Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vision Statement

You have been asked to provide vision statements for two different and disparate entities, leading you to suspect that you should have one of your own as a basis of comparison to any others you might produce in the future.

 A vision statement is an assessment of the universe in its most general terms and those specific areas where you have interest and intent.  What, then, is your vision of the world about you as well as the worlds within you?

You see the world about you as a seethe and boil of competing agendas, populated with strong, determined predators who are programmed to attempt survival against significant odds.  The competition and predation provide fuel for relevant, meaningful thought against the backdrop of reflexive behavior.  You are impressed by and aware of competition.  To a certain extent, some of it voluntary, you are a predator although you do not like to see yourself in that light.  Rather than the camouflage of the hunter, you wear the tee shirt of the reasonable man.

Your inner views are equally seething although you are often able to go about your days in a condition relatively close to calmness.  Your vision statement in this inner landscape begins with attempting as much as possible to project an authentic good will and respect for living, growing things.  This extends to your wish to understand as much of it as you can through the actions necessary to dramatize moral conflicts, their potential resolutions, and the consequences of their success or failure.  You see yourself able through your work to come out at the end of each month with a surplus of words meant to define aspects of the human condition and with some small surplus of funds necessary to secure your comfortable habitation.

At one point in your life, you could walk past most of the more ambitious newsstands of most cities, where you would notice as many as four titles you had written.  Those close to you were constantly asking you when you were going to settle into writing something serious, a judgement that rankled because of your belief that funny was serious and that your vision was to move as far from comedy and its physicality as possible, inhabiting the more lumpy terrain of humor and its ironic comparisons. This led your close ones to believe you were having too good a time, but you were not having a good enough time; you were miserable in fact, reaching for understanding and awareness that were not ready to be found just yet because you, instead of looking for the more genuine ore, were concentrating on iron pyrites, also known as fool's gold.

You are at the moment having a good time in the sense of being able to spend some portion of the day using the muscles you have developed since about age fifteen and toward which you were gravitating since about age thirteen, when a long forgotten friend of your parents gave you a book you still have, containing in one door-stopper of a volume a number of novels, essays, speeches, and short stories written by Mark Twain.  It was for an event exactly one month after your thirteenth birthday, on which you were formally received into the cultural community of your birth by virtue of having flawlessly read portions of the Torah and then from the Book of Prophets portion of the Hebrew Bible.  For the same ceremony, you were also given a copy of short stories by Jack London and, probably because it was inexpensive and looked literary, a collection of the short stories of D. H. Lawrence.  For all practical purposes, you were fucked because these books, written in English, by males who were anything but from your culture drew your interests away from documents written in Hebrew, in which you had no thought to write.  You were led into the places where the English language met Icelandic and German, Anglo-Saxon, and Dutch.  You probably have a larger vocabulary in Sanskrit than you do in Hebrew, and although you can remember some portions of the Hebrew you so flawlessly read then, you probably have more stored away from The Devi Mahamtamayi or Chandi, as it is popularly called.  Go figure.  You were fucked because there was a vector, a vision, if you will, an inertia that drew you as a secular aesthete through the corners and alleys of English rather than any other language.  Your approach to foreign languages was like your dealings first with girls, then young women; scatter-shot and too arbitrary or temporary to forge any serious involvement.  Your vision was to save yourself for English, for American English, for the rolling cadence of the teller of tall tales and the sharp, short sentences of the laconic Westerner, rolling a cigarette with one hand.

Your vision was much the same as Huck Fin's vision when he first boarded the raft, to get away and find some sweet life along the river, which at that time was as big as any boy's dream.  Your vision was to ride that river and indeed you have, through journalism and pulp novels and television, stopping off for brief visits to pick up supplies.  The river you'd seen in your vision is mythic, the language you see even now is mythic.  There is no such thing for you as sweet life but there is a sense of memory set down, much the way Twain himself remembered his river, The River, in his quest to be a riverboat captain.  Your vision is not by any means complete, there are tides and shoals and reefs, islets, snags, and rocky bottoms in the river of your vision and huge, clunking barges to be avoided, but it is your river and it is no small thing to be set afloat upon it.

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