Monday, July 13, 2009

Rebooting Blues

Franz Marc, The Blue Fox

Is the blue fox anything like the black dog? As I get ready to close this blog (although not to delete it) and embark on a successor, I've been trying to arrive at a name that will be just right. I decided it ought to have "blue" in the title, for multiple reasons. It is a beloved hue, that of sea and sky, and it also denotes melancholia, which seems to me the paradigmatic mental disorder.

For Novalis and the German Romantics, the "blue flower" also symbolized the unattainable object of the poetic quest. I thought about simply naming the new blog "The Blue Flower," but that is a bit, well, flowery, not to mention the fact that several blogs--most of them defunct by now of course--have borne that title already (as did Penelope Fitzgerald's wondrous historical novel about Novalis's short life). So I thought about "The Blue Blossom" or "The Blue Bloom," but these were either too alliterative or too, well, "blooey."

I love both the color and the word "ultramarine" ("beyond the sea"), but a long-dead blog already bears that title. Similarly "lapis lazuli," but that would be a bit baffling. "The Blue Book" or "The Blue Blog" would be nicely whimsical, but little more, and are probably already taken too. I considered "bolt from the blue," but it seemed trite; "the blue bulletin" seemed flat. "The blue bulb" carries the intriguing double meaning, both botanical and incandescent, but somehow didn't seem to flow.

So I thought about borrowing a blue phrase from Emily Dickinson, my poetic ideal. Her poems famously mention "my blue peninsula" as well as "a slash of blue," but believe it or not, now-expired blogs have used those titles also. Other instances include "breadths of blue," "withes of supple blue," and "inns of molten blue." Finally appeared the blue example that struck Goldilocks as being just right:

The Brain -- is wider than the Sky --
For -- put them side by side --
The one the other will contain
With ease -- and You -- beside --

The Brain is deeper than the sea --
For -- hold them -- Blue to Blue --
The one the other will absorb --
As Sponges -- Buckets -- do --

The Brain is just the weight of God --
For -- Heft them -- Pound for Pound --
And they will differ -- if they do --
As Syllable from Sound --

Blue to Blue--that's it, reflecting the refracting contributions of psychiatry and poetry, and without the stiff quasi-professional patina of Ars Psychiatrica. Blue to Blue juxtaposes brain and Earth, the vastness of the one rivaling the enormity of the other. Other areas of medicine deal merely with the humdrum body, while psychiatry confronts the universe of consciousness. "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, if it were not that I have bad dreams," Hamlet said. Poetry at its best acts as a rupture in reality, swinging open a portal onto the void.

As subtitle I'm thinking of "Psychology, Speculation, and Sea Change" (I'm a sucker for sibilants). According to Ariel:

Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

This summons another fascination, that of self-transformation, by self and of self by the sea of media and molecular influences we swim in. What about ourselves can be changed? How and how much? Should we change or merely accept?

The new blog's content will probably be similar to this, although with more emphasis on poetry (perhaps even--groan--some of my own). Under construction.
Addendum: Yes, others came to mind--"Blue Lagoon," "Baby Blue," "Blue Devil," and "Blue's Clues"--but, alas, all already used. "Cyanotic" might still be available, come to think of it.


Anonymous said...

How about borrowing from Linda Ronstadt and using "Blue Bayou"?
It contains the requisite "blue" and promotes and image of looking out on tranquil waters as you compose your thoughts about mental illness, life, spirituality, poetry, etc...
Or, what about using the title of the classic movie "Blue Brothers" but making Brother singular?

By the way, whatever happened to the cats and the fence?

Retriever said...

Blue Moon....rare and also the connection with the classical insulting term lunatics...

Blue Iris....exquisite, blooms a day or two then gone (like a blog post),

Blue Suede Shoes NOT

Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Blueberry Pie

Nah, can't think of any good ones...

Dr X said...

Blue Shoots

Anonymous said...

And then there's "Blue Light Special" and "Blue Plate Special"--both denoting low prices. Afterall, you offer your observations at the lowest price possible!

Anonymous said...

blue room? - the local psych hospital has padded blue chill out rooms

Anonymous said...

May I?

