“Yes sir, the fish was left in place of the crystal ball. It's been bagged and tagged for analysis.”
Great. Now we have another red herring on our hands.”
An alternative—and correct—viewpoint is actually that my mood does show—and what it shows is that the mere act of writing tends to remove any negative feelings I may have been experiencing just prior to writing—and to make me feel energized, positive, quizzical, humorous, curious, and generally upbeat.
I sound drugged but I’m not into drugs. In fact, I don’t either eat or drink—except tea—while I’m writing. I get as hungry as hell, of course, but somehow it seems to help. Damned if I understand it.
Well, that is true—but one could argue that the effect, albeit unintentionally, is deceptive because I am not conveying my real feelings about life in general. Instead, I am masking my real feelings by writing. The writing process is an escape.
The reality lies somewhere in the middle—because the truth is that writing is the primary focus of my life, and the very act of writing (far from sure I think of writing as an act) virtually always improves my mood—or if I’m in terrific form when I start—maintains it. It’s a tough-as-nails feel-good thing.
Secondly, this blog is not a journal—so I don’t feel an obligation to convey my trials, tribulations, doubts, many imperfections, and mood swings.
Do I have them? Of course I do—though rarely when I am actually writing. Anyway, I prefer not to meditate upon them/wallow in them. Mostly, I don’t have to—because all I have to do to escape—is to write.
As I have written so often before, though writing is innately uplifting—you live with failure because you never write as well as you aspire to (and if you do, you raise the bar).
Yet writing is the nearest thing to magic that I have encountered so far in this life—and its effect is near instantaneous, and lasts.
To write is to feel absolute despair—yet hope.
Instead, I’m more concerned to write about the matters which really interest me in the belief that they will both entertain you—and give you some idea of the thought processes which lead to books. I rarely give details, but I sprinkle clues fairly liberally.
I also throw in a fair amount about my upbringing because it was pretty bizarre, and yet many people find it interesting. I write often about cognition, creativity, and writing because these subjects fascinate me—and I live in hopes they will resonate with any other creative people who happen to stumble across this blog. I know I have benefited greatly from reading the thoughts of other writers, and still seek them out. I also write about military matters and economics because I have some expertise in both areas and like to communicate my thoughts. I write about matters of social concern because—to be blunt—I am concerned.
I don’t try and justify what I do because I have learned that it is pointless—and that it is better for my work to speak for itself. If people don’t understand blogging—and this blog in particular—all I can say is that, like many writers, I spent years developing an inner voice—and when that inner voice tells me I’m on the right track, I listen and follow it. It is my creative guide, editor, and conscience. In the fine tradition of my family, it seems to have to have no practical skills whatsoever. I trust it absolutely nonetheless. It understands the creative heart—and writing.
It is also clear to me that this blog has improved my facility to write beyond recognition. That’s not why I do it, but it is a wonderful side effect. The benefits of writing about so many disparate subjects at such speed are considerable. Being unable to plan—in any classic sense—induces a certain flexibility of mind. I am pushed, pulled, wrenched, and dragged into doing more than I think I’m capable of. The process is exhausting and inspiring.
My general sense is that I’m on a journey—an extremely difficult journey—and though it is taking longer than I would like, and I have experienced many setbacks—there is a purpose to much of this.
For instance, along the way I seem to be resolving a number of issues which have dogged me in the past—and I’m also developing capabilities which—to my shame—I have lacked to date (such as being able to blog daily—or produce a website from start to finish).
Such transitions are not minor. Some are gut-wrenching. All take months of work. These are useful and necessary disciplines—but they are alien. Such expertise is hard won.
Realistically, I am a twentieth century writer in education, upbringing, style and outlook, and I am being dragged, kicking in and screaming, into the twenty-first. This is not a comfortable process. Social media does not feel natural to me—or it didn’t. I’m naturally a fairly private person—though I seem to be adjusting
Yet, somewhat to my surprise, I feel I’m getting to where I want to be, need to be, have to be. Hard to explain this imperative..
Of course, in many ways, I’m already there—since all I really want to do is write. I crave the challenge, the daily discipline, the struggle. It is so damn hard—yet so fulfilling.
It’s also such a pleasure—and it can, at times, accomplish amazing things. In fact, reaching out and touching millions of lives though one’s books is pretty amazing it itself—even if all I do is entertain, help people escape.
I have received thousands of fan e-mails covering every conceivable human situation to the point where people have told me that that their loved ones have been eased by reading my works as they have been dying. I have been much affected by such accounts, but have had no idea how to comment. I have felt both honored and sad.
If I can move, inform, and stimulate—is that a whole new dimension? And perhaps I can actually change a few things.
Is changing a few details an adequate justification for one’s life?
It’s a fragile goal—but you know, it just might be. I’m as sure as I can be that it is all I have to give.
Yes, I am painfully aware that it isn’t much. I cling to that goal nonetheless. It feels right—a goal to commit to..
Perhaps somewhat better than that.