The importance of finding what I don’t need, I need

I used to read wood s lot a lot more often, back before my feed reader supplanted my hand-made linky start page. It doesn’t, still, have a feed. So I go back once in awhile when I remember, and I’m always struck by the mix on display there: Jane Cooper’s poem “Ordinary Detail” and Scott Conarroe’s photography and quotes from articles like “A Very Blackwater Thanksgiving”. [Permalinks are not fine-grained, so you might have to poke around a bit, but the stuff is there. After this visit I created a feed with page2rss, not sure how well that will work, but I figured it’s worth a try.]

It’s the juxtapositions that I like — it isn’t immediately obvious to me why he picked those things, or how, even if they are connected. Not everything is interesting to me, but enough is. It’s like browsing in a really good bookstore or flipping through channels and seeing what’s on PBS or Discovery or A&E, which in my mind and because I don’t have cable, I imagine will have interesting things on. Things like Easter Island heads, deep undersea creatures, quirky artists, and obscure academics who discover and translate dead languages.

This sort of potentially serendipitous browsing is important. I figure everything I read, I shouldn’t know ahead of time I’ll want to read. That’s why I like the things magazine blog, it is a narrative in the barest sense, not even quotes, just strings of links that are sometimes more connected than others. It isn’t like I’m going to go looking for the the animated gif appreciation society, but I’m not unhappy to find the blinking three-eyed fish there.

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