What does "xark" mean?
xark: /zark/ (v.) 1. to engage in a string of intense but short-lived inquiries into an unending series of seemingly unrelated topics; 2. to act upon a limitless, playful and passionate curiosity; 3. to choose freely, unbound by rote conventions; 4. to experience life from a variety of perspectives.
Where does the word come from?
It was coined by a South Carolina newspaper reporter in 2004 to describe a way of thinking and living.
Why this blog?
Because experience teaches that the standard venues, language and rules used in the discussion of important topics are inadequate and often compromised. Journalism, politics, scholarship, punditry, intellectualism, spirituality and art are all meaningful methods of learning, speaking and knowing, but each alone is too limited to provide the full picture. Xark! does not attempt to improve on those conventions; it seeks to add to them.
What is the goal of this blog?
Xark! seeks to create a safe place in which people of divergent backgrounds and gifts may creatively discuss -- sometimes seriously, sometimes playfully -- whatever issues and ideas happen to engage their curiosity. It hopes to expand beyond the typical rhetoric of blogs, not by creating one new style, but by opening the discussions to many styles, many mediums ... and many topics. Instead of mimicking a high-pressure, formalized debate forum, Xark! is more like an extended, rambling house party.
What topics are relevant at Xark!?
You name it.
Are there any limits on the discussions?
Yes. Xark! isn't a blog for those people who choose to live in various states of aggressive and obnoxious denial. Apologists for dishonest and manipulative politicians, or the adherents of any religion that claims self-righteous inerrancy, are not welcome at Xark! At the other end of the stereotype spectrum, Xark! shuns politically correct orthodoxy. This is not because Xark! wants to limit expression or the free exchange of ideas: We're just sick of good online conversations being hijacked by trolls. So we're not going to put up with it.
The proprietors ask that writers and commenters show basic civility to each other, though they don't intend to spend their time policing language or tone. For more on the xarkers' attitude toward trolls, read The Xarker Manifesto.
Most blogs are interested only in non-fiction prose. What about this one?
Xark! will be judged a failure if it generates only non-fictional prose. Xarkers are encouraged to submit anything that can be communicated digitally: Essays, articles, opinion columns, scholarly works, jokes, satire and yes, even garden-variety blog posts. Photography, paintings, sketches, cartoons and computer-generated images are coveted, either as stand-alone posts or as galleries, or as part of a written post. Works of short fiction and longer works of non-fiction (3,000 words and up) should be posted at xark.typepad.com as downloadable Word or .pdf files. Audio and video files, including Flash animations, may not be hosted here without the webmaster's permission, but anyone with hosted media they wish to share is encouraged to link to those files via Xark! posts. Please do not post media to which you do not hold rights.
Who may comment at Xark!?
Anyone who provides a name (doesn't have to be a real one) and a working e-mail address is free to comment. It also helps to have something to say. By the way, persistent obnoxious behavior will get you banned.
How does one become one of the authors of Xark!?
OK, smartass, how does one GET an invitation?
By writing interesting comments here and submitting cool stuff to the blog via e-mail. Or, perhaps, by asking for one. The goal of the originators is to open authorship at Xark! to a wider community, while retaining just enough control to protect it from those who might seek to damage or manipulate that community.
Other than intransigent political and religious beligerence, is anything else off-limits here?
Other forms of inappropriate material will be limited the xarker way -- by looking, reading, thinking and deciding.
What's the difference between xarking and a short attention span?
Xarking has a better publicist.
Can't you be serious for a moment?
Yes. Can't you be humorous for a moment?
Why the slogan 'Because there are no unrelated subjects?'
There is great value in devoting one's life to a single subject, and as Lao Tzu said, "Without going outside/one may know the whole world." But experience teaches that broadening one's knowledge also causes the roots of our expertise to push into ever-deeper soil. By following intently after whatever catches our interest, we harness the power of serendipity. Discipline is valuable and should be learned and practiced, but single-minded devotion to any particular way of thinking will ultimately lead to misery. Those who observe a thing from a single eye will never see all its dimensions. Xarkers explore non-linear ideas and the connections between them because they understand that, in the end, there is only one subject.