I think the worst part about identifying as a writer is the internalization of that constant feeling that one should be at work in some way — writing, brainstorming, storyboarding, drawing or somehow visualizing aspects of their stories, et cetera, et cetera . . . and of course, blogging alone doesn’t do the trick, but it takes the edge off of the guilt and the feelings of inadequacy that go with the territory of not writing full time. It can be a springboard, but it can’t be used as a way to put off the inevitable, or it’s hard for one to define themselves as a writer rather than a blogger.
What’s even worse is when a writer begins to dry out after a spell of being unable to write for a while; life or time gets away from them, and then they begin to feel like they’ve lost the spark — as though the human brain in its enthusiasm to prune away the unused bits is predisposed to begin its cultivation by checking, then double- and triple-checking, that any cold circuits related to creativity are removed from service –
Culled from the herd, as it were. Leaving one to start over again.
Today is a wonderful Friday, because I’m not at work and I have time to write and read and do things!
I got up,
put on legitimate pants (I’m thinking about making that a habit,)
ate a piece of leftover pizza,
downed my seasonal-change cocktail of vitamins, Tylenol® Sinus, and allergy pill;
put on coffee,
shaved my whiskers,
paid some bills,
and did a little of the Facebook thing.
Now on to some real blogging.
How do you feel when someone tries to push their values on you? Does that stick in your craw, or what? I know it does mine. Speaking of the Facebook thing, I was answering comments (that’s often all I do — only occasionally do I share relevant posts or update my status) when I happened to notice this little tidbit in my news feed:
There’s this Senator in Arizona who suggested that the law should mandate weekly church attendance!
Yay! (blows a raspberry)
Now, I hope you are all aware that I almost never talk religion or drop the “G-word”, but let’s discuss this. Put aside for a moment the absolute certainty that no such law would ever see the light of day due to the fact that this is a flagrant violation of the American ideals of religious freedom and the separation of church and state; in fact, I think every politician in their right mind knows that this is a non-starter.
Forget that the whole idea would be unworkable due to matters of logistics: how do you account for attendance? How do you enforce it? How do you define a religion? Wouldn’t you have to make room for atheists who would rather meet at the library, the bar, or the bowling alley to get their church cards signed? At that point, the whole thing falls apart. It becomes a waste of time and money — yet another drain on the intrepid taxpayer.
Putting all that aside, this idea that we should be obliged by law to attend church is like a series of slaps to the face, because coupled with her idea that this would lead to a moral rebirth it suggests that without religion we are amoral. It equates all of us — every citizen of the United States of America — with violent, antisocial criminals. It suggests that all of us need to be rehabilitated in some way, as though religion can program us to be something the government considers acceptable (here’s a crazy idea – let’s make a food pyramid . . . but for religiosity! That sounds awesome!) What’s not ironic here is that this idea comes up alongside nostalgic commentary about times when people kept their guns out in plain sight in unlocked cars, thus linking the imagery of guns to religion, and the compulsion thereto.
–> Let’s not forget that religion was more than just window-dressing for a vast majority of wars worldwide prior to the 20th century; it was a pretext for empire-building, meaning that religion has always been the standard tool for conquest on every scale.
– > Let’s not forget that religion often limits freedom on a much larger scale than laws do, to a point where most people find it impossible to take it seriously in modern society — not that they don’t try. Were that possible, we would likely have more clergy than soldiers.
–> Let’s not forget that the most zealous advocates of major faiths tend to be the most hypocritical. Killing in the name of love? That’s not a song, folks; that’s a historically world-shaping paradigm.
–> Let’s not forget that reason and science have founded an age where people can think for themselves, can sort out right and wrong without the threat of eternal damnation hanging over their heads — who wants that kind of stress anyway?
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to slam religion or church attendance. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to find community with like-minded individuals who share faith with you. What really rankles me is when someone talks about shoving that down everyone’s throat with legislation. I live by a code, and one principle I live by is that I don’t oppress people with my own ideas. Like anyone, I am glad to put my ideas and opinions out there — but to try and force agreement? That’s a poor way to treat others, especially in such an open society. It’s never worked for me and I hate to see it in action because it is oppression.
Somewhere in the middle ground between pure anarchy and the iron fist of a totalitarian state there exists a spot of perfect balance, where the clockwork of society ticks in perfect synchrony; I think if power-players on the extremes would stop arguing about where that point should be, those of us who would like to live our own lives in peace would be much better off!
To those people who like to step on others in order to reach higher, be forewarned: if I see that happening, I will take that as a sign from above to come over and knock you down.
It’s so hard to steal time away from life for writing, especially when writing is sidelined in favor of working a “real job”. To that end I dedicate ten hours a day, and up until recently that was six days a week most of the time. The recent past, however, has brought some interesting changes: a supervisor who actually knows how to get something done. The Sarge has cleaned house, and so now beginning this week I start getting some Fridays off . . .
Have you ever felt like you forgot how to do something that you thought you could do well on your worst days? Somehow after returning from hiatus, you find the liquor of inspiration has run bone-dry and the raft of expectations you set up for yourself begins to sink as you realize that you have no way to bail yourself out. Now all you have is an empty bottle and no message to put inside . . .
