7-21-16

7:42PM In the lab, sticky neck, dirty. It was hellish outside today, a hundred plus. After dinner watered the garden. Felt like a week or so since I was out there, with all the rain, challenging weather. I love working my garden, watering, pulling weeds, checking everything out. I’d missed it.

Got lost staring into a sunflower, setting sun cooking my back. Two fluffy bumble bees gathered pollen. I felt a kinship with the sunflower, the bees, the sun, the pollen. Realized how we’re all impressions, byproducts of the sun. As I sit here and think of it, I realize something must have imprinted the sun too, to make it like it is and do what it does, classic philosophical none-sense of the chicken and the egg variety. I know it’s heat and mass and gravity like forces, but how can mass, heat and gravity makes all these beautiful things, and self aware things that can note it, see how it all relates, love it until it hurts. Atoms. Molecules. Bubbling primordial proteins. Evolution. I know all that, thank you rationalist. It doesn’t explain a thing.

Just got done reading this exceptional blog post by Lawyer/Adventurer Andreas Moser. He’s the real deal writer-traveler. He reminds me of Hemingway or someone like that. A throwback to when men were still men, and there was epic adventures to be had. A real passion for life and the story comes out in his writing. This current piece had subterranean travels, world history, religious and cultural insight and detail. Even more, he masterfully demonstrates the key role of the writer as an assimilating, comprehensive viewpoint, which includes being entertaining. It’s also so great to see quality blog posts like that. It sort of validates the whole blogging endeavor in my mind.

Domestic bliss is upon us. Britney is on vacation until August 1st. No big plans, which is amazing really. Going to plan and develop some strategy and personal goals for the next week or so tonight. Car needs an oil change, new tire. Truck’s AC went out. Everything needs compost, fertilized in garden. There’s a much needed and imagined bathroom renovation which needs accomplished. And of course the real work, the words, that terrible bastard called editing. And wife, kids, an amusement/water park, hopefully some communion with nature…I need to reflect on these things, so much happening at one time. Need to improve that executive function. What is that glimmer of neon blue, that ripples at the base of my heart chakra? Who am I? What am I here for? How do we destroy the Lord of this world?

Anyway, that’s what I’m thinking about. What are you thinking about?

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2 thoughts on “7-21-16

  1. Again, thank you very much for your praise, which is the more motivating for the rarity that I receive any.

    Because we are among writers here, I would like to say a little bit about how I work on pieces like this:
    (1) For me, it’s important to read about a place before I go. I want to have some historical/cultural background, so I can look for the right things and ask more probing questions. Without that, I might just be “awed” or “impressed”, but that would be it.
    (2) On the trip in the mine, I couldn’t take notes. But as soon as I got back to the hostel, I wrote down my observations, the conversations, my ideas. I already write this in whole sentences and structured paragraphs. Forcing myself to do this as early as possible combines linguistic creativity with the recent observations still fresh in my mind. I could not recreate this later. When I write about trips where I only have photos and my memory, but where I didn’t take notes, the story would be flat and it would probably show, not least for lack of detail.
    (3) When writing the final version, I do a second round of research. This article is probably too heavy on numbers, but I personally am interested in this. Obviously, the guy in the mine didn’t know the exact silver prices from 5 years ago, so I have to look up details like that.

    I am afraid a lot of travel writing is lacking particularly on the research side, but also on the context side. I am so tired of reading the 130th article where everything is “breathtaking” and “phenomenal” and “stunning”. For that, I can watch photos.

    Speaking about photos, maybe it’s easier for me to focus on the writing because I actually don’t enjoy taking photos. I would really prefer to travel without a camera (but then nobody would read my blog) and only write. Particularly with this article, I tried to write it in a way that it could be a chapter in a book.

    1. Thank you for this. I highly value this insight on your method. It’s interesting that technology is so paradoxical. It can hinder certain aspects of the creative process, but then becomes absolutely necessary in other areas. Camera and equipment become a drag in the moment, but without the internet and digital technology some random guy in Iowa would have no clue about your work and adventures.

      I think blogs are a very worthwhile and sort of misunderstood and underutilized medium. The fact you can combine picture, words, video, music, whatever makes it a powerful medium. Add into that the connectivity that can happen if you just take a minute to give a genuine response, and I think you can elevate the whole thing beyond just likes on instagram page or whatever.

      And speaking of elevating, with pieces like that I think you sort of transcend mere “travel writing”, no real offense or slight to the genre intended. This is writing-writing. Non-Fiction. It is discouraging that only shorter work seems to get noticed, but that’s the great thing about writing, in the end you want the audience, but you don’t really need them. It’s a selfish thing. You do it for yourself and the value is in the craft.

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