What is this about?
Good question. I tell my students that part of the reason they should be writing is because it’s a tool towards figuring things out, sorting out ideas, delving into what might actually be floating around in your head. I guess it’s a lot like praying in that way, except with more typos. And someone might actually read what you write. I’m not as sure about prayer.
So this is a lot like praying, except that this almost never matters very much, except when it does. My best writing is about the people I love, since the best ideas and inspirations come from them. A lot of other stuff is narcissistic diatribe. I’m not sure what that last part means, but I’m glad that someone might be reading it, paying attention to me.
The original intent, if you’re really wondering, was to have a place to start writing ideas, things that might never see light of day otherwise. Much of this doesn’t deserve that much. It was actually a sabbatical exercise. Since then, I’ve continued, and often it spurs some good ideas or gives me a chance to try them on. Long ago, I more often tried to be academic, since that’s the nature of my occupation and my occupations. More recently, it’s become a blur of musing between work and family happenings and the psyche.
Mostly, though, it’s prayer, but less thoughtful, less reverent, and with less salvation to offer.
Why “zeroth draft” ?
This comes from a couple of different places. First, there are some things we create that are so fundamental that they’re more or less obvious, and because of this we forget about them. The “zeroth law of thermodynamics” is one of them — the statement that two objects in contact with one another will reach the same temperature. It’s so obvious we forgot, so basic that we had to add it in later, after other laws of thermodynamics, fitting it before the first by calling it the zeroth.
Then, there’s the notion of drafts. These are the very most basic of drafts in most cases. Anne Lammott describes “shitty first drafts.” I’ve at least read these, usually, and I occasionally edit things that would embarrass me. But for the most part it’s basic, shitty, zeroth. Sometimes I work on something more, or I come back and use something later, but most of it is just this very basic layer of background noise that I feel like I need to get formed before other ideas will have a place to be set upon.