Friday, March 5, 2010


Recently, especially with lyrics, I've been mulling over ambiguity in writing.

When can it be used well and when is it unsatisfying etc.?
I love written things, especially song lyrics, that give you a chance to do a lot of thinking. Ones that can sometimes have a deeper meaning beneath even though they are already telling an interesting story or point. This is one of the reasons I continue to listen to Bob Dylan (even though I can't even develop an acquired taste to his voice). Something that gives you a deeper something to meditate on.

I think this is one of the reasons Country will never be my favorite genre. It's plan and simple and enjoyable. It isn't confusing. It's obvious. It doesn't take itself very seriously. I love all those things!!! hardly ever gives you another layer to chew on. (That doesn't mean it doesn't have a lot of good things to say or that it doesn't have some amazing songs!)

I've been having trouble with my own writing because I have trouble with it being clear enough even when I want it a bit ambiguous. I don't want my lyrics to only have one layer, but I want them to be understandable. I've been doing tests on different (very patient) people to see if I'm still getting my point across. As American Dream brought to light, I'm not exactly getting it all across.

What is the balance?

Does everyone even enjoy ambiguity? I sort of get the impression that a lot of people don't like it.
(The end of Great Expectations being a prime example. In my opinion a more obviously sad ending, like his original one, would have been best. What was published, however, doesn't bother me. Maybe we need to exercise our imaginations more anyways...)

Is ambiguity more of a problem because it doesn't transfer as well to movies? So many good books have been made into movies, but everyone has there own idea of what happens in the ambiguous parts.

One of my all time favorite songs is Across the Green Mountain. This song gives a lot to think about, but is this more randomness then ambiguity? I don't know. But I love it. :-)

And please don't get me wrong. Ambiguity is sometimes very annoying or extremely out of place. Some things should be stated very clearly. :-)

What are your thoughts on ambiguity?

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


Aisha said...

Very interesting thoughts you have laid out...
I find ambiguity to be challenging. Having grown up listening to music that was anything but ambiguous, the plainness grew on me.
But, more recently I've been broadening my horizons, and reading poetry, lyrics, etc., that is exceedingly ambiguous. Sometimes I find it frustrating, because I want to know what exactly the author is trying to convey. But I find that I usually read it over and over again, and then I love it, whether I fully grasp it or not. It's beautiful, actually.

Erin, the author of this blog:
is brilliant, and I love her work. It's full of ambiguity. But it's lovely.

I fight not to be too plain; to be subtle, thought provoking, mysterious. :)

I love the way you write, btw. Whether I understand it fully or not.

- Aisha

Miss Pickwickian said...

Thanks Aisha. :-)

I have visited Miss Erin's blog a couple times and have enjoyed it.

I guess more then just ambiguity I enjoy another, more complex meaning behind words. In general that is less frustrating and more thought provoking. But I like all tools used in writing. :-)

I enjoy your writing too! Keep up the posts with your poetry.

Miss Pickwickian