The fangs of a snake might seem to overpower the fangs of a spider, and on the surface it can appear as though the match is uneven. But we can’t forget the impulsiveness of the snake and the patience of the spider. And we must remember a black widow sits nicely on the tongue of a viper. Its patience is beyond the fast acting poison in its bite.
Revision is a little punk b#?ch! There I am toiling away on the second draft, almost to the end of the novel and starting to think about characters in the novel (mentally preparing for the “sweeps” portion of my revision process), and then I come to realize my main character is an asshole.
I said it before. The last grade I completed was the sixth grade. Then later in life I went on to obtain a Master’s Degree. I think a lot of it had to do with riding waves. Not in the ocean. I’ve never been daring enough to take on those types of challenges. But riding waves of opportunity. Sometimes I look back and it’s interesting to see how it all lined up and came to fruition, as though in symmetry, like musical notes being plucked from the strings of a guitar. In time and rhythm it can make a beautiful song.
So I’m walking through a bookstore in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico and I’m reading blurbs. I’m not going to blast any artists. That’s not what I’m about. We all come from a different set of experiences. But why are mainstream book publisher publishing the same narrative over and over and over and over? These blurbs seeming lay out different storylines, but when you look at the macro’s macro you start to see a pattern.
Champions endure the hardest hits–psychological and emotional–and carry themselves forward with the idealism needed to see through the most barren desert landscapes. We’re charged with getting an education and then returning home to make things better. We’re up for the challenge. But we can’t be surprised when we get hit on both sides of the drum.
I was in grad school when a professor asked, “What metaphor would you use to describe how power structures stay intact?” We were studying Faucoult and had come to his explanation of how individuals give up their power to others, with his example of a moving ship and how everyone does their part to keep the ship moving forward and are in fear of what would happen if the ship stopped moving. I agree with Faucoult’s analogy. It makes sense in most situations. In a modern context though, I’m thinking more along the lines of interstates.
How to hear? Not to listen, like saying “You need to pay attention,” but instead how we create consistency in our voice as artists. How do we hear voice? How do we recognize what is uniquely our own? Is one obstacle. Then the next. How do we reproduce it again and again?
We love the sound of our own voices, and there’s a condition associated with narcissism that calms people when they look at pictures of themselves (if you’ve ever wondered why we take so many selfies). The same goes for values. We like to hear our own values echoed back to us. If we took a real look at our circle of friends we’d find people who have the same value system. Yeah, there might be some differences in opinion, but no deal breakers. Just echoes of eternal conformity.
It’s about to get real nerdy in here. Turn around and walk away. Don’t read any further. If you pass beyond this point of warning then all consequences will be your own and you will be held accountable. So… Do the right thing. Just stop reading now.
Sometimes I wonder about the critical thinking skills of our era. We are taught in school rote behavior. Regurgitate, bell rings, regurgitate, bell rings, regurgitate, bell rings. In that form of habitualization, we stop thinking for ourselves. You become even more aware of this tactic after you read “Social Class and School Knowledge” by Jean Anyon. Having had dropped out of school after the sixth grade I wonder how that impacted my ability to think critically about the world around me and its role in my nonconformity. I’m comfortable on the periphery. From this vantage point I find it odd how quickly our society went from hipster beards to tiki torches.
I’ve been revising chapter five in my novel for about two months now. On the second draft and I was moving along quite nicely until I hit chapter five. There was something about the chapter that wasn’t gelling. The previous four ran smooth and there was a dynamic quality that forced the chapters to more or less revise themselves. The plot and the character development coincided well with each other. Then chapter five hit me like owl shit hitting a windshield.
If you’ve ever watched a documentary on sharks then you’re familiar with the feeding frenzy. This is when a school of sharks start to feed on prey. It can be an attack on a single victim or a school of other fish, but once the feeding begins the energy multiplies over and over as the sharks feed. Soon the sharks are feeding in such a panic it’s as though they can’t stop themselves. Now I’m about to compare this activity to the way negative types make friends.