About me

My name is Michael Champagne, and I am a student to everyone who knows more than me, and a teacher to anyone else. This weblog is a collection of the things I find interesting.

What sorts of things, you ask? I’m happy to tell you.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to words. Words make the world go round. Big words like “inertia” keep it from falling into the sun, and little words like “love” keep us from wishing it would.

Words can go together the right way or the wrong way. There are too many wrong ways to list, but wordsmithing, sophistry, obfuscating meaning, and making discordant noises are wrong, generally.

When you get the words right, it sounds wonderful. It’s hypnotic. “Suggestive” might be better. Rod Stewart wrote a song with the line “Where the ocean meets the sky I’ll be sailing.” It’s just a sentence, but it’s evocative. When I first heard it, I was in a car being driven to Florida. I was maybe six. As it happens, I always thought that line was wasted on an otherwise unmemorable song. For what it’s worth, the horizon is as far as you can go and still be able to argue you haven’t left “home.”

It’s kind of a fetish, the words thing. Most of the really important thoughts are more like sentiments. I have a sentiment about sailing that doesn’t really have a word to name it. Hopefully, I can line up all the right words at the right time to transfer the sentiment to someone else. A losing battle, I have a feeling the sentiments aren’t universal. But that poem, “A Song for All Seas, All Ships?” That catches the sailing sentiment. Or part of it, anyway.

If I understood music, I might try to get the sentiments across through that. Here’s another song, Leonard Cohen this time. It catches the sentiment of a melancholic old warrior-poet turned king desperate to find satisfaction through his faith. Find a word for that one:

“I’ve heard there was a secret chord that David played, and it pleased the Lord. But you don’t really care for music, do you? It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift, the baffled king composing alleluia.”

That’s a lot of fluff up there, isn’t it? In practice, expect to read about literature, poetry, languages living and dead, and “Greeks and Romans,” which is a catch-all phrase for the kind of things you’d expect to hear in the college of liberal arts. Not a bad deal, don’t you agree?