a silver mt zion

talk about amnesia

Talk about amnesia, I remember that -

  • I had once quipped that I wanted to be a writer "when I retired from aerospace".

  • I submitted something pretty bad to the Young Author's Program one time (though I know I participated a few times and consistently got second place).

  • I wrote some angsty poetry.

But I forgot that -

  • I had taken creative writing in 4-H - repeatedly.

  • I had taken creative writing classes... for three years.

Since I had so many interests and never considered "being a writer" a live option, these moments got edited out of my self image. School made me into an essay machine, for sure, but part of this was a growing fear, the anxiety surrounding the finished product was always so great, I would freeze and dread many assignments.

BUT, I do love when the words fall together and make something beautiful, and somehow I forgot this pleasure, this orientation to language. My censor guilted me into thinking there was something pretentiously avoidant about wanting to "be a writer". So. I killed it. No writer, just writing. It's the cheapest hobby I can get away with (scribbling on cheap paper or banging on a keyboard for a couple of hours a day). My censor certainly couldn't begrudge me the equivalent to scribbling on scrap paper. And so I duck the censor for another day.
  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive

I'm back... for now


Decided to brush this off and use it to capture moments of the day(s). I might do some writing exercises, or just ruminate on where I want to go and where I want to be.
  • Current Music
    400 Lonely Things - The Music Box
flames of fire

Thinking about books (and Pinterest)

I posted a while back about books that have changed my life in some way. I've been influenced by many, many books, but every so often there's one that changes the way I think in such a fundamental way that it splits my life into clean categories of before and after.

I lost my original list, but I've been skating around on Goodreads and created a board of these books on Pinterest. I'd like to write a little bit about each book and its how it changed my life, but Pinterest doesn't seem like a good vehicle for that - only so much space on each picture. I may do it here, or at least get started here. So, if you are curious about any of these books and how they shaped me, post a comment naming the book and I'll write about it.
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    pensive pensive
jesuit angst

Thinking about architecture

I was thinking a while back about virtue ethics and the resolution to the is/ought problem by questioning whether there is an is/ought problem. Language, and therefore concept, has an instrumental element, and being the product (artifact, construction, etc), it has necessarily the limitations of the embodied point of view of the creator. Therefore, all products embody values, signify something, so to the degree to which we live in a constructed or linguistically mediated environment, there is no basic "is" which does not imply an "ought", even if it's an "ought" we struggle against or negate. Value is a bald fact of concrete reality, not a ghostly subjective projection.

Architecture embodies values as well. It has intended uses, subtle suggestions of appropriate activity, and connotations of ideals. Even modernism with its insistence on stripped down utility and aestheticizing of materials is chock full of signification. In that sense, added ornament or architectural detail doesn't have to be a betrayal or impurity, as long as the signification is congruent. I'd be happy with a modernism which embraces its communicative function.
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    pensive pensive
jesuit angst

Getting started in this journal again - thinking about books

I'm making a list of books that have changed my life. This is an entirely aubjective and contingent list, as I'm not listing books I think are important or influential to the world as a whole - simply books that, for me, created a definite before and after effect on my development as a person.

Since this is an intensively introspective project, I won't attempt to give order to this list - not by importance, not by degree of impact, not by dates written or read - just the name of a book and a few words about how it changed me. I welcome any comments and would love to see similar lists of books from friends.
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    pensive pensive
bad cat

A good piece from Truthdig

Chris Hedges is an interesting writer with an interesting background. I wasn't overwhelmed by what I read in his American Fascist - maybe I should give it a second chance - but I enjoyed this little piece posted in http://www.truthdig.com>Truthdig.

"The utter failure of nearly all our religious institutions — whose texts are unequivocal about murder — to address the essence of war has rendered them useless."

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mere shadow

good quote

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.
Wendell Berry
bad cat

Yeah. Me, too

100% Mike Gravel
95% Dennis Kucinich
81% John Edwards
74% Barack Obama
73% Bill Richardson
72% Chris Dodd
72% Joe Biden
71% Hillary Clinton
31% Ron Paul
27% Rudy Giuliani
21% John McCain
20% Mike Huckabee
17% Tom Tancredo
15% Mitt Romney
8% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

It's okay if you've never heard of Mike Gravel - I've already made peace with the fact that no candidate I like will be elected this time. Rigth now, I'm making peace with being disappointed in 2012, too.

Anyway, I had a great time this week, destroying my coworkers' belief that Clinton was running on a nationalized health care platform. I insisted that, unless she had fallen on her head and been replaced by an imposter in the last few weeks, she did not support nationalized health care. They insisted that nationalized health care had been her pet project for years. I googled it, and read her words from here website - nothing about a nationalized health care plan, just some kinder, gentler version of Mitt Romney's plan. Same with John Edwards. Obama's plan is closest, since he actually calls for the creation of a public plan, though encourages purchase of private plans.

If Clinton never presented herself as a champion of "socialized medicine", how did my coworkers get the idea that she had? Word-of-mouth gleanings from Limbaugh and such? Maybe. If so, I find it amusing that linking her with the idea of nationalized has won her admirers as well as detractors - both on a mistaken assumption.
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    pensive pensive