Lanier “Prattle”

Lanier Prattle

Lacey’s Spring, Alabama


The Interested

When faced with the reality of being a non-traditional student, many notions arrive at the forefront. Being the same age or older than the instructors, and much older than classmates vanquishes all prospect of normative behavior. The study of literature, distinctly American Literature, can be overwhelming, but the hidden reward comes in the struggle with correction which has led to an obsession. Thus, for all the effort and forced expansion of thought searching among the endless, mindless, hurried reading and mechanical responses comes the inevitable manifestation, the discovery of focus. A sudden passion for writing; starting in the darkness as a spider travels sporadically across the floor, to rest on one’s stockinged foot, as readings of Poe echo in the large, under-furnished room. Abruptly, the huge, frightening, savage appears, drinking ale from the skull of a vanquished. And the writing begins.

It is said, Socrates did not believe in writing, he felt, knowing is not in the memorization of words in a particular order from a page, knowing is…knowing. Many have written of his life and death and drinking poison before compromising one’s heartfelt reason, is the epitome of offering life for a chosen path. Copernicus acknowledged the philosophy of Socrates in stating, “To know that we know what we know, that is true knowledge. “There have been many writers of war, there have been many opportunities, as bent on destruction as our species has proved to be. Somewhat in the middle of our history is the timelessness of Ambrose Bierce. A wounded hero of the American Civil War, Bierce wrote from the first-person mindset of experience. Taking a cue from Bierce, it is possible to make a difference, at least in some small way, by bringing only dignified, intelligent, humans to a meeting of the minds. In so, proposing such a blog, dedicated to the sharing of ideas and ideals.

The beginning proposal, in the interest of encouraging a gathering for even-minded, socially conscious, pragmatic problem solvers, is the use of Ambrose Bierce’s, The Devil’s Dictionary. Combined with counterpoint from diverse sources with an opening for other helpful, well thought out, constructive representative points of view from anyone more concerned with communication than in being right.

Broken down, a space where one may be heard not above the noise, but on an equal plane. The point is to share, at which point others can see and respond, not with critique, but with their use of the particular word. The obvious wit of Ambrose Bierce should be construed as merely a comforting effort at whimsey to enhance the ideas we share.

To begin: The Devil’s Dictionary states the definition of “Abnormal, adj. Not conforming to standard. In matters of thought and conduct, to be independent is to be abnormal, to be abnormal is to be detested.”

Whereas: regards, “Abnormal, adj. Not normal, average, typical, or usual: deviating from a standard.

(From the nineteen-fifties comes the mantra of American youth, “I want to be different, everybody is doing it!” All in the same breath.)

We show our collective, culturally selective nature by using the word, “Abnormal.” The word strikes fear when used within a doctor’s prognosis, parents straining to see something on a newborn’s MRI. How can such a word be used to describe what mere culture would have us believe is a negative attribute? Someone with an obvious physical difference from people we see daily. In addition to dealing with the challenge they realize more than anyone, why should they also be required to endure being on the same level as a medical scare?

Thank you for your time and input.