Saturday, March 28, 2009


I think I may have been over thinking this writing thing or perhaps I am right about getting the faucet running. For awhile, I have been convinced that writing needs to work orally, but this means I have tried to write slow and deliberately, thinking carefully over words. But if good writing sounds like good speech, then perhaps my best voice is the voice in my head, and that means that the best voice to write towards is the voice in my head. Worry about things like perfect punctuation later, for now I need to get the raw sound of me when I speak, or more purely, the sound, the cadence, of me when I think, the tumbling snickering of my mind unwinding. Perhaps that is what I need, what I should unleash. Perhaps that is how it should sound, should read. I don't know. But it is nice not to overthink it for a bit, and to write something down, because I don't think I can do writing as careful arbitration. I don't have a mind for contracts and stipulations, but for spontaneity and effulgence. Or not, I don't know. Maybe I will end up somehwere else, somewhere that seems careful and deliberate. It is new to try to write steadily. I hope it holds up. I hope I keep it up.

I know it makes me happy though. I know it is easier, and that makes it better. The progress makes it better.

I can't believe

that it is snowing today. It's March! Hare's are supposed to out! I have been hot when out driving around wearing my spring jacket! I rode my bike comfortably to work earlier this month!



So one thing I was thinking about lately was electronic devices and the effect they would have on society, and really what approach we as humans would have to information, what tools we would use to access information.

It seems to me like there are maybe three sets of devices that aren't going way. There is the large of screen, such as your television or a really large computer monitor or set of monitors. Perhaps large projection mechanisms such as movie screens. We are always going to want screens to view certain bits of information in a very large format, because sometimes we will just want that type of immersion experience. So that's not going anywhere. Then there are laptop devices, basically small portable screens with access to a variety of functions. And then the small handheld device, which is increasing taking on a whole plethora of functions, from phones to music storage to accessing the Internet. In ways it's more functional than a laptop, just be virtue of being smaller, and it can provide for most of the functions of a laptop. But pressing small buttons on a tiny screen would get maddening for any long-term, serious work. I can't imagine someone writing a novel or short story or computer code or term paper for hours on end on a tiny handheld device, or even watching certain types of videos with any degree of comfort. A laptop device with always be a necessity for a certain type of professional, although I can actually see certain classes opting to go without them for only the iphone device. And of course there might be some type of desire for a midsized device, like a kindle, something for the reading of long-format works, but that might just be a stop-gap device until people get over their cultural attachment to the codex form, and I can't see anyone opting for such a size when the other options allow for a greater variety of function and ease, especially if the mid-size device, like the kindle, remains confined to only a narrow range of uses. (Computers could be turned into cellphones as easily as cellphones have been turned into computers.)

So I think that those devices will remain around for quite some time. What I am curious about, though, it what the further advances will be made in terms of information access. I saw some video somewhere about some kind of wearable device that would give access to a whole array of information through the use of a camera around the neck. And what would happen if we finally developed technology that would allow a direct electronic chip, brain interface, like the kind of technology we see Neuromancer or the Matrix? Would we be able to download information, surf the Internet, write documents, answer phone calls, all inside our heads? How would this change our culture, the way we interact with information?

