I used to write all kinds of things, and lived through all sorts of weird tales, but anymore, I can't think of any of them. I've been quiet these last few months. I recently drove across America (again) to switch jobs. In the mean time, I finally finished my first novel. It was one of my more persistent pet projects, which tortured my thoughts for what, 8 years now? While the end product is most-likely unpublishable, it is also beyond my power to improve it any further. Still, the experience taught me much about the craft of writing, and more importantly, the act of writing the book freed from the desire to write it.
The killing of this desire opened my eyes to a possible world that I can hardly conceive -- one that is free of desire.
Much of my early life was devoted to escapism. That last sentence was admittedly melodramatic, because by life was not bad by any means, yet it captures the zeitgeist. My youth was unfulfilling; boring. While I agree that "only boring people are bored," with limited access to funds and basic transportation, options were limited. A montage of my early life is presented in the video on the right:
Much of my youth was spent indulging in phantasy, dreaming of what I could be had I lived in more interesting places and times. I couldn't get enough; I wanted more. I needed more. It was a hunger, a lust, a thirst. An urge. I cast a very broad net, absorbing every fandom I came across, and adding their cultural distinctiveness to my own. Much of this time was spent in the Marvel Universe -- several of them actually -- I was always a huge fan of "What If?" There's a magical time in the life of a boy, around the age of 12 or 13, when they inevitably switch from DC to Marvel. I loved how there was a lore to those stories, with layers upon layers of nested sub-stories governing the main stories; of a world that kept getting progressively weirder the more you learned about it, where finding answers just leads to more questions. I read everything I could get my hands on, which is why according to Darren, my comic collection "makes no sense, whatsoever." Captain America and Iron Man proved to be my favorites. I would have become like either of them, if I could -- but not both at once. That could never work, though it took me years to figure out why. Once I understood the underlying struggle between the two characters (altruism vs. objectivism) that I was able to understand them, and in the process, find myself.
After high school, I leaped head first into a non-linear 11-year trek through the halls of academe. Most of that time was spent trying to survive. As an adult, I didn't become anything like my two boyhood heroes. Instead, I became some weird amalgam of Iron Fist and the Mad Thinker -- but I liked who I was then. I was living to my full potential. A dramatization of one of my typical collegiate days has been recreated in the video on the left.
Then, literally within hours of leaving academia, I instantly became BoJack Horseman.
Now, I feel like I'm changing again, but in to what, I'm not entirely sure. See, my whole adult life has been spent trying to make big break into nuclear engineering, and now that I've arrived, I don't know what to do. I only know the struggle, the journey, and without it, there's something missing.
It scares me. I can just be complacent now, without any consequence. I can rest on my laurels, and be comfortable. I can stop growing. In short, when the old me from college hops out of the DeLorean to see the me of 2015 (not if, when) our conversations would go a little something like this:
I had planned on spending my life doing all of those "someday" tasks I've been putting aside; the younger me had enough pet-projects to last for ten lifetimes. However, given the current rate of progression in the low-distraction confines of the Deep South, I can actually complete all of my life's ambitions within 3-6 years. While this is wicked-awesome, I will soon reach a point where I can't hide behind the facade of my own make-work. I need to become something, but what? I have to change to grow, but I don't know what path to walk.
After how-many-years of lasers-and-katanas, I need to find someway to keep the ol' hedonic treadmill a-churnin'. Anything else just seems like selling out. Worse yet, I don't think anyone can answer this question but me. There are lots of people who think they can, but they're invariably just more religious cult salesmen, or those "mindful" people. Living in California taught me that mindful people are to be avoided, because they completely lack the ability to enact change. No seriously, look at any of their websites, and you'll see that they're all the same. All that mindful people can do is 1) make pesudo-spiritual rationalizations for their own failures, and 2) stand on the beach with a long, fluttering piece of cloth.
It was the audacity of these cult salesmen that, in part, made me hate the gods in the first place. When an earlier me was looking for answers, all of the Christians and other cultists all gave the same reply: "The meaning of life is for you to to work for us for free," which is eerily-convenient for them. So much so, that it became suspicious.
Spare me your pity; I just need to make something of merit. I know that I can, because I have. I just need to do it again. If you have any neat stories about me, please jog my memory. I need to keep the legend alive, in my own mind. I can write them up, entertain you for a while, and in the process, find my bearings and journey on to what we both want me to be.
TL;DR: I'm taking requests.