Sometimes it feels like I am one… do I have any effect on anything? Can anyone hear me, see me? Will anyone read anything I write? There can be an impulse to do something crazy, absurd, drastic–just to see if anyone notices you are there. To see if anyone looks up from their phone for a moment. To see if it’s possible to leave the railway you’re rolling down and go in some unpaved direction. But can it be done? Or are we set to ride the tracks set out before us all the way to our grave?
I’ve been sick the past couple days. Usually I don’t feel like this, but it feels like my brain is being affected. I feel slower, confused, foggy. Usually I just feel tired and achy. I wonder if the cold virus will evolve to make people stupid while they are sick. It would lead to more sneezes and coughs in other people’s faces after all…
I probably shouldn’t be writing in this state…
I think I could be happy being a monk/scholar/priest, whatever you want to call it. A person who leaves behind ‘life’ in order to devote themselves to the world of the mind/spirit. If I could spend every waking hour studying, reading, learning, teaching, etc, I think I could give up material possessions and all the things involved in ‘real’ life.
This is what the character in ‘the glass bead game’ has done. He is devoting his life to study and learning, and introspection. This sounds very appealing to me. I sometimes think I could be happy if I could just be left to my own interests with a safe place to sleep and enough food not to starve.
But… the appeal of all the entertainment and other things I consume daily is strong, and might not be so easy to give up…
I’ve started reading ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Herman Hesse, mainly because the title made me think of go. The story features a fictional game that is very abstract and deals with concepts and ideas as the ‘pieces’. The players are intellectual elites who use pieces of knowledge or pieces of culture to play their games. The opening of the book is a history of the game’s origins and evolution to its current state, in the future world of the novel.
This opening, detailing a fictional future world where intellect and the mind are valued, made me wish our world could be like that. Thinking and knowledge for the sake of it, for the improvement of your own self and your understanding of the world–is not ‘in fashion’ anymore in our world. Knowledge and intellect are valued only as much as they can be used to make money or increase power. Philosophy is laughed at, the arts are considered a waste of time, history is viewed as a political tool, music is for selling tickets.
Can we return to an age of thought and reason and imagination and introspection? It’s what our species does best–what makes us stand out from the other animals. Let’s not let it fall away in favor of fighting and destruction.
This novel tells a story parallel to Oryx and Crake, and although it was well written and enjoyable, I’m not quite sure what the point of it was. For anyone who has read Oryx and Crake, there is very little new info. It is stuff you already knew, seen through the eyes of new characters. Except they aren’t really new characters either, just ones that played only bit parts in Oryx and Crake.
We get to see how the God’s Gardeners live, and there is some interesting religious/spirituality stuff there. We get to see a bit more of the broken down world, and find out what happened to Jimmy’s mom. But.. really, if you asked me what the book was about I’d have a hard time saying something other than ‘It’s about what happened in Oryx and Crake.’
I listened to the audiobook, and there were several songs that they actually produced music for, which I’d never seen done in an audiobook before. I was impressed by that, and it added a lot of depth to the world.
Recommended if you’re a big fan of this world, or the author, but otherwise I’d just as soon read something new than rehash what I’ve already read in Oryx and Crake.
If you’ve got momentum, keep it! Because once you give it up you will have to expend ten times the energy to get it back.
How many times have I said “write every day?” Probably a lot, but, I am trying to write every day here… and it bears repeating! If you don’t write tomorrow, that might make today the last day you ever write.
Write a blog entry, write a short story, write a random collection of thoughts, write a screenplay, write the opening to a new novel, write a chapter in an old novel, write an advertisement, write a song, write a letter, write an article, write a top ten list, write something! Anything!
Writing is driving up an icy hill. The second you let off the gas, you’re going to get stuck, and maybe even slide backwards.
Don’t let up.
I imagine sometimes that writing descriptively must be like painting, though I’ve not done much painting in my life. You get an idea in your head, and you choose the right colors, the right palate, the right style, to get the image you want across. Is finding the right word like finding the right color or tone? Each skill has the objective of putting a picture before someone. A clear vision of what was in the creators head, or a capturing of some scene from real life on paper/canvas.
When you see the scene in your head that you want to describe, take time and pleasure with getting it right, the way an artist might take time and enjoy making a painting. If you rush through out, it’s going to end up being a quick pencil sketch with no weight or flavor.
Take your time, enjoy yourself!