Tag Archives: Story

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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Saturation vs. Stimulation (In Movies, Particularly)

When I ignore what I’m told, and “nerd out”, I’m much happier, and my work is better. I hope I can retain this confidence to “choose my words carefully”, and be “overly descriptive”, because it actually makes me happy. With that being said, here’s the topic that I wish to discuss using said hope.

I can’t stand action movies because of their improbability, especially considering the sheer number of action movies out there.

I get that art is a “heightened” sense of reality, but come on now…

The “explosions” are so saturated in film that I am uninterested in them. “Oh, would you look at that. Yet another explosion. How original.” I suppose I’m an idiot, because I’m superficially talking about explosions in movies instead of stories in movies. But I’m not much of a “movie” person (I guess because of all of the EXPLOSIONS).

It’s the same thing with shootings in movies. Most of the bullets miss. I already know this “going in”. I can’t suspend my disbelief enough to care about the “inherent danger” of those in the bullets’ path.

I feel the same way (most of the time) with “good guys” and “bad guys”. I expect the good guys to win. I can’t believe that the bad guy is any real danger because I’m certain he’s going to lose. I prefer the “bad guy” to win at the end because it is an unexpected suckerpunch. It’s kind of like watching a sporting event where the “underdog” loses. Most people want to see the underdog “win”. But in movies, the “underdog” is the villain. I can’t believe that a hero in a movie is an “underdog” (even if the script tries to describe him as such) because I’m sure that he’s going to win. The villain is the underdog in movies, in my mind. I usually want the villain to win. I want the unexpected, and I want to be excited and a little depressed at the end. I don’t want the telegraphed “happy ending”. There’s exceptions to this rule (usually when the movie is about a historical war), but this is generally the case for me. Movies (particularly “action” movies) are mundane to me. I need some twists that I can’t see coming. I want very little predictability (unless it makes me laugh). I think I should do some in-depth movie reviews to try to illustrate what I like and dislike about specific films I have seen to make this easier.

I’ve always been one to care more about why and how movies were made than “enjoying” movies in the typical way most people do. There, of course, have been many exceptions to this. But generally, I have always been more interested in why there was so much money involved in movies, and why and how the movies were made, as I have already said.

Almost every time I watch a movie, I try to predict what will happen. Sitting there, “waiting” for it to unfold when I already know what is going to happen is so excruciatingly boring. Why would I watch it if I know what is going to happen? It’s like a scientific experiment that has been done forever: sure, when you first have a theory, you need to test it experimentally. But expecting me to “shut up” and “just watch it” is expecting way too fucking much from me. The formula is played out, even if the details vary. I need to experience something else. I recall being younger, watching a movie in school (I forget which one), and I said “Such and such is going to happen.” I was bored to tears, and I kept doing this. Someone finally said “I know, but shut up.” This person was intently watching. Why watch if you know exactly what is going to happen? I never understood it: especially something “serious”. Romance is disgusting (of course). Action movies are boring. Comedies are good, historical movies are good. Drama is a mixed bag. Most of the time, it falls flat on its face to me. A movie like “Jack” starring Robin Williams is an example of a drama done really fucking well. I cried when I first saw it as a teenager. It wasn’t cliché (it seemed very original to me, but I’m no expert). It was incredibly moving. So many dramas seem to be of the romantic variety, so perhaps that’s why I have such a problem with them. It is also just so fucking easy to become melodramatic. It is hard to create a compelling drama. And it is hard to get me to suspend my disbelief (especially with drama).

But I do enjoy the “horror” genre of movies. The more extreme, the better. Why do I get tired of explosions, but not blood? I don’t know the exact statistics, but is murder less “probabilistic” than explosions “in the real world”? Why do I care more for blood than explosions?

I should specify that I’m still not an avid “movie watcher”. I don’t gorge myself with horror films. I’m not really a “movie guy”. But when I do watch a movie, I want it to either be a comedy or a horror film. (Or a Batman film. I’ll have to leave him for another piece).

So why do I love blood in movies so much more than explosions?

I guess it’s because I enjoy purposeful, evil darkness more so than accidental explosions (even if the explosions are purposeful. I want to see some fake blood where the tone is more “dark” than “exciting”. To me, “dark” is “exciting”. “Exciting” is “boring”. It has become cliché).

