Weaving Patterns

Did you know that Robert Louis Stevenson wrote about the web?

It wasn't the world wide web, of course, but the concept stopped me in my tracks when I came across it while reading his book Essays in the Art of Writing.

"…it may be said with sufficient justice that the motive and end of any art whatever is to make a pattern; a pattern it may be, of colours, of sounds, or imitative lines; but still a pattern… the true business of the literary artist is to plait or weave his meaning, involving it around itself; so that each sentence by successive phrases, shall come first into a kind of knot, and then, after a moment of suspended meaning, solve and clear itself… the web, then, or the pattern: a web at once sensuous and logical, an elegant and pregnant texture: that is style, that is the foundation of the art of literature."

I love the idea that we writers are weavers of words and ideas,and that we are united in this act of creation with all other artists. We are all pattern makers intricately constructing a web. It's an inspiring idea that is as relevant in the 21st century as it was when Stevenson wrote it in the 19th.

And 130 years after he wrote the words I've quoted, writers are wrapped up in a very different kind of web. But despite the technology we are still making patterns, we are still putting words on paper, or  on screen. I wonder what Stevenson would have made of that?

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