Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Joy of Writing

Another repost. This note was originally written on March 8, 2012, while visiting my sister in Bozeman, Montana.

I do love to write. I suppose it goes along with my joy of reading and, especially, my joy of talking. When I’m in the mood for a good “talk,” I have to find an audience that is interested, or at the very least, “captive.” Then I have to get them to lean back and listen, none of this pesky discussion stuff. Just listen to what I have to say. So, naturally, writing seems just perfect to this end. I just let the words flow and my amazing, yet very quiet audience takes them in. I guess that assumes I have an audience. The book sales are not too great, and I’ve yet to read any reviews by the critics, so I’ll just have to take it on faith that anyone is listening – reading that is.

My busy home life does leave something to be desired in terms of time for my avocation of scripting. What with sleeping in until 9:00, a leisurely breakfast and then walking the dog, it will be time for lunch. Where the afternoon goes, I don’t have a clue. And then come evening, time to relax in my comfortable chair and do some serious reading. Then it’s bedtime and the cycle begins anew. It seems that it is only on these trips, which I refuse to call vacations since that would imply a vocation that I find the time to write. And even that can be difficult to do. Today we’ve got plans that include visiting old friends and seeing new sights.

This morning, while I lazily started my day with several cups of coffee, the paper, my morning chores, and just enjoying the sunshine and Montana snow from my safe and warm vantage here behind the triple pane windows, I found time to read a little more of the biography of a musician friend I’ve known for several years. He wrote an interesting biography of his life and times that I’m currently consuming at moments of leisure in the “reading room.” Certainly one of the reasons I’m writing is to create my own personal biography, the story of my life as it were. As you constant readers can acknowledge, by literary output has been “all over the map.” I’ve written about technical and scientific topics, economic essays, political discourses, how-to guides, music and art, as well as bits and pieces of my life.

One goal is that, at some point in the future, I could combine all the autobiographical material into a single volume. A best seller? Perhaps not. But it would be a legacy for my children which they could then dispose of along with the worn out comfortable chair.

I am greatly enjoying my friend’s description of his life’s odyssey. He is about the same age as me, and his journey includes many of the same events and history as mine. His take on these life events is filtered through a different lens than mine. While he is a graduate of Boston College with a liberal arts degree and a very leftish view on life and events, I’m the graduate of a second rate state college with a focus on technical and scientific ideas and a rightish political view.

Some people take their political view and put on blinders, only willing to see what fits their personal paradigms of life, rejecting any concepts that don’t fit their comfortable outlook and actually villainizing those with conflicting points of view. That has never been my goal. I certainly am strong in my beliefs, having arrived at them through careful thought and self-examination. Many of my earlier ideas and points-of-view have changed or at least softened as I gained experience and knowledge about the world, but – like most folks I suspect – I still pretty well fit the mold that first formed me.

Consistency of opinion is not really a virtue. Times change and circumstances change and opinions can change over a lifetime. That is not a philosophical weakness. It is called learning. And a little self-doubt is healthy. I think of all the times I’ve been wrong about something. I’m not so pig-headed that I can’t see how I made a mistake or mistook a situation or simply didn’t understand what was going on. My compass has always been true, but my maps have had some errors. The advantage of time and long life is that your view of the territory of "life" becomes more complete. Life is exploration of boundaries, and what was once strange land, is now familiar territory.

Besides that, I have to tell you frankly, I love to interact with people that don’t agree with me. I don’t mean I like to argue, although I suppose I do. Rather I enjoy the interaction with people that have different perspectives on life than I do. It is like a summer vacation where you visit someplace new that you hadn’t seen before. People that I don’t agree with, they are the new sights and sounds that I add to my life to increase its richness.

I find many people’s views of political issues very disturbing. How anyone can be so absolutely certain about things as complicated as how we should run our nation? This isn’t science where we can perform experiments and confirm results and develop theorems and formulas. Certainly there are things to learn from life and politics and it isn’t all just personal opinion. We can observe how well or how “not so well” a particular political solution is performing, but I think many people’s minds are already made up and they don’t want to be confused with facts.

I don’t want to upset any family or friends with my differing views presented in an abrasive and “my way or the highway” attitude. Discretion is often the better part of valor, and I don’t argue with people I love, even if I disagree with them fundamentally. I do like to present my point of view, but I prefer it be in a non-threatening manner. So, writing about my life and what I consider to be true and important seems like a low-key way to get my ideas across. That assumes anyone is reading my writing. Well, I don’t suppose that is necessary to obtain my personal goals. If no-one ever reads what I wrote, that would be OK … I’d just call it a journal or a diary, and move on. I still get the joy of expressing my thoughts.

Whether this will ever become a book, sold on Amazon or Apple’s iBook, that I doubt. If I even get it all collated into a single volume, that would be quite a feat. Do you know how many specialists and professionals it takes to turn simple thoughts on a page into a published book? It is daunting. So, for now, I’ll just keep posting these notes on Facebook and my blog and hope to get some response from you out there.

I ran into my friend at a local lunch spot the other day. I told him I was reading his book. He was most pleasantly surprised. I’m glad our little conversation brought him joy. I think that is the true value of friendship and I look forward to – someday – having a similar discussion with someone. “Say, I’m reading your book.” I don’t think there is any phrase in the human language as complementary. So I’ll keep on writing, and – who knows? Maybe, someday, I’ll have that conversation.

P.S. If this little note sparked an interest in my friend’s book, you can purchase it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Saturns-Return-A-Boomers-Memoir/dp/0615448607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331228143&sr=8-1

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