Thursday, September 3, 2009

beautiful; or, let's start with the intellectual and work from there

The "theme" this month for NaBloPoMo is beautiful; and yes the word theme is in quotes because I don't get it. Beautiful is an adjective. It is a description. Beautiful is temporal. What is she? She is a woman.What kind of woman? She is a beautiful woman. She will always be a woman, whether or not she remains beautiful is unkown. I do, after all, make my meager living as a writing insructor, so I am more than aware that as an  adjective Beautiful is limited by time. Nouns are permanent. What is she? She is a Beauty

Perhaps, I am struggling with this concept because I am in a career that is obsessed with Beauty.Yes, I do mean Capital B Beauty. And, no, not in the way you might think. As a student--and now an instructor--in the humanities Beauty has always been a much discussed topic. Writers, Poets, and Artists have been trying to represent Beauty since the beginning of  of said writing, poetry, and art. In my own world in the field of English, there is a whole field of literary study called Aesthetics which is basically dedicated to the study of Beauty. So, I come to this word with a bit of history about the difference between Beauty and beauty.

I am not complaining, so much as I am going to take this month to explore this idea of the word beautiful. Today, I start with definition and contextualization. The word is an adjective meaning something that is pleasing to the senses, very good or enjoyable. Hmm. Such a light definition for a topic we spend so much time and energy worrying about. I understand the power behind this term and I do plan on getting to that later in the month.But for now, just think about how you use the term. To what do you apply the label of beautiful? What is beautiful to you?


  1. At first, I thought I could totally write on the "theme" but it turns out that I can't, at least not yet. I have such a problem with what I term beautiful. I keep veering toward what makes me happy, where I find moments of happiness, but *not* on what I think is beautiful.

  2. I was thinking about this. I haven't come up with too much (and I've sort of lost a lot of what I was thinking about it) except that I am thinking about a Paperboys song called "Dilapidated Beauty." What is a dilapidated beauty? A ruin, I guess, something where you can see what it used to be, but the ruin-ness somehow makes it more beautiful, or maybe even beautiful if it wasn't before.

    And the other thought, which is that I can think of interesting things that are not beautiful, but not beautiful things that are not interesting. So I think that if something is beautiful, then by definition it interests you, it draws the attention of your senses.

    I'm a bit out of practice thinking of abstruse things. I miss it.

  3. V-- I know what you mean. But, the more I think about the word, "beautiful," the more I realize that we do use it to mean things that we like. Either we have lowered it's meaning by overusage, or we really mean something less pedestrian, and just don't know the language to describe it. I don't know.

    Anni-- I love the idea of "dilipidated beauty"! It is so gothic. Almost the sublime.

    I too miss the abstruse thinking that we engaged in so much as students of literature! Now, as a writing instructor it is so much more a concrete process. It is all about structure and practices and rules... interesting!