Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts from 7/29/07

So over the course of this last week it's become quite apparent to me that it's time to write another blog. I had resolved that I would write yesterday evening after I got back from the 'Horse Canyon Expedition.' (which was a blast by the way, thank you everyone who came, or wanted to but was prevented by extenuating circumstances) Upon arriving home, I realized, when I tried and failed to unlock my apartment door with the keyless entry remote to my truck, that I was probably too tired to write anything substantial, and decided to put it off until this morning. Seeing as it is now said morning, and I've effectively slept through church, (not intentionally [and for those of you concerned about my salvation- I'll have you know that I intend to attend tonight]) I have nothing left but to write.

Ironically, I'm not entirely sure what to write about. Sometimes, especially after an extended trip into the middle of nowhere, I find myself overwhelmed by the exposure to God's excess creativity and feel inspired to create something myself. I find it odd that while I feel inspired by nature, I don't feel inclined to write about it. There are several ideas I've been tossing around inside of my head this past week that might be worth blogging about. Does the atrophy of linguistic fortitude contribute to, or does it reflect the decline of a culture? Why is every dietitian I've ever met overweight? I thought we bought our oil from OPEC… Through it all I hear Dr Frye's voice echoing in my head. "You need to focus John. You can't write a paper with five thesis statements." Good advice I'm sure… William P. Warford is hands down, my favorite columnist in the local paper. Just the other day his column featured "12 things to think about." (Or something like that. I don't have the time to go hunting through the local paper's ridiculous website) It was interesting, but it was a bit much. I think he was able to spend average of 3 sentences on each topic, and none of them were very profound. I really hope that journalism doesn't continue to follow the same trends as television. Would it be too much to think that people who actually read the paper have sufficient attention spans to spend more than two minutes reading an article? I suppose that's why articles are summarized in the first paragraph. Oh well, maybe I'm missing the point.

I'm still reading The Sound and the Fury. I really need to finish it so I can move on to the other books I have to read for my Fall classes. Even with most of the summer to prepare, I'm still not sure that taking 24 units and working full time is something I'm going to be able to pull off. I've heard rumors that it's been accomplished before though. I hope I'll still have some friends left when I reemerge around Christmas.

Anyway, Faulkner has been my first exposure to stream of consciousness. I suppose that's fitting though, since the advent of the genre has been attributed to him. Someone once told me that Ambrose Bierce actually beat him to it by a good fifty years or so. I also suppose Bell only invented the telephone because Edison was a lousy runner. I'll have to say that the whole entire lack-of-punctuation-thing is really interesting. I wonder if I can write my Faulkner paper in stream of consciousness. It's not likely, although I'm willing to bet that 90% of the response journals Dr. Frye receives will be.

I'm starving and need to wrap this up so I can get some food. I suppose the entire point of this blog should be that I need to blog more often. Maybe that will help me to focus more and make my blogs seem less like Faulkner novels. (although I doubt it will help my grammar and punctuation at all)

Writing - from 6/8/07

A twenty-something C.S. Lewis wrote, in a letter to one of his fellow students, that in order to develop decent writing skills it is necessary to write constantly; whether you're writing letters or stories, it doesn't matter. Just write. Unfortunately, Alan still has my copy of C.S. Lewis' letters; otherwise I'd give the exact quote. I'll have to forgive him, since he is receiving his Masters degree tomorrow and I'm not going to be able to attend.

It's really a no-brainer though. Everyone knows that if you want to excel at something you must practice. For some reason it seems more natural to forget that fact when it comes to writing. I've always associated practice with things like painting, or playing the piano. Those things are difficult. They require fine muscle control and coordination. All that writing should require is long-windedness and the ability to sit down and type for hours on end. Right? I suppose it's just one of those strange and completely incorrect assumptions I'd made a long time ago. Aren't great writers just born great? I'm sure we've all had that moment as children when it finally occurs to us to wonder what hamburgers are made out of, or where the eggs in the refrigerator come from. If you were homeschooled you may have just always known these things, but most people don't think beyond the grocery store. One morning you're sitting at the breakfast table staring at the back of a cereal box with your spoon halfway to your mouth when you experience apotheosis: milk comes from cows; eggs come from chickens; Soylent Green is people, and writers must practice! So in the spirit of practice, here is some longwinded drivel.

