I’ve been having difficulty controlling bits of irrational anger lately. The only explanation I can think of is constipation. Nothing physical, mind you—just mental. There has been so much information flowing into my head with almost none of it finding its way out. It may have to do with my cloistered semester—I have almost no physical contact with people other than my girlfriend. Talking is the way that I tend to get ideas worked out. Writing is similar, but much slower.
When Wood s Lot and Akma pointed at Writing With Images I should have been thrilled. Instead, I found myself angry. This is the same material that I’ve been plowing through at an increasingly rapid rate, neatly organized and formed into a class. My first thought was: “Why don’t I ever have an original idea? Everything I think of has been done before . . .” The second thought was: “Who did this? If this class is from some young lion, I might as well roll over and play dead.” That’s when I started to get angry at myself, and started feeling really stupid. I couldn’t be satisfied until I figured out whose class it was—there was no credit anywhere on the linked pages. I got really mad about that.
I know all this is irrational. I should have been really relieved when I found out it was George L. Dillon. Thirty years in the field makes a difference, you know? I was most relieved by his attempt at a similar project from two years before— The Rhetoric of HTML. It is nowhere near as polished, functional, and comprehensive. People get better. I hope to get better myself.
I don’t know what I meant to accomplish by this rant, but I had to get it out of my head. I think it’s just that overwhelming feeling of turning over every stone and finding an iceberg underneath. The scariest thing is thinking of things, and then reading a nice destruction of that idea in the next book you pick up. The anger is irrational. I should be happy that someone else is there to help save me from wasting too much time on untenable ideas, or to map out (in a really eerie way) the material I’ve been reading for the last four months.