Tag Archives: Literature

Review of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”

My decision to re-read books of my past, and review them, continues with “The Great Gatsby”. “The Great Gatbsy” is one of those books that seems to be an assigned reading multiple times throughout one’s “formal” education. The first time I recall being assigned to read this was in 11th grade. And the second time was at a community college.

Perhaps my teachers were onto something, and it was a good thing that these books were assigned throughout multiple years, because I never read the book completely either time. I have only decided to go back and read this book, as well as other books from my past (and more future books) as a means to become a better writer myself.

The narrator of the book is a man named Nick Carraway. A man from the Midwest who fought in the First World War, whose experience in the war left him bored with the Midwest. He moved to New York from the Midwest at the prospect of an exciting “American Dream”.

His neighbor was a man named Gatsby. Gatsby owned a nice mansion. Gatsby threw a lot of parties at his house. A lot of rich people came to Gatsby’s house to drink, and party. Exciting stuff. Get used to it, because it happens a lot throughout the whole fucking book.

Across the bay where Gatsby and Nick lived, lived Nick’s “second cousin once removed”, Daisy, and her husband, Tom Buchanan, whom Nick had known in college. Tom is basically a quiet brute with a sensitive ego: particularly when it comes to Daisy. Yes, this is largely a love story, my friends. Exciting stuff.

Gatsby’s name gets thrown around a lot because of all of the parties he throws for big-wigs. Lots of rumors get spread: many of them about all of the exciting things the great man has done. (Hence “The Great Gatsby”. Clever, huh?) To make a long story short, Gatsby loves Daisy and wants her to leave Tom for him. And she doesn’t do it. Spoiler alert. Sorry.

So what else happens? Why should you read this book? Well, Tom is cheating on Daisy with a woman named Myrtle Wilson, who is married to George Wilson, a mechanic. The Wilsons aren’t rich like Tom Buchanan and Gatsby are. Fascinating. At one point, Tom, Nick, Daisy, Gatsby, and some female tennis player named Jordan (whom is introduced as a possible interest for Nick, but nothing materializes from it) go to town, in two cars. Gatsby and Daisy take one car, with Gatsby driving, and Tom, Nick, and Jordan take another car, with Tom driving. Tom is trying to keep up with Gatsby and Daisy because he is jealous of Gatsby. He knows Gatsby loves Daisy, and Tom is very possessive. Daisy is just some dimwitted rich girl who happens to be related to Nick and who is married to Tom and who Gatsby loves. To be such a pivotal character to the story, I found her ditsyness insufferable.

Myrtle runs out in front of Tom’s car. Tom and Myrtle had been having an affair. Tom ignores her and runs over her in pursuit of Gatsby. Gatsby’s popularity gets the best of him, as rumor spreads that he was the one who ran over Myrtle. George shoots Gatsby in his pool. Fascinating stuff.

That’s pretty much the story. So why is this story so significant? Well, I’ll give you the standard analysis of this book, then I’ll provide you with my own analysis of this book.

What, supposedly, makes this book worth a read is the fact that it takes place during the “roaring ’20s”. During the “Jazz Age”. I think there’s something much more significant to this book. But that, basically, is where the analysis of this book begins and ends. “Roaring ’20s”, “Jazz Age”, “American Dream”, etc. But when I read this book in community college (well, I should qualify, half read), and when I read this book again just recently, I came away with something different.

Yes, there is no doubt about the time period in which this book took place. But to say that this book is “about” the “roaring ’20s”, I believe, is disingenuous. I don’t think this book is “about” the “roaring ’20s”, but is, rather, a critique of the “roaring ’20s”. The analysis that my community college teacher gave of this book, and the direction that the conversation of this book took place, if memory serves me correctly, was just about “the Jazz Age”, as if the book served as some kind of praise of the exciting “American Dream” at the turn of the 20th century, or maybe even, almost, as just documentation of the historical time period itself. (I’ll get to Gatsby and Daisy in a second). But I did not see that at all in Fitzgerald’s work. Sure, that’s when the book takes place. And there’s a lot of history about how the “roaring ’20s” were. But I think people are taking history and trying to analyze Fitzgerald’s work, instead of analyzing the work itself.

To begin with, let’s look at the characters. I noticed something, the time that I read what little bit of this book I did in community college, and when I read the book again recently. Most of the characters weren’t very happy. When Nick goes to Gatsby’s parties, there’s a lot of drunken merriment, but there’s also relationship fights that go on. When Nick goes to these parties himself, he can see this conflict. Otherwise, when you observe the parties from the outside, they’re “a hoot”. Just a bunch of rich people drinking and partying. My, what a ball! I bet they’re having a blast! No, I think the main theme of this book is that the grass always appears to be greener on the other side, but that it almost never is. I’ll provide some more evidence towards this later.

These rich people, drinking, “living it up”, but who actually aren’t happy at all. Putting on airs. Envious of this “Gatsby” fellow, whom they’ve heard a lot about, but have never met. Nick feels this way about Gatsby until he meets him, and gets to know him better.

