Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Too much information, Mother...

"Atlas"
Encouraged by a remark from Cary Bazalgette the other day about the Manifesto for Media Education being "strong on rhetoric and weak on evidence" and, it being half-term, I've launched into my contribution. Several days later I'm sympathising with the politicians Keynes was poking fun at in his quote at the head of this page - too much information really does complicate things.
My target is 1500 words - barely an essay. The problem came to a head yesterday when I sat down to try reducing and refining my 2,300 words and found after an hour or so that I had 2,700. With enormous self-discipline I've got it back down to 2,000. I'm writing this blog as a displacement activity, for I've sworn a solemn oath to leave it well alone today - gathering the strength of mind for slash-and-burn tomorrow.
The problem is that, having given myself the licence to be anecdotal, the anecdotes just keep rolling in. Michelangelo is supposed to have said that sculpture was about releasing the figure from the stone - mind you he did have the advantage of genius. I'm beginning to feel as if I'm trying to release 1500 words from a small mountain of stories.
I encourage myself, too, by remembering that I've always been less moved by the smooth perfection of Michelangelo's David, than by his half-finished pieces, showing the chisel marks and with a real sense that they are wrenching themselves from their block of marble. So I've convinced myself that imperfection is just fine.
All I need now is some genius.