Category: writing


You are never (as in never ever ever ever) the only one. Never. Ever. You can stop writing “Am I the only one who thinks…” because you aren’t. There are millions of kajillions of people on the internet and I am sure that unless you don’t exist somebody else on it shares your sentiment. I would also ask you to remove “I’m sorry but…” from your sentence beginning repertoire. Don’t say it if you’re gonna be sorry about it before you even begin. That is all! Until next time!

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This is my final paper for my Modern English Literature class. I got an A- on the paper. I hope you enjoy it.

Opening lines are important. They can be exciting (“It was a pleasure to burn.”) or boring (“Opening lines are important.”) Sometimes the author just wants to set up where the rest of the book will take place and sometimes the author uses the opening line to set up the tone and actions of the rest of the book (“All this happened, more or less.”) A. S. Byatt’s opening line to “The Thing in the Forrest” goes like this: “There were once two little girls who saw, or believed they saw, a thing in the forest.” From this we get our two main characters (the girls) and what happens to them (they see a thing in the forest) but we get the most important piece of information from what is set off in commas: “or believed they saw”. Byatt never clarifies if they actually saw the thing in the forest or if they imagined it or if it was something in between but she does imply that it doesn’t matter if they saw it or not. They believed they saw it and that is all that matters. There is a line from the 1994 classic film The Santa Clause which says, “Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing,” I think that this sentiment is what Byatt is trying to convey, and I agree with her.

There is nothing in any book that matters that says there is a difference between perception and reality. The reality of reality is that reality is relative. We see what we want to see and discard everything else. The NBA might as well not exist since I never watch it. For all I know Alice really traveled down the rabbit hole and Jonas could really receive all of the memories of the past and hold on to them for everybody else. All it takes for one thing to be real is to believe it is so and it only takes a closed mind to deny all of the different realities provide by literature and our imaginations. The thing that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom isn’t language or prehensile thumbs; it’s the ability to think of things that can never exist. As long as we continue to dream of and write new worlds and scenarios and most importantly believe in these scenarios we will be a prosperous species.

When I was an engineering student I would get dirty looks for reading a work of fiction instead of an instruction manual or blueprint because the fiction didn’t really exist and instruction manuals are useful and real. My fellow students were going to make the world a better place through sheer force. They would perfect everything and make everything easier, faster, stronger, better. They knew they could build the best mousetrap ever because they understand the world and how it works. There would be no need for fiction or stories of the future and the past and the never-going-to-happen because reality would be perfect. I yelled at them about their shortsightedness and arrogance in my head. They were being taught that only what was real mattered to their studies and I became afraid of our future. I overheard and took part in many discussions about how stupid and boring the Freshman English classes were because the world of fiction had no bearing on what was actually happening and that they were wasting precious time they could be spending learning about stress tests and load bearing beams reading stupid stories about things that couldn’t even happen! These are the kids that would get a LEGO set and build a giant box instead of an arctic base or a moon rover. A lack of imagination as a child led to the future of our society being doomed. Luckily I got out of there as fast as possible and retreaded to the happier reality of fiction.

When a good reader reads they learn as much about how the world works as an engineering student learns from a lecture. They learn about how people interact with people and how they deal with situations and how to be a good human being, even though all of the events and people and reactions are made up by the author. They can take the make-believe and believe it can be made. The unwavering belief that anything is possible as long as the believer keeps on believing is the most important aspect of life. If we can perceive anything as reality we can change reality to whatever we want. If we apply this concept to everybody on the planet and everybody that will ever be on the planet we can truly perfect the human race. We can create the best of all possible worlds through imagination and belief. We can use fiction to change reality for the better and we can use reality to create even more fantastical fiction. We can spread all ideas everywhere and give everybody the option to think about how they think things should be and we can change things.

Alright, enough of this changing the world business. That can’t really happen anyways. It’s just a pie-in-the-sky idea, taken from an idealist’s brain and translated into lofty ideas about reality and fiction. Everybody knows that only the real things matter. How much money do I really have in the bank, how much does an education really mean, how much does this essay really matter. None of it is going to change much of anything. We shouldn’t get our hopes up for a better future. In all likelihood the world will be just about the same when I die as it was when I was born. Sure, the technologies will change and there’ll be more people in the world but none of it will make much of a difference. I certainly can’t change much for myself, much less anybody else. I might as well go read an instruction book and learn how to make things work better than they do now. It’s not like a believing something can be better will actually make the thing better. Unless. Unless everybody believes in the power of belief. If everybody fully understood the power of belief and the effect it has on reality they would truly become wholly realized as human beings. We would appreciate every possible reality presented in fiction and non-fiction as being possible and we would be better for it. Even our engineers, misguided though they may be right now, could become better at what they do if they dared to dream about things that nobody dreamt of before. If they just got past the idea of “impossible” they would realize that impossible doesn’t exist. They would recognize that the only the impossible is impossible, everything else will work if you believe you can find a way to make it so.

Grading the Teacher

Well, this is the end, I suppose. No more Friday Writings from your favoritest student ever. No more wit or insight, no more crazy stories. But enough about me, let’s talk about you. They say a man can be judged by his car or the books he reads/assigns-in-class. I don’t know what kind of car you drive, so I’ll go on the books you had us read this semester, starting, in the natural way, at the end.

