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Songs Written On Leaves (Or, Lament for a Ludibrium)

I just came across one of the best inadvertent definitions of blogging that I’ve seen in over ten years in the game, and couldn’t resist sharing it. This is from the preface of David Bentley Hart’s new collection of essays, A Splendid Wickedness:

The truth is that essays of this sort—composed sometimes in haste, always in connection with some particular occasion, rarely with any larger project in view—have the form of ephemera; songs written on leaves and then carried away to become the ludibria of the rushing winds.

I decided to go through this quote line by line, comparing Hart’s words about his own essays with the my experience of blogging.

  • Composed sometimes in haste… If, by “sometimes” you mean “almost always,” then yup.
  • Always in connection with some particular occasion… Yes indeed. Why bother blogging unless animated by a deep inner need to offer luminous commentary on any and every event or issue that pops up on our collective radar.
  • Rarely with any larger project in view… Three for three. I occasionally get asked about turning this blog into a book. I scratch my head and wonder what I would call it. Random Stuff I Think About and Write Down doesn’t seem to have much to commend it…
  • Ephemera… According to my dictionary, “Things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time.” Um, yeah. That shoe has a Cinderella-esque fit to it.

Not the most flattering picture so far. Ah, but then there’s that last line.

songs written on leaves…

Gosh that sounds poetic and exhilarating. Almost enough to redeem the less inspiring descriptors that preceded it. Songs Written on Leaves… That would make a pretty good name for a blog, come to think of it. Much better than what I’m operating with at present. And what’s this last part?

and then carried away to become the ludibria of the rushing winds.

What on earth is a ludibria? Well, given that I tend to require the usage of a dictionary roughly once per DB Hart sentence, I wasn’t surprised to face at least one puzzle. An ordinary dictionary didn’t have the word ludibria (apparently it’s not an English word, but after all why would Hart restrict himself to one measly language!) so I had to go hunting around on the Internet.

Ludibriaplural of ludibrium.

Ok, great. And what might a ludibrium be? Ah yes, here we are:

  1. A plaything or trivial game.
  2. A laughing stock.

Sigh.

Should have stopped at songs written on leaves… 

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