March 8th, 2005

cummings

essays

Some of you may have noticed I've been flexing my writing muscle rather publicly.  Not that I've ever thought of myself as a poor writer, for it was my course of study in college, but I definitely had become rusty.  The two years that I've been faithfully keeping this journal has provided me with not only an outlet, but more importantly an audience.  I understand there are many people who can "write for themselves" in private journals, but I've always been of the opinion that if I'm going to spend the time assemble words into coherent thoughts, goddamnit someone better read it. It's hard to be motivated for an audience of one.

Upon receiving my BA in English: Creative Writing, I never chose to do anything with it.  I never really intended to do anything with it, actually, but what thwarted me was a general lack of ambition and a good dose of what I call post-modern angst.  The logic works something like this:

1) Everything that can be done has already been done and probably much better than you can ever hope to accomplish.
2) Why bother?

And so I didn't.  The past two years, and especially in the past few months, I've begun to notice not only an ever-increasing ability to create something that is reasonably well-received, but a desire to continue doing it.  I've had spells over the years; enthusiastic fits of writing that would engulf me in creativity, only to sputter into inactivity and listlessness once more.  This could very well be one of those moments, but for the time-being at least, it doesn't seem that way.  My current duties as a trainer, while at times requires more work of me, also provides me with extended periods of time with noting to do.  At first I played games a lot, or watched movies on the laptop, but I'm finding it more enjoyable to simply write.  I have a unique opportunity where I have days to spend 8-10 hours writing whatever I fancy while getting paid by my day-job.  I've been composing some comments in some of your journals that are full-blown entries!  On that note, there's one coming about "deism" that was in response to an entry made by democritus and another forth-coming which I'm going to retrieve from a comment I left for blackperson a couple of weeks ago, about the addage "write what you know".  You may see more left-field essays from me in the future like this.  Things that were inspired from elsewhere and I'll give no explanation, just merely compose the essay and let it stand on its own because I feel it's worthy of being read by a multitude rather than the person at whom it was initially directed.

It is my intention to undertake at least three web-publishing ventures in the coming year.  The first of these I've already begun, testing the waters outside the friendly port-of-call that is my LJ f-list with Good Morning, Captain.

For the second of these, it is my intent to begin a more public blog of essays and photo-articles a la The Nevada Shoe Tree entry I did for found_objects.  Basically, a lot of the stuff I do here, but without the goofy, personal things.  I will continue to maintain my Livejournal.  In all likelihood, the initial inspiration and/or desire to write such articles will stem and blossom from my desire to share it first with my friends here.  In a small way, this very entry is a big, sloppy wet-kiss to my f-list for being my inspiration.

For the third of these undertakings, I want to begin some sort of original-content website with its focus on comedic, creative writing.  At the moment, I have several ideas but haven't settled entirely as to which I wish to pursue.  I don't invision this being a solitary undertaking, either, but more of a project in-cahoots.  I've mentioned as much to some of you in private about joining me in this pursuit, in varying degree of detail and about whichever idea was on my mind at the time.  There are some talented and funny writers among my LJ friends who I would love to include in this endeavor.  I intend this to be a commercial pursuit as well.  Blog culture has created a massive word-of-mouth system for the propogation of entertainment.  As long as you can provide the goods, the publicity is organic and free.  It is my hopes to create a website of screamingly funny, blog-link-worthy articles to be syndicated via RSS/Atom. I'm not so wide-eyed as to think that we're going to get rich and retire from this, but maybe it would pay a few bills and give me some satisfaction from having been a working writer.

Finally, it is my intent to take-up reading again.  More than reading blogs and websites, anyway.  I used to read lots when I was younger and fell out of the habit.  Time constraints of working 50+ hours per week in the restaurant business was the primary culprit.  Now, I have no excuse.  Reading is not only entertainment for me, but it puts language into my head, language that filters through me and manifests itself in my writing.  For Christmas, my mother ordered for me the complete works of e.e. cummings per my request, a volume (in varying editions) I have checked-out numerous times from libraries whenever I felt the need to revisit my favorite poet.  It was on backorder but has arrived in my absence in the past couple of weeks.  I look forward to cracking it open this weekend and refamiliarizing myself with "my father moved through dooms of love" or "pity this busy monster man un-kind".  You can look forward to lots of cummings quotes in the coming months. 

