I Have Nothing to Say, And I'm Saying It

August 1, 2011

I Have Nothing to Say, And I'm Saying It

August 1, 2011
Reading Time: 3 minutes

I know what you're thinking. There's no dog in this month's masthead. But like the real Europeans they've become, Loki and Juno insisted on taking this month off from working, like everyone else. Don't worry, their regular photos will back this week. I convinced them that taking time off modeling for a masthead was like a month of vacation in dog time. Suckers.

So this month's masthead is inspired from Gerhard Richter, who exhibited a series of abstract paintings, "Cage" at Tate Modern in London. The series  is a tribute to American Composer John Cage, who's quote "I have nothing to say, and I'm saying it" resonates with Richter's own ideas.

It sounds so Seinfeld.  A painting about nothing. A song about nothing. Blogs about nothing.

Richter's series of paintings were built in successive layers, each one scraped back and painted again. When you look at them, you can almost make out a figure or an object. The paintings developed in ways that couldn't be anticipated by Richter when he started them.

Cage is also known for introducing elements of chance into writing and performing music. "I have nothing to say and I'm saying it," resonates most strongly in his controversial composition, 4'33."

Now if you're like me and aren't familiar with the piece, you'll go to iTunes, look it up and press play. Then you'll turn up the volume because you aren't sure if you can hear it.  Then you'll play other music on your PC to be sure iTunes is working properly before heading over to Wikipedia to find out: WTF ? There's no sound played. It's a composition of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence---in three movements no less. Each movement starts and ends with the pianist opening and closing the keyboard.

But the beauty of this? It's sold on iTunes for 99 cents. Now that's genius. Why can't I think of making money for saying nothing? Life's not fair.

But seriously, when you listen to Cage, now deceased, talk about his theory on sound and silence, then it may not seem so absurd. But Mr. Wild Dingo, who overheard it, didn't exactly agree.  I won't relay Mr. Wild Dingo's exact words. While Cage's theory seemed clever (to me anyway), I'm not sure I'd pay 99 cents for that piece.

True story: When I was a toddler, my mother took me to the doctor and told him: "She never speaks. Is there something wrong with her?" The doctor laughed and replied, "She just has nothing to say."

Well that all changed because now I "say nothing" all the time. Mr. Wild Dingo will be the first to agree that I talk a lot. Ridiculous? I talk about it. Trivial? I say it. Absurd? It rolls off my tongue. None of it has any real meaning. Yet, I feel the need to say it. And this blog is no less an extension of a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of noise. It's quite opposite of Cage's original intention. Yet the quote fits it perfectly.

What I like best about the quote is how many ways it can be spun. Perhaps as one blogger pointed out that it expresses an attitude for allowing the viewer, listener or reader to form his own opinion. I can see that. Look at my painting, listen to my song, read my poem. Form your own opinion. What a welcome relief from mass marketing and politics thrust in our faces today.

Richter is equally as ambiguous as Cage when he claims: "I don't know what I want; I am inconsistent, non-committal, passive; I like the indefinite, the boundless; I like continual uncertainty."  Welcome to the world inside my head.

I've always wanted to write a book. But I can never decide what to write about. If I publish a book of blank pages, do you think it will sell?

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11 comments on “I Have Nothing to Say, And I'm Saying It”

  1. WTF? Maybe you can sell some bottles of Swiss air while you're at it. I'm with MWD on that whole musical piece. On the other hand, if he can get people to pay 99 cents for dead air, more power to him. Just affirms my fears that there are way too many simple minded folks on this planet for my taste.

    I think your blank book would sell a ton with the right publicist. Of course some people might be tempted to write stuff on the pages thereby defacing it. The horror.

    Does MWD get a month off too? How civilized.

    Mango Momma

  2. I live with continual uncertainty (it's called a husband with a bi-polar disorder! 😉 ) so, I'm less keen on it. However, all that aside, I have a few random comments.

    1) You mean blogs are supposed to be about something? *shit* I've been going at this all wrong.
    2) You could totally publish a book of blank pages - it's called a self-help book. Or... You could market it as a 'starter blog' (you know, what we used to call diaries when we were 12 and wrote about the 'cute boy' in math class who really was an ass, but we didn't know better at the time?).
    3) I think my psychiatrist (he came with the bi-polar husband) will TOTALLY get a kick out of 4'33. He's a big fan of classical music AND irony. He'll probably laugh himself sick.
    4) It's very kind of you to give the dogs a vacation from being in a photograph. I'm sure they appreciate it. Just about as much as Mr. WD appreciates you having nothing to say and saying it! 😉 (My husband? NO appreciation for the fact that I have nothing to say and say it all the time!)

    -Dr. Liz (who has just spent a whole lot of letters saying nothing... surprise, surprise!)

  3. You could title your book, "I have nothing to say, and I'm saying it." Would that be plagiarism? But how could it be, if the pages are blank?! Hmmmm. Oh, never mind!

  4. Ha ha ha! I have to agree with Dr. Liz, especially about the first point! I, too, have been going about it all wrong!

    Good grief, people play for "spray on" clothes, and you question whether you'd be able to sell a book with blank pages? The great P.T. Barnum said it best, "There's a sucker born every minute!"

  5. Unfortunately, the blank pages book has already been written and published. I wonder if you could get sued for copyright for a blank book?

  6. Your mom gave you the title: She never speaks. Is there something wrong with her?......She just has nothing to say! 99cents plz!

    hi loki. hi juno.. so lucky to have time off!

  7. Too deep for us. We're very practical, literal sorts of doggies. We think to get paid you should actually produce something of value. Too bad for our economy that Wall Street is of the 'sell the suckers nothing, take the money and run' philosophy, sort of an economic version of 4'33" [which to our literal minds means 4 feet and 33 inches BTW]. As the great Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

    Jed & Abby

  8. OK, it took mama three days to figure out that Cage lifted the 'minutes' and 'seconds' annotation in 4'33" from latitude and longitude measurements in degrees, minutes and seconds. Not the brightest bulb in the pack, our mama.

    Jed & Abby

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