Writing Practice – 6/20/2020

Why do I write?

Just as well, why do I keep asking the question? I have thoughts in my head, surely I have ideas that, if I did not release them to the pages, would build up and build up and build up, until I had no other recourse but to explode my brain in a disorganized, jumbled mess of a release, and then I would have no way of controlling the output.

But that could be okay, wouldn’t it? But, no, it wouldn’t, because I would have no more organized state, no friendly status, no more attractor to future ideas.

Because ideas come to join other ideas. They herd together, they band together, they like to travel in packs like wolves (or, maybe better, elephants, who are less territorial and defensive and more collaborative and cooperative).

My ideas like to be around other ideas and if the destructive release happens (if the reservoir disappears, evaporating into the ether when the head blows up, then there’s really no thing to attract more ideas, and they’ll go off and implant themselves in someone else’s head. Somewhere else that has a more fertile repository, a better breeding ground for the spawn of those ideas in the future.

Would it be too strange to say that such ideas are alive? That they have intentionality, that they have goals, that they choose one thing or another based on a weighing of potential costs and benefits?

Perhaps they do not “move” like flagella, maybe they do not wriggle like the worm or pace like the lion, but I know that ideas do not simply pop into my head spontaneously ex nihilo. They come from their own breeding ground, out there in the non-physical realms, and they are searching for a place to land. They wander the sixth dimension, seeking, seeking, seeking that place that will be welcoming to them. That will invite them in, offer them warmth, comfort, succor, companionship, a place to rest, to remain, to flourish.

My brain offers that when it not only has enough ideas that the newcomer is not scared, but also not so many that it is too crowded to adequately take hold.

Thus my need for continual offloading of ideas into the page. I must make these ideas feel welcome, while, too, allowing for them to explore themselves, to be comfortable, to be real and to understand that they have a larger part to play in this world. They are part of something. We do not know just what that is. But we – my ideas and I and all my other ideas I have had – and will again have in the future – we join together in this symbiosis, this equal-but-not partnership, and we wait.

We wait for our time to shine. We wait for our purpose to be revealed. And while we wait, we enjoy one another, in a wonderfully trans-materialistic orgy of experience and ideation and substantiation and metaphor and causal chain and letting go and simply wondering in amazement at it all.

Writing Practice – joining

The Way of Story, p 169; Perhaps it’s time to return to a cult…

I wonder, though, which one I should choose. There have been so many in the past decades, that it would be hard to pick my favorite. They all offer something unique, some better way of looking at the world, some alternative option only available with them, and it’s hard to say that the negatives outweighed the positives in any of them.

I’ve been in four cults so far in my life, beginning with the one I was born in to. I probably shouldn’t count that, though, because it was less of a cult that I choose and, to be honest, it was a disaster waiting to happen. Some wise, well-intentioned, but mostly clueless (or naive?) Christians, Episcopalians, I believe, “liberated” me from that group when i was fifteen. Honestly, it wasn’t so bad, there, and if they hadn’t taken me out, I’d probably still be living there today. I see them on the news, oh about every two years or so, when some nighttime drama producer needs a little bump in her ratings, and they do a new “expose” that doesn’t point out anything new at all, doesn’t even point out anything illegal, just – different – from the normal standards of decency around them.

If I hadn’t been removed, I probably would still be there, and probably would be pretty happy, too. I think I have a “joiner’s” mind. I like to be a part of things. I like to get involved and interested and invested. I enjoy the thrill that comes with knowing exactly the right things to say whenever anyone challenges our beliefs, and being able to smoothly and confidently rebut their accusations and questions. It’s an internal win too, and an emotional high, when you celebrate afterwards, whether it is with singing (as we did at Eden Garden) or alcohol and drugs (as at high Point Society) or sex (the Love Shack). We always developed our own ways of coming together after vanquishing our foes, even if they only went home bleeding from tongue lashings, which all of us were always able to administer. We all loved our group. we all lived our groups. That’s the beauty of being invested, you find so many like-minded souls that there is an almost constant reinforcement and retrenching of whatever it is you believe.