Couldn’t it be said that murder is also cliché and boring? How many stabs and slashes can you watch? Once again, I repeat, I’m not a big “movie guy”, but murder films are more refreshing to me (believe it or not) than “The good guys always win and the horror doesn’t even look that bad” films. A guy robbed a bank. Who cares? Why should I be invested? Does he have a hostage? How bad does he treat the hostage? A “bad guy” is selling drugs. Who cares? I want his reason for being bad to be almost incomprehensible. Why does he kill? He just does. Or something traumatizing happened to him. I don’t want it to make any sense. Money makes too much sense to me. If a villain is going to be a villain because of money, he needs to be a really fucking brutal villain for me to care. (Color is also a big deal to me. I want everything to look dark and dirty: not bright and flashy).

If people are racing in a movie, and there’s an explosion (or a chase scene leading to the same thing), the “accident” doesn’t feel real to me because I know it was scripted. There’s just a certain tone that movies have to have for me to like them. A guy walking away from an explosion in slow-motion while rock music plays makes me want to blow my brains out. It is possible that I found the character compelling before that moment, in which case, his previous circumstances may make his “badassery” interesting. But I hate explosions for their own sake. I just, more often than not, can’t find explosions compelling. It depends on the characters and the tone of the film, but most of the time, it feels like explosions are the reasons why movies are created. “People are gonna pay to watch shit blow up. Nothing else matters, but let’s have some really fucking fast cars in there as well. We need to have something to happen in between the explosions, and people expect to see a movie that’s at least an hour and a half, so let’s make it happen!” I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I get the sense that so many movies revolve around explosions, and I find that quite lazy. Once again, I’m probably wrong, because I don’t watch a lot of movies, but that’s just my impression of them. There probably needs to be some parody involved if I’m going to care about explosions. Or, ironically enough, some drama surrounding them. Not action. I’m fucking tired of “action”.

When I first saw the movie “Atomic Twister” as a young teen, I was hooked. The idea of a tornado hitting a nuclear power plant was fucking terrifying to me. That was, really, all I needed: the fact that it could be real, and be really devastating. And it was original: sure, there’s the movie “Twister”. But this was “Atomic Twister” (lol). Yes, I was younger, and I know this affected my perception of the movie. But it wasn’t “Cars drive real fast – anti-hero – drugs are involved – bang-bang shoot ’em up” movie. Most of those make me want to fucking vomit.

However, when you have a very sadistic killer, I feel like the writer of the script is trying to understand these killers on the deepest level possible (besides going out and killing someone in real life), and that attempt to connect humanely with something so inhumane is appealing to me. “Why does he kill?” “No one knows.” That is a compelling story to me.

When you can move past the fear (at least the nearly-religious fear of being so afraid of it that you ignore it and try to get away from it as much as possible, including not attempting to empathize with it in any way to humanize it), it becomes a deep, heartfelt, gut-wrenching journey between trying to relate to those so despicable. It is, in my opinion, one of the most humane things one can do. If you can try to understand a serial killer, even if you are trying to empathize with someone who has no empathy (which may or may not be possible: topic for another time), to me, that’s as empathetic as you can get. It may or may not be possible, and I certainly wouldn’t say that you should go out and kill people to know what it feels like, but all the same, I think that, at least for me, and through art, connecting to that type of human is exciting. Conflict is extremely important when it comes to art and storytelling, and there is no greater conflict (in my opinion) than extreme life and death; peace and suffering; humanity and complete evil in human form (which, it could be argued, isn’t even human AT ALL. A very interesting discussion).

All I can think of, when real tragedies happen, is sadness. And I try to move on from them quickly, and I don’t try to waste my time trying to understand it, because I don’t think that I could.

But through art, I believe that one can empathize, ponder, and try to relate to these (as they are called) “monsters” in that way that is less angry at their actions (which is understandable), and turn that into tragedy, in trying to understand why they did it, and, perhaps, forgive them for it. It’s a great philosophical topic to think about: empathizing with the unempathetic. It’s too complicated for me to analyze it here, but there’s a deep part of me that wishes to understand human-created horror (I don’t think I’m any different from anyone else in that regard), and I think that the type of art that I create is my way of doing that. I don’t know for a fact if this is correct, but it certainly feels that way…

Also, I think another reason (a potentially BIG reason) that I am “obsessed” with “offensive“, “violent” art has to do with the fear of being one myself, which, no doubt, was greatly influenced by religious preachings of wariness, lest we sin every possible sin, and become a murdering, incestuous, raping, homosexual thief…

I, also, feel the same way about choreographed fighting as I do explosions. I get that to people that enjoy these types of movies, they are some of the more “exciting” parts of these movies. But choreographed fighting (usually) bores me. No one takes a good, solid hit for the first five minutes of fighting (both sides block every blow, or the strikes just completely whiff), and then either the good guy or bad guy gets hurt. They stop, look at their wound. If it’s the bad guy, he gets more angry than he was before, and the good guy can barely defend himself from it. If it is the good guy, the movie makes you think he’s going to lose. But, by some miracle (either from a compromised structure due to earlier in the film, or another character, or whatever), the good guy wins. I know it sounds like I’m always against good guys winning. (Most of the time, I am). But I want the good guy to be compelling to me. Most of the time, this just isn’t the case. I’m rarely invested in the story, because I’m not a “movie” guy. “Dur, then why are you writing about movies, huh?”