I'd like to start by announcing that the Spring Quarter is finally over. I'm both relieved and a little sad. Today is the first day of summer break, and after work I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I decided I might as well ride my bike, so I headed off down 50th street and rode around Quartz Hill a bit. It's interesting how different a place can seem depending on the time of day and your mode of transportation. I've ridden my bike around "downtown" Quartz Hill several times, but it's usually in the evenings after most people have gone home. There are way too many people on the roads between 3 and 6.

My bike has been acting strange for the past few weeks, and today was worse than ever. After putting up with it for a mile or so I decided it was high time I did something about it. I ended up taking it to Gil's bike shop, and he told me that I had a bad cassette (the conglomeration of gears on the rear wheel) and that if I took it back to Sport Chalet they would most likely fix it for me for free since it was probably still under warranty. That was nice of him. I headed over to Sport Chalet, and luckily the guy who sold me the bike was there. He remembered me and told me that he'd take care of it. The only problem is that he expected that it would take at least a week if not two to get the parts! So now it's the first day of summer break and I'm bikeless! Oh well. I left my bike there and walked down to Barns and Noble to see what they had on the clearance shelf. There wasn't anything worth mentioning, but all the same I felt like loitering in the coffee area. There is nothing that makes one feel quite so sophisticated as sitting on a pinstriped cushion, reading classic literature in the midst of Starbucks sipping urbanites, and since I was feeling very unsophisticated today I thought it might cheer me up a bit.

I was in the mood for Kipling- classic, deep, but simplistic enough that my brain wouldn't have to do much work. Yep, reading Kipling is a lot like watching PBS. I couldn't find Kipling in the fiction section; in fact I've never been able to find Kipling in the fiction section at Barns and Noble. So I went to the service desk and asked if they had anything by Kipling. "Who?" "Kipling. Rudyard Kipling." "Oh. Is that spelled K-E-P?" "No, I'm pretty sure it's K-I-P." "Oh, ok, David Kepling. We have two of his books here." He turned the computer screen around so I could see. "No, Rudyard Kipling, not David." "Oh." Blank look. "You know, Kipling" I said, "he wrote 'The Jungle Book.'" "…Ok…" He typed 'The Jungle Book' into the title search bar. "Oh, wow, there are a lot of books listed in our database…it doesn't look like we carry any of them though." "Ok, well thank you anyway." How disconcerting. So much for my sophistication fix. I'm not sure which is more depressing; that a major book retailer like Barns and Noble doesn't carry anything by Kipling, or that their employees couldn't tell him from Michael Eisner. Oh well. I decided not to let it ruin my day.

Most people who know me well know that I don't drink coffee or tea. I've never acquired a taste for it. I even shy away from coffee flavored ice cream. There is however a drink that I find to be just as distinguished and trendy as any of the exorbitantly priced concoctions that the coffee consorts can come up with. No mocha java double shot espresso could ever compare with Black cherry IBC- especially not on a hot summer day. As it happens, they sell these wonderful things at the Starbucks in Barns and Noble. So I bought an IBC and a hardback copy of Aesop's Fables for $8.61. Not bad. At least it got my mind off of my poor bike.

First Post in a New Blog

At the prompting of my good friend Alan,(Bezalel) I've decided to create a blogspot. I think I may finally have overcome my own unique form of agoraphobia, and am now more confident posting my thoughts out in the open for anyone and everyone to read. We'll see what comes of it.
I'm going to finish this opening post with the same quote from George MacDonald which I used on my first Myspace blog:
"I would that not God only, but all good men and women might see me through and through. They would not be pleased with everything they saw, but neither am I, and I would have no coals of fire in my soul's pockets."