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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Contemplations - 1

Contemplations – 1

I long ago labeled this blog: Fiction, Poetry, and Contemplations, but have not posted many contemplations. Too dangerous perhaps. I Googled the word: A transitive verb, “to think about something as a possible course of action.”
Contemplation. A powerful word . . . or thing. I’ve always thought of contemplation as a sort of meditation, requiring peace and quiet. And I think that’s true. When you turn off the cell phone, and TV, and radio . . . you’re more likely to think, perhaps a bit more introspectively. But we’re always thinking, and our thoughts inevitably morph into choices. Large and small: First thought of the day: Should I get up? A question.

Questions, an essential part of contemplation. Do they always come first? The mothers of thought?
           A Buddhist abbot asked:
                         “What are the first words of wisdom?”
                           Correct answer: “I don’t know.”

That is a good one. I suspect some kind of question lies at the beginning of consciousness. The first primordial thought, the first thought. Of being aware of self? Perhaps asking, “Where the hell am I?” Must be something like that. I’m still asking the same question after 76 years.  Not many of us have been born with answers. Answers need to be found. Questions come on their own, without asking. Even without words, the questions come.

So . . . It seems reasonable to name these posts, Contemplations, although the word sounds a bit pretentious . . . learned. I am neither. These are only random thoughts . . . unplanned.
Enough. I get bored when people talk about what they are going to talk about.

I’ve been readingd writing tips, and insights that show up and Facebook, and on blogs. Small bits of wisdom – blurbs. One most often seen this last week has been: “First drafts are shit.”

Hemingway - Shit

These insights are quoted from successful writers: Hemingway, Huruki Marumkami . . . Natalie Goldberg. I believe these words apply to most of us, except a lucky few writers who can just sit down and knock it out. I suspect Kerouac was one of these, and Charles Bukowski . . . Whatever.
For most of us the first draft is a question that requires some thought. You crank of ten or fifteen thousand words, then read it two days later and it’s shit. It really is. How do we ever know, for certain? The artist’s dilemma. A motivational speaker told his audience, “To be successful, an artist must possess ‘dumb determination’ – an unfounded belief in self, beyond the reach of critics and naysayers."

But what if you’re wrong? Time spent, hours wasted? Maybe . . . maybe not. Writing’s become as popular as yoga was in the mid sixties. Seems like everyone is doing it, and are self published. E-books, digital productions. A few people on Linkedin described their writing as, a hobby. Nothing wrong with that, a thing to occupy time. Writing can sure do that. And it’s so much easier now . . . computers . . . spell-check. It’s no problem making changes, cuts and pastes, no ribbons! Anything you want to know is but a moment off on Google. I look at photos of old writers pounding away on Underwood uprights that imprinted on paper! The IBM Selectric was a magnificent improvement, wonderful machine – no keys, and a correction ribbon. Obsoleted by computers. I’ll say more about Selectrics later, but the next installment’s subject will be paper . . . I think.

1 comment:

  1. HMMM... Very insightful post. I do a lot of this contemplating myself.

    Love the office pic. Looks like mine until the mess gets to me and I have to clean it up some.

    Hope you're enjoying Sweden.