George Wilson: a mechanic in the “Valley of Ashes” (basically in poverty). Tom was either going to buy or sell a car to George (it doesn’t really matter to me either one, honestly), and George was really excited about it and needed it because he’s poor, but to Tom, it wasn’t that big of a deal, because he was rich. This again, to me, screams out “the grass always appears to be greener on the other side”. George, a poor man, would love to have Tom’s wealth, and the lifestyle that he assumes comes along with it. But Tom never seems to be happy in the book at all. He’s quiet, reserved, easily embarrassed and intimidated by Gatsby, who cheats on Daisy and then kills his mistress. Sometimes, that grass is brown and dead on the other side. Poverty isn’t the only big problem in the world. That was the sense that I got from this book. But that’s not what I got from the book when it was discussed in the classroom. The discussion was about the “roaring ’20s”, and maybe even some class warfare, or something. Something that I don’t think makes sense at all. I’ll provide more “the grass always appears to be greener on the other side, but frequently isn’t” evidence soon.

Gatsby is mysterious and always busy, and Nick tries to read him. Sometimes, Gatsby seems confident: other times, miserable. Yes, Gatsby loves Daisy. He was trying to win her over with his luxurious lifestyle. There’s no doubt about that. But when I read this book in community college, something else stuck out to me. And that was the color green.

The green light that Gatsby looked out at. Where Daisy lived. Sure, he was looking out at Daisy. But the color green rang a bell to me. The color green is associated with envy. And when I looked at all of these miserable characters: rich people who seemed to have it all, but were still in unhappy relationships, the contrast between the rich and the “Valley of Ashes”, and George Wilson’s situation compared to Tom Buchanan’s (but knowing that Tom Buchanan had his own problems as well), the infidelity of both rich and poor, the rumors about Gatsby: all I could think about is that, for instance, it is easy for non-wealthy people to look at wealth and see that it will solve all of their problems. This book definitely states the contrary. Likewise, just envy in general, whether of the demeanor of someone else, the perceived lifestyle that they have (like the exciting one that Gatsby appeared to lead), or envy of a romantic interest who loves another doesn’t always provide that greener light on the other side. I think the last passage provides evidence of my analysis as well:

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning-

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

So does the green light represent Daisy? Sure. But it’s much more than that. Because Fitzgerald says “the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” Us. Clearly, he doesn’t want this light to just mean Daisy. There’s more significance to this “green light”. Why green? Well, I read “envy” into it, personally. Maybe the green represents money? Maybe the green light is Daisy because Gatsby looked out at them both, and thought that he could win Daisy’s heart with his money? That certainly makes sense to me. I still lean towards envy, simply because of the unhappiness that pervades seemingly every character in this book, and how this unhappiness that blankets them all exists within this contrast between rich and poor.

Could Fitzgerald have been talking about the “American Dream”? Of course. Was it about, say, a recession? Was Fitzgerald pessimistic about the future of economic progress in America? “…the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”? Considering as how there was a depression in 1920, I think this certainly could be the case. I think his message is multi-layered. I think the “layers” between the American Dream and Gatsby’s love for Daisy are obvious. But the fact that almost everyone in this story are miserable (even when appearing to try to have a good time) is significant, too. The grass ain’t always greener on the other side. There’s worse fates than poverty. And money can’t solve everything.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” We strive to better ourselves, even as life makes it harder to do so. I think one can definitely draw connections between that line and the “American Dream”. Between that line, and the contrast between the rich in the poor in this story, which may cause some to ask “Is the ‘American Dream’ really just a dream?” I’m not going to analyze that question here, but here’s some things that may be of interest to you if you are interested in that question.

The first time I read this, I was thinking so much about this “envy” message that I was getting that I misread Dr. T. J. Eckleberg’s eyes as being green. I’m saddened to reread that they are actually blue. So, sure. The eyes represent “God watching all”, knowing about all of our secrets and infidelities, judging us. Also, more contrast between the rich and the poor, with a giant advertising billboard. I personally find this shit boring. I like my analysis of this story better.

So what did I think of the book? Well, it takes a long time to get into it. I like the way Fitzgerald writes more than the way that Stephen King writes. I wish I could think of this story without thinking of my past experience in community college with it. The book isn’t that bad. As I’ve just said, I like the way Fitzgerald writes. He was good at giving Gatsby this air of mystique (that’s one thing I liked about the book when I first started to read it). He has interesting ways of describing things. The tale itself was quite bland to me. The most exciting thing about the story was a woman getting ran over and her breast basically getting ripped off of her body. I’m sorry, but a tale has got to do more than that for me. I guess there’s a lot of mystery to this story, but I’m not a fan of mysteries. There’s also romance, but I’m not a fan of romances. So the tale didn’t do much for me, honestly. I think it’s overrated. And I don’t think Fitzgerald was trying to “capture” the “Jazz Age” as much as he was trying to critique it. The copyright of this book is 1925: right in the middle of the “roaring ’20s”. Based on how aloof the rich characters are in this book, I can’t agree that Fitzgerald was trying to “capture” the “Jazz Age” with admiration. I think “criticism” is a more appropriate word than “admiration”. Perhaps he was a grumpy old introvert who was agitated by the extroversion of his age. Hmm…why does that message ring a bell with me?

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The “Rejection Response” Poem

Reviews (my blog).

Wants (my blog).

A Memorandum on Dreams (my blog).