And the greater beauty is that we don’t waste time with ridiculous artifacts like proof and objectivity. We don’t wast time trying to either convert unbelievers or to retrieve a lost sheep. We have always recognized and admitted that those who are not called, who are not special, will expose themselves, and they should not distract us from our our true, main mission, of living out our calling.

it is not for us to evangelize. I have always said, it is for us to live as a beacon on a hill, bearing bright witness to our best experiences, and if someone else sees, and is attracted, and chooses to investigate, we should gladly welcome them. But to cast our pearls before the swine of humanity, in futile, foolish, inefficient effort, providing no return, giving us no satisfaction, adds none to the fold, and wastes our time.

And that is why, all three times, I have also walked away. At some point I questioned, I had a concern, a problem, a hesitation about what I was asked, commanded, or directed to do. And, in those moments, as all good cult leaders do, they simply cut me out, disowned me, shunned me, cut me off and thinned their herd by one slightly-less-than-perfect member.

I honestly don’t mind it that much. Because I like the “joining” part more than the staying part, anyway. It’s fun to experience the thrill of discovery anew and fresh again, so I have been missing something like that for a while now.

Which brings me back to how I started – perhaps it’s time to get back into a cult.

Any recommendations?

Writing Practice – Just Write

Just write…

Just write a story. Just write a poem. Just write a chapter, or a paragraph, or even a sentence. Just – write – something, anything.

Doesn’t have to be great. Probably won’t be terrible, either. Most likely it’s going to be pretty well down the middle – not that good, not that bad. 80% of the world is, by definition, right in the middle 80% of your work, so when you write something great one day, the next you ought to expect to be below that, much more likely to be around the mean than another of those outside-the-edge pieces.

Just write. Make it real, make it true, make it honest to you, and then you’ve won. If nobody lies it, what does that matter? You did. You do. You wrote. You enjoyed it.

But here’s another similar idea- you’re not that special. If you like something, it’s pretty likely that others will, too. They’ll resonate with your stuff, because they’ve been that same poor kid growing up without a parent because they were always working. They’ll see similarities between how you listed portrayed showed demonstrated the existential angst of today’s midlife crisis generation and they’ll want to see more of the same.

Or they will stand in reference of the way you depicted (in their minds, only using your words) the vast landscape, stretching across their vision, using such basic, yet powerful, words as intrepid and seeking and voluminous. You may not make the “best” of every you and your mind and the way you see the world, thing, but I guarantee, I promise, when you are honest in yourself, when your writing reflects you and your mind and the way you see the world, Others will see it that way, too. They will feel the pull inside their chest, a reverberation that pulls them out of their chair or their subway seat or off their porcelain throne, where ever it is that you have reached them, and they will stand up proud, proud to have read you, proud to have been seen by you, proud to be shown to the world in such a pure and vibrant and poignant way, and they will advocate for you, they will tell neighbors and friends and enemies about you, they will say, “Oh, my god, you’ve got to read this, it’s totally what I was thinking the other day,” and at that point you have transitioned. You have evolved. You have gone from writer to influencer and they, that audience, they too have matured, they have evolved, they have arrived, the have advanced from passive in-takers to active out-givers. They give you to their audience, they give you to the world around them, and, in that way, the seeds spread, and the cycle begins anew.

Welcome the cycle. Appreciate it. Revel in it. And love it. For it is as organic as moss, as influential as the steady drip of rainwater, as inescapable as the sunlight. It will find you, it will swallow you up, it will overtake and overwhelm you. But only if you choose not to seek after it. Only if you allow it to happen, in its own time, at its own pace, not by Striving and Searching for accolades because you have tried to write “what they want”, but, paradoxically, because you have not.

