Bogus Lies (and) Ordinary Greatness
I started, what I call, articlulate writing years and years ago. Some of it was free associate writing, automatic writing, or what ever you chose to call it. It was, and still is, a fun outlet for me. Some of it, no one has ever read before. A lot of it .... maybe nobody should...
Thursday, September 29, 2011
B A D B R E A T H
Take a breath. Make it a deep, long breath ... Now try it without coughing. Do it again. And again. See that? I bet I got you to do that for the rest of your life now. Breathing is a habit that is hard to break, and now you're hooked!
Why do we breathe? I have my own theories.
Breathing is only done when bored. It's a fact. And I'll be the first to prove it. Now think about it, isn't that the only time you have noticed your breathing, when you're thinking about it? Most of the time you don't even think about breathing-- and that's because you're not! People just sit there with nothing to do and they happen to think about breathing, so they start. They take a deep breath, then another, and soon end up gasping for air. But that's only because they are thinking about it. You don't need it!
You can prove it for yourself. Now take your mind off breathing, totally. Think of something else, say… air, for example.
O.K. Ready? One, two three, four, fi… Now stop! Are you breathing? Oh yeah, sure, now you are, because you're thinking about it. But at that second, when your thoughts returned from that other thought to breathing, were you breathing? Think about it. No, of course you weren't. Because there is no need to breathe. It's psychological. It's all in your mind (which at least proves there's something up there amongst the cobwebs.)
I may go down in history for this great realization. This could be more important than my stand against the typewriter companies. I'll be labeled as a genius. Millions will come to hear me speak at Bingo tournaments. My name in all the history books. My picture in coloring books. I may even get an academy award!
Air is stupid anyway. You can’t convince me that it’s in water, because when you take a fish out of water and let him breathe pure air – he dies! So if there was air in water, it would kill him. Who needs it? H20. H20! H20? What a dumb way to spell water. Why can't those crazy scientists be like the rest of us and spell this normally? If the had to write it in symbols couldn't they have at least made it WeT2r. How come air has no chemical symbols, if it did would it be A1R? Where “A” would stand for airline exhaust and “R” would stand for Refried beans.
I guess the reason scientists call water H20 is because of the hydrogen and oxygen in it. Which is another reason I also believe drinking or bathing aren’t good. After all, who wants the impurities of air in the forms of hydrogen and oxygen creatures to climb all over them or even to enter into their system? I think the hydrogen creatures are more neutral in and upon the system – it’s definitely the oxygen creatures that are the worst. Just breathe once and, before you know it, you have millions of oxygen creatures crawling around inside you. The hydrogen creatures aren't quite as bad, they pretty well stay put. But you have to watch those little oxygen buggers, they're so restless! Oxygen creatures breed faster too…
It’s a new-age fallacy that we have to breath. You have all those gurus out there trying to teach you to breathe – that’s because you don’t – not unless you’re thinking about it. So many charge you to teach you how to breathe, I think it would be money better spent to learn how not to breathe. Free yourself from your unnecessary addictions!
When you weigh the validity of this axiom please do not consider the source, just try to pretend that someone half sane is putting forth this idea. Remember, as Don Marquis once said:
"An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it."
Changing the subject, without deferring far from the original idea of this article, I wanted to answer a common type of letter I'm always getting. People from all over the world write to me and complain (usually at the end of their long, complementary letter). I figure they suppose they must throw in one complaint, because if their letters were all complementary then they would seem false praise and not be taken sincerely. The one, and only, complaint by the adoring public is that my articles are always too serious. They are tired of crying and gnashing their teeth. It is said I should try to show the lighter side of my meaningful topics. Even though I take my writing very seriously, I think it is also important to comply with the wishes and whims of my readers even if it's something that I feel ruins the article.
So, in cooperation with the whims of my readers, in my never-ending attempt to be everything to everybody, I would like to cover not only the heavy, deep side of my topics, but also the lighter side. I would like to show that I can be light headed as well as hard. This is the first article I am to attempt this endeavor. If it goes well, and has a good response and makes me a lot of money, who knows, I may sellout many times in the future ...
So, on the lighter side of… hmmm. What was I talking about earlier? What was the purpose of this article? You don't remember either, huh? Or possibly you never knew! Well, let us just turn back a bit. No, I promise you don't have to reread it.
Oh yea! I was talking about air and all its advantages. So…!
On the lighter side of air -------------------------- Helium!