Source (his blog): The “Rejection Response” Poem

Map Making as a Metaphor for Literature

We begin on another journey. Another day; another desire to write. Another piece unplanned, for the plans are too great. Where will this take us? The same place we’ve always been? Are we circling the block again? Has the navigator lost his sense of direction? A real vacation takes a lot of time and effort. A long distance. How about we just drive around the block again? Do we notice anything different? Or are we comforted by the repetition? There’s a folder full of maps. But who needs a map? Who needs a plan? The plans are too great. Let’s drive around town. Have I traveled down this road before? Or have I spent my whole life with the street in my peripheral, but never going down it? Have I lost my mind? Who wants to ride with me?

There already exist maps of the whole world. I can read whichever one of them I want. But what if I wish to be a mapmaker? I can’t copy other maps directly. But they are more accurate and thorough than my own. Why can’t I desire to be something else besides a goddamned mapmaker? I don’t even have a sense of direction. How trustworthy am I, anyway? I can’t sell maps. I barely read any. What makes me think I can do what has already been done, but better, and as a tabula rasa? I know the basics: north. South. East. West. But what about elevation? What about the roads? The rivers? The landmarks already discovered?; already pictographed on maps? Why not choose a different craft?

Let’s not go anywhere today. Let’s stay at home. Let the fat waste us away. Sure, it’s stupid. But traveling is work. And scary. The isolation: what if I get lost? Go down a wrong path? But what is my destination? That’s the greatest problem of them all. Wishing to make maps without a destination in mind. Or is that a blessing? What about reading maps of countries not yet traveled? What map should I read first? What aspects of the map should I study first as someone who desires to make maps? I can’t read all of the maps. But I desire to create my own direction. But this is fucking hard.

Let’s just go to the backyard today. There’s South Carolina. Tennessee. Virginia. Texas. California. Wyoming. Spain. Turkey. Russia. Alaska. Why oh why do I want to make maps…

I’ll tell you what: let’s make bad maps. Let’s just make rough sketches. For fun. Why not? Sure, everyone else will be reading the detailed maps. But they should. If I’m going to make maps, why not start off small? Amateurish? If I want to make maps for a long time, I’ll get better somehow, right? When, and how? I haven’t finished creating the map yet, so I’m not sure yet. But at least I’ve written about making maps, even if I haven’t made one. That’s a start.

Write.

Some Personal Philosophies, 2/15/17, 4:33 AM

There has never been a better time in my life for me to write than right now. Everything is falling into place perfectly. I’m more mentally developed than I have ever been since I wanted to write (I know that may come as a surprise to many of you. I must’ve set the bar pretty low). I’ve wanted to write ever since I was a child. I had visions of aliens in my head. The physical act of typing itself makes me happy.

I’ve had my personal demons to fight. Many of them have retarded my writing throughout my teenage years. I’ve lacked confidence for a long time. I’ve always been afraid of appearing like a “smartass”. I’ve never had a good “support structure” to be a writer. In fact, I feel like many things have been stacked against me as a writer. A naturally anxious disposition. Religious upbringing. Living in a constant state of guilt for any self-perceived advantage I had over any other human being, including being able to calculate math, or write decently (sorry, King. I like my adverbs greatly).

But I have realized that the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome over the past several years was my education. After reading and listening to many very intelligent people for the past, at least five years now, (mainly political and economic thinkers), as well as developing my own personal philosophies, I finally feel like I have “some grasp”. Sometimes, it feels as if the majority of my youth was spent in boredom. I enjoyed play, but boredom bothered me more than anything else. There was seemingly never enough stimulation. At least, stimulation I was into. I’ve always been interested in philosophy. And no one is interested in philosophy.

My anger and resentment at my lack of mental stimulation bothered me all through my teenage years. I had thoughts, and things I wanted to say, but no real way to say them. I mean, who was to say that I wasn’t crazy? That I wasn’t wrong? I couldn’t bounce any ideas off of someone without them dismissing my ideas as “a waste of time for someone my age”, or any other dumb thing you could think of. So, I continued to wait, waiting for that appropriate mental stimulation that struck my fancy. Here’s some things I’ve written about reading.

Clearly, we all have personality traits that just seem to stick with us all of our lives. Yes, we all change drastically, from youth to geriatricy. But I think it’s safe to say that we are born with personalities beyond our controls. That we just have certain natural traits that we’re born with, and these stick with us forever.

Some traits that I have seemingly always had is the desire to think philosophically; the desire to write; and the desire to make others laugh (I’m not going to go into the negative ones in much detail in this piece, but second-guessing is also a pretty strong one, as I reread this entire piece over for a second time). Maybe not every child is born a philosopher (although I’m not sure about that), but almost every child is born a scientist. Luckily, I grasped language pretty easily early on in life (thanks, no doubt, to my parents’ genes and patient laboriousness) and reading was fun for me early on. At least I’m not illiterate. I have wanted to be a writer ever since I was a child. But only when I was twenty did I ever really start. And that was five years ago. Yes, if you feel you must stop reading due to “how young I am”, “how pretentious I’m coming across”, or anything else stupid you feel you must say, then do us both a favor and stop reading right now. Why should you care what I have to say? You tell me. And if you can’t, then don’t bother reading this. It’s not my job to tell you the value you should find in my words. That’s for you to decide for yourself.

