Friday, August 29, 2014

About Running After Ideas

You just say, "Well, hell, I don't need depression. I don't need worry. I don't need to push." The ideas will follow me. When they're off-guard, and ready to be born, I'll turn around and grab them.
Ray Bradbury, 1982, from Zen in the Art of Writing

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Creative Dissonance

'Fighting intuition creates creative dissonance.'


If writing is a slog, and something in your work doesn't feel right, it's because something isn't right. Your unconscious self intuits this at a deep level. It identifies a problem, perhaps even the solution, and attempts to apply the brakes. Your conscious mind, however, wants to work its will. It had a plan, sees the end in sight, and so it persists. This causes creative dissonance.

We stare at the page, stuck between scenes, unsure of our footing. Words refuse to come. Most people call this a block, but I've begun to see this block not a barrier, but a blessing. It is a sign or a wake-up call to challenge our assumptions; to pay attention to the deeper self that knows the way. Good art is less an act of will than it is an act of submission.

Word of the Day

Sensuist: One who delights in the senses.

Not to be confused with Sensualist, someone devoted to physical pleasure (esp. sexual), though there is certainly overlap.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Desert Places By Robert Frost

Desert Places

By Robert Frost


Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast
In a field I looked into going past,
And the ground almost covered smooth in snow,
But a few weeds and stubble showing last.

The woods around it have it - it is theirs.
All animals are smothered in their lairs.
I am too absent-spirited to count;
The loneliness includes me unawares.

And lonely as it is, that loneliness
Will be more lonely ere it will be less -
A blanker whiteness of benighted snow
WIth no expression, nothing to express.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars - on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

Bright Star By John Keats

Bright Star

By John Keats


Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
        Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
        Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
        Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
        Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
        Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
        Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

A Dream Within a Dream

By Edgar Allan Poe


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Warming Up to Global Warming

Next time someone says "many (or most) scientists disagree about whether global warming is real, or that people have anything to do with it," you can show them this graph--



Then watch as they use it as "proof" that all scientists (save one intrepid soul who can't be bought) are part of a global conspiracy to bilk governments, downtrodden corporations, and sheeple out of research money just so these unscrupulous Ivy League tyrants can maintain their fleet of Bentleys and Lambos, as well as the lavish lifestyle to which their overly generous university salary entitles them.

They will go on to explain to you (in a very condescending, perhaps even paternal tone) that climate is cyclical, and if we're in such a warming trend, how come that damn ship got stuck in the ice, huh? They might even mention that Vikings lived on Greenland a thousand years ago when it was slightly warmer and well, greener, and were forced to leave when the climate grew too cold (according to Forbes anyway, though new research shows this to be the least significant reason they were forced to leave the island). Now Greenland is warming again, so see? Cyclical. Never mind that what once took centuries, even millennia, is now taking only decades, and that once the ice leaves it will never return, and the desertification of the planet will continue unabated.

All this scientific consensus means nothing, they might argue. After all, the scientific consensus once held that the Earth was flat. Only no, it was the consensus of the church, not the scientists.
After all this arguing, you might find your opponent doubling back in a rather odd way, making a statement such as this: "well even if it's true, there's nothing we can do about it because of China." And at that point you must admit defeat and simply shake your head, hoping the mud fish and cockroaches have a better go of it.