Today is June 30, 2013. I am sitting on the back deck of my new home in Waco. In spite of the temperatures now reaching 100 deg on a daily basis, the mornings are cool, and it’s actually slightly cooler out here than in the den. I made a significant decision yesterday, and it was the culmination of the keeping of a promise. I’d made the promise to myself some three years ago, when I started my final blog, an experiment in mostly prose writing that consisted of me developing a mixture of fictional characters and myself, all written in the second person, mostly present tense. I put the blog directly on wordpress.com, somehow thinking I would get more visibility for it that way. Unless I tagged and categorized my entries heavily, and wrote frequently–like three times a day–I simply saw no traffic come my way. I know I wasn’t doing everything I could do to get traffic, but I expected there to be a spark of some kind.
In the past three years, I’ve switched jobs three times, gotten engaged and married, moved to Waco, traveled to Rome, San Francisco, New York, Mexico and Orlando–and spent the better part of the year commuting to Austin part time. The amount of change that has taken place over this period of time is probably the most significant amount of change leading to personal growth and development that I’ve witnessed since I was a child–and maybe the most ever.
I certainly didn’t want yesterday to be the end of me writing. I don’t think that could ever happen completely. I benefit too much from being able to collect my thoughts and see them in front of me in ways that give me the opportunity to parse the truth from the bullshit. But one thing is for certain: my inherent belief that I would make a career out of writing is dead. I will probably never write personally or creatively for public consumption again.
How long will my three years’ worth of writing stay online before I take it down? Assuming I do have a say in the matter, and WordPress doesn’t remove me due to inactivity, I expect I will probably leave it up there for three more years. That will give archival robots plenty of time to do their thing, and maybe one day some data archaeologist who is sifting through the mess of content we’ve created during these decades might proclaim some of my work to be worth reading by humans.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I am being a responsible Christian by leaving some of the passages up there. Do I still want people to believe in reincarnation? Do I?
I don’t know. I kind of put all of my more mystical tendencies into the same category as my creative writing–a lot of activity to make me feel good with nothing there to really shape or grow me into something better.
I am also certainly not the least bit naive to think that just because I’ve made this significant decision to no longer see myself as having potential to become a professional writer, I am also going to be successful in abandoning some of my lingering vices and habits that I’ve never been proud of and never really shared with anyone. The best I can hope for is that I will have more time to stay focused on the goals I’m setting for myself to get a math degree and start and raise a family.
I think that there will always be this longing for life to be more than it really is, because I want to believe that when I wake up and see what is my own, that there can be more to it all than this. I don’t exactly know what more should be. More travel? More intelligence? More of a relationship with God?
I can only say that I’m not satisfied with where I see the world headed, at least the world I know. I do think that we as a nation, and our western culture in general, are getting dumber in a lot of ways. We’re more sophisticated and intelligent when it comes to accepting certain technologies in our lives, but they are really black boxes to most of us. Those of us with parents who understood the inner workings of computers and radios when they had vacuum tubes can explain how the same principles have been reduced to the nanoscale. And, we can always go on Wikipedia to derive a theoretical understanding of how our technologies work, but how many of us do that?
For me, it’s really just a matter of wishing more people spent less time with sports and reality television–all things pop culture in general. Even if you are just turning off the tv to read a spy novel–that’s probably more than what most people end up doing. I can’t tell you how many times I find myself sitting at tables with pretty intelligent-seeming people who end up confessing a love of sports or reality tv. The ones that don’t inevitably reveal an obsession with some band that is playing music no more innovative than what the Beatles and Stones had derived from American blues and R&B.
For me, the idea of wasting at least one night a week watching giant men run up and down a wood-floor trying to steal a ball away from each other to put it into a tall ring and net–it’s ludicrous. And, why the obsession over something you can never be a part of, except as a fan? At least with all my math and physics books for the layman I obtain some new information about the way the universe works. What does the game and sport in general actually provide for you?
It’s frightening to me, because it almost seems as if some invisible, evil ruler is warping us and controlling us to become like the society of Idiocracy. Even those of us who try to break away from it and rise above it or at least stay on the outside of it find ourselves struggling to keep our minds from turning to mush or having our atttention spans seek out quick, cheap entertainment of some kind.
I am of the opinion that 95% of our population can improve their minds–they can increase their intellectual curiosity, they can improve their reading and math skills, and they can develop basic computer skills that are in demand so that they don’t ever have to be unemployed. I think that only probably 15-20% of us continue to learn for its own sake. There are probably twice than many of us who learn new things to show off the fact that they are learning new things, or they are trying to stay competitive in their jobs. But, without those driving factors, chances are, you are not going to open a book or attempt to learn a new skill.
I really don’t know what the answer to changing this is, except maybe to continue to try to not fall into that category of being a reactive, un-self-motivated learner.
In the short time that I’ve regularly had cable television, I can say with a lot of confidence that the quality of programming has gone downhill. The channels like Discovery, National Geographic, TLC, History, Animal Planet–at one time, they seemed to have mostly shows that provided science and history education for the average dumb American with maybe a few semesters of college. But, I guess they had too much success with their octomoms and fat bratty kid reality shows, that they decided to milk that for all it’s worth. This would seem to indicate that people really do want moronic television, and not education television, but I’m not so sure. I think people want to escape and have their pleasure centers hit. We all do.
The problem then becomes one of trying to develop an ability to delay gratification and work for a bigger, yet-unseen payoff. That takes a lot of effort. If you aren’t willing to mentally stand up on your own two feet and try to be a grownup, then the people who make money off of you are more than happy to let you stay lying down, taking it.