Language is a struggle for me. I often find myself not wanting to sound smart for fear of isolating people who will think I’m a “smartass”. But then, when I do want to write, it’s dumb and repetitive. But I don’t even really like communicating. I mean, I like this. But why? I don’t like you. I don’t even know you. I have no idea who is going to be reading this. So, in a sense, why should I care what you, the reader, think? And, therefore, why should you, the reader, care what I think? And thus, my philosophical nature I previously discussed becomes evident.

I sit and think about these things until my head starts to hurt, and then I pretend to be an idiot for my own amusement and bewilderment of others. Until that becomes too stale, and then I come back to this dreg. Once again, I am thankful that I’m finally old enough, and at enough of a mental development to at least organize these thoughts into words better than I have been able to do in the past. I’m pretty happy, things are good in my life for the time being, so I’m in a good frame of mind to write. And because I know this window isn’t going to last forever, I know I need to write now, right now, because I will never have an opportunity like this again. This may be the first time I’ve ever really realized this fact. But I’m not going to take any chances on the possibility that I’ve always had this time, but never acted upon it, and am instead going to assume that the only time I will ever have to do this is right now simply to make sure I get it all done.

I’ve been seriously writing for five years now. I wrote some really bad fiction that I need to edit, I’ve written some articles that I’m proud of, and I’ve written countless jokes that I love. And nobody gives a damn about any of that. And I’m finally able to accept that. I have wanted to “prove to the world” what I could do for so long that I’ve been stuck in a “me against the world” mentality that’s only left me angry and frustrated. Entitlement? Sure. Honestly, I think it was lack of organizational skills. I know I can write. It doesn’t matter if I’m not King or Rowling; I can write, goddammit, and it doesn’t matter what you, or anyone else says, I can fucking write. I’ve always believed this (although, as I have gone about writing, I have noticed glaring shortcomings), but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to prove to others that I could actually do it. Stupidly enough, this mainly involved not actually doing the fucking writing. Why would I spend so much time proving to people that I could write instead of actually fucking writing? Well, because the writing at the time was bad. Is bad. I know it’s bad. But the problem is that deep down inside of me, I know I have potential. And that scares the fuck out of me. I can’t afford to fuck this up. I have spent years and years developing personal philosophies to a point to be comfortable enough to write something like this. Thinking about readers, and how to deal with criticism that is either valid or invalid. How to deal with historical authors who I think were great, but who were overlooked, or misunderstood and miscategorized, and how I would react when it happens to me. I want to know these things, or at least think about them. Because I love doing it. But it’s hard to put these things into words when you don’t have the language skills to do so because you don’t like reading and you don’t like talking to people and you don’t like listening to people. It’s really hard to write when you’re like that, as I am. I don’t consider it a “problem”. I have just needed to find a way to do it that feels right for me, and that involves copious solitude, and reading and listening to people a hell of a lot smarter than I. And, after five years of doing the latter, and only recently being able to do the former, I’m finally ready to try to write something like this.

If you’ve read anything of mine before, you may think it’s repetitive. It probably is. I’m probably just elaborating a little bit more than I did previously. But, once again, I really don’t care if it’s repetitive. I really don’t care if you hate it. When I’m happy, it’s done, even if I think it’s shit later.

Why am I writing this when no one is going to read it? I want to discuss how my brain thinks about big subjects on a wide scale, but I’ve already written about that. Am I just trying to get the world to notice me? Clearly, that’s a part of it. But I haven’t completely developed my writing style yet. This is what I’m working on. Ok, let me write some things. Are they repetitive? Did I elaborate? Or regurgitate? The only way to figure it out is to just fucking do it, even if I’m afraid I’m adding nothing new than what I’ve already written at this point, so that’s one thing I’m trying to do in this piece.

Honestly, I do want readers to care. But, I don’t care if they care. Honestly, what I’m trying to say is so obvious that I don’t even want to fucking say it. It’s annoying. I hate unironically repeating myself. But, of course, I need readers, because I need money. I’m not good enough to get money yet, but I need to write so I can get better so I can get readers. So I need to fucking write. And, here we go. Here’s some of what this fucking dreg is all about. Practice. Goddamn, practice. Where are my thoughts going with this? Where is my editor? Somebody get this motherfucker back on track. He’s a trainwreck.

I don’t even want to have anything to say right here. I just want to fucking write. I just fucking love it. I don’t give a fuck what I say. That’s why this piece fucking sucks. I don’t care that it sucks. God dammit, I just want to fucking write. Write, goddamn you. There is no better time in your fucking life to write than right now. Why in the fuck aren’t you writing, you dumb piece of shit. You have all the fucking time in the world to write right now, and you aren’t doing it. Because you know you suck. Because you know you aren’t very good. Because it’s hard. Weh, what a little baby. What writer didn’t have it hard, you whiny, entitled piece of shit? Holy shit, you’re talking to yourself in third person. The readers are really going to think you’re crazy now, huh Cody? Oh my God, you wrote Cody. Holy shit, you did it again. Now you’re writing a repetitive, annoying joke. Holy shit Cody. Where are you going with this? You better fucking make up your mind. You’re losing them fast- oh wait a minute, they aren’t there *cackles manically*
[losing my mind feels so goddamn good]
Now you’re interjecting your third person narration by breaking the fourth wall.

