It has come to my attention (via the indirect means of SM, the man who delivers to me biannually the money that will, in turn, deliver me to Iceland) that I have an utmost need right now to write specifically about my life, where I am, and where I need to go.
It is all a mystery.
I suppose, too, that the BF should be mentioned at this point, too, for leading me to the advice I needed. Like a treasure map that takes you to a buried chest, all dark wood and gold trim, containing inside itself merely another map.
That map pointed here.
I guess I’ve been somewhat lost in terms of what specifically I’m doing, and in terms of why exactly it isn’t making me happy. To put all readers on the same page, I am currently studying a degree in Creative Industries/Information Technology, majoring specifically in Computer Science and Creative Writing. This is a good degree.
But Jonathan, you might ask, if you’re not already totally bored of my rambling, Jonathan, if it’s a good degree why do you have to change?
Well, dear reader, the reasons are twofold:
1. The universe is constant and consistent change.
2. I am unfulfilled.
Which of these reasons is more weighty could be debated by philosophers. And myself, in my head, constantly whirring—regardless…
The issue with studying writing is that it does somewhat burn you out. I try to write two short stories a week, one for my class, and one for a good friend AG, and that itself is hard in amid a uni degree and ridiculously busy existence. A good existence, certainly, but one that doesn’t stop unless I expressly tell it to (and I am a timid master). If I were to be studying writing all the time, I imagine the following outcomes:
1. I will be too tired of the craft to write for myself.
2. I will not finish a novel a year.
3. My writing will be constrained to these teachings, and therefore not free flowing and boundary-pushing. (Not that my work is all necessarily avant garde, but I like the idea of being able to experiment on my own time.
So I must write, but not study writing. That said, these two courses I’m doing right now (write now, haha) are incredibly valuable—but small doses and moderation are important facets of this modern life. Too much and I know I will crumble. SM agrees.
I wanted to do Psychology and Computer Science. That was the dream crazy idea that I took to SM this morning. It was declined; the university doesn’t offer the combination, because the combination is stupid and makes no sense. Those are my words, not anyone else’s. Many of my ideas are stupid and make no sense. This is because I am lost, and lost people are desperate, and do strange nothings in protest of some intangible void in which they find themselves.
This is my experience, at least.
Next semester I am trialling Computer Science/Interactive & Visual Design. This is essentially web/software design degree. It could be REALLY GREAT. Or not. Who knows? If I trial it, and I dig it, then it will be my next four years, I suppose. But I really do not see that happening. I do not know what I see happening, but something about my conversation with SM has indicated to me that rigidity is not on my agenda.
He suggests reducing my degree down to a single undertaking. Complete Computer Science in a short amount of time, take some electives, and—
—scratch that. I just checked the Computer Science course structure, and there are no electives in there at all beyond the area of CompSci. That’s frustrating. Should this mean, then, that I should just undertake a dual degree of some sort, simply for the sake of being able to maintain interest? I am currently skipping an IT lecture to write this degree and then see a friend. There is no interest, at least currently, in what is going on there. I know I should take myself at least to the end of the year. I know that I have a trajectory and I know that it will, at least, be okay.
While I’m doing this, I should be able to dabble around the place with people and events and organisations so as to find some sense of direction. As SM, BF, AG, and I agree: University is far more rewarding in all things surrounding the degree, rather than in the degree itself. Already, I am growing; I have grown.
I have to understand purpose and motivation and mission. All of this is basic, I suppose, until you really consider it. I wrote one of these about seven months ago, and I should be able to pull that up when I’m at home (I am currently in the University library, typing on my laptop with my feet up on a large rotund cushion). Wow, shit. Describing myself in a physical way, rather than on all these conceptual levels—somehow that made me seem so much more real. I am real, I am living. And the people around me: they are real, they are living, too.
My main goal in life is to connect with these same real, living people.
Can I do this in an IT setting? No. No, I can’t. That is an asocial environment, I know. I have not met people on my plane of existence within that environment. I will not grow there. I am primarily an emotional being. Fuck the OP 1. I’m smart, sure, but I’m not happy unless I’m connected, or connecting. I need a life that supports that, I think, and I know that IT will not serve to bring me that life as easily as other degrees, environments, or paths will. IT’s focus is the opposite of human.
I need to shift.
So we’ve reached some sort of conclusion, then, in at least some vague sense.
Thee Grande Plan Of Action, Then
1. Finish this semester well.
2. Next semester, trial design, or something. Explore.
3. Next year, change into a degree that will afford you a career that makes connections.
3.a. Communication is key to happiness in life, on several levels it seems.
4. Stand for what you truly believe in.
As always, these thoughts go unedited.
For SM, the BF, AG.
Peace out, Amen.
MAKE THE OLIGARCHY PERSONALLY ACCOUNTABLE.
DOWN WITH FREE PASSES AND APATHY.
THEE ORGANISED CRIME THAT IS “GOVERNMENT” TOO FAR MAYBE»>
OR NOT FAR ENOUGH.
REGULATE THE ASSHOLES PLEASE AND PLUG THEM UP. TAX THEIR BLEEDING EYES. RETURN POWER TO THE PEOPLE. GIVE THE CLASSES MOBILE WINGS AND DELICATE STRINGS.
OR TAKE AWAY THE CLASSES ALL.
I LOVE MY FAMILY. I LOVE MY GIRLFRIEND. I LOVE MY FRIENDS. AMEN.
