Nevermore?

I don’t know about you but when I encounter a post more than three or four paragraphs long, I tend to glaze over before I get to the end and I often leave the page without finishing (unless it’s something I want to keep for future reference, in which case I’ll save the link for follow-up). My stated goal in writing for this blog  – not entirely facetious – has been to become something of a “Minor Master of the Three-Paragraph Essay,” and I think I’m closing in on that objective with only occasional backsliding into my more verbose technical/legal style when the subject is difficult or complicated (See? Once an engineer, always an engineer, I suppose.)

My own longer posts can occasionally turn into Byzantine marvels of high-flown verbiage ( a friend once sardonically called it “fancy writing”) despite honest attempts to prune them. But I promise not to cheat and spew out fractured paragraphs of five-word sentences or dump in multiple semicolons and parenthetical asides to brake the wordy rambling and create the illusion of brevity (that last one will absolutely kill me). Elegant writing is generally simple writing, but I’m probably too far gone to get there by merely willing it to happen, so I try to come up with daily screeds to keep sharpening those skills. I’m not doing this to increase readership, I’m doing it to keep the readers I have who never know what they’re going to get from the blogger’s candy box: a yummy chocolate-covered treat or a dragged-out, tiresome turd. If you can’t stay for the learning experience, at least stick around for the humor!

But where does a writer and thinker on the subject of divination turn for stylistic inspiration? Books by other writers and thinkers, obviously, on a wide range of related topics. Unfortunately, books are expensive to buy and not all of the best recent ones have e-book editions; frankly, I would rather hold a printed version in my hands anyway. I would need to find a public repository the size of the Great Library of Alexandria to have any hope of borrowing them. Blogs are notoriously hit-or-miss; these days anyone can become a published on-line writer whether or not they have the knack or skill for it. YouTube videos are frequently awkward for the same reason, and so much of our access to information is now limited to small bites retrieved on our smart-phones. Forgive me for thinking this is all quite sterile in a socially-interactive sense.

What is missing from the picture is a thoughtful face-to-face exchange of views conducted freely among like-minded practitioners of the divinatory arts. The modern approach to such communication is more of the impersonal “push” variety than a true dialogue. Yes, there are regional and national symposia, but I could buy a lot of books by the famous presenters for the price of admission. I’ve tried to hunt down meet-up groups in my local area, but they’re all money-making ventures rather than free-wheeling “idea mills.” I’ve even tried to start my own small gatherings to no avail.  I did attend stimulating monthly tarot meetings where I used to live, but then we moved. I think I’m living in the wrong era. Where are the occult philosophers who used to assemble for the simple pleasure of bouncing their imaginative mental excursions off one another? Are they all now tethered to the end of an electronic leash? Those were rhetorical questions, and I think Edgar Allan Poe knew the answer:

Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

 

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