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4 Rando Rants, mostly about writing

 

I’ve been playing with of three main ideas I’ve been living around more and more lately that I think I’m up for 3am finger vomiting:

 

 

Rant 1: The Best Pretension is No Pretensions – You can still mine gold

Accept it: we don’t read novels as much anymore.  Print’s coming back a little, but compared to the proportion of literate folks, we’re reading like illiterates again.

And this isn’t a high horse tirade – cause there’re some cool reasons for this! It’s obvious, if you go check almost any high school Social Studies paper it’s clear: der media is changing.

And with this, I feel like it’s time to drop some pretensions (and for the sake of rhyme, maybe even replace them with superior apprehensions):
Whatever you do, the way I see it in the end it’s all similar, cause we’re all fucking layers and our talents revolve around manipulating the fibers in said layers.   And sure, we’re all different layers obviously, but layers regardless. We’re people trying to tap into deeper ways to live, or we’re people who feel like we’ve already got it figured out and uh, usually not. (Rude awakenings seem to hit these folks at points.)

Hey, my favorite old men haven’t stopped learning or thinking.

Taping these layers reveals and illuminates more of them.  And separately, learning which layers to share even becomes a big ole skill. Learning how to share ’em are new skillsets too.

Some people have the ability to see the simplest summations and impress those summations over a pile of layers.  (the “Answer is ____ why am I still thinking about this!” folks) Sometimes that’s helpful for smoooooth decision making and a great talent! It’s often good in moral decisions (or in making us feel better about them.)  Needed, especially in urgent situations, while othertime’s the same trait’s oversimplifying, and makes people shrewd and short sighted.

Some have the ability to see the trees as a forest, then see dynamic bigger picture stuff without the elements.  We see combinations of these layers, we see multiple layers, we see complexity and can see how it mixes and stirs and folds.  This is usually good for science, or cooking, or stuff with complexities.  It is bad when you have to simplify, unless you’re a really good simplificist — which is so rare I had to make it up as a D&D class, just now.

And some people can switch it up.
But here’s the relevant point: maybe Shia Lebooboo’s doing it totally badassly by dancing with a little girl in a cage.

Because if you’re tapping, your version of tapping that works for you, WILL also work for someone else, just not in a way you expect, and almost certainly not in the same way it worked for you. Of course tapping layers makes you super weird, but it also sets you apart and contributes your awesomeness to humanity: Shia’s Lebooboo probably moved someone else by trying. It makes him more interesting and a better person than what any reality star’s done for you. And again, yep he’s a super weird guy cause he does stunts lately that try and enjoy tapping .  This doesn’t apply to everyone.

For me the bottom line is life, leads to life, leads to life, leads to life. And creation, destruction, reassembly (Although especially the first two) well that is life. Tap well into one circle of what makes yours, and it’ll bleed into others.  Will elaborate, but generally what I mean is food => books => movies => sentiments => music = books => forever.  You can put that in whatever order, but the principal of the paradigm remains if you look at any element:  I’m pretty sure I’d be a crappy cook if my soul only wanted to cook. I’m pretty sure I’ve become a much better cook after watching some crappy and not so crappy things on a glowing screens.

And I’m pretty sure those days where I worked hard just to make money for me, and then went home to consume it . . . well that probably felt like lather rinse repeat for a reason. I think growing up involves evolution and growing responsibilities, whatever those may be. My example of ironic stunting: I’ve had a couple careers I think could’ve been super stable, but made me less adult in some weird ways — I let myself feel seriously there and found myself finding little room for growth.  Lather rinse repeat. And woe if you work in one of those environments that practices control by threatening your soap.  In this metaphor, people are supposed to live comfortably scrubbed: not washing all the time.

Y’know, propaedeutic is still a great word, and while this isn’t what it means, what it results in is if something feels good and captivating: there’s a good reason for it. Some of us get this way with different crafts and trades, and I feel there’s an ethical obligation to pursue said captivation if you can make the leisure for it.

