The Ladder of Abstraction

Earlier in this month of writing, Max read one of my posts and told me to “climb down the ladder of abstraction.” It’s true, I default to communicating in concepts, not examples. Better writers climb up and down the ladder – up (more abstract) to convey the importance of the topic, and down (more concrete) to offer realism and a better chance to relate.

Radio is my savior from elitism

I’ve accumulated many snobby preferences, but I am not a radio elitist. (This is related, I promise.)

First, when I’m driving, I love listening to radio call-in shows like “Second Date Update” or “Hump Day Dump Day.” A recent segment featured a man who stopped calling because his date decreed that he must attend her family’s Christmas gatherings if their relationship became serious. They got along splendidly otherwise, and he wanted to go on a second date, with one condition: that she agree to consider attending Christmas with his family just once. And she refused! Ahh! What a raw examination of the human condition!

Second, I appreciate country music, and I’m surprised how often it’s people’s “I’ll listen to anything but X” genre. Country music is uniquely accessible because the chords are pleasant, and the lyrics are vivid and relatable. So I’m willing to ignore the dumb songs featuring archaic gender roles (identity is overall weird in music) and relish the convincing portrayals of love – Taylor Swift’s “Our song is a slamming screen door / Sneaking out late tapping on your window” – or revenge – Carrie Underwood’s “I dug my key into the side / Of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive / Carved my name into his leather seats”. Wow, that’s graphic writing set to music.

Even beyond those top hits, it’s the norm of country music to tell stories and note that we often fall in love with people while wearing jeans. I love both wearing jeans and falling in love! Hopefully listening to country music can help me down the ladder of abstraction.



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