I also want to bring up one more aspect of acting in general: dialogue. Maybe I’m being overly-critical here, but the way dialogue is delivered today drives me mad. Cop shows on television are fucking terrible for it. Detective walks in, almost power-walking, throws a folder down on the counter of the “main guy in charge” talking in this low “serious” voice. A question is asked. The dialogue is delivered in the same monotone voice. Guy asks another question. Detective asks a question back in a higher tone. Lead guy answers with a “Well blah blah blah blah.” I can’t fucking take it. I can’t fucking sit through that shit. (The only exception to this was “House”. It was a “detective” show, but it wasn’t a “cop” show. House was a very interesting character. The formula worked for that show. It was like they combined a detective show with a hospital show. It was quite original, and very well done). I have problems with dialogue in action movies, too. They just don’t sell me. I’m not buying into them. Once again, admittedly, I’m not a “movie” guy. But it’s not like a movie or a show can’t capture me. Most of them just don’t, though. The formula is played out. The tones of dialogue are so predictable (as is almost everything else about the movies) that I can’t bring myself to watch them. But, they sell well.

I enjoy movies that are a little weird. A movie like “Teeth”, for instance. A vagina with teeth. Fucking beautiful. Hilarious. Now that is original. It’s got comedy and horror: two of my favorite things.

“Rubber”. A fucking tire that blows shit up. It’s so dumb, and that’s why I love it so much. It’s so “absurd”: “out there”. I find that refreshing. I don’t need to find it believable, or emotional. Give me dumb, but give me original. I think that’s what I enjoy the most about movies.

“Human Centipede”. Need I say more? A fucking hilarious horror movie. My only problem with the movie was the main villain, believe it or not. I enjoyed what he did, but I didn’t enjoy his personality. He came across as a little cheesy to me. I guess I wanted him to come across a little more like Jason, or Jigsaw.

One of my favorite movies of all time (and I’m not joking): “The Descent”. I know that is going to sound weird to pretty much everyone. “I can tell you really haven’t seen a lot of movies, Cody.” The whole setting in that movie was wonderful to me. There’s a real terror involved: what if you do get fucking lost in this cave? What if you can’t get out? I found it very compelling. The bullshit at the end was funny and cheesy, but I was emotionally invested before that.

I want my movies to be a little bit weird. A little bit “off-kilter”. Once again, I’d like to write some movie and show reviews. Some reviews of movies I watched a long time ago. Same with television shows. I’d like to even do the same thing with some books, eventually.

I’m not going to claim that any of my reviews are “objective” in any way, and, of course, you have the right to disagree with everything I say about any review. I’m not claiming that “I’m right and you’re wrong”: I’m just writing my opinions.

If the process of growing up has taught me anything, it is that individuals must live their own lives, with their own feelings, and experience the world in their own ways, make their own mistakes, and pursue their own passions.

Movie Freespace.

Insightful.

Writing.

Articles.

Reviews (etc.) of movies and T.V. shows.

Fake.

Fiction.

“But Yet, He Writes”

He’s no King
Or Rowling
But he writes

He isn’t heralded by the New York Times
Read by millions
Or making them

His writing isn’t very good,
They say
When they find him

But yet, he writes

He doesn’t follow proper form
Spits out when others carefully craft
Is juvenile, while others, refined

But yet, he writes

He has no money
No book deal
No idea how he’s going to get his work done

The only thing he has is a desire to write

And so, he does

He writes his insecurities
His perceived shortcomings
All out of compulsion

What does he gain?

A sense of catharsis

And a voluntary sacrifice of privacy

What of the insane man who writes?
What shall we make of him
And his elementary words?

When will he ever get a grip of the language,
And of his life?

Will the grips that bind him
Let go,
Leaving him to complete freedom?

When will his words fulfill their ultimate purpose?

When will it all make sense?

Why Express?