Thinking (lightly) of You,
P.S: HaH! I caught you not breathing again!
But, proving that you are a hopeless creature
of habit, I bet you started again as soon as I
brought it up again. This concludes another
one of my breathtaking articles .............................. gasp …
Saturday, September 24, 2011
BABBLING STREAM OF WORDS
It's raining out. Not really, but I feel like writing about rain again. Rain is a funny thing. Really! I've never thought about it before-- yes it's true I have written about it, but I didn't think about it -- but it really is. I may not stand on street corners watching the rain roll down my nose and laugh hysterically, but I do chuckle at it every now-and-then. My smile is my umbrella and the clouds are my raincoat (though I sometimes feel like the emperor in "The Emperor's New Clothes.") I have sunken so low at this point that when I sneeze it rains in China.
Even if it wasn't raining out (which it isn't) I could write about rain (which I am) and prove to everyone how diversified I am (here's your proof).
I am a great writer…
So good in the clutch…
A miracle worker say some…
When all seems to be lost, at that moment when the sky's at it's darkest, the breath comes in spurts, when the rabbit first awakens in the middle of the race, afraid to look ahead at the progress of the turtle as the sun sets behind him… a miracle occurs! The turtle, having taken a wrong turn, is calling from Toledo…
Miracles have saved many a fairy tail. Miracles have (believe it or not) supplied the Bible with many of its stories.
But what is a miracle?
I was planning on going on and on about how loosely the word miracle is used today. That how, at one time, a miracle could only be performed by God, and not the 2030 Cleveland Indians.
But who really cares?
I reached a point now where I have became sure that all the readers will find this all terribly boring. This is unusual, indeed. No, not that I have discovered this to be boring, but that I discovered it to be boring before the end is what is unusual. If I got bored even before writing it, why should I wish to succumb my readers to such misery?
Wentworth Dillon once said,
"Words once spoken, can never be recalled."
And that is true even with the written word, my readers don't recall what I've written seconds after reading it.
Believe me, this was not going to be one of my better pieces.
But it certainly isn't one of my worst, because at least this time, I had sense enough to stop my babbling.
Do you realize the countless other times I have babbled on without having the willpower to put down my pen and go to bed?
If there is a heaven, for my sake let's hope that God isn't a writing critic. I tell you it must have been a fool who said, "The ignorant are without sin!"
While preaching in my writing that ignorance is bliss, my critics, upon receiving my latest article, say "Oh no, the ignoramus is babbling again!"
If I weren’t so smart, I’d agree I was stupid. But if I’m as dumb as they all say, how come I’m not dumb enough to get caught up in believing that I’m not smart?
Just because no one understands what I’m saying it doesn’t mean that what I’m saying is of no importance. Mark Twain knows how I feel:
"In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French;
I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language."
One person can look at a glass and remark that it’s half full. Meanwhile his friend comes into the room and drinks the glass of milk without ever noticing how full it was.
The second person may not be too observant, but at least he is unlikely to be malnutritioned.
That’s the whole point of life; Some people go through life taking note of unimportant trivialities calling themselves smart, while others go through life blind and fat. I strive for that middle ground, proving it can be reached by being the perfect combination, being skinny and dumb; while thinking I’m smart and well built.
Remember, everyone is someone else’s person. Isn’t everyone constantly trying to be like someone else’s version of themselves? Don’t you wish that just once you could please everyone at once? God knows I have tried many times. Even in my writing, after all isn’t it a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing?
O.K. I’II admit it, I’m no genius. But I’m not dumb! Average? No, I’m well above average. So what? – Most people are!
I am smart, but not a stand out. (There is a neat word play possibility with "stand out", "outstanding", and "out… standing in the rain," but I can't find it.)
I graduated at the bottom half of the top half of the class. Though I’m above average intelligence (at least that’s what I tell myself all the time), I was never given a chance to feel superior to anybody, or to gloat for even a little while. They made sure I was placed with students smarter than me, so I would spend my whole life at school feeling like a dummy. I never did anything to them. They must have just picked me out as one of the kids not to like from the start. It wasn’t anything I did. Honest.
I was born under the unusual sign of "take the pitch." So every single time, I just stand there watching that third strike float across the plate.
"Words of the wise" are just a dumbbells disguise. "People in the know" are 1% knowledge and 99% show. It’s true, no words make anyone wise, it’s thoughts and the diversities therein that breed genius. People who are really "in the know" know enough not to say so. There is always someone else who knows more on one subject or another. All it means is that the "public genius" is good at show, and has found his particular nitch.
