Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Captain Spaulding and the Hero's Journey

1. Too many persons who claim to be interested in writing are in fact writing things they have no taste for.

2. Too may persons who claim to be interested in reading are in fact reading things written by persons who have no taste for what they write.

3. This in some measure explains the popularity of break dancing.

4. There is no known case of a person interested in writing having broken a wrist, ankle, or hip.

5. This may be the result of break dancers taking more risks than writers.

6. Persons interested in writing would do well to consider taking risks.

7. There is at least one individual in a writer's life whom the writer is waiting to die before the details of a relevant story may be told.

8. This is anticipating a risk in advance in order not to take it.

9. The person the writer is waiting to die is probably not a reader and if said person whose death the writer awaits is, in fact, a reader, said person would probably fail to recognize the rendition of him/herself were the writer to in fact write it.

10. Experience teaches all of us valuable lessons about the nature of risk taking.

11. Writers and civilians are prone to conflate risk-taking with desperation.

12. Their experience should but does not necessarily teach them that this conflation is the first step toward understanding humor.

13. Step one in understanding humor is the awareness that bullies have low centers of gravity.

14. Step two is understanding that bullies sometimes hit back.

15. Step three is learning to keep laughing.

16. Tradition is a bully.

17. Convention is a bully.

18. Persons who are interested in writing sometimes behave as Arjuna behaved in the Bhagavad-gita, when he saw friends and relatives on both sides in an armed conflict and needed to be reminded by Krishna that it was his duty to fight.

19. In a real sense, persons interested in writing behave like Arjuna. They need to be reminded that it is their duty to write and that there are enemies on all sides trying to prevent them from doing so.

20. One such enemy is fear of offending someone. Anyone.

21. Another fear is not being good enough.

22. Fear that one is good enough is of a piece with one avatar of Vishnu, say Krishna, since we referenced him a moment ago, being fearful that he was not as good an avatar as, say, Rama.

23. The Hero's Journey may begin with a poem, a page, or a bus ride. But they have to have a destination in mind.

24. Annie Lamott says it is okay to write a shitty first draft, and a is considered highly evolved for having said that.

25. In the translation of the Bhagavad-gita from Sanskrit to English where he was so ably aided by Christopher Isherwood, Swami Prabhavananda has Krishna reminding Arjuna, "To the work you are entitled but not the fruits thereof."

26. When he was first given this bit of information, the writer Chris Moore said, "I have never heard anything so patently ridiculous in my whole life."

27. When he was recently reminded of this, he said, "I couldn't agree more."

28. The work is everything.

29. How can the work be everything if the process is supposed to be everything?

30. The process is the work being done.

31. Why do certain types of people, published writers, for instance, and artists tend to speak in parables?

32. They don't. What they say sounds like parables because it is close to the truth of a particular moment, and because published writers, for instance, and writers arrived at what they said for the same reason break dancers sometimes crack ribs.

33. You mean because they took risks?

34. None of your business.

35. Whose business, then?

36. The Process.


Lori Witzel said...


and then a deep, slow

g a s s h o

Smiler said...

Brilliant. Thank you.