Why do we desire to express ourselves with other human beings? What is this desire to “express”? What are we looking for? Why is it so natural, and so human? Why are we social creatures? Why don’t we exist without the ability, nor even, without the desire to express? Why aren’t we isolated atoms, unconscious, incapable of introspection, and without a sense of belonging? Why does the painter paint? The writer write? The musician music? Why is this how we are?

Interestingly enough, not only do we desire to express, but we desire to consume. I think it is fair to say that, for most, the desire to consume is greater than the desire to create: or, rather, that there are more consumers than there are producers. It seems as if there are more listeners of music than players, readers of books than writers, watchers of movies than actors, etc. Clearly, given the fact that we have minds, we desire stimulation for our minds. For some, this comes in the form of sexual violence, or other unspeakable evils. For others, this comes in the form of books. Human interaction of some kind is always desired at some time or another, whether the interaction be constructive or destructive.

Despite how natural this fact is, it still puzzles me. Indeed, it seems as if those facts most “factual” puzzle me the most. Questions with an answer “It just is” puzzle me the most. I ponder those most often. Their simplicity causing the most confusion. “But why?

It would be fair to say that, obviously, considering the fact that each of us as humans is an independent entity, with individual desires, that we have different reasons for expressing ourselves. But yet, we share a common humanity, in that we desire human connection. Speaking for myself, I find most of this human connection unsatisfactory; and I would imagine the same is true for many. Sure, you see people as you drive down the road, but do you really want to converse with them all? Flag them down just for a chat? Clearly, we ignore a majority of people that we are aware of. Because we feel as if we do not need to engage in deeper levels of interaction to achieve what it is we are looking for from human communication. This exists on a spectrum, of course, as most, if not all human desires and actions do. Some are more willing to talk to strangers than others. But still, we all need some form of human interaction. And I just find that weird, even if, admittedly, it is a “given”. We’re all looking for something, and we are all going to experience the ebbs and flows of success and failure in achieving that “something”.

I suppose that expression, at least in my case, is not always about human interaction, nor communication, but rather a desperate attempt to speak. The desire to speak (mainly through writing) often overwhelms me. I don’t know why. I don’t care about the feedback. But yet, I still speak. What am I looking for from other people? Do I not write for others to read? Why do I want them to read? Why do I want them to read if I don’t want to read what they write in response? And is that actually true? Do I hate all responses to my writing? Do I enjoy any responses to my writing? And if so, what kind? Clearly, I enjoy feedback that says the reader “enjoyed” the work. I enjoy any positive feedback, as all creative people do. But that isn’t why I express. I don’t express to say “I can’t wait for that positive feedback.” No, I just have something to say. Something to “get off my chest.” Whether praised or critiqued, I have a desire to express myself.

We all have people whom we enjoy listening to. And we all have people whom we enjoy speaking to. But what of, say, people like writers? Musicians? We don’t write simply for our closest friends. We write to “the world”. To anyone willing to take the time to read, or listen. Why? My first thought is something cheesy, like “Making the world a better place.” Do I really believe that to be true in my case? For one, I don’t think my work is good enough for that currently to be the case. Do I desire for that to be the case in the future? Yes, I would say that I do. Of course, there is an economic aspect involved in expressing “for the world”, as “the world” has money. But I think it is fair to say that many, if not most “artists” express regardless of the money. There’s something about expression that we need. We were given thoughts, and we were given an ability to speak. It may very well be that it’s simply our nature to be expressive, regardless of how we are received.

There’s many different ways I could go with this. The quality of what is being expressed (if, say, what is being expressed is an attempt to convince others what ethics should be practiced). What is expressed at expression (“reaction” to an “initial” expression). The soul is desperate to speak out. I think this is simply a matter-of-fact, no matter how puzzling that fact is to me.

People risk their lives for expression. Many value expression more than their life itself. When one is deprived of human rights, the desire to speak out against that is overwhelming. The victims are letting the oppressors know that they are not going to take it anymore; that they are going to take a stand. Of course, their masters are expressing themselves as well: telling their slaves that their own slavery is good for them. Once again, expression is not necessarily ethical. There are various motivations for expression. But, nonetheless, the desire to express remains, whether one be introvert or extrovert; criminal, good Samaritan, or both.

In addition to, in my own case, being interested in my own reasons for being expressive, I am interested in how “expressions” are “received” in general. Everyone has types of music that they dislike, or artists, or songs. The musician has reasons for creating the music he or she does. And that music is either liked or disliked by any particular individual. It’s weird to me. Individualistic diversity will always puzzle me. I accept it as a reality, but it bothers me that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to truly understand it.