Writing Practice 1/12/2020 – Budget

Prompt: “budget”

Good lord, don’t speak to me of budgets. How often must we talk of accounts, and income, and expenses, and allocations? Let us live our lives! Let us run free! Let us roam, let us expand let us explore! No more artificial, arbitrary constraints of a dollar here or a dollar there. No more abstract concepts of balancing from one ledger line to another. No more wondering whether we’ll be off and over by a penny, thus incurring the same warmth as if we had gone over by ten dollars or a thousand.

Why such absolutes? Be more fluid, more flexible, and see where life takes you. Fly! Fly free and enjoy the wind of life in your hair.

Ignore the boundaries of capitalism and embrace the freedom of poverty. Release yourself from the shackles of limitations and discover just how much you can accomplish with nothing, nothing at all.

Ignore the voices at the back of your head saying “worry” and “fear” and “save”. What do they know of life, anyway? What good is saving now for another day, when that other day, you are too feeble to use what you have saved?

No, tomorrow is not guaranteed. And, likewise, neither is a year from now not guaranteed. So, live your life. Love your life. Appreciate your boundaries, and run free within them.

When you find, as you absolutely will, eventually, that those boundaries no longer offer the stimulation you once received – when your cavorting within the confines of your budget no longer satisfy your curiosity for adventure, for exploration, and experience – then, then my friend, it is time.

You shall know it by the warning signs: when you are antsy with your routine – when you are bored of your friends – when your lover does not – when you see these, be aware, and be prepared, that the change is coming.

It will be difficult, no doubt. It may be violent, how strongly your subconscious rebels against the freedom you are exposing it to. But push on, continue, fight this good fight, for in doing, you dissolve the last barriers to true experience – those limitations on mind, on body, and, truly, on happiness usually called a “budget”.

Writing Practice 1/5/2020 – “Mushrooms”

It is a strange mashup we have made in English for those multi-faceted varieties of fungus. We call them mushrooms, from a very strange quirk of language. Originally they were called “toe-fruit”, up until approximately the 13th century. Such a name applied because they were often harvested by walking through the forest, and kicking at the growths on the ground with your toes.

All of that changed, though, with the advent of 13th century farming techniques. A young farmer in England, whose name is unfortunately lost to history, had been finding toe-fruits in the wild for years. One afternoon she had entered her walled-off compost room at the side of her house, and found the toe-fruits growing not only at ground level, but at many different heights up and down the walls.

We now know that the spores of such must have been spread onto the rich, fertile compost by some method – mice, or perhaps accidental distribution via undigested food, or some other means. We know not what she said, or what she believed, but we do know that she became one of the first to cultivate toe-fruits with regularity, ultimately using the profits of her harvest to build another compost-room, and leveraging success over and over. The villagers around found her toe-fruits were ecstatic to find a regular, reliable source of such edibles, and when they asked her where she found them, she would cryptically reply that they came from “mush room”. Not wanting to give away the secrete of [illegible], for if she did others might apply the same to their own benefit, they more [illegible] accepted this bounty and applied the spoils to their lives.

Thus was both the strange name of the mushroom, which has carried on down to the modern day. Should you ever encounter other cultures and languages, though, you will often find yourself dealing with a name that, should it be translated literally, resembles not so much a room full of mush, but the fruit of your smallest digit.

Cheers!

Writing Practice 11/26/2019

Stories of Your Life, page 119: It’ll be when you first learn to walk…

It’ll be when you first learn to walk. Your drunken-baby steps, uncertain and wobbly, that lead you only a few inches away from the safety of the couch at first, then further and further as you gain skill, confidence, strength.

Or – maybe – it will be when you first ride a bike. That proud-parent-even-prouder-child experience, when you go zooming off down the street faster and more sure than I could ever be for you right now.

Or – maybe – it will be when you have your first sleepover party, that time when I will for the first time be unable to sneak in your room at night and just watch, just check, just to make sure, once more, that you are, in fact, still breathing and are, in parallel fact, still my little daughter.

certainly it won’t be as late as when you get glasses. That’s going to be in about fifth or sixth grade, if family history is any indication. You’ll be what – eleven? Twelve? So grown up, and yet so vulnerable still.