In Blue Vain
All Blue Is Vanity
The Sound of Blue
In Blue
The Thin Blue Line
Blue Lines
To Be Blue Or Not
To Be Blue Or Not, That Is The Question
An Uncertain Blue
The Frog WHo Croaked Blue (it's the title of a book on synesthesia)
The Cat Who mieowed Blue
A Certain Blue
Life In bLue
The Blue
The Big Blue
Either/Or Blue
Where Blue Fears To Tread
In The Shadow of Blue
The Great Blue Dome
Blue and Nothingness
All Is BLue
Between The Blues
From Here To Blue
From Blue To NOthing
Fear and Blue
Blue Night of The Soul
In Two Blues
Blue - What Is It Good FOr?
War + Blue
Raging Blue
Furiously Blue
Much Blue and Fury
In Blue Jest
The Truth of Blue
The Wisdom of BLue
The Voice of Blue
The Blue Cat
All Cats Are Blue
The Philosophy of Blue
The Meaning of Blue
Blue As Meaninglessness
The Meaningless of Blue
A means To a Blue End
Blue In-and-of-itself
A Blue End
The Meaning of Blue
A Life Less Blue
The Blue SLate
The Blue Confessions
Dr. Blue
The SHrinking Blue
The Blue of The System
Blue In Modern THought
Blue Delirium
The Nature of Being Blue
The IMportance of Being Blue
The Blue Mirror
The Blue Theatre
The Theory of Blue
All Smurfs Are Blue
The Blue Void
The Strange Case of Blue
The Blue Files
A Pound of Blue
The Devil Is In The Blue
Better The Blue You Know
The Blue Bore
In Blue Transit
The Madness of Blue and Other Curiosities
The Poetic Madness of Blue
The Two Faces of Blue
The Blue Symposium
The Blue Shrink
Feet of Blue
The Undetermined Blue
The Willful Blue
Blue Made Me Do It
Willful Blueness
Will as Blue
Blue As Will
Blue Crimes and Other Poetries
The Impossible Blue
Blue Straw
There's No Place Like Blue
The Blue Paradigm
The Unexamined Blue
The Unexamined Blue Is Not Worth Living
A Fragment of Blue
Blue Nausea
The Last Blue

...I could go on, but..

Pity about 'A Slash of Blue'. Maybe 'The Blue Scalpel'?

I like 'Blue To Blue'- it suits you.

Blue...bleu..blur....what is blue?

Anonymous said...

The Eye of The Blue
The Blue Division
The New Blue
The Blue THinker
In The Key of Blue
A Dash of Blue --
Blue Overkill
The Imp of Blue
Blue Ink
The Blue Exhibition
Blue Believer
The Blue Agnostic
What Blue?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Are you also changing your pseudonym?

...I mean, I have suggestions...

Novalis said...


To paraphrase Emily:

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,
I'm Nobody--who are You?

I didn't mean to get you so--exercised--about a cerulean question. But thanks for the tint hints...

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think names/titles are overrated anyway....

...Wait! I have another suggestion for you or your blog:


Novalis said...

Suitably cryptic, but I'm afraid Google couldn't take it--the whole system would crash.

There was the initial question, I believe from a presumably different (and coherent) Anonymous about the fate of the cats (who thank you for asking about them).

We have our six-foot tall iron fence in the back, which most of the cats just hop back and forth over and go where they please. But it may serve as a visual placebo for the "neighbors," for there have been no additional traps. They did plant a few fir trees on the property boundary, which they hope, I assume, will increasingly shield them from the sight of our unbearable felinity over time (by which time we hope to be somewhere else).

Anonymous said...

Yes, you presumed correctly that I am a different anonymous. Over the past year, I have only commented a few times and recently have been unable to put in a name when commenting. Thank you for saying I'm more coherent--you have defintely been witness to times when I have not been so.

I wondered if the fence would work when you mentioned it. I adopted a hound/Border Collie mix (40 lbs) 2 summers ago and had a 6 ft fence installed. Shortly after this, she jumped the fence twice in a two week period (the first time was literally the day after I'd put her ID tag on the collar). There was no evidence of digging and the gate is locked, so no roving band of teenagers could have let her out. I don't know how she managed. Ironically, I mowed later and discovered 2 days later that I'd left the gate open---she stayed in regardless! I guess there's no challenge in walking out through an open gate! I wondered that with cats being more agile than a medium sized hound how that would go. Sorry to hear it didn't work as planned but at least the "neighbors" haven't taken any further action.

Anonymous said...

Novalis, I'll take the descriptive 'incoherent' label as a compliment - being the very liberal/post-modern/open-minded person that I am.

Why cohere anyway? Everything falls apart eventually.

I make sense! I'm common!...I'm commonly sensical!...I mean...I have meaning...!

...I mean... nothing

(you're offensive)

Novalis said...

Did I imply "incoherent?" I meant of course "spontaneous."