Re: Tell me if you've heard this one.

Steve Witham (
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 00:56:03 -0400

Okay, this time I'm replying to the list on purpose rather than by
accident. Kennita says:

>>>... You're supposed to screw up your eyes, look off into space for
>>a bit, and then say, "I *get* it! I get *it!*..." etc.
>If it's an IQ test, I flunk. I've been over it and over it, and I don't
>get it.

Kennita, you're not the only one. Sorry, the thing about "getting it"
was a joke. The piece itself was meant as, well, what it was: a
series of semi-related things that look like broken beginnings of jokes or
koans or dreams or short stories... all pasted together in a fast sequence
so it looks like it's a poem or song lyric, or trying to go somewhere.

> A couple of times I thought maybe I did, but when I checked, what
>I was thinking didn't make sense.

Oh! In that case, you *did* get it!

I've just finnished a couple books by Thomas Moore: _Care of the Soul_ and
_The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life_. One of the things he stresses
repeatedly is that good art, like myths and dream imagery, doesn't
admit to any single interpretation. Instead it gives your mind something
to get interested in, wonder about, vamp on, get lost in, etc. "Tell me
if you've heard this one" was my first piece of, er, improvised writing
since reading Moore. The things in "Tell me" that look almost sensible I
didn't think about until after I'd written them.

I think Franklin VanArdoy gets a B. Extra points for saying it's a
schizophrenia test, but then points off for saying "You don't want to
pass it." How mundane! What is this world coming to!?

Hal Dunn gets a B, too, for saying it's either nonsense or code. True,
but *then* what? The correct response to nonsense would have been to
decode it.

Shaun Russell gives *me* a B, I think (honored if so), by saying " has
you thinking, doesn't it?"

Thanks, all.


--           Steve Witham          web page under reconsideration