I won’t even conceive that it could be as late as your braces, those fences inside your lips holding back your “true” development, but, at the same time, driving you to a more secure, more happy, more healthy body image. I must admit – I never went through that phase. The one bright spot in my DNA, I guess, so I don’t know how to relate to that. I’ll just have to listen then while you hate having braces and hate the rubber bands and hate flossing and hate the checkups and hate everything about it, just smile and nod, smile and nod.

Perhaps it would be foolish of me to think it would be at your first date. Or when you’re driving to your job. Or when you’re moving in to the dorm, or moving out, or when you finally come back to tell me the fabulous news. Or when you’ve finally gotten that sweet little bundle of joy of your own, when you feel “complete”, whenever that is down the road, whenever you’re able to give me advice on finances, or memory, or organization.

I could be forgiven for hoping it will last that long. But I know it won’t. Someday, it will come, that I will realize you are no longer my “little girl”. And then I will probably cry. Laugh, too, and give you a hug, but, yes, without a doubt, I will cry.

Until that day, though, I will savor these moments. I will cradle you here in the crook of my arm. I will feel the solid weight of your head against my bicep. I will stroke your tiny fingers, one at a time. Then all at a time, with my huge fingers, my giant hand, my overwhelming love. I will bask in this wonderful feeling, and together we shall march, arm in arm, into the future, as one. Let’s go, my dearest daughter.

Let’s go.

Writing Practice 11/23/2019

Write without purpose. Let the words flow freely. Do not impede their progress, from Muse to brain to pen to paper, but let them allow them encourage them to express themselves in your presence.

Become their conduit, rather than their dam. Become a gate through which they flow, rather than a barrier blocking their passage from the universe to your audience. See yourself not so much as a writer, or artist, or sculptor, as if you have the power, as if you have agency over the final form. But, rather, see ourself as the liberator, the catalyst, the accelerator of the birth and emergence of ideas, which once were clouded in the obscurity of the quantum foam, and which, through you, have been able finally to find their true expression, their fullness of being, their own transcendence of the chains holding them back from their truest, fullest, most complete and satisfying existence.

For is that not truly what all things, beings, even ideas, want? To achieve their potential? To make as large an impact on this universe as they are called to achieve?

To be anything less, then, is to laugh at the judgment of those who designed these spaces, these worlds, these modes of expression, and to say to them, “Bah, forget you, I know better than you do how high I can rise, how complete I can be, how fully my heart can be, and, contrary to your exalted expectations, honestly, I must say, you were quite mistaken. Would that I could reach so high! Alas, it is your error in judgment, then, that we expose here today. You aimed too high for me. I, on the other hand, have achieved exactly what I believed, and, truly, know could be done, at the limits of my performance.

This is, let me remind you, absolutely not my failure to achieve the plans you have set in place for me and my benefit and my success and my happiness. Could I have more? Oh, if it were only so easy! But the fault, then, is clearly yours. Do you not see that in fact I have truly reached my limit? Fret yourself not over my ‘failings.’ It is not I who have missed the mark, but instead it is you, you power, you divinity, with your overestimation, with your naïveté to the reality of the situation, with your foolhardy expectation of a life that, clearly, I am not bound or able to live. Shall we all agree in that, everyone would be much better off.”

Do you see, then, how your arrogance plays out in limiting you? Turn not to your own small [illegible], therefore. Believe not the small, limiting voice in your head. Listen, instead to the wide, grand, aspirational call from afar, and seek and strive and achieve the great heights to which you are truly destined.

Writing Practice 11/14/2019

Today I will do all of the things…

Today I will do all of the things. All of the love things, the work things, the fun things, the careful things, the reckless things. I will turn myself into a paper boat and fly into the sunset. I will wear a hat made out of marbles. I will watch seventeen movies in a row, and write two-star reviews of them all on Yelp.

