"Meta" something or other

I wonder if other writers think much about writing about writing? Since I’m a writer, I do it almost daily. I think about how I’ll write whatever it is I’ll be writing about before I begin writing. This is more of a mental process for me rather than the actual physical act of putting into words words about writing. Confusing? Perhaps. There’s other types of “meta” things: metathinking is thinking about your own thoughts – hmmm, I wonder what I’m wondering about?

Wikipedia defines the prefix “meta” (in the epistemological sense): “the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category).” An apt enough definition I suppose, although most in academia frown on Wikipedia as a reliable source of information. What interests me more than the definition is the philosophical aspects of what “meta” might imply.

When I write about gardening in my weekly column for Grove City’s Allied News, I am actually gardening in my mind. That is, I picture myself in the physical act of performing whatever gardening chore or action I’m describing in words. Might this be considered metagardening? If this is so, you could prefix any word or action you choose with “meta” and make it become something in and of itself.

At this point you might be wondering why The Write Gardener (I just metaed myself) would write about such a thing as “meta” this or “meta” that. I have no answer for you, and you don’t really need one. Just give it some metathought the next time you’re in your garden.

My waning garden viewed from the second floor.

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20 Comments

  1. Well say no more! My dear friend Lela! I’m so glad you stopped in. I know lots of teachers who won’t even allow wikepedia to be used as a source for research papers.

  2. hello there friend. long time no see. i wonder what it means that i turn to wikipedia more often than webster’s. hmmm… i should give that some metathought.WhoYouAre

  3. Brenda: The only reason I noticed and knew is because while photographing bugs in my garden for a Power Point presentation (“The Good, The Bad, and the Bugly”) earlier this month, I found one. LK: Nice to see you here again. And I think “obsessive” fits. And I mean that in a good way. Obsessing over your character’s development probably adds even more character (metacharacterization?? geesh, I’ve got to give this meta stuff a rest!) And thanks for telling me what FWIW meant. Barbee: I’m not so sure about meta tags, and even less sure about HTML coding. And I ramble too (for example: “metacharacterization”). And you’re right about my backdrop of trees, I can’t picture my garden as it is without them being there.

  4. Sooooo, does that relate also to the meta tags that we put before the rest of our template code? My meta thoughts are rambling thoughts. That’s the way I find my best path in. Interesting, tc. Re. your garden: I think what makes it so beautiful is that backdrop of conifers. Without those it would be so different.

  5. Hm… when I garden, I think about writing. I sometimes even think about my characters gardening and why they would be and what they think about while gardening. Is there a name for that other than obsessive? ;-)Sometimes when I’m writing, I think about gardening. I did especially in the first novel since the antagonist is a landscape designer.FWIW = for what it’s worth, I think

  6. So nice to have found you! And no, I didn’t notice the beetle until you brought it to my attention! Can’t believe that. I love to hear about other’s writing, so do tell more please!Brenda

  7. Hmm, meta-thought about meta-gardening. Sounds kind of new-agey.FWIW, and completely off topic, meta-photographing is taking pictures of people taking pictures:)Marnie

  8. What an interesting post. When I write, I also imagine what I am writing about. Although when I write my blog, I just kind of ramble about my thoughts. When I write a novel or a magazine article, I have to imagine what I am writing before I can put my fingers to the keyboard.

  9. Tina: Chanticleer! I must find and post a few pictures of my visit there. T: I have too much lawn! And I don’t do anything special to it, I use mulching blades and don’t rake. We’ve had lots of rain here over the summer and that’s why my grass is still green. Flydragon: I read a recent blog post about how we view our gardens. I see mine mostly through windows during the growing season; especially the veggie garden. It’s good to get up and look down on things, I do this often in winter, just to get ideas of where I might put things the following summer.

  10. And I’m wondering why I’m not wondering about meta anything. But as to your picture of the garden from an upstairs window…I often do that. They look totally different when looking down on them. You notice all kinds of things that should have been done differently, and some things that were done perfectly. Sometimes I enjoy my gardens a lot more from above.

  11. you shore do have a lot of grass to cut!looks good though, i’m afraid my yard wouldn’t be as pretty… or maybe you just took that picture at the right time?

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