Once again, there isn’t really any point or direction with this. I know no one is going to read this. I can look at my reading stats and know this. But I don’t fucking care. I like it. It’s funny. It’s not King, or Rowling. But it’s literate. Maybe you’ll like it. Share it. “Oh man, have you heard of this crazy little kid writing?” “Man, this entitled shit thinks he actually has what it takes to be a writer. Wait until he’s 40 years old working at Walmart. He’s gonna wish he chose a different career.” “His writing has no coherency whatsoever. What in the fuck is he thinking? What in the fuck is he trying to say? Why in the fuck is he writing?! He could be doing something more productive. Learning a skill. This hobby isn’t ever going to make him any money.”

Once again, I know I’m not a Rowling or King (even if I can’t help but feel like, deep inside, I have something; some potential). But I’m a writer, God dammit. And that’s what I’m fucking doing right now, regardless of how fucking bad it is.

I don’t give a fuck anymore what you have to say about how bad it is. Any of you, hypothetical people, or “haters” from my past. I don’t care if you think I sound like Eric Harris. I just don’t give any fucking shit anymore. I have to write. And if I’m going to write, I might as well try to piss you off, so fuck you. I hope it does sound incoherent, and crazy. Makes you worry about my sanity. Because you’re a fucking moron, and I know this. So it doesn’t matter how little my words make sense to you, because you’re a fucking moron.

God is great, God is good, thank you for putting me in a shitty, small stupid town.

Confidence, Cody. You need confidence. You need practice. You need more thinking. Learning. You need it fucking all, Cody. You need more courage. You need to be more crazy, and insane, and loopy, and funny. You need it all, Cody. You need it all. You’ve been doing pretty good so far. Granted, no one knows who you are, and the people that do can’t stand your fucking guts. But you’re doing a pretty good job so far, Cody. Keep it up. You’ll show them all one day or die trying, and it honestly doesn’t matter to you which one happens first. And keep talking to yourself in third person: the readers love that.

…Damn, this was pretty fucking good, huh? And it felt so natural too. God DAMN humor comes easily for you! Good for you! No one fucking cares but you, you dumb little shit. You dumb little narcissistic, bipolar little shit.

Thanks for reading.

This is why I never fucking write and why I fucking love writing all at the same time.

How do I end this goddamn piece of shit, making sure I have said all I want to say.

God dammit.

I’m going out of my fucking mind.

…That sounds good.

Also, I’m socially anxious, and have no idea how I’m going to handle the fame that I’m going to have to have if I’m ever going to turn my passions into a viable career, so I don’t know how I’m going to handle that.

Just laugh at my problems please.

……….That sounds really bad.

End on a happy note.

Thank God it’s over.

(Wrote this in just a few minutes to brag. I mean, I guess it’s a selling point, so I’m going to use it. “You narcissistic, entitled prick!!!”)

Intellect Equals Cockiness?

Intelligence.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Literature and Me

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

When I was a child, I read only a small number of books. The occasional children’s tale and scholastic bestseller, such as R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps, those attempts (successful I suppose) at introducing the horror genre to kids, or Dav Pilkey’s hilarious The Adventures of Captain Underpants, those mixes of funny narrative with even funnier pictures. In the fifth and sixth grades, I managed to read the seven Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, though the hidden religious meanings didn’t cross my mind. I just wasn’t smart. But for the most part, books didn’t reach me too often. I was immersed in the video game world of Mario, Sonic, and the first person shooter. Because my eyes were glued to the screen, I didn’t have time to glue them to the page. One of my first deep regrets as a human being.

When I was in elementary school, J.K. Rowling’s first…

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Getting Sucked Into the World of Writing

It’s time for me to take writing more seriously. I hate writing, because of the headache it gives me. How to begin a piece, elaborate on it, make it coherent, make the language better, more efficient, easier to read, and end it on a witty, snazzy note. The mere sight of a word processor makes me want to close it out. But yet, I still write. In some ways, I feel like my nature opposes writing. And truly, it does. I think a large part of this is my desire to be carefree, and relax (I can probably thank my father’s genes for that desire (it ain’t a bad desire to have, I might add)).

I can’t do that if I’m going to write.

I think this is why I have been avoiding this dreaded day for so long. I have started to become tired of my writing for various reasons, and I don’t think I’ve known how to fix the problems that I have with it. Perhaps (cringe), it is that I need to study literature more. Read more. I can hear my best friend when I hear my own internal voice. I really do need to read more to know what the fuck I’m doing when I decide to write. As much as I want to vomit at the thought of becoming an “avid reader” (because patience is not one of my strong suits, nor is feeling like I’m not productive (I don’t feel productive when I read fiction, although, for example, I am being productive when I read if reading helps me become a better writer)), reading is a great way to become a better writer. If I read people who are better writers than me (as if), I will become a better writer (impossible: I’m already the best). I know that, as a writer, there comes a point when I become tired of my writing. Or, rather, that there comes a point in time when I need to do something about the fact that I’m tired of my writing, as I’ve been sick of my writing for quite some time.

The problem is that there were (and probably still are) things I needed to say before I could get to the current point that I am now. Even though this sounds crazy to me, I feel like all of my writing is related in some way. Indeed, it may be as simple as this fact that I have overlooked until now: that it all comes from me.

But I have not been ready to commit to writing. Although it makes me cringe to write this, perhaps it was because I had nothing to say. There’s clearly a combination of factors that have prevented me from “getting sucked into the world of writing.” I feel like I have written about these a million times before. Part of the problem is that I’ve been focused too much on marketing instead of writing; caring more about the views than the pieces themselves. Now, that isn’t entirely true, because I don’t write simply for the numbers. But the numbers discourage me from writing.