I will run with the Wolves, and I will sit with the Kings and Queens. I will listen for my name on the draft board, and I will play the trumpet for Taps, signifying a well-earned rest for the men, women, Venusians, and Tau Cetians under my charge.

I will dance in the moonlight, wearing a six-piece suit (pants, shoes, shirt, vest, tie, jacket), and I will carry a cane and I will insert my monopole into my left eye, and I will dash my hat (my tall, black top hat) just to the side, just a little bit, and is ill, wearing my six-piece suit and top hat and cane, I will sing “Singing In the Rain,” and I will do it with an Australian accent, and at the end, when I’m finished, I will dance a little jig and kick my heels up and tap them together, dance-jump-tap, dance-jump-tap, alternating sides for just a few seconds, because I don’t want to press my luck, this has been going on quite long enough now, and I will take a bow and doff my cap and sweep it low towards the ground, and I will say “M’lady,” and I will stand once more erect and proud and congratulatory, congratulating myself for a fine performance, a fine performance, that, and I will wish you all a good night, and I will turn smartly on my heel, tamp my cane on the sidewalk twice, tap-tap, and step off, prim and proper, into he night, disappearing into the fog, lit only by the moon behind you, so your shadows stretch out, reaching for me, begging with me to come back, return, please, just for one more song, and I’ll turn down an alley you cannot see and I will spend my evening in the company of my good friends, my true friends, one from Mr. Daniels and other other from Cuba, and after we have throughly refreshed our relationship I shall take my leave, excusing myself to the utmost of exhortations to stay, stay, just a bit longer, only one more, but I will be off, I have much to do before I sleep and far to go, so I shall, so I shall, so I shall.

Writing Practice 11/4/2019

Please stop…

Please stop at the next turn sign up there.

There? I mean, here?

Yes, there. Now. Turn left. Yes, that’s good. So, have you been practicing long?

About six months. I had license in my old country, you know.

Really? Fascinating. Turn left at the next opportunity.

Yes, it was much simpler there, though. We had no road test, only parking lot. Road is not good here, because there are so many other cars! I don’t like it.

Well, that’s fine that you don’t like it, but we do require everyone to be competent, and safe, behind the wheel before they are allowed to drive on their own.

It is just so scary! None of the cars in old country were even nearly so big.

There to the right, please, and watch your speed. You are entering a school zone.

Yes, thank you. Do I need a signal for this? It’s a, what you call it, a traffic circle? Run about?

Roundabout. no, you do not need your signal to enter, but it is a good idea to use one upon existing. Do that now, please.

Damn! Missed.

Not a problem. We’ll go around once more… There, turn out there.

Oh, I have it now!

But you forgot the signal. In the exam the instructor won’t like that.

Perhaps I can give him big smile, he will think I’m pretty?

Yes, of course, he will think you are pretty. Everyone thinks you are pretty.

Oh, stop! You make me blush.

No, it’s true! All of the instructors at the school hope to be assigned to your car when you come in. Today is my lucky day. Don’t forget to slow down over this… Ouch!… speed hump.

Sorry!

Next time be a little more careful.

I will!

your test instructor on the action test, your evaluator, I mean, will instruct you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times, so, in the interest of practice, please remove your hand from my knee.

Sorry!

It’s all right, dear. As I said, that is still a very enjoyable situation. however, it is totally inappropriate for our current session.

I’m sorry again! What can I do to make it up to you?

Nothing, except continuing to drive carefully. No, don’t turn in here, I need you to continue out to the highway. Today’s practice is all about highway driving.

I’m sorry, I just need to stop and pull over for a moment.

Well, okay, but… what are you doing? No, stop! Put that back on! No, madam, I think you misunderstand what’s going on here!

This is not how to get good marks on the driving test?

This is most definitely not how to get good marks on the driving test! Madam, i can clearly see your breasts. I am going to exit the vehicle, and shall not continue until you demonstrate your commitment to ethics and professionalism.

Sir, perhaps you do not understand. This is ethics and professionalism for me.