Why speak if few listen? Why speak if you ignore the listeners? Human interaction is a very weird, intricate thing. Musicians create songs that people love. And people buy albums, memorabilia, go to concerts, etc. Sometimes, millions of people are involved (more than that, if you consider the people who aren’t “fans” who are aware of the band’s existence, express that they don’t enjoy their music, etc.). And, typically, the musicians are very thankful to all of the people who financially support them. But, clearly, they can’t have a “one-on-one” conversation with each and every one of them. However, I guess, in some ways, they do have a “one-on-one” conversation with each of them. They sing the songs that the listeners enjoy, and the listeners voice their support of the music either by cheering or by purchasing their products. But yet, I think you get what I mean. It isn’t the same as sitting at McDonald’s with your best friend, talking about religion, financial situations, etc. The communication is a bit weird, but at the same time, is natural. Assuming that the song was not created simply to sell (meaning the musicians derive some independent, artistic pleasure from the creation itself), they sing. Whether they be rich or poor, they sing. They express. What are they looking for? Money is an obvious first answer. But there’s often more than that. There’s something else. A receiver? Who, and why? Why does the writer desire readers, and the musician listeners? If you take money out of the equation, why would we write? Why would we make music? We could make music that we enjoy, and try to share that joy with others. Perhaps that’s what it is, to a certain extent. “This makes me happy: does it make you happy too?” An attempt to spread “joy to the world.” Maybe it truly is an attempt to “make the world a better place.” Of course, there is a way to spread “joy to the world” that isn’t self-fulfilling. You can be unhappy while “making the world a better place.” Say, you’re a doctor, and you do good work. You can still hate your job despite the fact that your work is helpful, and “makes the world a better place.” But, I think often, expression is simply meant to make the expressor feel good; and who could say no to the others that happen to enjoy it as well? I think that’s as simple as it comes down to: basic joy. I’m not willing to ask the question why it creates joy, nor why joy is a desired result (especially as the latter question is absurd: one of those “it simply is answers, even though I typically do enjoy asking those questions. I’m done with it here, however). One of these days, I attempt to have a body of work that fully explains my philosophy regarding happiness and the purpose of life.

Time to get back to the next piece of writing, whatever it is, struggling to find the best words to convey my thoughts that I feel worth sharing.

A Philosopher’s Mind.

Highly Sensitive Mind.

Writing.

Personality Development.

The only purpose that I EVER wish to have with my work.

My Youtube channel.

What is It That Makes Me Happy as A Writer?

What is it that makes me happy as a writer? That is the question that I am going to attempt to answer today.

First, it depends on whether I am writing fiction or nonfiction. What makes me happy as a fiction writer? Well, typically, the process begins with, at least so far, a character or characters, or a theme. Then, I kind of bullshit my way around until I get to the theme, or I try to describe the main characters of the story. This is so far, and, hopefully, if I write more over the years, I will become better at it (I’m sure that I will). So what makes me happy about this process? Considering that the themes are often better fleshed out in my head than are the characters, I am happy when I come up with a plot or the main idea of the story. “What the story is about.” I’m very happy with my ideas for stories that I have. Very happy. In fact, I’d consider myself blessed. Maybe you don’t think I’m the best writer ever. And maybe no one does. But I’m very happy with my ability to come up with “main ideas” (very cliché; thanks, English teacher) and exciting plots. I can see that I want to become a better character writer. (This is very quickly turning into “How I Can Become A Better Writer”, but I suppose that the two overlap). I want to tell horrible tales. I want the reader to feel sick, and depressed, and hopeless. That makes me happy as a writer.

I suppose that’s awfully sadistic of me, but I think it’s incredibly empathetic and sympathetic at the same time, for I’m attempting to get into the minds of those who never get any sympathy due to their horrific natures. I’m not saying that’s unjustified, but I think the attempt to connect with the unconnectable is a large part of my work, and why it is so dark. It connects with me on a deep level. I can’t ignore the darkness. It’s always there: lurking. I must always be aware of it because if it catches me off guard, the horror will be worse than if I’m always looking out for it.

That’s my philosophy, at least.

