Wonders Across the World

Cynicism is an easy response to life.

(It’s also often a funny response to life, which may be a good part of its appeal. Sarcasm, satire, parody, stand-up comedy, cartoons — all depend for their success on the glib assumption not that some things are better than others, but that many, perhaps most, things are worse than others.)

Famously, Theodore Sturgeon once claimed — in a formulation known commonly as Sturgeon’s Law — that “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” More often than not, Sturgeon’s Law is cited as a commentary on that ninety percent. This disregards its original use: as a defense of the ten percent. The idea is that you can’t reasonably point to some class of popular culture (science fiction, in Sturgeon’s case) and extrapolate from the merely largest chunk of it to the entire class. Another way of stating it, indeed, is: Ten percent of everything is worth paying attention to, even celebrating.

Author Rebecca Ramsey seems to be a fierce and whimsical proponent of the notion that there might be an inexhaustible supply of things worth paying attention to, even celebrating. Granted, she’s only been blogging since April. But it’s astonishing that every day, she finds something to cheer about.

Her blog goes by the apropos moniker Wonders Never Cease. And if, because of that title or because of my description so far, you guess that it’s a fatuous “Everything Is Beautiful” inanity… Well, just look at the site.

The idea is to focus on a single good thing or experience every day, not writing about it in airy lyrical terms but in punchy!!! prose with lots, LOTS! of exuberant and especially SHORT!!! phrases/sentences, generously exclamation-pointed, and illustrated with plentiful photos from Flickr and other sources.

What kinds of topics does she cover? The most recent posts in her “Wonders of Nature” category might give you a good idea:

  • the Passion of Carl and Lilian Sandburg!
  • the Cone!
  • the feather!
  • the Clothesline! And Other Dryers!
  • The Sheep!
  • the Dragon! All kinds!
  • Raisins!
  • Playing With Numbers!
  • Funny Sneezing!

Unlike most blogs’ posts, those at Wonders Never Cease defy quotation — unless one also wants to incorporate all the images and YouTube videos. However, just to give you a sense of what it’s like, here’s a snippet from the start of “the passion of Carl and Lilian Sandburg” entry:

Romance, Books, Homes, and Goats! What More Could You Want?

Today’s Wonder of the World is…the Passion of Carl and Lilian Sandburg!

Stop!
Stop yawning, you!
We’re talking PASSION here, people!
Passion that involves four of my favorite things: Romance, Books, Historic Homes, and…GOATS!
Yes, you read correctly!
I like goats almost as much as I like sheep.
And so did the Sandburgs.
Allow me to explain.

For my birthday, my sweet daughter came home from college (see Sleeping Beauty in her very own bed in yesterday’s post) so we celebrated with a trip up to Flat Rock, North Carolina, to Carl Sandburg’s home.

It’s called Connemara, and it’s a beautiful place.
We go there every few years, and I get inspired every time we stroll the grounds and tour their house.

Let me tell you about their passions!
PASSION ONE: Each other!
Carl and Lilian were completely devoted to each other and honored each other’s passions as well. Carl’s passion for writing was well known, but Lilian was famous internationally in her own right as a breeder of goats! In fact, they only moved to Connemara because she thought it’d be a better place for raising her herd.

Carl would work all night, until 5am, when when Lilian would rise to feed the goats. Every morning she would leave his breakfast/lunch on a tray for him outside his room, to eat when he got up around noon.
I’d love to live like that, if Todd would be Lilian and I could be Carl.
Sadly, Todd just doesn’t love goats.

(That last line is fairly characteristic: sort of a wry, soft dig in the ribs which brings the tone down to earth, anchoring it so that the crazy prose doesn’t soar off into the sky.)

Tomorrow, Rebecca has declared to be “Wonders of the World Wednesday.” A group of (currently) close to three dozen bloggers will devote our posts to a “Wonder of the World” of our own choosing. Here are her instructions, if you’d like to participate yourself:

Just pick a wonder of your own to feature–it can be anything you find wonderful, whether weird or wacky, beautiful or breathtaking, heartwarming or hilarious. And if you wake up feeling bitter and twisted, go with that! It could be fun!

…Let me know that you’d like to participate in a comment [i.e., on Rebecca’s blog — not here on RAMH] so that I can add you to my link list to share with everyone. Then on September 3rd, add Miss Globe-head’s picture at the top of your wonder blog so that we can find it, link back to me, and put on your party shoes!

(“Miss Globe-head,” well, I’m not sure how to characterize her. She’s some sort of unofficial logo of the site, I gather — haven’t seen it explained anywhere.)

The day should be something of a… a wonder in its own regard.

Edit to add (3:10pm): I won’t be doing my “wonder” post in anything at all like the machine-gun style of the Wonders Never Cease blog. My own style, as you probably know if you’ve visited here before, is to pick a topic and, well, ruminate the hell out of it. (See, e.g., the post on the most amazing word in the English language.)

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Comments

  1. There are many wonders every day, and it drives me crazy when the only things that get any attention are the mushy, sweet, easy ones. This is where my mother-in-law fail to understand each other.

    I’ll say, “I heard an interview with a guy who can’t move any part of his body unless he can see it. He hasn’t had his lights off in 20 years and if he gets distracted by a pretty girl he can’t walk. He literally falls down.” Now, I’m sure life is difficult for this man (although he sounded sane and reasonably adjusted), but I am blown away by mysteries of the brain.

    My mom-in-law looks at me, says, “Eew” and change the subject. Usually about a mission trip.

    Oh, but I’m rambling. I’m trying to be strict about the blog…so it will have to be some amazing writer thing. If I participate.

    Okay, your captcha thingy says–269,049 Straws. Could be wonderful…? Think of all the great things straws can do. Some have, after all, saved lives.

  2. @marta – …and the reCaptcha words on THIS comment are Nickel Nat. Just like that, including the capital Ns. Gotta be a character’s name (assuming Damon Runyon hasn’t already co-opted it). But the hundreds of thousands of straws thing is too… too flat-out weird not to attend to, somehow.

    Did you really hear an interview with a guy like the one you just described?

    Because your blog is so focused/disciplined, I for one would be very curious to see how you worked the “wonders” theme into it.

  3. Yes, I really did.
    http://www.wnyc.org/shows/radiolab/episodes/2006/05/05/segments/59024

    I’m pretty sure this is the right link. Radio Lab is just about favorite thing to listen to (when I don’t want music).

    reCaptcha–highest ferday

    I read way too much into these things…

  4. @marta – Haven’t been able to listen to the whole thing yet but that’s a pretty amazing story. The kind of thing that you just know would be dismissed if you put it in a story: Are you kidding me? NOBODY could survive like that. Get real!

    It also made me miss living w/in radio range of NYC and the daily 45-minute to one-hour drive to work each way. Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

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