The dangling conversation …

When you’re smiling. Oh when you’re smiling. The whooooooole world smiles with you. (Sing it Louie!) Oh but when you’re … tired, you bring on the yawns. You bring on the yawns.

Did you just sing those words in your head to Louis Armstrong’s famous song, ‘When you’re smiling?’ It would be cool if you did because I just did, and that’s the cool thing about writing – it’s a way of communicating but it’s like this secret way.

Secret because the author and reader have an explicit relationship (it’s definitive. Like clockwork.) One writes, the other reads. Or vice versa.

It’s just like two people who have stepped into a café to have a conversation but one person arrived there a day before the other person … and they don’t each see other anyway because the café is so crowded.

Or sometimes (this is the cool thing about writing – and reading!) one person has got there (there being the place of writing, the place you go when you read) hundreds of years before. Even thousands of years, when you consider the Bible and the Dead Sea scrolls and the ancient time it was written to the modern time in which we read it.

It’s like … (simile overload! ‘It’s like … a clear blue sky’ – remember that from school, when you were learning about similies?! Fun, wasn’t it. Remember school?! Fun, wasn’t it. But that’s another story) … it’s like … Shakespeare.

Shakespeare went and sat in a café (a 16th century Starbucks – if you call Starbucks a cafe) and starts having this conversation. He’s telling you – and anyone who will listen: past, present and future – about this crazy young couple called Romeo and Juliet. And he’ll stay and wait in this café forever, or until his works stop being printed (*fellow literary lover, don’t panic. This may never happen unless you count Armageddon!)

And whoever comes into the café and wants to hear Shakespeare and have this conversation can do so, even if the conversation is indirect and more one-way than two-way, that sort of thing.

And that’s the brilliant thing about writing: it transcends time. Even when (though I’m-not-an-existentialist-black-is-the-best-colour-person-with-an-unnatural-obbsession-with-Dostevsky) the writer dies or becomes disgruntled with the conversation, the works still continue. The conversation – this wonderful thing we have called writing – still goes on.

Speaking of writing, I began this post with a reason. Remember we sang that sweet Louis Armstrong song, and I wrecked it with a post-modern, awful verse – “When you’re tired, oh when you’re tired, the whoooooole world yawns with you.” Or something like that.

Well, this is true. It really is. If there’s anything you want to take from this blog post, don’t take the whole “writing is transcendent” thing. Take instead this very valid and accurate point: when you yawn, other people yawn too.

It’s true. Infact, maybe even thinking about yawning – hearing the word ‘yawn’, imagining some person indulging in a long yawn, reminds us of this.

But what about smiling? Louis seems to think it’s true and he definitely has a point! 🙂

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