There are numerous ways to use and abuse knowledge. Knowledge is a handy but sometimes dangerous tool, and can be used by the good or cruel, but is most deadly when it falls into the hand of the fool.
"Grace is given of God, but knowledge is bought in the market."—Arthur Hugh Clough.
So as clouds form in the sky to bring rain down upon the land, forming pools and eventually rivers that lead to oceans and lakes, that support and make possible the miracle of life in the form of fish which eventually will and has led to the development of land animals on a long string in the evolutionary process which leads to man, and which will, no doubt, someday lead right past him. So as the river flows past, so too babbling stream of words must also end.
Before I part (dry up) I would like to say one thing that does make sense. Of course it’s not from me, rather a quote from a man who knew how to make sense, even on Mondays and rainy days, Andrew Lang:
"He uses statistics as a drunken
man uses lampposts — for support
rather than illumination." –– Lang.
P.S. A drop of rain, a miracle?
… or the neighbors sprinkler? …
Friday, September 9, 2011
WHAT'S NEXT ?
I'm not sure I will ever write another word again…
After years of rolling dice and drawing lots, of struggling with characters and plots, to just trying to think of something that I haven't already said, I just may shut my mind off and go to bed.
Starting approximately ten years ago with cartoons and puns, I realized I couldn't draw, and grew bored with tangled verse. I dropped the comics all together, or maybe they evolved into the never-ending scribbles present on every single long land first draft I have ever written on any topic. The puns turned to poems and satirical verse. I envisioned many of the poems with music set to them, to someday be heard on the radio, although I can't write music. Eventually, I realized it was all for naught, they would never be set to music because, despite my "long piano fingers," I was never musically inclined. Though I hummed the melodies in my head and pictured each instrument flowing with the words, I knew all along that I lacked the know-how to make other people understand. So I set my poems aside for a day when I finally decide to take advantage of my "long piano fingers." Someday I'll take lessons ... someday.
In my search to find ways to waste ink I described imaginary battles and football games on paper. I ran in literary circles just to help me jog my memory.
Then a thought occurred to me, "Wouldn't it be nice to be an author?" As you can probably summise, with a fulfilling writing background such as I have described, this was not quite the perfect stage in ones career to sit down to write his first best selling novel. It is often said that a person’s first novel can never be expected to be a best-seller, but I would like to see the one who sits down at the typewriter with the intentions or dreams of doing anything less. It started off easy, even though afterward no one seemed to understand that the first chapter really wasn't part of the main story. It was just sort of a symbolic recapping of life up until the beginning. At least I knew the format I wanted the book to follow. After all, doesn't everyone attempt to write their first novel in the style as their favorite book? At least I could see the similarities between "A Mixture of Men and Martians" and Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles. "It was set off in the same type of short, distantly related chapters. A Mixture of Men and Martians isn't so clearly defined in years as Mr. Bradbury's work of art, but it does contain progressively timed stories about different, unrelated people and places as the Earth nears destruction with Mars left as the only sanctuary.
The length of the book grew as I fought to fill empty pages. But I soon found it exasperating to try to bring in new situations and characters into each new chapter while making the whole thing evolve and show some sort of time lapse from chapter one to chapter three hundred and ninety-five. Each chapter became fragments of unrelated stories. By the middle of the book I found I could not go on unless I were to ruin the format and start tying things together by using the same characters throughout the rest of the book. I couldn't give up my first attempted work of art without suffering severe mental quirks. So I poured out my cup of sentimentality and ruined the format. One thing I never knew until years after writing A Mixture of Men and Martians" was the Ray Bradbury wrote much of "The Martian Chronicles" as separate short stories, only later to be collected and tied together to form a book.
Every one of the stories from "Martian Chronicles" flowed much more smooth than any part of A Mixture of "Men and Martians" did. Even using the same characters throughout the rest of the way it dragged on to a point where I had no idea what my next word would be, let alone the next chapter. My characters acted at random and dice and lots were common solutions that either led them right or left. I didn't know where I should end it or how. But I just knew that I didn't want it to end too fast and have the world think that I coped out on my first best selling novel, so I did the gallant thing and on and on I forced it.
Then at the point I determined to finally end it, it ran fairly smooth again as I had led from the present state of chaos to the final conclusion. I almost hated to end it ...