I may also be more earnest in acquiring audio books for listening-to while driving, although, I doubt I could do this with fiction.  That would be annoying I think, to not have the pages in your hands and the words in front of your eyes as a tale unfolds.  But I have enjoyed the non-fiction books I have tried in this format.  I also intend to get a subscription to a music magazine I can read cover-to-cover.  For nearly ten years, as a teen and young-adult, I had a Rolling Stone subscription which I thoroughly enjoyed (and still do when I pick one up) but I'm worried about getting bogged down in a bi-weekly publication.  There are only 24 hours in a day, after all. An entire magazine to digest once per fortnight may prove to be more than I can chew.

Basically...  I want to write.  I want to be known as a writer.  Not necessarily in the famous, lucrative sense but in the manner of my identity.  Regardless of what's paying my bills and feeding my kids, I want to be able to say "I'm a writer" when someone asks me what I do and I don't want it to be, like,  "I've been working on the Great American Novel for 15 years but someday... SOMEDAY FUCKERS!!!".  I want to say "I'm a writer, here's what I do", and be able to show someone a website, or a clipping, or an anthology and not some hand-bound chapbook of bad poetry.  Will anything I write outlive its usefulness in the moment or transcend a generation?  Certainly not,  but that's no reason not to aspire.  If for that moment the reader laughs, cries, learns something new or thinks about something in a way they hadn't before, then that's enough.

After all, it's just words.
i'm ready for my close up mr demille

deism

I find it inconceivable and illogical to not believe in the concept of a creator.  Deists can split hairs over the nature of god and his identity all they want, but when I see the complexity of nature and all its wonder, I'm hard pressed to believe it is some sort of random fluke.  This is not to say I'm some bible-thumper or that I believe even a fraction of the things purported and touted by orthodox religions.  I consider myself a semi-agnostic Christian.  I believe in a creator but I've yet to be convinced that there is one correct way and likely never will.  I also doubt the creator takes any active-hand in the realm of his creation, if he's even paying attention or alive.  I've always thought it was quite a terrible leap of faith to presume our creator immortal.  I'm not even convinced of an after-life, but I'm kind-of hoping. 

I think what does it for me most is human consciousness.  Some people call it the spirit.  George Lucas called it "The Force" ;-). 

Whatever you call it, it seems to transcend the basic reality of the physical world.  Some people have already claimed to have done so.  Science has yet to explain it, much less duplicate it, but that's not to say they won't.  The way I see it, science is nothing more than a belief system, which requires its own leaps of faith and its own denominations which adhere to their doctrines just as tightly and fervently in the face of contradicting information as a religious zealot, to the point that it can take generations for new beliefs to take-hold, only to be changed again by future generations.  One era's scientific fact is a future era's apology to textbook and encyclopedia writers.

Atheists balk at this concept usually, the idea of science as a belief system because of the scientific method.  Yet so much of science operates on theory and principle that it ceases to be concrete and deluding yourself that it is, isn't much worse than the creationist who insists the world was made in 6 days because a couple of ancient books say-so. 

I think the important thing to remember is that science and religion attempt to explain two very different things and don't necessarily need to be at odds with each other.  On the one hand, science makes an attempt to explain how things work.  Religion, on the other hand, makes an attempt to explain the "Big Why": why are we here and for what purpose?. 

Some people of science have little use for the notion of why and for what purpose and choose to discard the notions entirely.  Since it cannot be explained by science it must not exist. 

Some people of religion have little use for the notion of how things work and similarily discard the notion entirely.  Since it cannot be divined from the texts of yore, it must be the work of God with which man would be wise not to tinker. 

I find either view a little limiting.