A.S. Byatt’s five short stories were pretty excellent (although I am assuming that the last two live up to the bar the first three have set as I have not yet read them). “Body Art” is my least favorite so far, perhaps because it isn’t as fantastical as the other two, but I appreciate it. “The Thing in the Forrest” and “A Stone Woman” were great, strange yet realistically portrayed. Byatt’s style works in her favor for the fantasy stories; her prose is my favorite of the bunch.

Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus was also a lot of fun. Fevvers and crew were very likeable and entertaining to read. I appreciated the craziness of it, especially in the last third. I really hated the design of the book, though. The font and margins were too small for me to get comfortable and made the book seem smaller than it was. I really enjoyed the actual content of the book, though, so another score for you.

Which brings us to Orlando. I had seen the film last year for something completely unrelated. I enjoyed the film (Tilda Swinton is as close as you are going to get to a man in an actress, in the best possible way), but the book was a lot better. It was funny and touching and strange and I loved it. The concept was excellent and well executed. I will be seeking out more from Woolf.

The Girls of Slender Means was another hit. I really liked the super-omniscient narrator and the characters were a lot of fun. And it was short.

Unfortunately for you, the streak ends there. The End of the Affair is the definition of a book ruined by a message. Orlando and Nights at the Circus were feminist works but they didn’t beat you over the head with it. Greene started off strong with an interesting if unlikable character. Then he turned everything stupid by making a statement about religion. Once he used the characters as plot points instead of people I checked out. Try again next time.

Ohh, another miss with A Passage to India. I can’t quite put a finger on why I didn’t like this. Perhaps it was that I didn’t care about the topic, or maybe it was that I didn’t care about anybody except Mrs. Moore. And it was long. Really long and boring.

Luckily, D.H. Lawrence rescues you from a horrible fate of ending on a bad note. None of the stories we read were as good as the other good stories we read earlier in this little paper (and later in the semester) but they were good enough. I’m not a fan of the “write exactly what people say even if the reader won’t understand it” thing that he had going on in “Love Among the Haystacks” but it didn’t hurt him too much.

I was an engineering major before I came over to the dark side of thinking about things and reading books, so I’m gonna give you a grade based on percentages:

  • % of good stories (each short counts for one): 83.3repeating
  • % of good books: 71.4
  • % of good pages: 66.1

You didn’t do so hot on the pages portion, but you did score extra points for putting all the good ones towards the end. So I’ll give you a B with room for improvement. Ways of improvement would be to take A Passage to India and The End of the Affair off the syllabus and replacing them with good things. Thanks in advance.

Artsy Epic Poem

This is reality, or is it fake? I am stuck in this avalanche, I can’t get out of it.  I advise you to spread your eyelids and lift them to the blue void to understand this. I have no money nor do I need you to feel bad about it. I can take it or leave it, plus or minus. Whatever happens means little. Even to me.

My mother! I recently murdered somebody. I purchased a projectile flinger and threatened the man. I fired the gun and killed the man. Mother! My experience had recently started but now it is already over. Mother! Oh! I didn’t intend for you to be upset. If I do not return in roughly twenty four hours, please continue with your life as it was. Continue it, pretending that everything means nothing.

The hour is late, I am no longer able to continue. I have chills along my back, and the rest of my earthly vessel hurts all hours of the day. Adios, all of you, I must leave now. I must retire from you and understand what I have done. Mother! Oh! (whichever direction the air moves) I wish to continue to live, however I sometimes pray that I had remained a non-entity.

I envision a small outline of a male human being.  Idealist! Idealist! Won’t you dance to mixture of folk and flamenco music. The gods are bowling, it scares me! A lot! Physicist! Mathematician! Astronomer! Philosopher! Tuscan! Kitty cartoon character! Quickly acquired, quickly lost. Won’t you allow me to leave?  No, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no, yes. Negative, on no account, not at all, certainly not, definitely not, by no means, nope. Pierce, Colin, Stellan, please allow me to exit. The Devil has a demon waiting for me to arrive.

You believe you can throw rocks at me and then project your saliva into my ocular glands? You believe you can be enamored with me and then withdraw from me to depart this mortal coil? Oh young child! You are not allowed to act in this manner, newborn! I mus leave, I must leave at this moment.

Everything is meaningless, all are privy to this information. Everything is meaningless, everything is meaningless, in my eyes. All directions the air moves…


My latest Friday (Thursday) writing is about the LHC and what could have happened. Remember, this is for a class.

LHC

The Man

I’m back at school and that means back at writing. So here is my first Friday (or Thursday, I guess) post. I need to write one page on anything for one class every Friday. This one is a true-ish story. True in that it happened, -ish in that it happened in a slightly altered state.

I shouldn’t be afraid of this new school. All the same people are going to be there. Including him.

The Man

The Time I Was God

A sleepy God is almost as bad as an absent one.

Story number two is also a true story, or an mostly true story.

The Time I Was God

One was brown and the other was white with a black hood.

The first story on this website is the latest story I have written. It is a scene that I witnessed just this afternoon. I hope you enjoy it.

Brown And White