Thursday, June 30, 2011

An Inpenetrable Barrier to All Rapport

Several years ago I was at a party talking to a girl I was not romantically interested in but wanted to get to know. We were discussing a subject of mutual interest, and both of us were slightly nervous.

Suddenly a great BANG! came from outside and I turned to the window. Nothing.

In that split second she had turned her head, interpreting my surprise as a calculated sign of disinterest, and another girl she was well-acquainted with now held her attention. I wanted to protest that I'd been caught off guard and wanted nothing more than to talk to her, but it was too late. A mere forty degrees had created an impenetrable barrier to all rapport.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Years of Wandering

I've been reading a biography of Samuel Beckett written by Deirdre Bair (who some of you might remember as a guest teacher at Bennington back in '06), as I've become more and more curious about what my favorite authors were doing before they became authors. So far I'd just like to say that if you thought your life was horrible when you were a twentysomething, you've got nothing on Beckett, who was stuck on his parents' estate in Ireland with no money and no job until he was into his thirties. During this time, he also wrote an amazing poem, entitled "Gnome," that speaks pretty well for his feelings after leaving Trinity College and the Paris literary community:
Spend the years of learning squandering
Courage for the years of wandering
Through the world politely turning
From the loutishness of learning.

Is it common for people to shun learning after that final graduation ceremony? In many cases, yes. Does the pedantic learning of post-secondary education turn out to be less useful than we thought it might be? Again, I think so. Is the rhythmic structure of those years of formal education far easier to face than the uncertainty of the big world outside? Definitely.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why I Blog

Back in college, I gradually became aware that though I had a lot of ideas for things to write, almost none of them ever made it on to the page. Most of these ideas (then, as now), were snippets, short pieces, or isolated moments that had no proper place. Instead of developing these ideas, I'd think about them for a length of time ranging from a few minutes to a few days, and unless I could develop them into a short story or integrate them into a project for a class (which almost never happened) I'd forget about them.

I started this blog as motivation, knowing that I'd be more likely to develop these ideas if I had somewhere (however isolated) to put them. I certainly write a lot more now than I did four years ago, so in that sense, the blog is a complete success. I always intended it to be more of a working studio than a finished gallery, with the goal that some pieces from here would eventually be revised, removed, and other homes found for them. Unfortunately I've never been very good at finding other homes for my writing. Call that a goal for the future. One of many.

Sometimes I worry that now I spend too much time writing things to post here, where I should be working on bigger projects (e.g. the novel or the Carcrash Parker adventure game) or smaller ones that could have a wider appeal. I could never be like John Wiswell, who posts hilarious, thoughtful, and clever fiction daily while still managing to develop other work. With real world problems looming large on the horizon, writing time is limited. That I might not be using it wisely is frightening.

But, I go back and forth on this issue a lot. It's always better to be writing something than to be writing nothing, and I'm in a much better place now than I was four years ago. I wonder if I'll ever be able to solve the problem of how to open up my work to a wider audience, and worry that I might spend too much time searching and not enough time writing.

This blog still gives me a forum to develop ideas, so I'll keep it around. The trick is how to expand. It's a problem with many solutions. All I need is one.