Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Monday, July 8, 2013

Update, and Notes on "The Shuttle Sleeps Alone Tonight"

Hello! How have YOU been. Good, good. Glad to hear it. I hope that little thing with the whatnot cleared up. The salve helped? I thought it might.

Me? Oh, you know, this and that. Mostly this. Probably less that than I reasonably should.

Well, in case you remain unswallowed by the hydra of social media, I should probably mention my story "The Shuttle Sleeps Alone Tonight" published by the wonderful, friendly, and understanding folks at Devilfish Review.

It's a little elegy to the space program, written when they were moving the Space Shuttle Enterprise onto the Intrepid, and it revolves around something I heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson say to the effect that, should we attempt to return to the moon in this day and age, we'd have to reinvent much of the technology from the Apollo program, because many of the people that got us to the lunar surface in the first place are now old and/or dead, and we kept inadequate records of their creations. The confluence of these two ideas (a de-prioritizing of sending men into space, coupled with the evaporation of knowledge), together with the decommissioning of the ship that was supposed to make travel into space a daily occurrence, created a feeling close to what I imagine is meant when the Japanese speak of mono no aware AKA the "Pathos of Things." There's a sense in everyday objects (and, for a while, the Space Shuttle was an everyday object for me, as familiar and as homey as a toaster) of the passing of time, and the transience of all things. I wanted to capture that sense of loss, to talk about the hopes and dreams of humanity that still awaken in us when we look into the sky at night. To hopefully revive, by showing where we've fallen short, the vision of the future that once was, that might still be again.

Writer, Write Something Good

At the beginning of the year, I made some promises to myself. One of those was that I'd post more here.

I named this blog as I did because, at the time I created it, I was studying Zen Buddhism, and I thought the name sounded cool. It reminded me of what I was trying to do: sit quietly, so that when I did talk, my words might be worth more.

I still meditate (in a different style, and that might be a good topic for a post at a later date) but obviously, that's not what Zen is about. I mean, Buddhism (except for offshoots like Soka Gakkai) really doesn't emphasize the whole materialistic thing.

Where am I going with all this?

I'm not doing a lot these days. I don't have a lot of projects. The craziness of my mid-30's has given way to a much more sedentary early 40's. I stay home a lot. I watch TV, I write smaller projects, I publish the occasional story. I'm happily married (as opposed to wandering through the world with a hole in my chest where my heart was supposed to be, which is what I did for a number of years).

Why am I telling you this.

What I'm trying to say is that, despite my seemingly having toned this shit down, there burns within me, still, this dream that I was put on this earth to do something extraordinary. Everyone has that, as a kid. You know, you draw band names on your notebooks, read books, watch movies and think, "Man, I want to be that. I want to be famous."

I'm lucky now, in that I don't want to be famous. I want to communicate with a lot of people, but these days, you don't have to really be famous to do that.

I'm rambling, I know. I feel like, at one point, I used to be able to pull together a coherent point, and then I did a lot of drugs and watched too much TV and got just enough older, and now maybe it's too late.

Funny story: I've thought it was too late since I was 20. I was bummed since I thought that I wouldn't be a prodigy. I wrote stories, won contests, got published. realized I liked it, got distracted by rock and roll, by laziness.

It's just, somewhere within me burns this dream that I can write something that will touch someone, that will come through the screen, through the page, the way that I've been touched. That I will find my way through the incoherent fucking fog that is my brain most of the time, and write something that somebody will pay me for, something worth something to somebody.

So here it is. I've been talking around it, and not really saying it, because maybe if I left it sort of open ended? Then maybe nobody could really hold me accountable when it all crashed and burned. My friends know that this is more than just a hobby. It's something I've been doing everyday, for a few years now. But I need to reiterate it, just to make sure that everybody who knows me knows what I'm about here:

I'm a writer. I want to write. I love writing, and I want to do something amazing.