So it makes me happy to bring horror to life. To bring creepiness to life. To bring horrible, terrible emotions to life. It makes me happy to bring the dark side to light. To make the reader feel hopeless, and miserable. I want the readers of my works to feel negative emotions because, quite simply, life can be quite negative. It is important for me to let the readers know that disappointment is a real thing. Hopelessness, evil, violence: all of these are very real things. And, at least to me, fiction makes these manageable. Watching the news, or watching video of brutal things is not the way that I relate to the victims. News is just as unwatchable as watching the violence unfold. But, I’m still aware of them, and fiction is my way of acknowledging the problem. A lot of other people talk about real events, and how to solve real problems, but I would rather talk about them through fiction. And it’s more fun to leave the reader feeling like there is no hope. That’s a very enjoyable experience to me, and situations where heroes lose in fiction are, typically, my favorite tales. I can’t exactly explain why, but I believe it has something to do with how unusual it is. I think I enjoy novelty and flipping things on their heads.

I don’t think I’ve written enough fiction in my lifetime to explain much further about what I like about writing fiction. As I said, the main thing is the main ideas of the stories. I don’t suppose I’m particularly good at story-telling yet, although I start foaming at my mouth when I think of all of the potential that I have, because I know I have “shittons” of it. It’s just a matter of refining the coal to diamond, which could take eons, and a lot of hard work.

Aside from what I write about in fiction, when I write is, arguably, more important to me.(How I write is also important, but I think that will only change with lots and lots of practice. Therefore, I’ll probably leave that for another piece). I do not want to be someone that works when I do not feel like working. On any project. When I am in the mood to work on a project, I feel like it is good. Working on a project when I don’t feel like working on it is against my nature. I consider that taboo for myself. Perhaps, if the work is holidaythemed, and the holiday is fast-approaching, I will “work harder” to get it done. But I do not want to become a slave to my work. I do not want to feel more overwhelmed by it than I already do. The backlog is incredible, but, at least for the most part, I’m content with my pace. I wish I had more work done than I do, but considering how I believe I get the best quality of work (working on things when I feel like working on them), I’ll compromise with quality over quantity.

The pacing of all of the work that I do is quite odd. There are large gaps between continuances of a project. For some reason, once I’ve worked on a project for a little bit, and get tired (not even necessarily of the project, but just in general), I won’t come back to it immediately when I feel like working again. I’ll work on a project, quit for the day, then the next day, work on another project. I do not want the projects to feel stale, and working on one for too long can do just that. I always want to feel like everything is fresh, and I guess I get bored fairly easily or something because I take long breaks between projects, and this means that projects take longer to complete than is fathomable for most other human beings.

I admit that the large gaps are odd, but I know why I have them, so I accept them. I don’t particularly mind them, as I’m learning the pace at which I need to create things. Initially, I wanted a bunch of work completed right away, as I thought that the more work I had completed, the more likely I would be able to “make a living at it.” But, quickly, I started discovering just how hard that was, and I began to give less and less of a fuck about it. It’s still a goal, but it doesn’t consume me as much as it used to. The work is what it is, it will be completed when it gets completed, and I’m good with that, whatever and however it turns out to be.

I like the idea of writing complex fiction. Currently, my events leading up to my “main ideas” in my fiction are just shit. They just are. But I like the idea of (in the far future, and with much laborious mental practice) taking events and tying them into the “main idea” (goddamn that cliché) in very intricate, surprising, exciting ways. I know I can do it with time and practice, but that will take a very long time. In the meantime, I’ll just have to accept that most of my work is shit, and then share it with the world anyway because 1) I can’t spend forever trying to make every single piece of writing perfect and 2) it doesn’t really do me any good if other people can’t read it. So I’ll dump my shitty writing upon the world and live with whatever happens as a result of that, hoping that, in the future, I become good enough to make a living. And to be more satisfied with my writing as I actually become mature enough to develop “standards”. (And, oh yeah, actually doing all of this in novel form instead of “short story” or “novella” form. Jesus fucking Christ, the thought of that…Fuck it, for now…)

So what makes me happy as a nonfiction writer? I want to write intelligent things as a nonfiction writer. I want to understand truth. I’m a seeker of truth. A philosopher. I’m a philosopher/comedian. I want to know things as deeply as I can. I just want understanding. And I want to share those things with the world. That’s pretty much it from a nonfiction standpoint.

Comedy is a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. Obviously, comedy is almost always an exaggeration. It is fictional, from that standpoint. But it is often deeply connected in reality, making it nonfiction as well. I think that’s why it overlaps in my fiction and nonfiction. It’s just real. It’s perfect. It works with everything. It’s who I am, and it’s inescapable. And it just makes me happy.

So dark stories that are complicated and end in depressing ways and smart, intricate attempts to be objective make me happy.

Wasn’t too hard to come to that conclusion.

Now, if I can just work on length…

…You didn’t read that, Devin.