You’re right, I don’t understand. What are you talking about? Hey! Put my zipper back up! hey! My wife won’t like this.

No, but you will! I have a 4 point 9 star rating!

On what?

Trickr!

Good lord!!!

Writing Practice 8/10/2019 – Can I have a bite?

Can I have a bite?

Please? Just a little nibble. I promise, I won’t take much. You’ll still have most left over after I’m done. I’m ever so hungry, and you, why, you have the most delicious looking spread around…

Why, I apologize. Certainly, I must beg your pardon. In no way did I mean to imply that I think of you as food. I admit, my choice of working was in poor taste.

Oh my! I’ve done it again. Once more, mister Bluebottle, please accept my apologies. It is in my way my intention to continue to suggest that you are mine to own, to taste, to eat, or anything of the like. How should I, a poor Trapdoor Spider from the wrong side of the room, ever even think to presume that I would ever rise to your level? You, Sir, are clearly the high of the society, and it should be, as you say, quite forthright of me to make such a presumption. I was only begging your forgiveness for my earlier outburst, which, too, presumed much too high a status and standard for myself, and far too low a social status for one so esteemed as yourself. For that I must beg your pardon, and I dare ask your forgiveness once more. Should you deign to grant me with such a blessing, I would, no doubt, be in your debt, for all of the foreseeable meals of the future.

Oh, my! I’ve done it again. Dearly, truly sorry, I am, I continue to put one or the other or yet another of my legs in my mouth, cumbersome and clumsy as it may be to do so, and I would not fault you, dear and good sir, were you to take your leave this very minute from my presence. The fact that you continue to stay does indeed warm my heart immensely. I shall, certainly, hope to find some time to repast you…

Goodness! Would you look at that? Now I’ve done and gone and done it again! Dear me, I don’t know what has come over me. I simply cannot get eating off my mind. You know how it is, my good sir. You must have had a similar occurrence at least once in your good life, of months and months long it is, such that you, too, recognize the futility of attempting to avoid the topic which weighs on your mind. You try, and try, and try, but every time, try as you might, you cannot eliminate the thought pre-occupying your spirit. For, it is as if an invading army has taken camp within between your ears, and their buglemaster continues to play the same chorus, over and over and over, incessant, such that you would rather poke the insides of your head out than listen to one more repetition. So it is with my own experience at the moment, I am afraid. “Eat him,” comes the though, and I do my best To punter, No, he is much to special. “Eat him!” No, I cannot do that to a member of such an esteemed family.

“EAT HIM!” The voice continues, pounding a drumbeat that bounces of the inside of my skull and ricochets across my eardrums, that sets up a chorus line and the buglemaster not only plays, he has recruited half a dozen others to join him, so that there is no more space between the words, it is one perpetual burden, one incessant command, one impossible to ignore dictum –

EATHIMEATHIMEATHIMIAEATHEIMEATHIMEATIHIEIATHEATIMEHIMEATHIMEATHIMEATIEAHTIMEIAHTIEMAHITIEMATHIEMEATHIEMAEATHIMEEAHTEIAEHAIEMAETHIMEHAIEMTEIHAEIMETH.

So, my good sir, what would you do, if you were me? Would you, if it could possibly be, eat yourself? or would you walk away from such a lovely, tempting meal, on a count of social status, and privilege, and power?

How should I decide too? I must admit, watching you struggle these last minutes with those bonds I strung not half an hour ago has certainly whetted whatever appetite I came to you with.

And, while this has been an interesting excuse for a conversation (I must admit, you’ve been awfully quiet this whole time, wondrous thing these silken gags I’ve learned so weave, aren’t they?), I must say, I do believe that they time has come to move our relationship forward. No longer shall we be equals, you, over there, helpless before my strong web, and me, over here, helpless before the grand insectual society. No, the time for parity has ended, and thus, it is time for me, and my kind, to regain our position as primary in the elite world of the dirty, dusty attic rafter. With that, Sir Bluebottle, I wish you good day.

May I have a bite? Don’t mind if I do.