 

I’ve been supporting things like, friends getting new strange goals (stand up most comes to mind) families, wanting to do career goals, and it’s occurred to me that the main thing I’m looking to support is that soul stuff.  Honestly, don’t die, don’t hurt, don’t go homeless, only introduce life you do care for, and honestly from there I just don’t care how you pay your bills. Make stuff though or want a reaction? That’s nifty, and happy to talk about it. But this isn’t always usual! Sometimes we get too caught up with status, or some odd consumption to appreciate the simple things which makes complexities frikkin’ fun.

I believe today that a spiritually fulfilled person has figured out their ways of teasing out and interacting with the universe’s layers.  This applies in terms of people, your science, your god, yer art, really.  First example: good psychologist gets off in parsing apart the layers that make us people – there’s a mental zone here some can enter.

A good painter – from Alex Grey to say, this Mr Braddix feller – seem able to turn elements of color into some amazingly complex designs and collages.  I think we get the idea.  So what I’m leading to is:

People, we don’t read as much because the new world order is here.  It’s on youtube and HBO.   It’s through google and chromecast.  It’s on smart phones. It’s in our music and in our desktops and pads and laptops: its in our access, and its how they can intertwine.

Of course we won’t just have an interest in books when there’s all these awesome ways to tap.  It’s why we don’t read more than say, 40 years ago.

And all people have these layers, and will never be perfectly predictable until their entire lives and current being are understood, which aint happening – we don’t even have that privilege with ourselves. This isn’t to mystify psychology, but it’s to say respecting something that gives you insight into a person’s being is gaining insight into one of those layers. This ends up making the world so much richer than a universe where say, someone hates you because they’re born in the axis of evil where evil people just spawn.  People don’t work that way. You wanna overcome tribulations of humanity – culture-wide, or even just in your personal life?  Yer gonna need to understand layers.  This is where GOOD books, movies, music, moods, foods and etc come in handy.  For lots, it’s the entire point.

And regarding our tapping activities – our serious past-times, our hobbies that we embrace with captivation and talent -every once in a while you meet that someone who see’s you’re into something and then they think they know enough about you, or whatever you’re into that this exposure leaves them feeling like there’s something to tout over you.  (The person who laughs at your erotica collection – fuck ’em, then count the number of orgasms.  Then compare to lover who doesn’t.  Boom, science.)   Yet that gloat? That’s a pretension. The good news though: if you’re actually doing it right, that pretensions totally their loss and I’ve seen that play out more than once – nearly infinity times.

What this boils down to: I think 30 years ago you COULD tell that someone was an interesting kind of people extrovert by their TASTE in books.  If they had one, and if they liked fiction centralized around deep character morays, you could usually guess safely that this was a deeper person who appreciated more layers in life than say, a guy who yells FOOTBALLLLLLL.  (Except before this before the 50’s when it wasn’t the case, and philosophy aspired to making the everyman the ubermensch) Heck, yelling FOOOOOTBALLLL used to even be diametrically opposed to reading books for whatever goddang reason. Because yes, jocks are defined by their pretensions.

Today, that person who only appreciates their exact taste in book is being a pretentious turdmonger.

Meanwhile, today it’s different. That guy yelling FOOTBALLLLLLLL may be fresh from a research binge.   Mostly this’s because of access and time.  So I’m also gonna pretend it’s an empiricized fact: Fantasy football players today have higher football IQ’s than 15 year old kids in the 60’s. We can also consume copious amounts of smut – and I didn’t just mean porn, but that too – while also do some REALLY AWESOME THINGS.  And as long as we’re also doing really awesome things, a little bit of smutty enjoy on the side is usually just that.
So just keep tapping, whatever you do.  This’ll introduce you to better layers of humanity in weird ways as you discover growth.

This rant ends with: Some of us create music and sounds.  Some of us create other elements.  Some of us wield ’em together.   Some of us watch trashy movies, some watch great complex movies.  Some of us can eat general tsos forever, and some start to feel like crap unless they cook up something fierce. There are probably reasons for these differences but as long as everyone taps and shares appropriately, the world’s gonna get better and better in terms of humanity — excluding scary global warming.

