Exercising Your Mind

I like tinkering with ideas. I like curiosities.

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Our World Now

So we filled our cups to the brim with hatred. And we cast ignorance upon you if you didn’t agree. And with any misstep we wouldn’t bury you, but you felt six feet under. We’d take your job, your reputation, and – if an apology was granted – your soul as well. And you would be the cautionary tale that we would spin cycle in our 24 hour news coverage. And the pundits would bemoan your mistake, and assassinate your character, and impugn your very existence. Because we were right, and we always would be. And you would be wrong, and you would be evil, a relic of an ancient past full of pagan ritual and superstition.

Assuming

I make assumptions. I connect things together, regardless of the validity of such connection. Like when I was a boy, I try to put the circle peg in the round hole. But sometimes, I try to put the square peg in the round hole; just to see. Really, that’s how I learn.

I used to make assumptions in my mind, and that would be it. But I’m bolder now. I’m bolder now because I found that when I speak my assumptions into the air, someone inevitably comes to contradict me.

People like to contradict. Correction: people like to be right. I like to be correct too, but I also like to learn. And when someone is contradicting me, they may feel better about being correct, but I feel even better than them. Because I learned something.

Writing is an exercise in assumption. When I write characters that differ from myself, I’m making assumptions. I’m guessing about how a character will make decisions, love others, talk to his boss, etc.

I also learn when people around me correct my writing. I learn something new about humanity, and – as an added benefit – something new about my characters and story. When I allow someone to make an observation, my view of the bigger picture gets just a little bit clearer, and I’m thankful for it.

But sometimes you’re wrong, and it’s painful to listen to your drivel.

Blocked

If there is a muse, then there must surely be demonic forces that act as staunch forces against creativity. Whereas the muse comes with serendipitous gifts of ideation, the demons are there to muddy the water and steal. These waters are where confidence goes to be run through the mud.

Who are you to think you can share the naked truth and people would pay you to do it?

Or something like that. It is not as if the words won’t flow. But there’s a dam, and the words are just behind it. I feel vaguely aware that some sort of inspiration lies behind it, but I’m stuck here in the mud where the waters once were. And the voices just swirl around me.

The time of the author is over. Like most creative professions, the money has moved on and unless you are King, Patterson or the next Tolkien, you may as well **** off and try your hand at a ‘real’ vocation.

But the words are back there. The awareness makes it all the more painful. The words are there, and they could be good. Great. Fantastic even. But the voices are over here, and they say the words are shit. And what’s here is real. Even if I could get over the dam – or open it up somehow – I would be left with a bunch of words and people would nod nicely at them and reject me with an ever-so-soft kindness. The type of kindness that numbs the heart. The patronizing kindly tone of a disappointed parent.

So I stay away from the dam. Walk away in the opposite direction even. The words are there, but maybe they just don’t matter anymore. They’ll never pay for my daughter’s braces, offset the mortgage on my small (aging) house, or even see the light of day through the cracks of the massive mountain of other words piled into a cultural heap all around us.

I look at the dam from the distance. I stare at the icon holding my word processor’s ancient tomb. I could open it, but all I’d find were embalmed remains.

The Consumer and the Creator

 

 

 

To hell with you

This took me a long time to realize. After years of exhaustion, I finally came to the realization: to hell with you. Not in the literal sense. I don’t want to see your body eviscerated and cast into the lake of fire. I’m not even sure if I’m really that mad at you. I’m just mad at myself. I’ve spent years hoping for you to like posts, share my articles, and comment how much you like my crap. I made drawings, crafted written pieces, even designed t-shirts. But you really didn’t care. Maybe you’d like a post about a shirt I made, then when the shirt had arrived you decided you didn’t want one anymore (or never did to begin with). Or perhaps you liked one of my drawings one time and never looked at them again.

But this isn’t about you and being a terrible friend or fan or whatever the hell we think social media has transformed people into in relation to others. This is about how I hate that I cared what you thought; that I thought you would somehow become invested in what I was pouring my soul into.

We are selfish creatures. To think I could pull you out of your own selfishness to assuage my own is asinine. It’s just more of the same. I’m just shoveling crap into your feed and expecting you to take it as gold, sharing it with the masses.

I wanted to go viral. I wanted to be a sensation. I wanted to matter to you and yours. I wanted to leave a legacy in a culture that just wants to be sated for a brief moment before the next photo posts. And that’s stupid. It’s all stupid. I kept making things to make a statement or get attention for a brief moment. And in that brief glimmer, the glimpse into the machine of the internet, I found the hollow manifestation of my own self-confidence. My confidence was anchored to my soul and pulling me down with every post. Like whispers in a machine shop, my posts were drowned out by the mess; and it left me feeling empty, without friends. Screw that. And the more I tried to get noticed, the less I felt like myself. And the less I was noticed, the more I realized that I would never be noticed as I sat in the silence of my unliked post. To be in an echo chamber by yourself is to be in an asylum, padded walls and all.

So to hell with you. I want to enjoy what I do. I want to write because I enjoy it, not to make it big. I will never live large off my writing or my art or the rest of this crap. But if I’m going to live with myself, I need to stop living off of you. I have to love what I do. So I’m going to write to satisfy myself. I’m going to write things that change my heart, affect my soul, and make me fall in love with life.

I’m not going to share this with you. I won’t post it on Facebook or Twitter. It’s just going to exist because I wanted it to. Because that’s what writing is. It’s the physical manifestation of my ideation, and it shouldn’t matter what every one else has thought of it. If you find this, then maybe you needed to.