Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Terrible Burden of Thinking

Can I confirm or deny the statement below? It's a polarizing thing. I imagine the majority of Christians feel they must immediately embrace it in full as truth, or else reject it all as a liberal cheap shot.

In the last decade or so I have tried to develop the ability to let the tidal wave of peer pressure wash over me, dry myself out, and then try to figure out what I really think.

The peer pressure is equal for me, I'd say, from both my conservative and liberal contingents of friends and family. So I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't (and my conservative friends would say literally so). The one thing that really kills me on questions like this is that the majority of Christians cannot see past, "because the Bible says so," as if that is an open and shut case of an answer to difficult questions of human rights, government policy and what society should look like and how it should be structured/coaxed/engineered and so on. That is shameful.

Anyway, I'll get back to you if I ever make up my mind.

(After reflecting a little on the below statement I think I need to clarify a little: I am reading this ONLY in the context of gay marriage, as I would say that is the defining social issue of our time as it relates to a perceived or real denial of rights. I fully agree that Christians in this country, as I'm sure in many others, joyfully and happily denied rights to blacks, the rest of the races, members of religious sects that weren't their's and so on. But I don't think this statement, fashioned for this time in history, is pointed at those things.)





Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Way of All Flesh

Damnit, I need to write. So often for me, I feel like I "need" to write, but that is motivated by guilt. But the way I feel right now, it's like I physically can't take it anymore, I NEED to write. I don't often feel that way, so when it comes up, I figure I better pay attention.

And I don't want to be writing this blog. A lot of times I don't write because I don't want to be introspective in front of the whole world. I think it's amaturish, emo-ish, patheticish. One of my favorite quotes used to be, "Your mother is the only one who wants to read your diary." Conan O'Brien once shared advice he received from, I don't know, someone important, "funny man, be funny." The way I've taken that for my own is this: Look, if you're going to share your writing with the world, you better have something to say, and/or you better be entertaining. Otherwise, keep it to yourself.

But the problem is that this thinking sometimes just really stops me up. I have an unexplainable urge to put myself before people, via this blog. But I expect perfection from myself, or pretty damn near, anyway. Everything has to pop, sizzle, snap and entertain, or make you think. This high bar that I set for myself keeps me from posting a lot of stuff (not neccessarily a bad thing, but frustrating).

But sometimes you just have to say ef it.

I suffer from a debilitating need to please people, to be liked, to entertain, to constructively provoke. I don't care how successful I am at this (of course I do, but just follow me), the point is that it's there, like my arm, and it isn't going away.

I put these mighty weights on myself, and I buckle under them. I'm tired of not writing, but nothing good has presented itself, and so I've done nothing. Maybe this post is a way of punishing myself: "If you're not going to write, then I'm going to make you write like a whiny little girl and share it with the world." Touche, self.

Recently I entered a rehab program for artists. It's called "The Artist's Way," and it has been invaluable. It's basically a 12 step program to unblocking your inner artist. It's stirred up a lot of stuff (big surprise, I still have daddy issues), given me a lot to think about, but paradoxically, I haven't felt like blogging since I've started. Oh well, life is nothing but mystery and mystery, God only sends us riddles (a despairing Dostoevsky character said that, I wasn't genius enough to spawn it).

Instead of writing I run to stories. I do too much reading. I wanted to come lay down on my bed, after my wife and I just laid our two boys to bed, and bury myself in a book. The problem is, I always bury myself in a book, it's my preferred way of running. Running from this. Running from dancing my fingers across a keyboard because I am so afraid of what will come out, or that nothing will come out. It's quite insidious because I can just tell myself it's writer training: "Just keep reading until you feel like you're a writer." But that's a pretty little lie, just like 90% of the chatter that passes for thought in my futile mind.

Also, I keep trying to shut it up, to push it down and away, to muffle it and put a pillow over its face until it just stops moving, but my brain really wants to tell you that I'm watching the Indiana Jones trilogy again (the fourth was an abortion and I will not count it). We are about 40% of the way through Temple of Doom, and that was another thing I was going to feast myself on to avoid writing. I've been a bit obsessed with trilogies lately. In the last few weeks I reread a trilogy of books from my childhood (The Tripod Trilogy), and after I've vanquished Indiana I'll probably move on to the Back to the Future Trilogy.

Ha! I've tricked myself into writing this long, stupid blog post--hope springs eternal!