So if you dance, (donce donce donce) well, dance. Just don’t be a pretentious ninny English major about it.  And if you cook, cook. Or you crochet, knit, draw, click, whatever.   This’s great cause heck you can even game – some of them are deep now. The point is to get into that zone, because I argue they all contribute to each other.  Music adds to movies which ads to writing which ads to life which ads to movies.  The time of “Do you even____” is over.  “Do you also____” is in.

To me the idea is take pride and try to do good, and the world SHOULD be a better place than if you’re a mindless consumer trying to fit within other people’s neat but caked cheese-cloth view of the world, and you might make something awesome in the process.

(Or you might not.  I dunno, and if you scroll through this blog you’ll notice I never once actually claimed to be smart or always right.  That’s how you know you can trust me.)

 

 

 

Rant 2: Also: You Tap =/= Letting Others Tell You If You’re Tapping

I’m going to use Disjuncture as an example:
Disjuncture has always been in longer-word range for any novel of my backing.  Being aware of this made me want to cut things.  Like not IRL – in real life I just wanted to set things on fire.  I meant from its story.  Like, “Ooooh, perhaps this elevator scene is extra . .. perhaps this homeless guy is extra . . . .perhaps this transport scene is extra . . . .perhaps this test is extra. . . .” (This happens if you incorporate layers of ideas, which guess what, is probably great for novels.)

But then I looked at those “extra” scenes and, except for the stuff I didn’t, the material made me go “hey wait this is kind of nifty and establishes ____ and sets up for ___” and I kept what I did.  The result was still long, and the cuts I made didn’t make my book much shorter, so I failed and had some readers tell me what they thought.

And this was a mistake.  Heck at this point I’ve even paid a guy to tell me his opinion on the weight of scenes.  NEO!  Now that I’m becoming a big boy this feels super clear to me:  If I can’t do that myself, I don’t deserve to plot.  And it’s sick because I can.  I think I was being less focused and confident a year ago.  And I think real confidence is a thing you learn, or a delusion you acclimate with.

But you just don’t draw a face and ask other people to tell you if they like the nose.  You draw a face cause something in you decided it was a great idea to draw a face and you do your best. If it crosses that line and taps, then share.

And in terms of character and plotting, I’ve gotten to the point where I strongly feel the world of Disjuncture is better than the game of thrones show, except judging by the current seasons, Disjuncture’s also much more succinct and tied together. If I feel that way I should have born the confidence to press forward without bothering people with it until it’s anything but a bother.

My thinking is this is how humans stop other humans from the tap: with unfettered opinion.  When it comes to other’s opinions of your tap, feedback is one thing and usually good, but relying on an audience as a validating crutch to tell you you’re still upright is also weak. And if you’re in an area where you want to be professional, it’s probably also a ridiculous practice to just survey!

So here’s what I see today – cause I’m in that scary place again where it’s finally about time to sell so of course I want to polish polish before I start firing new queries with inclusive word counts that could be lower: when you’re your best critic, that practice coalesces with perception, then ends with work that resolves in yer best confidence.  That’s the power of being your strongest critic.  The best . . . sure, let’s say artist . . .is not necessarily the one who’s the proudest of their creation, or even has the most money making or famous creation, I’d say it’s the creator who knows their capability’s and creation’s worth, and pushes that mark. Philip K Dick was a hell of an author, but look at his actual life.  And yet he still tops lots of modern plots, and we’re still discovering his work’s value.

So you’ve got to be your best critique.  Sometimes this may mean be your toughest critic, but moreoever, it means you know you’re doing what you’re doing, and doing your best at doing it at yer best, and then building on that.  That thing I did where I sought others opinions? Ya, great, at a later stage if I want to go there.  Yet I think that voice where I review my work and know the good or the bad, that’s part of the job.  I don’t want fan-readers – they’re horrible critics because fan is the root of fanatic.  And as sweet as most people’s intentions have always been (maybe with a stray exception, but whatever) I don’t really want author feedback from someone who really is just a reader.