Like those fiery colors that chase the setting sun, you can follow the traces of your inspiration round and round the world and never touch it — unless you come to the conclusion that all you have to do is go back to where you started from: that place where you found your calling, before you began chasing the white whale of what you thought you had been trying to accomplish: creations magnified through the lens of your reflexive aggression.
As Sons and Daughters of Creation, this should be so much easier. Pure and simple. We leave food for inspiration everywhere we go, contrails of existence that glow with a color all our own. We streak the world with it, and then we complain that we have nothing to write about.
We spend our existence chasing ends, only to find ourselves at beginnings. Why should that be a surprise?
bear all their effects —
There’s this cliché about what separates man from beast.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before — references to the thinking brain, opposable thumbs, et cetera. There’s all kinds of things we point to in order to support this belief that we are superior to denizens of the natural world. But this is only a red herring, a way to help us forget that there is one thing that animals have over most of us: they have little to tie them to any one particular place.
Don’t get me wrong — there are a few mitigating factors to that freedom, such as one’s preferred habitat and food sources. Ignoring those, however, animals are able to migrate from one place to another without worrying about how their furniture is going to get from point A to point B.
How deft is the artifice of the human world, to saddle us to a wealth of possessions large and small? What is it that tricks the oppressed majority — the relatively wealthy poor of the Western World — into thinking they are trapped where they are, forced to work the same minimum wage job, drive the same old clunkers, bandage their pain with the same old vices until such time as they are called to rejoin the spiritual pool?
Maybe the massive gulf between needs and desires ought to be thoroughly examined, because the things we desire — our possessions — are robots that automate our feelings of contentment; without them, we are forced to make a conscious choice to be happy with less than what everyone else has. The majority of us could cut out 98% of the things we call ours, and still be happy by choice. Why should we cheat ourselves out of making such a choice?
Some day, I want to sell everything big. The house, the furniture . . . everything that can’t be packed into a small moving truck, and then some.
Hit the soft reset button.
Clear out the RAM.
Take the family and find a home near the ocean.
Which ocean? I don’t care — I’m willing to explore my options.
The Year of Exploration starts off with a whimper.
Of course, I can blame Winter for a good part of it. North Dakota is a northern state far from the coast, and so the conditions of the winter months drive most of us indoors whenever possible. Couple that with the stuff of day-to-day life, and in no time you can look back over what appears to be a breadcrumb trail of same-o, same-o.
It drives us into the ground, the cold weather does. Some of us fight, but we don’t always win. Instead, we’re shot down by the changing conditions of our environment (what a metaphor, then, is the weather-vane that defeated Tolkien’s Smaug;) pushed into hiding while we watch those better adapted move forward with aplomb, waiting for that day when we are able to re-emerge and find our adventures out in the open air.
I know it’s just around the corner, and I wait with impatience. I should be running already, but I keep hitting obstacles; I injured my shoulder while strength training a few weeks ago, and just when I feel like that’s going away I wake up sick with a sinus cold.
I feel like I’m due a win. Life will throw me a good meatball, a slow-mo slug right over the plate, and it’s going to be soon.
For the moment I nestle, and I carve. I wait, and I watch.
After all, the world was made for me, and I’m going to explore it. Someday, I’ll even make it back to the coast — hopefully for good.
What if I said that I have never felt really, truly lonely?
Am I even qualified to say that? How do I know what lonely feels like — is it a gut instinct, to know that? If so, why should I be missing that?
To be honest, there are some interesting feelings that others claim to experience that have not exactly left a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep. Grief is one of those, and loneliness is another. And while the apparent (to myself) lack of grief has often left me wondering what sort of creature inhabits this body I am wildly empathetic, but with a poker face that would fool anyone who hasn’t caught me watching the first ten minutes of a Disney film. So maybe I’m being classic Surfer Rob — too hard on myself, and expecting more than I have managed to produce.
Chill out, dude!
The loneliness thing, however, makes more sense to me. I have for much of my life been an introvert, one of those people who feel much more comfortable with smaller, more intimate settings than with highly social situations. I still feel that I’ve spent a large chunk of my life face-to-page, and hopefully I can append some modest portion to that chunk before I’ve finished the ride. I immerse myself in my pursuits — reading, writing, music, crafting, video games . . .
Or so I wish! I’m trying to kick back more, but in latter years it’s been more like cleaning and maintenance and financial wrangling!
A long time ago part of me (the mostly subconscious part, I have mused out over the passing tide of time since my misspent youth) decided that associating with others is a risky business. People can disappoint, they can find and manipulate the soft bits of the soul; worse, they can leave you in their wake, wallowing in the messes they made.
I switched to well-considered, strategic alliances. Better that your pillars be few and strong than many that could topple at any time.
Still, I think we introverts surround ourselves with friends as well as anyone, they’re just the quiet kind. The kind you can interact with on your terms, the kind you can talk to, listen to, and learn from with a minimal amount of risk. The kind you can disconnect from at will without fear of offense. At the end of the post they are all words; the ones we choose — like the friends we choose — move us to be something even greater than we’ve already become. The beauty of it is that even though we’ve granted them that choice status, they still came to us out of a random ocean. . .
We couldn’t have wished them into being even if we had wanted to.