This would obviously require some form of surgery. So would our culture split between those who have access to external devices and those who have direct mental access to electronic processors, creating an additional class, capable of affording the elective surgery, creating a third class of technology users. William Gibson has said that the future is here, it just isn't spread out evenly. Right now there are those with access to electronic devices, and those too destitute to afford them. Then of course there are those that are that live without access to any form of electronic technology at all, your present day hunter-gatherers. I wonder how long they are for this world. I wonder, perhaps, if technology developed that allowed for such electronic/organic interfaces, if such technology is even possible (does the nature of human consciousness really allow for such a thing?) there might be some type of socio-political movement to make it widespread available, maybe to enforce government subsidization of the surgical process, so that it's existence doesn't lead the creation of an impermeable overclass, and not of political/economic movers and shakers, your Bush's, Clinton's, Senators, World Leaders and Businessmen, but an actual, leisure class in possession of advanced wealth and capabilities, more like Metropolis than any cyberpunk setting. I suppose it depends on how far along in social democratization we are. And I don't just mean in terms of the U.S., although it's possible we could have such split occur here too, especially if the technology occurs in a setting without Single Payer Healthcare or strong unionization, but in First World/Third World terms, too. I mean, I could see us having a West hardwired into the Internet at all times, completely against an East and South America that exists without such trappings, and thus getting continually outpaced in technology by leaps and bounds. What would such distance in wealth and information bring about? Is such a thing not already, happening? Would we see the widespread rejection of materialism, a move towards spiritual concerns? Contentment of being left out? Surely there would be those who would see the injustice of the situation, if not wanting to be hardwired, at least in terms of the material comfort such technologies, allowed (I can also see a rejection of such elective surgeries occurring among religious conservatives and animal rights activists, environmentalist, and the anti-corporate movement on the left*) and would respond with violence and terrorism, perhaps causing some kind of environmental, biological or nuclear catastrophe. That would set up your post-apocalyptic setting right there.

*I think Gibson actually portrayed such characters in "Johnny Mnemonic." And Neuromancer features evangelicals as terrorists.


My biggest problem with writing, I think, it that I treat it too much like a sacrosanct endeavor, like some holy quest or ritual that must be set aside to be undertaken only at set times. I write something, and the whole time I am pushing towards conclusion, to bring the ritual to a solemn close, so I can cease the tension and breath easy.

It is like, I thought last night, like a faucet. I want to turn it on, and then turn it off, and do something else. But when I turn it off, it all just goes down the drain, and I have nothing left, and then I come back, and I have to turn it back on again, so I think, no, I will not use the water right now, wait for when the time is right. The water must be saved for when absolutely necessary. This is what I think especially with blog posts. They must be neat and orderly and when finished, I have done my job, and should do something else. But if I don't leave the water running, then it can't overflow, and I can't find my current, or carve my riverbed. I can't be a faucet, I need to be a gushing spring.

The Real Me

I can't write. I don't know how to write. When I'm writing, I feel like I have to trick myself. I have to pretend to be doing other things, like taking notes or making things up in my head, or just typing randomly whatever pops in there. When I like something that spins around in my head for a bit, whenever I try to set it down, it feels wrong, like a copy, and the real one exists somewhere else of in the ether. Notes just need to keep being refined and refined, and I never know when they are done. Whatever pops up as I type similarly lacks polish. When I try to writes something well, like sit down and really commit to writing something well, the first time, it is like trying to sigh-read a symphony for performance in front of 200 bodies. And they are all invisible. How nerve-racking is it to play for invisible people?

Last night, I was lying in bed and feeling blue, up late in the early morning after napping in the middle evening, and I had a head buzzing full of ideas and words that I was too tired to take down (besides the computer was off) and I was working on a story and liking it and feeling good before finally forcing myself to sleep, and then I woke up and my dream-mind was gone and it was boring old immobile me to greet me again, and I tried to write the words the way I thought they had to be written and it didn't work and I felt disheartened again, all over, just like I knew, while laying there on the other side, just as I knew I would be. The real me, or false me that sits in for me when I am awake and rested, just cannot do it. He is paralyzed and fearful. Perhaps the me that fades in in early morning waking hours when my body pulls towards sleep, perhaps he is only a phantom. Perhaps he is not as clever as he thinks he is, as he has convinced the rested mind to think he is. Perhaps what he thinks he thinks is clever just just a result of absent critical faculties, eaten up by dream logic. Perhaps there is no me that knows how to do this. But the glimpses, the feelings of fluency, they make me so happy, but the endless arid plains to wander through to reach the mirages, they are unbearable.