…Not a word……

But, I think there’s still a lot to be discovered about what makes me happy as a writer. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, but I’m doing what I want to do. I don’t know how to explain what I want to do, but I know that I just want to do it, and then I do it. And that’s what makes me happy. And that’s what I do.

I don’t think this will ever change…

A Declaration of Independence

I’m a man that doesn’t like choice.

I’ve never liked independence.

Obviously, I’m still young. I haven’t had much experience with independence.

The youngest of the young don’t have many choices. This can be quite frustrating, even if that restriction is justified. And certainly, I had times during my youth (at least, younger than I am now) that I wished I had choices when I didn’t have any. But currently, I’m at that stage when I need to make a good many choices for myself, and these choices will effect me for, if I live this long, decades. And I must make these decisions with an immature mind (at least currently: hopefully, not perpetually).

So, no pressure.

There is a security in having others make decisions for you. If a mistake is made, you don’t feel responsible, and you can shift blame to the one who has “decided” for you. But there comes a point in everyone’s life when that doesn’t work anymore, and that time for me is pretty much right now. (Shit, it may have even been before this, but if it was, I was too goddamn stupid to realize it. So I’m off to a great start).

Besides just being a child, whom naturally finds comfort and security in trusted authority figures, another reason I found the authority of others so comforting was the fact that I was just goddamned bad at making decisions for myself. Not that any young teenager should be expected to be good at making decisions, but man, was I BAD. I’ve beaten myself up over that fact more than I can count. It’s not that I should expect that I should’ve been good at making decisions. But in the past, I felt like I should’ve been. I don’t have any idea how I could have been, but that was my expectation nonetheless. A very fairytale expectation. Impossible to satisfy.

But, nonetheless, many of my decisions in my childhood were horrible. The consequences, at least at the time, were almost unbearable. And I wondered how in the fuck I was ever going to make it when I grew up. I worried myself to death about “adulthood”, where people make decisions for themselves. I had no idea to do it. I was only thirteen. (And fourteen).

Knowing (mainly thanks to my parents) that some day, I was going to have to “take the reigns”, and weighing that upon my self-destructive decision-making ability, I spent many years in sheer terror of the future. I’m talking from when I was, like I said, maybe fourteen or so, til, I would say, almost now, I have been terrified of the future. “Every decision impacts your future.” Combine this attitude with the belief that certain thoughts and actions will send you to Hellfire for all eternity, and you can see why one would be frightened when it comes to making decisions for oneself. My self-confidence was destroyed by my own stupid decisions, the consequences I had to face, and, I would argue, my natural tendency towards anxiousness. So I deferred as much as possible towards the direction of my life, having teachers decide which classes I should take, letting others decide when I should get my driver’s license, etc.

And yet, there was still a fiercely independent streak in me. This independence was usually geared towards “higher” ideas. Ideas that, you could argue, “shape” society. I have always been extremely independent in “higher” ideas. It’s the “lower” ideas (the more “practical” ideas (the ones necessary for basic biological functioning)) that I have deferred for so long (the “important” ones, many would argue. And I couldn’t argue against that description).

The independence was usually “Wait a minute: this common belief does not make sense to me.” And that, happening frequently enough, caused me to question common beliefs, and helped shape my worldview. And it’s still present within me today. The independence has been channeled into “vulgarity” now, where I independently decide to question common views of “artistic morality“, and wish to push art further along the line of human depravity than anyone has ever gone before (well, probably not. But a guy can DREAM, can’t he?)

It is also very hard to be independent when you are young and socially anxious (it should really be no surprise why, but this is what I’m trying to work on, personally) because of other people.

I think the biggest hurdles regarding my inability to feel confident and independent enough as a thinker to make more and important decisions for myself are the following:

I’ve always naturally had an inclination to weigh my ideas off of others. My ideas were, I think, usually independent. But I wasn’t sure of their validity, so I bounced them off of others: even if those others were stupid or malicious. I had not the confidence to believe in myself and in my own independence. And that’s what this is really all about. It’s not that I’m dependent; or, rather, I am. I’m independent, but them I’m dependent on approval because I’m not confident enough to develop my independence through thought processes and continuances of logic trees and preferences.

When you “put yourself out there”, other people are going to respond. And the responses exist all over the spectrum: some are insightful, and some are stupid. Some are supportive, and some are not. And if you happen to have ideas that exist outside of the “norm” (whether they be truthful or not), they will be questioned relentlessly, as is the case by the very definition of being “outside of the norm”.