I’m a typical victim of words just not coming out right from my head. Communication is a huge problem for me. I don’t care to practice it very often, for I’m content with being by myself (or I “talk to myself” in the form of creating things for my own enjoyment). From a creative standpoint, I only talk “to” other people as a seller. “These are the jokes I have”, “The insights I believe I have”, etc. I don’t particularly care for “back-and-forth”, getting to know readers and other writers, etc. And I personally think that because I don’t enjoy communicating, I’m not as good at it as I desire to be. Writing is the best way for me to practice getting better at communication. Why would I desire to communicate if I hate it, you may ask? I may have written this before, but writing is a desire that overwhelms me at times. Even the introvert has things to say after he stews on things a bit longer than most. But I don’t write as often as I feel like I want to deep down. And I believe that it is a fear of commitment to “getting sucked into the world of writing” (that was a joke. You see, the quotation marks exist because that’s the title of this piece- ok you got it).

Writing fiction makes me want to vomit. The initial process is the fun part: the “first draft” (I’m not quite sure how to label my writing, so I’ll go along with common vernacular that I’ve heard (or read) authors use). I’m very eager to share my works, even if my works aren’t very good (lol). Probably because I’m eager to get that “million dollar deal” that isn’t on the table. Probably a good deal to do with it. But I need that motivation to keep me going.

I suppose that I’m merely developing as a writer (something that I truly didn’t think was possible, oh, 4 ½ years ago now). My best friend, a fellow writer, always talked (and still does) about improving as a writer. When I heard that, I thought “How can I improve? I know I’m not the best, but I’m good enough.” (Good enough for what? My own standards, I suppose). But after 4 ½ years, the state of my writing (particularly fiction), as I said, makes me want to vomit. It’s a tangled web to unweave; a commitment that I haven’t been sure that I want to make or not. It’s not that I don’t love to write. I really, really do. But there’s aspects of writing that I don’t like. I like the initial idea that I come up with for a particular piece. And then, I write that idea down. And that’s typically where it ends. Very little editing (if any, because I haven’t wanted to “get sucked in the world of writing”). No revisions. Just “Hey, I like this thought. Write it down.” And done.

I’m not satisfied with that anymore. Currently, I think the biggest reason for this dissatisfaction is my boredom. I’ve got things to do, but I’m becoming bored of doing them. And I always start writing again when I’m at my most bored. When I enjoy doing something, I don’t want to do it so much that I lose my love for it. That is what I have always feared about writing: that if I do it more often, I’m not going to enjoy it as much when I do it. Is there too much of a good thing, in this case? I haven’t dared test it, just in case. For what would I replace this with? What could I do that would replace writing? It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing other things; but writing is very important to me. It has its own purpose. I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand why I write. And that bugs me. I enjoy being introspective. But am I really willing to spend the time and effort to figure out why I enjoy writing? ‘Tis a very daunting task. Perhaps it is just better to enjoy it and not question it. It remains to be seen for me. (Why Do I Write How I Write?)

I love non-fiction, and the possibilities for fiction are marvelous. But it’s the fiction that bugs me, because fiction is a lot harder to write for me. Perhaps it is because literally anything can happen. And the thought of selecting things, and organizing things into a good story irks me. I have countless notes in a word document that say “Write a story about __________ where ___________”. And then, I’ll open up the blank word document to start it, and that’s when it hits me. “Holy shit. This is a big commitment. This is a sanity commitment. A creative, insanity commitment. A commitment to language; developing it, organizing it, thinking about it (and thinking about it…and thinking about it……and thinking about it………………..). It’s terrifying to me, because I know that I will, much like my best friend (much love), become insane. I can see the insanity in my best friend. I worry for the poor boy. A man lost in countless fantastical worlds, that cause his hair to prematurely turn gray because of the stress from not getting everything read and written. I’ve desperately tried to avoid that fate for myself, but I’m afraid that the fates are drawing me ever closer to that dark hole of “literature”, and I beg for God to have mercy on my soul. But, then again, perhaps I’ll feel most alive right before my literary-induced spiritual death.

I truly do have to thank my best friend. His love for language, I know, will help me with my own writing problems. Clearly, he’s already influenced me, much like countless authors have influenced him. I’m beginning to understand his words more now: literature truly is a lifetime commitment. And I’m always terrified of committing to something for fear of missing out on something else. I think a big part of that is how I was raised. My mother always told me that I could do whatever I set my mind to, and my father encouraged me to “use my brain and not my brawn.” So my mind wandered, and I envisioned all the possible careers I could take. Most of them didn’t interest me (regardless of how unrealistic the prospects actually were). But I’ve tried to keep my mind open to the possibilities, which has, up to this point, resulted in me not committing to any one particular thing.

And the world of writing does terrify me. The patience required to read, the things that you are sacrificing while you read due to time constraints. It terrifies me to think of committing myself to writing more because of whatever else I may be missing out on. Now that I think of it, what is it that I’m really missing out on? Sleep? Laziness? Truly, those may be the biggest things; coming up with anything else is probably just an excuse. But writing terrifies me. You’ve got people critiquing your works, asking for clarification (and you better be able to provide it), and, in my opinion, the two worst things that can happen: a reader getting bored of your writing, or a reader never knowing of your works at all.