Trying to write two short stories a week currently. On top of the stress of doing uni courses that I don’t want to do, I am exhausted. Keen to slow down for a while.
what a hypocrite am I, to not be able to find the courage to take my own advice. we need to move constantly and positively. i cannot allow a portion of my life this large to regress as it is right now. not for so long.
How curious, then, is my obsession with loss, when I am a man who has never had more in his life…
and how we were taught to walk by watching TV
For now, it is finished.
All there is to do now is undertake the painful wait for mass-feedback.
The only kind of artist I am is a bullshit artist
I am reaching a point where I’m actually somewhat content with what I’ve got going on in We Ran Anyway (i.e. I have weeded out the bullshit where I get too tangential/pretentious, but have still strived for some sort of balance in the ongoing and continual struggle of Vagueness vs. Clarity).
I had a conversation with someone about my work recently, and I was talking about how my Dad read one of my pieces once, some time ago, and his feedback was that he “didn’t get it”, but that it was well-written and all that.
My newfound writing friend said to me, then: “Well, is there anything more to get?”
And my answer was cathartic: no, of course not. There’s nothing more to these pieces than the conveyance of a mood and a sense of character, and the inherent, quintessential moment that each text seeks to embody and describe, line by line.
And that’s all I want to do, too. Tell stories. Stories that don’t necessarily have arcs, or beginnings/middles/ends, but stories that exist to convey something both specific and vague (or, perhaps, a specific sense of vagueness).
I feel a bit like Devin Townsend right now, over-explaining myself to myself, but regardless—it’s some stuff I’ve been mulling over for a while. I do not mean to say in this that all my works are in any sense hollow mumblings toward the void. There are, of course, larger ideas present in my longer works. Heart Is Hard To Find is (at least an attempt at) critiquing the standard coming-of-age tale. It explores also some of my huge fears at the time. We Ran Anyway is a tale primarily about my own insecurities, in some roundabout way, while also offering a violent commentary on a dissatisfied society that I constantly feel like I’m being ushered into.
The above thoughts/ideas/concepts were absolutely primary to the creation of the books: neither text would exist had I not had these deep inspirations as they stemmed from my own life. But in terms of reading, and the reader? This subliminal, deeply-analytical way of looking at my novels is almost certainly secondary to the actual story created as an encasement for the metaphor.
These are stories, not manifestos. Sure, they stem from these deep places in my mind/persona, but they aren’t intended to be read that way. You can if you want. Hell, I’d like myreaders to come to conclusions about that sort of thing—I really would. We artists beg to be understood and justified, after all; it is inherent to us.
So please, do so if you will.
But recall also that these are stories, first and foremost. Tales of people as lost and confused and worried and wonderlustful as you, the reader. We are all the same kettle of rotting fish, I know, overcooked with our eyes popping and scales shimmering under harsh lights. And that’s okay to be. That’s our base level of connection. We have to grasp at that.
We have to grasp at one another so, so tightly, and from there, when we have done that maybe, we can worry about what’s under the surface.
Read and enjoy, friends~
I’m going to pretentiously state that I think my style may just be summarised as being “colloquially poetic”.
"Self-improvement is important, but so is mediation (i.e. if you are constantly focussed on improving yourself, how can you enjoy anything ever?)"
I was giving this advice to someone dear to me, only to realise that it was the exact sentiment that I’d been trying to figure out for the past six months with regards to myself. I wasn’t pondering anything deeply at the time I wrote it; the discussion itself was not even that pressing. The issue we were dealing with was just on my mind, and I responded (as I tend to) instinctively, and with a certain degree of honesty.
And then BAM.
I’ve been searching for some mantra to motivate me to change from the self-destructive cycle of the past year, and I think this could be it. And all of it, too, coming from a simple conversation borne of love. Maybe there’s something corny and mildly Hollywood in all of that.
This leads me, then, to wonder why these thoughts so often are delivered to me in such blase impasse? In writing We Ran Anyway, the most poignant understanding I grasped of my past came from a throwaway line mid-paragraph, when I wasn’t trying to “say” anything at all, but instead the words spoke for me.
Perhaps this is a subconscious process, driven by the forces and thoughts and concepts that our surface-level minds cannot grasp—and thus, these parses of thought come to me not when I am searching, but when I am grasping: when I am already there, they reveal themselves. I think I’m getting a little mystical here, but I’m essentially trying to state the belief that a lot of things are subliminal, and are only grasped when applicable, and not when desperately and internally reflecting due to some innate desire for meaning and explanation. Maybe I am saying also that human connection (conversation with a loved one) is what drives these subliminal connections to be made faster.
So then, the interconnectedness of everything reveals itself once more. I am very tired.
“You know how I feel about spirits,” he said. “They’re only for drinking.”
The more I think about it, Her might have been better than Inside Llewyn Davis…
The second draft has been run past my editor (I call you that now, Louisa, but soon you will find a real job).
She digs it, sans one chapter. Which I’m mid-way through working on now (Chapter Nine). It is, essentially, an important chapter in terms of theme and pacing—however, the specific content of the chapter is not very good at all. So I’m refining that now.
I’m going to convert some conversation to become more thematically relevant and so on, then build off that. I was going to add a series of chapters, but honestly the book seems okay in its current form. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what the rest of the readers think.
Apologies for the poor nature of this post. Just keeping myself in the loop.