03 December 2005

Theory of whitespace

is it possible the primary difference
between poetry and prose
is the cost of whitespace?

so in

where whitespace is





there may come a
poetic revival

as the
of whitespace
is re-appreciated

5 years ago i proposed that xml's
hierarchy-of-containers model

reflected nerd-neurosis
more than creative psychology

(what kind of blogger
makes a mental outline
before beginning to write?)

and that text composition is really about
blocks of text
separated by expressively-sized gaps

where whitespace is the cheapest form of
gap-size expression

for my online edition of the legendary
punctuationless last chapter
of Ulysses

i extended Nabokov's advice by adding
not commas but linebreaks

which experience drove home for me
how most punctuation is about pauses

comma short
fullstop medium
paragraph long
sectionbreak longer
chapterbreak longest

Joyce reliably edited
to minimise punctuation
which he distrusted
famously protesting that 'inverted commas
add an air of unreality to a page'

so if he could have afforded the
he might have done away too
with commas and fullstops
and used transparent linebreaks