Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Different Landscape

As I was driving home from work the other day I passed a park with a line of trees bordering the edge.  They were all decently big, relatively old-looking trees but they were all equally spaced along the road.  I realized that not too long ago (earth wise, not my lifetime wise) they were just little saplings newly planted.  They probably were no different than the little ones you'd get at Home Depot or something like that.  And yet here they were, undoubtedly a few decades old and growing.  I wish I could've counted the rings and known how fast that growth was.

I found my mind wandering in the way that it does when driving home from work and I wondered what that stretch of road might have looked liked back then.  Or even longer ago.  I doubt that a hundred years earlier there was a road there, there was probably a forest.  Miles of trees where that small line of them was.  And I found myself thinking what that whole chunk of land that was now a well established town looked like.

I've read a little bit about the earth's history.  I understand the basics of geology.  I can wrap my mind around the fact that deserts used to be oceans, mountains used to be shores and almost none of the plants, animals or other familiar sights I take for granted used to be around.  I get all that, on an intellectual level.  But I can't for the life of me begin to imagine what it all looked like.

No urban sprawl, no suburbia stretching out for a radius of fifty miles around any city, no farm land splitting up the vast landscape into multi-colored squares like pieces of construction paper, no grass spreading as far as the eye can see.

The idea that almost 90% of the plants and animals that dominate the landscape now are, basically, weeds that sucked up all the natural resources and outgrew all the original inhabitants is mind-boggling.  And yet, that's all I know.  It's all most people know.

It's amazing how much we take for granted that is so incredibly recent.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Loss of Perspective

What if you'd never seen a thunderstorm before?  The world suddenly darkening, the wind blasting you in the face, the sky rumbling over head as black, ominous clouds blocked out the sun... what would you think?  That the world was ending?

What about a sunset?  If you didn't know that light would come back?  If you watched it creep back towards the horizon and disappear leaving you in utter darkness.  Wouldn't you abandon all hope?

What if you didn't know there was a tomorrow?  If this day- today- was suddenly all you had?  And you spent it as you did- paying bills, working at a soul-sucking job, doing dishes, laundry, mowing the lawn, cleaning your bathroom... how cheated would you feel?

See, that's the problem with Carpé Diem.  It goes in direct contradiction to what we have to do in order to survive.  In direct contradiction to responsible (and often dull, stressful and completely un-enjoyable) living.  And yet, that's what we wish we could all do.

All I know is, if today were suddenly the last day of my life- I'd be pissed.


Friday, April 23, 2010

The Price of Becoming a Master Multitasker

I recently began a job as a program manger.  I quickly learned the meaning of being a manger: problem solving, fire extinguishing and never ending multitasking.  Given that I was thrown head first into a relatively sink or swim position I quickly adapted and although it's only been a short time I'd like to think that I've significantly improved my ability to multitask.  It's great in some ways.  I cover a lot of different tasks and switch back and forth based on what's going most wrong at the moment.  It helps with crisis management.

The drawback is the mental strain of doing such an activity all day long.  At the end of the day, sitting in my car and taking the long drive back home I find myself suffering from ADD.  Just the like the commercials: "It's like you're watching a broken t.v. that changes channels every five seconds."

What am I going to make for dinner?  Did they fix the stupid construction on this road?  Whatever happened to Tiffany, anyway?  Oh yeah, like you're going to get there any faster than I will, you douche.  That's the car from that Adam Sandler song- how did it go?  "Piece of shit car..."  Way to go, buddy- the muffler louder than a Harley really makes you cool.  Maybe I should make meatballs.  What do I have at home?  Oh, I gotta call Nicole in the morning and ask her how to fill out that form.  Shit, did I fax in that incident report?  God, I gotta get some sleep.

I can feel my head spinning and I can't grasp any one thing.  And it's odd because as exhausted and completely fried as I am I'm also horrifically keyed up and racing with ideas that might be really good if I could hold onto any one long enough to actually take action.  Like this entry, for example.  It sounded a heck of a lot cooler in my head.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Beveled Edge is Back!

I know what you're thinking: It left?  I'm pretty sure there were only two people reading this thing before, and I'm pretty sure they were doing it out of obligation for a friend.  Not just because my crap wasn't all that impressive, but because I started writing less and less.  You could log on once a month and catch up on everything new within a minute.  So why re-vamp it?  For my own selfish reasons.  Maybe I feel like writing down the random stuff in my head instead of just thinking it.  Maybe I like the medium.  Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.  I don't know.  Whatever the reason, though, it's back.

So why did the last version fail?  Well, many reasons.  Number one: I modeled it after the blog of a friend of mine who, unlike me, is an extensively educated, exhaustively practiced and frighteningly skilled fiction writer.  I came to the conclusion very quickly that it would take me years of practice and far more innate talent than I have to be able to write like him, and yet I still tried.  It's never a good idea to try to copy someone else's art.

Number two:  I held myself to a posting frequency standard that just wasn't feasible for me.  Which is why this time around I'm not going to make any claims to posting frequency.  If it happens once a week, great.  Once a month?  OK.  A few in a row?  Awesome.  But if I'm fried at the end of the day (which I am more often than not) and can't come up with anything, fine.

Number three, and most relevant to the new set-up of the blog:  Fiction isn't my forte.  Would I like to get better at it?  Sure.  But can I realistically expect myself to come up with something new and actually worthwhile every time I write?  Not a chance in hell.  I like fiction, I do.  But I've noticed a pattern in myself.  I tend to get into an idea, a story, and live there for a while.  Get to know the characters: their traits, their quirks, their failings, etc.  Plot is a secondary interest.  This probably doesn't make for good storytelling, but I've given up my dreams of being published.  I've also given up my dreams of coming up with short, interesting, funny, or in other ways worthwhile stories on the spot.  Doesn't work for me, so I'm gonna stop trying.

So what am I gonna do?  What the subtitle says: "Random musings".  My thoughts, my impressions of various things, my opinion, just random stuff.  Maybe every now and again some fiction will find its way in there.  But I'm not gonna force it.  I'm gonna write whatever the hell I feel like writing which is, quite arguably, what I should've done in the first place.

Will it be interesting to read?  I haven't the foggiest.  And for the first time, I don't really care.  Although I have not done the research to back this up I'm pretty confident that there are a lot of blogs out there containing much stupider shit than this one will.  Will it be as good as many?  Not a chance!  Will it be as bad as some?  I don't think so.  It'll be whatever the hell it will be and I will, for the very first time since starting it, leave it the hell alone.

If you want read it, have at.  If you don't, keep clicking to the next blog.  If you like it, awesome.  If you don't, oh well.  Maybe it'll evolve into something worthwhile.  Maybe it'll deteriorate into something so stupid even I can't stomach it.  I'm not gonna predict either way.  I'm just going to write, and see where it goes.  It worked for NaNoWriMo.  When I forced myself to let go of the idea of what I thought my story should be it actually started coming out.  When I tried to fit it to some ideal in my head it stalled, every time.  So I let it go, and I'm sure that in the pages and pages of crap there is actually some worth while stuff.  Maybe in the many blogs that are to come they'll be something else worthwhile.  I hope so.