Maybe another reason that I haven’t “gotten sucked into the world of writing” up to this point in my life is that my brain just doesn’t think good. I’ve written a little bit about reading here (this has a lot to do with it). But maybe I don’t have a brain well-equipped for reading. It’s not that I’ve always hated reading. But I think for me, the problem now is that I know that my future hangs in the balance at this very moment, and I need to do everything within my power to be successful; and reading feels like an unproductive waste of time, if only because I’m not creating anything when I read (even if reading would help out future creations). And, once again, I’m lazy, so there’s that.

My brain craves excitement. I’m constantly looking for new things. And I get tired of reading the same thing for an extended period of time (including a piece that I’m working on while I edit, like this one, currently). I guess I’m naturally a different type of reader than “avid” readers or “real” readers. It seems as if many “readers” stick with one thing at a time until they finish it or until they can’t take it anymore due to it being “bad”. My threshold is much lower. Once again, it is because I am afraid of getting lost in fantastical worlds. I’m afraid of the commitment. Because I know that my life will forever change, and change scares me (lol). I am afraid of transforming into a “reader”. The life of a reader is a different world. I am afraid of the improvement I’m sure it would offer me. Why? Well, I’m sure that (depending on what I read), reading will make me smarter, and will make me “sound smarter”. And, ironically, I have found that the smarter you sound, the harder it is for people to understand you. Now, clearly, I realize this is unfair on my part (or, at least, I hope so). My life experience is very limited, and I’m basing this mainly on my childhood, where I was schooled with kids of all sorts of demeanor, intelligence, etc. My confidence was affected by my peers in school (and, at times, my family). Once again, I’ve always dumbed myself down, and, therefore, have not had much practice in “sounding smart”. Acting like an idiot has made people more friendly towards me, and that explains why I love stupid humor, and acting like an idiot so much. I’ve been working my whole life to come out of my expressionless shell. I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, but I can’t accurately describe a measurement which would tell you how much further I have to go. Language truly is a full-time commitment. Scary.

Perhaps this is “bad” of me, but I don’t really care what you, the reader, think of my writing. Obviously, I care from a monetary standpoint. And, of course, I respect it when someone compliments my work. I’ll even read the criticisms, and determine whether or not I think they are valid (I think it’s about 50/50). It has been my experience that many people do not know what they are talking about: people that I have taken advice from in the past. I know this is “normal”. I know that “everyone goes through this”. But I don’t understand why you (I’m being presumptuous now, but with good reason (past experience)) feel compelled to tell me this fact simply because I’m stating that I’m one of the many people that are experiencing this. Why trivialize the experience of one by saying that many or all go through it? I think it’s a symptom of trying to be helpful, but not being very smart at being able to actually do it (I think that’s kind of a common, tragic theme that I’m learning (but slowly accepting) about humanity). Let’s just put it this way: it has been my past experience (many, many times) that when I spoke, the listener did not understand what I was saying. Perhaps they hadn’t considered it, and couldn’t relate. Of course, I could have elaborated on what I was saying. But when I did, I was just called a “smarty pants”, and then, they basically stopped listening. So honestly, that explains a lot of this. I stopped speaking because people weren’t willing to listen.

That’s pretty fucking depressing…

Welcome to my dark world. Lol

All I wanted was for someone to understand what I was saying without having to elaborate on it. In other words, someone to relate to. Sadly, those people were few and far between. I felt like they were more of a student than someone who could empathize with me. And that bugged me for many, many years. A large reason why I lost my voice.

From my childhood to my late teens, I felt crazy and self-conscious. I repressed my expressive desire, including what it was that I wanted to express. People either weren’t interested or didn’t understand what it was that I was trying to express (once again, it could’ve been my fault, but I was looking for a friend, not a student, as I said). Also, a lot of it was other kids just not liking my personality (still true to this day. Kids still hate me). I grew a desire to express myself comedically because when I was the clown, other kids laughed at me. They gave me attention. I acted like an idiot to amuse other people for social acceptance.

…That’s kind of fucked up and counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

However, the comedy grew not only as a way to try to fit in, but I truly believe it would’ve came out regardless of whether I was accepted or rejected by my youthful peers. Sarcasm; exhibitionist idiocy; humorous, creative associations between multiple things: I think all of these “funny” things (and other “funny” things) would’ve came out of me regardless.

Also, strangely enough, there is a sympathetic guilt on my part. My heart has always went out to those that I have felt were less fortunate than me. Currently, I think of those with language skills less developed than my own. Now, I’m not saying I’m a literary genius. But despite how meager my word skills may be, I pity those who are even less effective than I am at communicating. Like I said, I’ve always felt sympathetic for those that I feel are less fortunate than I, and I feel very fortunate to be able to communicate like I can. There’s tons of room for improvement, but I think I have a little “knack” for writing, and I pity those that don’t share that same knack. This pity has often made me feel guilty, which has contributed to my “not writing very good” situation. Dumbing myself down not only to be more sociable, but to be more “humble”. Independent gifts from God have always bugged me: probably due towards religious conditioning to “always be thankful”, directly contrasted (although immediately followed) by a message of fiery fear.

