Spencer finished his epic (with a quill pen, presumably) and then edited it by lopping parts off the end? Or pitching pages of parchment into the Thames, to run softly out to sea while he ended his song?

BTW a truncated dactyl is either an iamb or a trochee, depending on which end you chop off, whereas a truncated molossus is a spondee any way you slice it. Oh-oh-oh them metrical feet! Someday when I'm in a reminiscent frame of mind I'll try to tell the Spondee Story.

Getting back to hiatus (as opposed to getting back from a hiatus), I think it's the getting back that identifies the stopping as having been a hiatus. The word hiatus is popular in show business, often as a euphemism for unemployment.

During my recent hiatus from this blog, I was hoping that the cessation would indeed turn out to be a recess and not a termination. It was daunting to admit that I was not really emulating William Carlos Williams' regimen of daily writing to the extent that I'd hoped. At last, however, I convinced myself that WCW might not have blogged every day. His quick scratchings were intended not for release to the public but for later mulling and refinement.

Where WCW laid aside many sow's ears for later stitching, I attempt a silk purse in one or two tries and leave the sow's ears stored in Google Blogger's commodious cyberstorage bin -- a virtual desk drawer or shirt pocket.

That's all, folks! More talk of cessations will be forthcoming after a hiatus for some gardening.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License