Tag Archives: writing

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The Tea House: On Writing

I wrote a short piece on writing, more specifically on my experience writing THE MONDO VIXEN MASSACRE. If you are interested in the creative process, please have a look at the article. If it spurs you to write or study a film or keep on with whatever writing project you are working on, then I have done my job. Otherwise, please enjoy and keep writing.

 

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An Ancient Heart: Writing to Live

This “Dear Sugar” column at The Rumpus is slick with keen insights into the human condition. The link provided here points to one post in particular in which the question revolves around the usefulness of an English/Creative Writing degree (major or minor) and life after graduation in light of earning that degree. It focuses on the pressure to conform to a workforce oriented world, the way people push you into certain fields you don’t feel compelled to enter, and, finally it gives some insight into how to sidestep this pressure and, instead, embrace life and the choices you have made. It is worth considering.

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Sugar says, “There’s a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: ‘The future has an ancient heart.’ I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true—that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we’ve yet to make manifest in our lives.”

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Who are we “most primitively?” Is there a sense that there is a self hidden among these roles I inhabit or is who I am always a work-in-progress as I perform these roles? What would the fifth of sixth question in this line of thought be? When Sugar speaks through Levi of “the future” and its “ancient heart,” is there a thread that speaks of that inner voice, the voice that speaks louder or quietly more persistent than one’s many voices? Or, does she mean that we are as we communicate (going back to my Thayerian ways of grasping things)? What is it that we cannot possibly know about ourselves? What is it about ourselves that we will never know? Does the answer lie in learning to ask better questions or seeking more solid answers?

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Creative Writing: How I Wrote Electric Delirium

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Last month I published a series of ten lyric essays at Fictionaut. The collection, ELECTRIC DELIRIUM, was an experiment that I undertook for the sake of better understanding the work of two influential thinkers. Here was the basic approach:

1. Take one page of notes from Lee Thayer’s, LEADERSHIP: THINKING, BEING, DOING noting interesting phrases, ideas, questions, diagrams, etc.

2. Take one page of notes on one precis from E.M. Cioran’s A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY noting interesting phrases, ideas, questions, diagrams, etc. 

3. Read the notes separately and taken together. What happens when these two mental models rub up against each other? What thought-path bubbles to the surface? How can I make a connection between Thayer’s, Cioran’s, and my own thought?

4. Make the connection. Make it work. Make is real. Make it strong. 

5. Write the essay, but let the mind express the manifestation of the thoughts as it will. Blend story (both personal and fictional) with idea (sticking closely to the previously made connection) to create a piece that revolves around the intellectual connection between the two thinkers in the context of some unfolding narrative (in this case, a troupe of actors preparing for a performance). 

6. Edit profusely: trim fat, grease, skin, gristle. 

All in all, the results are satisfying, although I found myself making last minute edits even minutes before uploading each piece to Fictionaut. Now that they are public, I feel I can let them be, but fleshy essays like these, for me, are perpetual works-in-progress. I received some constructive and positive feedback from certain essays and for that I am content. 

Although the link to my Tumblr where I have neatly arranged all of the essays has been given above, here it is again, if you are interested in reading ELECTRIC DELIRIUM

 

Thank you, Readers: We’re Back

I want to thank everyone for the comments throughout the last three years, for reading, and, hopefully, for growing in meaningful ways. The Eyeslit-Crypt fell by the wayside as my life in Beijing unfolded–Wordpress is blocked here, but I’m on my way back to America soon, so things will pick back up. In what new ways, I’m not sure. I hope the results will be satisfying to both old and new readers.

I feel like this blog became a neglected child and now going back and reviewing the content I produced in 2009-2010, I have to take a breath and carefully think through the future of this site, for the past has bee fantastic: educational, engaging, helpful to others.

The essays and analyses have seemed useful to many readers and for your readership, I am grateful–thank you, again.

I hope to pick up where I left off, to gain new readers and to engage through comments and purposeful discussions. Thank you again for all your support.

Staying the Course: Difficulty Approached

Staying the course, or in other words, persevering, can be challenging. At least for me, it is challenging. Hence, one of the reasons why I have failed to write here in quite some time. As with most things that we tend to neglect, we have no “real” reason at all. We get caught up in other ways of doing things and are pulled by the things which we give our time and attention to – to whatever end that may be. Nonetheless, persevering is important in spite of the myriad of reasons (made-up reasons) why one should or shouldn’t stay the course. If you are pulled in other directions, it is best to make sure that you aren’t just playing some game with yourself to compensate for your lack of talent.

In the film “Music of the Heart,” featuring Meryl Streep as an inner-city music teacher, she says, “You shouldn’t quit something just because it’s difficult.” How true these words ring to me and how often do I see and hear people giving up all around me simply because something is temporarily difficult. If something is difficult, then devote all of your time and attention to that thing and make it not difficult. The more time you spend with it, trying to figure it out, chipping away at it and, in general, practicing it, the less difficult it becomes. Or, even if it continues to be difficult, what is difficult shifts from what you originally perceived as difficult to a different layer of difficulty. This means that you are learning it. Learning isn’t always fun or easy.

Staying the course of a goal that you set is no less daunting. It may be one of the most difficult things that you embark on.

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10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol. 2.0)

Here are ten articles that I want to share with you. These articles deal with the following themes among other things: work, play, society, living, writing, poetry, language, effort, dance, spirituality, imagination, mindfulness, education and learning.

I hope that you will find something of value.

1. Alan Watts: Work as Play
2. Georg Simmel: The Stranger
3. Bill Knott: Path out of View
4. Neojaponisme: Missives on Outlander Japanese
5. Elbert Hubbard: A Message to Garcia
6. Kenneth Goldsmith (editor): Publishing the Unpublishable
7. Rudolf Steiner: On Eurythmy
8. Simone Weil: 5 Flashes of Weil
9. Thich Nhat Hanh: Mindfulness of Ourselves, Mindfulness of Others
10. Ivan Illich: Deschooling Society

Here is the first in this series: 10 Articles for Improving Your Mental Hygiene (Vol 1.0)

On the Margin of Our Graspable Self: Epigrams and Aphorisms

It is possible, that the gust of a new life bursts into your zone of the expected, thus tearing all of your fragmentary accomplishments to bits.

At home, too long, with words and words, piling up like some kind of garbage heap – yet, you throw yourself all too willingly into the heap, hoping to irk out some kind of angle, some kind of chirping opinion.

To those on the periphery, to those whose step-by-step leads them to trip over their own tail and lie down in early hours on a painful pillow.

Waking up and opening the window to the sounds of the familiar. Having put oneself in this place, it is hard to shout obscenities at anyone but one’s yesterday-self.

The silence of a room can draw us near to the decisions that we have made: the mistakes of yesterday, the hopes and how they transpired – how we have edited our choices.

Where has my golden strength gone at this hour of the day? To what pleasure do I owe the arrival of this new friend: confusion.

Seeing past this moment, we can see what we can see. But, what of what we can’t see? How will that affect us?

A remainder of those whose words we read, trickle down inside us, to that invisible area on the margin of our graspable self.

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