People don’t like it when you talk good. My desire to be readable contrasts with my intrinsic desire to be exact, thorough, and pertinent (I suppose that I am implying that you, the reader, are dumber than I. At least I offer a formal apology right now). I suppose time and practice will determine the balance between “readable” and “exactness” at any given time (perhaps an acceptance of a “readable = exactness” equation), but I’m really hoping I develop the confidence to be smarter in my writing. Once again, language truly is a full-time commitment. Still scary.

You, the readers, are a hindrance to me. I know that’s a bit harsh. But you, as people, by definition, contrast with my introverted nature (lol). My desire to be left alone, even though I want to write, and even though I want readers. This is probably a struggle that all creative introverts face. I know that when I write, you are free to comment, and tell me what you think. It’s not that I don’t respect criticism; it’s that I wish to be left alone. It’s not that I, as an introvert, do not desire communication. It’s that I just desire less communication than “normal”. Even the introvert has a voice. I’d like to think that I think a little bit before I speak, but I can recollect too many instances where this isn’t the case to shatter my own view of my humility.

The fact that I can’t figure out why I want to write hinders me from writing. Because I want to write about why I want to write. My brain can’t let things go, and I have to build upon previous thoughts to move on to something else. I truly believe that things that I write are connected, but I need the beginning blocks to get there. And that’s just another step towards getting sucked into the world of writing…

(Thank God I found my best friend when I did. He may have single-handedly saved my writing. If not for his persistence in the face of his own self-perceived limitations, I may not be writing this today, and may not have written some of the things in the future that I will write in the future).

All of these things keep me from writing. And, truly, I’m probably not ready to “jump right in” at the moment. As I said, I think I have a way of starting from the beginning from a personal analysis perspective, write about that, and then move on to the next phase of my own personal development. Because when I think of it, I truly don’t think that anything I’ve written up to this point is a waste of time. They all have a purpose, even if they are kind of shit. But boredom and restlessness create works, and make them better. A part of me wishes I was motivated to create without the boredom and restlessness driving me, but in another sense, I am content with my own personal reasons for writing when I write.

I will have to consult with my best friend about how to move forward, because he is the one that spends all his time doing this (within my small circle of people). I’m sure that reading will be a part of it; developing patience and the willpower to get lost in a book. Once again, I always fear what I’m missing out on, regardless of what I’m actually engaged in. I’m growing tired of this, however, and I need something that I can commit to. Sadly, I have a feeling this is going to include reading, writing, acting, filming, and comedy, and just thinking about how much work will be involved makes me want to, once again, close the word processor and go back to watching Youtube videos. But there’s also the side of me growing restless.

My best friend and I have talked about this before several times: eventually, you just become bored with what you’re doing. Everyone does. All creative people go through phases. They do something, then they change it up. This is my first small, slow step towards changing it up.

I can’t keep writing the same things over and over and over (or, at least, I want to work on not doing that).

Also, something that I consider that may (or may not) surprise you: what if I’m actually an idiot? I don’t think so, but past experience makes me doubt myself. And what of the writers that I think are intelligent, but are widely ignored or dismissed? How will I handle the thought of me writing things that are intelligent, but also widely ignored and dismissed? I suppose the simple answer is “practice makes perfect”, and I don’t know how I’ll react if I become as reviled and ignored as someone such as, say, Murray Rothbard (for you simpletons, I’m not comparing my writing to Rothbard, but am merely asking the question: what if I become as obscure and disrespected as he is? How would I handle that? That feels like the worst-case scenario for me as a writer, which is why I brought the example up).

Word choice, editing, and confidence will (obviously) be a big part of “getting sucked into the world of writing”. But the next big step is to figure out how to do it without becoming overwhelmed (and, thus, disinterested) in it all……

I think the key, for me, will be small steps.

I want more confidence in myself, and to be less concerned with what others have to say about my works. Contentment and bringing my creative visions to life (and a lot of money) are what I desire. I know that I will become more confident the more I practice. Now, it’s just finding the desire to treat this as a full-time endeavor (God forbid?). Once again, I have uncertainty regarding writing. How much do I want to do it? And when? Maybe that means I’m not a “real” writer. Maybe I’m just a poser. But I’m a poser with things to say, so I’d consider myself a writer, even if only part-time.

All I know is that I want to do it. I couldn’t say how, nor what, nor how much, exactly. Time will determine all of those answers.

Thank you for reading the thoughts of a bumbling idiot. I may or may not resume bumbling idiocy after intermittent messages similar or dissimilar to the ones you’ve just read here.

(There’s the witty, snazzy note I was praying that I’d end on, thank God. Oh yeah, and this one is as well. And this one).

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

The Conflict between Freedom and Restraint in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

My best friend is a literary genius…

Christianity.

Moral.

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

In the last few decades of nineteenth century Victorian England, the moral disposition that Queen Victoria had ushered in with her rule began to be challenged. Individuals questioned the authenticity of morality in both public and private life. It is not a mistake that two literary works close in time, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) both present characters who fail miserably to control the evil inherit in their own hearts.

Stevenson’s work presents a man named Dr. Jekyll who concocts a potion that transforms him into a hideous being: Mr. Hyde. Up to this point, the local officials, including the narrator, Mr. Utterson, have searched for Edward Hyde, wanting to prosecute him for crimes he’s committed in London (the beating of a little girl and murder of an old man). One night, they…

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