Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pipe Dream

Since so many of you have asked (all right, none of you have asked, and it hurts like hell, but work with me here), I should explain why my blog is called The Man From Porlock, even though I am regrettably not from Porlock--though I am, in every John Huston/Sam Peckinpah/Oliver Stone/Norman Mailer/Vanilla Ice sweat-spit-'n'-leather sense of the word, A Man.

For a long time I had thought about starting a blog and had run out of convenient excuses to procrastinate, until finally only one remained: What shalt thou callseth it? Yes, the title was a stumper, and continued to be one until one afternoon last month when, like countless times before, my Word For The Day Calendar chose to intervene. As I tore the previous page (flabbergast), crumpled the paper and cockily dumped it in my wastebasket at work, I turned to the new word and was rendered speechless:

Man from Porlock: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the Romantic poet, related that he wrote his poem "Kublai Khan" after awakening from an opium dream....he scrambled to write down what he remembered of it, only to be interrupted by a "man from Porlock," a neighboring manor. The phrase means someone who breaks a particularly inspired moment of concentration.

As you can imagine, I was most flabbergast (Damn you, Word For The Day!), and opted to take the name Porlock for my own. Not because I'm a big Coleridge fan (though I do like the poem, finished or not), or because I have a predilection for the Big Poppy, as everything I know about drugs derives from movies like this:

No, I chose the name because (same as Coleridge, I suspect) I rather like the idea of genius being interrupted. It's human, it's tragic, it's funny. And if I can invert the original meaning of the term and distract any of you from your dreary daily tasks--and not from building a great new invention or discovering a medical cure or creating a bold new work of art--then I bid you welcome and onward.


The Word Origin Calendar said...


I feel compelled to remind you that it was I, The Word Origin Calendar, who gave you the title of your blog, not that cheap hussy "Word For The Day."

The Word For the Day Calendar said...

Word Origin,

Does degrading me in public boost your self-esteem? This is a personal matter. Let's have lunch.

Craig said...

I just want you to know, I love you both equally.

Helen said...

Dear Word Origin,
What did the Man from Porlock want, anyway?

Helen said...

Dear Craig,
Is your idea that if The Man From Porlock had had an interesting blog to read, then he might have left Coleridge alone that day?

Wikipedia said...

I believe I can answer your question: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Person_from_Porlock

Craig said...

Ah, Helen, I'm glad you're on the payroll.

disgruntled ex-roommate, Brian Bean said...

OHHH....it's PoRlock. I thought it was Polack. That makes a lot more sense because I didn't think you were Polish, Craig.