The worst of "A Mixture" hadn't yet begun. You see, since I had written all the material out in long hand (and mostly still do) my two fingered "peck typing" is a holocaust after a work of any length. I typed night after night growing bored and irritable, reaching a point near insanity, I had to wrap it up for a while or run the risk of being wrapped up myself for good (I do admit I look lovely in white). I typed it on and off for over a year, keeping any new project as short as possible, making some revisions on "A Mixture" along they way, until I had it done.
Once it was done I put it down without rereading it. Later I would make a feeble attempt at selling it, but basically it stayed in my drawer most of its days. The only thing I learned from it is the kind of thing one learns from a first attempt at something such as this; Mostly, never to write another!
So it was fun for a while with short stories. But after all my "off the top of the head" plots were down I found it hard to dig up new story-lines. So the, at one time, barrage turned to a trickle. I started stories, finished stories; but rarely put the two together and completed one. I had fragments of stories scattered all about. And don't believe when they say these parts of stories and ideas will save for a future time when ideas don't come so readily. "You can sit down with a part of a story you had written long ago and forgot about, and magically the story, which in the past wouldn't work itself out, writes itself."
BULL. Write down ideas to be used at a later time and it might work, but the minute you start the story, either finish it or forget about it, unless you're in the likes of Mark Twain. I find that when I attempt a Mark Twain job I end up with the beginning of one story and the end of another. Mark Twain set stories down for years and came back to write them so that none were aware of the break. Some scholars say they can tell where he took his breaks, but I think these may be mere guesses. I have trouble setting a project down long enough to get a nights rest and not have it suffer for the gap. Many times it turns into a whole new story, leaving me to wonder where it would have ended up had I finished it on that first night.
I hope that someday my beginning fragments will equal my ending fragments. I have already planned on that glorious day I shall put them all in two bins, separating beginnings from endings, and draw one of each out at random and mail the resulting stories to my favorite editor. No SASE will be included.
At one point in history it dawned on me that what I needed was a way to air my fragments of thought, thus came the article writing. Maybe it would be possible to restrain my fragments to articles and finally get them out of my system, so I would be able to complete a few stories.
This article writing was something new, fun, allowing me to be my usual cynical self. It also led to my taking a first shot at serious science writing. Actually, I can't say for sure if I started "Born With a Bang" before or after my articulate writing, but they are closely related and one was bound to lead to the other. "Born With a Bang" was a pleasure to write. It was probably the most unique writing experience I have ever had. Even though most of it was common knowledge to anything even close to a scientist and could be found more clearly explained in any of a hundred other sources, I was quite proud of it, in my own insignificant way. It seemed to me, at least at the time, that I tied everything up a bit better than anything I had read up until it. I can honestly say that I wrote it before I had heard anyone else mention the possibility of the Universe becoming one big black hole in the end. I found afterward that it was just common speculative knowledge, and I did see the possibility mentioned quite a few times after. In that article I tended to boast of it as if it were new knowledge, almost a new discovery.
So "Born with a Bang" has a place in my drawer close to "A Mixture of Men and Martians." It is my drawer that is full of papers, while my wallet is only full of cobwebs.
I have written more articles than anything else (except maybe poems) mostly because they’re so easy to write. It’s not often you get a chance to shoot your mouth off about nothing (see "Thinking of Nothing"). In my articulate writing I can get serious for a moment or two, I can let loose with all my insanities waiting to bust free, I can ramble on, I can change topics in the middle, I go at my own pace, but most of all, I can grow tired of it. It seemed inevitable that I would grow bored with my articulate writing, which I hinted at almost at the start. That’s the magic of them though, I can set them down at any time, but somehow I have the feeling that I will never be able to put them down for good.
But where do I go next? Is it time to set my pen down? Close the drawer on my articles? Is this the last page in my tablet? I can see the headlines now, "Wishy-washy Writer Retires at age 21."
Yep, I’m the first to admit that I’m over the hill. I just wonder if I’ll be able to swim it, cause like the song says; "Over the hill and through the river, to grandmothers house we flow!" …No, that can’t be right…
Ah, we don’t get wet after-all. "Over the river and through the hill, to…" …er, what a dumb song!
Do people actually get paid for writing things like that?
P.S. The only question left is WHAT IS NEXT?
Well, after quite a few years I published a novel titled "Touched" so I guess I did continue to write...