Hardly Heard


This is the first post of a blog that went wrong.

The original idea for Misreader was a lit website, something that I could share with other writers who wanted or needed a space to talk about books or art or music or life in general, but with a catch: none of the ideas or reviews or posts would be allowed to hold up to scrutiny.

Misreading would be a requirement of the exegesis. "Getting it wrong" like the subtitle says.

In keeping with that ethos, I never did much to get Misreader off the ground. After I got in contact with a few writers I dragged my feet and never bothered to start the thing—at least not as the group blog I had in mind. Back in 2013 The Voyager Record release date was still the distant future; I had plenty of time to develop my web presence. Misreader could wait.

Still, I never stopped thinking about what I wanted to write about on the blog. At some point I transitioned away from thinking of Misreader as a groupblog into back-burnering ideas for posts I was keeping in a Word file, knowing that I would want the material for when Misreader, or some form of it, went live.

This is definitely not either of those blogs.

Buried at the back of my personal website, without its own url; that's not what I wanted when I thought about Misreader. But in some ways maybe this is the blog that Misreader always should have been. One that got its own premise wrong. One that I probably won't bother to keep up with, or tell anyone about.

In The Voyager Record I wrote a little bit about the word "murmurs" in the title Murmurs of Earth, the book about the contents and creation of the Voyager record. It's a good word to use for a book about the Voyager record. Murmurs are hard to hear. It puts the project in the context of not knowing if humanity will ever be able to be heard in an enormous, silent universe—whether if that’s because no one happens to be listening or because we are totally alone. But the word has another meaning that the writers of the book—Carl Sagan and the other scientists behind the record—probably didn't have in mind. Murmurs are also the kind of sounds that people make when we aren't trying to be heard. When we don't want people to be able to hear what we have to say.

Misreader is that kind of murmuring. Sounds that, if I was being more careful, I probably wouldn't be making. The kind of noises that can be read in too many ways, none of them right.

Here's to getting everything wrong.

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