 

The plot is matured.  It’s great.  It’s awesome.  It’s tied together really fuckin’ well and I’m not even the only one, or the last one to think so! Plot and character are personally why I love the story, both feed into each other, and every event ties into character, and every character ties into event.  Lastly, the plot isn’t an ever expanding mess and that’s a big deal: the length is justified.  I work still to trim it – but that nonsense of “Hey what do you think of_____”
Well right now I’ve gotten to a phase where it’s like, if you want to have opinions about drafts, write yer own book, or wait till I’m done!  Unless you’re a professional I’m working with, you’re honestly just another opinion, and this work should be mastered by mine first. I know how that sounds and it’s not meant to be belittling – just, I think that’s work –  that’s my job at this point.

 

Rant 3)

In support of pal’s stand up goal:
Went to some stand-up today, for some reason I always draw extra attention from stage guy and was asked what I do.
“I write stuff.” I smiled and elaborated when asked.
I didn’t want to mention books (but shared a couple recent articles that I could plug funnily -like the dating website, here’s some material bro)
He joked and moved on to my cousin who just got back from Taiwan.
“Oh, nothing really,” Cuzzo said.
And while I wondered why he didn’t mention that he just got back for cool points, or was starting his job tomorrow, I let him go with it. We weren’t there for cool points.
“Oh, I see why you two get along.” He pointed to the two of us.
I laughed.  It was a fun crowd and the guy was nervous and needed a go. I didn’t really mind either, and one of my plugs was brought up repeatedly by follow up commedians (YOU’RE WELCOME MESH.) I can’t feel insulted,
but it’s kind of funny how “I write stuff” = “oh nothing really”  until write stuff guy starts throwing credits. I mean if I said “I write code” boom, assumptions galore. But I know freelancing coders – they don’t get the same judgement as freelance writers.

And I don’t wanna start throwing credits cause I don’t want  – fact is I’m currently working to be more stable as, let’s be honest I’d be insane to be perfectly happy and planning to stay this way – you can’t chase a dragon forever and maybe sometimes it takes an Egg-hander to make danny a danny. And remember, cool adults also earn and count their moneys, and even every once in a while people who write stuff also get to partake in that.  ( Someone’s clearly never listened to Cayanne.)

And on that note, yes I still love the projects I’ve been doing. These calmer moods are making me realize I couldn’t have hit certain strides as much with split time, which means what I want is honestly the type of life you can’t do well until you give it a true and real shot. It’s not perfect, not for everyone, maybe it’s not admirable in all the ways cause I sure wish it was always a hell of a lot more stable, but that comes with success and time, and sometimes it’s a territory where you only know you’re gonna be succesful if you try.  For some things in life I have all the balls/stupidity to try: this remains one of them.

 

 

Rant 4)

I’ve noticed my grammar is still haphazard in a few sticky areas.  I currently shoot to write more polished drafts, and this is different than BLARGHYBLARGH WRITE FOR ERIC ethos where I was like, “eh if it’s good it could be edited later.”  That’s still the case – but that idea where you’ll hire an editor sounds batshit insane nowadays. Seriously, while we read less and there’re more books than ever: I’m pretty sure now is the time to try and sell perfectly polished manuscripts more than ones that need edits, more than ever before. The supply is flooded and the demand is down – only fine, done scotch sells well in those liquor market conditions.

So grammar has been the biggest thing I could work on in the last month. And here’re two facts that explains why I’m not a dumb-dumb, despite not yet ranking perfect at grammar.
1) I’m not a total asshole.  Studies show that if you get too caught up on how people are saying instead of what they intend to say, you’re an asshole, and I’ve always rathered see why people are smart than why they’re dumb. Like seriously, if yer caught on the fact that I just said the word rathered, you missed that point, which is the point.
2) More seriously, when yer passionate about precise point and tone, you don’t focus and then discipline those things as hard, but still, as with anything, slow and constant willing to learn goes a long way. I can write a book and it needs way less editing on stupid things now, and I like that. The fact was I just needed more serious exposure and practice. And I just wrote a rant about access: so that’s really just been more a matter of making the time.

Mmkay that was fun. No mo’ typey rambly rants especially about typing – until I do again. Gnight!

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