"Neither sex, without some fertilization of the complimentary characters of the other, is capable of the highest reaches of human endeavor."
One time Tom Arnold wished me good luck in my endeavors and ambitions to become a writer. It was one of the most poignant pieces of encouragement I've ever received.
I don't know whether it was the unexpected source [link]
or the sincerity and kindness with which he gave the encouragement, or the familiarity and intimacy with which he could discuss the craft of writing. But if I'm ever in a funk of self doubt in my creative endeavors, I most often turn to Patton Oswalt's "Death Bed, The Bed That Eats People" sketch [link]
or otherwise, remembering that little helping hand I got at a rather grim time in my life.
It's time to update my journal, as my last entry was far too self-indulgent and lengthy.
This entry is going to be equally as self-indulgent, but I'll try and be succinct.
Work looks like it's going to become all the more grim in the coming weeks.
Since I started at my company, today the officially fourth person who worked with me in my department has either been fired, or in this case, quit. Now I'm left alone to tackle the work of three people.
But I'm not composing this journal to vent professional frustration.
I'm here to give voice to my random thoughts.
- I know writers tend to be a whiny, needy lot. I've had some characteristics like that ascribed to me in my life, so I'll try not to bitch too much as this journal is not about venting or bitching, it's about giving voice to the cacophony of thoughts in my head. But as I've lately taken to watching a lot of the vlogbrothers videos on YouTube [link]
it affords me the opportunity to get inside the head of someone who's actually managed to become a successful, and what's more, recognized writer.
James Cameron, who, depending on how keen you are on gigantic smurf/cat people, is either a visionary genius or an egomaniac, was hit with pangs of realization in 1977 when he, as a young man, sat down and viewed a little film called "Star Wars." Cameron quickly realized that if he wanted to be a film director, in accordance with his ambitions, he would need to quit his job as a truck driver and get started.
Ironically enough it was reading a Star Wars novel that inspired me to hammer out on the keys for months on end until my computer coughed out a novel. But now that I've seen creative writers actually succeed and thrive even while the print and publishing industry is collapsing in the horrible, agonizing rictus of atrophy around us all, it's only spurring and goading me all the more to finish my, by now, third novel, the one which I feel most strongly about and the one which, by virtue of my accumulated writing experience and the novel's subject matter, has the greatest chance for commercial success.
... Now if I could only finish this tangential side project i've picked up, one which is blurring the lines between the left and right hemispheres of my brain in terms of the ephemeral nature of the human psyche and emotions and the essential regimentation and orderliness that determines whether we all live or die, and pick up the threads of my current novel-in-progress, I'll really be in business.
That and I need to buy/borrow and read "Looking for Alaska." [link]
- I can't for the life of me fathom what would make a grown adult human male feel compelled to shout the word "What" as a complete and utter non sequitur and without any discernible provocation. Repeatedly.
The only thread I can possibly make here is hip hop artist "Lil Jon," who has nothing in common with the character from English literature from whom his moniker is taken, and who I know of only from watching "Chapelles Show" back when I was in high school. [link]
But where the brilliant Dave Chapelle was able to add comic timing and charm to the seemingly nonsensical mannerisms of this performance artist, people I'm suddenly hearing shout this single-syllable declarative have no clear intention other than their own enjoyment, or any regard for whether anyone around them wants to hear it.
Beyond that, I have no way of knowing if Lil Jon is still popular. If Dave was spoofing on him back when I was in high school, surely he must have faded in popularity by now.
In any case, If it's not Lil Jon my new best friends are referencing when they randomly shout this futile attempt at... whatever it is that they're attempting, I can't for the life of me figure out "What" it is. Surely it's not the "Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater." [link]
- Why can't we have more scrimshaw?
I know the harvesting of whales is frowned upon, even though it was us, the Americans who helped the Japanese blight the seas of cetaceans in the mid 20th-century, and us telling them now that they shouldn't be harvesting whales at all is a touch hypocritical, and there are plenty of sound conservational arguments for the preservation of the cachalots, I still think we're missing a good bet with scrimshaw.
We don't even have to use whale teeth. We have a renewable source of carve-able bone at hand: stag antlers.
Every year, deer shed and re-grow their antlers.
Now that we have a source of bone and we're not slaughtering our resource base, I say it's time to revive the art of scrimshaw!
For all we know it's the one missing aspect of traditional American values that actually WILL lead to unending peace and prosperity once reinstated.
-Where do ideas go when they're gone? And what happens to a doctrine of belief once people stop believing in it?
If our old pal Jean-Paul Sartre is anything to go by: "Nothing can exist only partially." But can the same thing be applied to human thought?
Human thoughts unquestionably exist, but are they anything more than the electrical impulses in our brains, or is there some tangible element to the processes of the human mind? And if there is, where does an idea or a belief go once it's discarded.
Once I finish the body proper of the main piece I'm working on now, I'll have written three novels (none published if anyone's asking) And I've written a good number of short (ish) stories as well, relating to the main bodies of text or otherwise.
This isn't to say that these are the only ideas I've had for stories. I've had at least ten or fifteen ideas for novels in my lifetime, some of them I'm still hanging onto tentatively for possible future projects, but for the most part, I've been forced to cast these ideas by the wayside as they've simply refused to flesh out in my head or simply didn't work or were poorly-conceived to begin with. In which case I'll gut the ideas for any useful or worthwhile subsets I might have imbued them with and simply cast them aside.
Waste. Refuse. Litter composed solely of the gossamer fabric of human consciousness.
But what, if anything, happened to these discarded thoughts?
I can call them to mind if pressed hard enough, so are they even gone to begin with?
What happens to a thought once it passes out of us? And what happens when a series of thoughts or beliefs held by millions cease to be? These things exist. Gods, heroes and warriors all existed in the form of collective, cultural consciousness.
Where do old beliefs go? And where do forgotten dreams and discarded thoughts go?
I've found this question very interesting in the abstract in my time on this planet.
So much to to the point that it actually served as a crucial subplot to my second novel.
But outside my own work, I've never seen this idea expressed elsewhere outside of a classic episode of "Star Trek" and an issue of "Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose."
I'm not sure which of these two really handled the concept best. But seeing as how I have a good number of friends on here who, for legal reasons, can't get their hands on "Tarot" ... I'll go ahead and give it to Star Trek.
Wow, none of this turned out nearly as cool or insightful as I'd hoped.
"That's the best reason to get up in the morning; to do it better than you've ever done it before. And if you haven't done it better my nighttime; look at your globe, pick a spot. It's always morning somewhere." [link]