I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy; why people do the things they do to ensure they are remembered. I think I’ve figured it out. Most of the things people do after a certain age are to prolong the amount of time that people talk about them after they’re gone. I know that as long as the Internet is around, I’ll still be around, even if I’m dead. Somebody will find these posts, read them, and hopefully talk about it with others, keeping my spirit alive long after I’m gone.
You hear stories about people hoarding absurd amounts of wealth that they could never spend in a hundred lifetimes, I get that it makes people mad, but these people don’t care what you think, they just want to be remembered for working hard enough that entire generations of their family can live comfortably. Sure, the way they get their money might not be the most noble, but the intent has to mean something. I think artists are the same way, except instead of leaving their children a shit-ton of money that will end up making them spoiled assholes, artists leave their impression on the world by showing others how they see it.
Think about Picasso: there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at least heard his name. He is immortal, even though he died hundreds of years ago. It would be an honor to be remembered for that long after I died, although I may be getting ahead of myself a bit.
When I’m uninspired and feel the call of the words, I have a few ways I can shape the flow of thoughts. I figured I’d share a few ways, they might help you if you feel the same way.
- Try and change your surroundings. I’m usually most comfortable in my little yellow room with my books and my records, but every once in awhile it’s good to go outside and experience life. I like to go on walks outside late at night, around 1AM. I like it because it’s quiet and there isn’t anyone else around to bother me, so it helps me crystallize my thoughts and put them where they need to go in order for me to have a coherent message.
- Listen to music. I have entire playlists for when I’m feeling uninspired, they’re usually full of ambitious music that pushes boundaries, or music that reminds me of a certain moment. I don’t know what it is about music that moves me so much, but when I hear the right song at the right time, it’s like my mind kicks into high gear. If I’m angry writing, I’ll turn on some “fuck you” music, and channel that anger into words and make it actually useful, instead of just being a waste of energy that doesn’t do anybody any good.
- Drugs. (I’m kidding- don’t do drugs, just smoke weed.)
- Read. I have a small bookcase full of books, and whenever I get lost in the clouds, I pick one at random and read through it. Usually, I go all hyperfocus and end up reading the whole book in one sitting, but that’s because hyperfocus doesn’t care about the passage of time, or responsibilities, or hunger, it just wants to complete the task at hand. It’s fucking annoying if the task is something tedious, but it’s fun when it’s something you enjoy doing, like reading.
- Work out. Some of my best ideas come when I push my body to its limit. When it feels like my body is going to shut down, it clears up all of the bullshit on my mind, until there’s only clear thoughts and chest pain. There’s something special to me about running. I know people hate it with a passion, but it’s actually amazing. It’s one of the few things that can turn my brain off for a little bit, and I desperately need that sometimes because I’m inundated with half-baked ideas that I can’t execute. Running gets rid of all of the bad ones, until there are only thoughts I can work with. Try running, it’s good for you.
I had an idea awhile ago; I should try and write a book. I’ve always loved them, and I think I have a halfway decent story to tell, and I think I’m a decent enough writer to make something passable.
It’s hard though. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, which sounds like such a stupid thing to say. I need to change a few names and details to keep from getting in legal trouble, because the book is about 4 summers of my life on Frye Island, and I was kind of a little shit back then.
I’m about 4 pages in, and already I’m struggling. I’m not crazy enough to think that I’ll be able to write a 200-page book in a couple days, and even then, I’m not sure it’s going to be a story worth telling. I’m struggling to place all of the stories of my life into a palatable form that other people will read, and that won’t piss off the people involved in the story. Maybe I’ll just call it fiction and add enough wild shit that nobody will notice.
I love making things, and I want to create in different mediums, so maybe this book will be something great, maybe it will be abandoned in the pursuit of another medium, but I can’t say for sure right now. One thing’s for sure: if this pans out, you’ll all be inundated with my half-assed attempts to market it and see if people like it.
So, as maybe two of you might remember, I’m taking a graduate-level Philosophy class without any knowledge of Philosophy, outside of what I learned from the major motion picture Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Surprisingly, I’m crushing it. I just got my last paper back, and I got a 100%. This came as a surprise because said paper is a 3-page, 3-paragraph, dog fart that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if I had started it more than an hour before it was due. This leads me to think one of two things. 1) This paper I wrote while barely sober enough to type is actually amazing, and I’m a great writer, or 2) My professor read this cracked-out abortion of a paper, felt badly, and graded me accordingly.
My writing process usually comes down to two methods. The first, and most natural one, is to just type whatever comes into my head, edit it for clarity, and let it rock. This usually works, but after I submit it, I dissect every word and think of ways to improve it, which usually makes me want to delete everything and start fresh. This leads me to the second method; what I like to call the “Fuck You, Run It Again” method. This method only comes out when I’m under pressure, and can’t just edit as I go. This usually leads me to finishing a paper, reading it 2 or 3 times, and deleting it and starting it over because I don’t like the direction it takes. This method is incredible, it has a nearly 100% success rating, but makes me all boo-hooey for a while after, because if you spend hours at a time hating yourself and your writing, you’re going to have a bad time. I’m trying to refine both processes, combining them to make a single fluid workflow, but it’s rough, and since I’m my biggest critic, I’ll probably go above and beyond what’s necessary and make something completely different in the process. This whole quarantine thing has given me an abundance of free time, so I should have it squared away in no time.