September 07, 2012

Things I Should Have Learned

Isn't Gibraltar pretty? Wish my family and I lived there right now, just to get away from the States for a long long time. I'm not too in love with America right now. We must look so totally stupid to the rest of the world sometimes.

I learned a lot of things in high school. One of the things I learned, and then forgot, and then learned again, recently, is that being strident about the issues of the day gets you three things:

1. A few extra credit points with people who already believe as you do.

2. Added resolve on the part of the people who disagree with you.

3. Absolutely no gain whatsoever among the people you'd like to convince of your viewpoint.

This probably isn't axiomatic or anything, and so there's holes in this in a few places I'm guessing, but it seems intuitive don't you think?

In a few billion years the sun will turn into a red giant. And when it does that its outer atmosphere will be exactly in the perfect place to burn off our seas and turn Earth into a cinder. When that happens, I ask you, who is going to remember how you voted in 2012 AD and why? Huh? Who? ANSWER ME.

Someday you're going to turn around and you'll be dead. What does all this angst and anger have to do with anything when your dead eh? Answer me that one. What? You made a couple points and won an argument or three and looked so very clever and now you're dead. So big deal. What was that all for?

Over the past few months I've been going through somewhat of a minor spiritual crisis. I'm having big problems with an ethical construct I made for myself and how it relates to philosophy and outlook and my relationship to the whatsis and so forth. But I pulled out of it a few days ago and I'm okay. Nice of you to ask.

I have been guilty of what we call, in the Quaker faith, "outrunning my guide." Another phrase we use for it is "going off your watch." You can read in one of the old journals, one Quaker is watching another Quaker get in an argument and it gets all heated and wild and bad words are said and nothing of value is gained. Later as the two Quaker buddies walked away down the road, the observer leans over to the combatant and says "thee was off thy watch there for a minute, friend."

It's a thing where your actions get too far ahead of your spiritual discernment. You went a little goofy. Maybe you cranked on someone a little too hard. Those are all against the ethic we're supposed to be carrying around with us. "Thy neighbor as thyself" and all that.

Anyway I've been guilty of that. A lot. And hopefully I have it all back under control. It's difficult, though, in this rancid political climate, being surrounded by people who seem intent on being jerks to one another.

I've been writing a thing, and haven't said anything about it (and won't say any more than this), that is a lot different than anything I've done before. And I've found that when I have run ahead of my guide, or have been "off my watch", I haven't been able to write for it at all. Then, when I get centered again, it restarts and flows. It has everything going against it. The protagonist is a young Muslim, it takes place in a country not many people have ever heard of, and there's a talking hyena who grants wishes and steals camels. Yeah. Well. Anyway...

Like I said not my usual stuff. And I've been working on it since late winter. You know Faiqa Khan? She's seen parts of it, just as a checker. You can ask her more about it next time you see her. But the point is when I am unsettled I can't write it. When I'm fighting politics or getting all worked up about stuff I can't do it at all. I have to be centered. And to be centered means I have to be on my watch. This is mostly because the novel needs a rational person telling it. So it's been necessary to not get nasty with people. It's why I regret some of the arguments I've been in. Stifles the work.

Oh hi... I have no idea what this post is about anymore.

Never mind. Here's Charlize...


B.E. Earl said...

You and Faiqa, eh? Color me intrigued.

Amen to everything else.

flask said...

just in case you didn;t see this:

RW said...

Earl - Yes I need someone to check my facts but also nuance... and couldn't think of a better person to help with that.

flask - How is it possible I like her even more after viewing that clip? (insert sound of decrepit, silly old man sighing)

Brian said...

Thanks for the video, flask. I always thought Dutch sounded like somebody making fun of German, but somehow Afrikaans sounds way sexier than that. (The speaker may help a bit.)

I would like to read that book, RW.

RW said...

It is moving at its own pace. I'd like to say I will have it done and ready to shop around by winter, but I'm not going to place any artificial limits on it.

I figure if I only do "one true thing" all this nameless running around will have been worth it. So I want to nail this one. Bad.

Faiqa said...

I get in the same situation -- the politics, the tension of civilization and just being here now... it starts to stress me out until I remember, oh yeah, this is part of that thing I'm trying to do. This is the part that keeps me from thinking I got this... that keeps me humble and real. This is the life. This is the deal.