I’ve got a million things to do, and none of them are blogging. Yet here I am. Not that I haven’t let this slip, too, but I always let this slip because, you know, blogging doesn’t pay the bills. Any of the bills. Even the small ones. Hell, blogging generates bills.

Why am I spending my time writing a blog post, then? Well, sometimes you just need to. I am behind, and even if I work my ass off all afternoon, I’m still going to be behind whenever I finally go to sleep tonight. I need to work on something that can actually be finished.

I was looking at this really cool bit of pointillism earlier, and lamenting that I don’t have the patience for it, because it sure does look cool.

via Imgur, no idea who the original credit goes to.

In case you don’t know what pointillism is, it’s the use of dots to make make images. It’s how dot matrix printers work, and the photos you see in newspapers, and television screens, and monitors, more or less. In other words it’s one of those things machines do much better than people,  but people still do some pretty cool stuff with it. The underlying concept is simply that, if you make them small enough, little tiny dots are the same thing as solid images to our eyes. We can even create many colors from a few, because the dots blend with those around them (to our eyes), and that’s really cool.

It also involves making lots and lots of little dots, in case that wasn’t clear.  Not at all for me. Or so I thought.

Then, about an hour later, as I was munching on some cereal I had another thought: That’s basically all I do. 

I mean, I spent all today (like almost every day) making larger things out of small pieces to create images, ideas, worlds, etc. Writing is pointillism, just of a really specialized and complex sort. The metaphor really works, except for how it might be a little too perfect to be a metaphor: Objects are created from smaller parts, and then a zoomed-out scale, they create an entire composition; without planning and vision beyond the single dot, they amount to nothing, but without attention to detail, they create something blurry, messy. . .

It lead to another interesting question: Why do I have the patience to put hundreds of thousands of words on paper? I mean, if we’re going with the dots = letters motif, that’s in the millions of dots. That’s pretty high resolution, as pointillism goes. Why do I have patience for one and not the other?

Human hearts and minds are complicated things. It’s extraordinary to me that we like so many different things. For one reason or another our minds gravitate in a thousand different directions, instead of towards a few key points. We’re apes, after all. By all rights, some of us should be more into fruit, but some of us should be going through a phase where we’re just really exploring the intricacies of throwing poop. Instead we’re astronomers, hikers, bikers, fighters, painters, and, yes, writers.

For some strange reason, one sort of dots-on-paper art strikes me (though I appreciate the result) as the absolute pinnacle of tedium, and another slightly different type of dots-on-papering (dopping?) captivates me to near obsession. I don’t have some sort of grand overarching point, or whatever, I just think that it’s a really cool thing. The finest of lines chart the courses of or lives.

Anyway, that’s what was on my mind. I’ve got a ton of commissioned dots-on-paper pieces to work on, so I’d better get back to it.

PS One of the suggested tags for this article is “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” which is both the longest and most specific, by far tag I’ve ever seen. It turns out it’s that painting from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

PPS Some awesome writing music.

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2 Thoughts on “Patience and Pointillism”

  • I love pointillism. I learned about it in high school, and even made several pictures using it. Yeah, it takes forever, but then so does the ability to produce good writing.

    Loved this post, Conner!

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