I’m not saying that ideas shouldn’t be subjected to scrutiny. But when, at a young age, you have very independent ideas, very diverse from those around you, and you begin to express those ideas, you have not the confidence to defend yourself, nor the time to fully-fledge out those delicate, crucial beginnings of a fruit of individual thought.

It’s hard being an individual thinker, and it’s probably just as dangerous as being part of a mob. Of course, there are correct “mobs” and incorrect individuals. But one can’t help but picture a Titanic, or a Jesus Christ, when referring to fiercely independent thinkers and “group thinkers”.

To say that there are exceptions to every rule, and that everyone is right and everyone is wrong from time to time, is redundant. Vague, obvious phrases like this are typically used to keep from hearing what the original speaker had to say. “Yeah, but”. In good-spirited discourse, there will obviously be a great many “but”s. But there should be some substance behind the “but”. Repeating a general truth just to be argumentative is unproductive. You need to say something that adds to the conversation, and repetitive phrases uttered for fear of not being a “good person” do not do that.

But, all-too-often, I would believe is the case, young, smart people are trampled upon by their all-knowing, “moralauthority figures. This isn’t to say that adults do not have a great amount of experience, and that this experience is not valuable to creating an insightful perspective of the world. Surely, years of experience on the Earth would help one achieve a higher grasp of reality (or at least, one would hope). However, from a personal standpoint, I think that I have uncritically accepted the advice of every do-gooder from every left, right, and other direction. And I think this has done me some mental harm that I will attempt to explain.

If I’m not a genius, and I’m just a fool, then at least I’m my own man. But I’d rather foolishly believe me a genius than fret over actual foolishness.

I believe that I have some very insightful things to say, especially considering my age. I understand that there are people in this world older than I who understand more than me; likewise, there are people younger than me who understand more than I. But I think I have something. I think there’s something in me that has important things to say. And even if only for my own sake as a human being, for my own volition, sanity, maturity, and peace, I must say them…

Although I’m certain in my heart that there are others out there who will find insight in my words…

But I do not wish to seek social approval. Financial approval is social approval, and of course, I wish to get paid. But beyond that, I wish not to seek social acceptance of my ideas as a validation for them (even money does not “validate” them for me).

Social approval is another sign of youth. I don’t need to explain this: you understand this already. But, for those of you that don’t, I’ll drop in the words “peer pressure”. A desire for a peaceful, cooperating community is not an immature idea, however. But that is not social approval.

“Approval” implies that one can be socially rejected. But why should anyone care about being socially rejected? One may argue that the murderer’s actions are justifiably socially rejected, but his actions are not unethical because they are rejected: they are rejected because they are unethical, and, thankfully, many people’s code of ethics, at least when it comes to murder, are in coexistence with humanity (this is not to say that humans can do nothing inhumane, but rather that, simply stated, their code of ethics promotes the existence and flourishing of humans, rather than destroying humans).

One needs the confidence to speak up for oneself, and one needs the maturity to be able to handle the consequences of speaking up for oneself. And those are two things that I greatly wish to develop and improve upon.

As well as becoming a better organizer of the written word, I hope to continue my fierce independence of thought and furious dictation (sometimes both meanings) with an improvement upon my ability to be independent, my ability to comprehend objectivity, and my ability to communicate.

But, being an introvert, my main concern for improving my communication ability is to improve my financial spending ability.

I want to learn how to string thoughts together better, and how to dissect my own thoughts better so that they are better understood by my readers.

I wish to fear not the critique of my readers, but rather to critically filter their critique, and apply and reject it where I feel necessary after careful reflection.

I have to decide when my work is good or not. I have to decide when my work is done or not. I have to decide when and what I am going to work on.

And I’m not confident enough in myself to feel like I’m making good decisions in this area yet…

…Plus, sometimes I think I’m crazy

I’m also afraid of succeeding.

I want to succeed, but I’m afraid of finally becoming successful.

Why?

Religious conditioning.

Because, you know, all of those rich and famous people are sinners, while the good, common country folk are RIGHTEOUS.

Oh, wasted youth.

But I digress.

I wish to be independent enough to think “I’m going to write all of this, using up valuable time in my life, and valuable energy, when I could be doing something else, because I find this important. I don’t want to hear other people tell me to do it because it’s important. And I don’t want to care about others who tell me I’m wasting my time, and that I should focus more on getting a better paying job, or something like that. I want to put more energy into my writing because I want to do it. I want to feel comfortable enough to not look for approval in this decision. I do not want to care who thinks me crazy; who thinks me young, and immature; and who thinks the cold hand of reality will smack my young, delicate face, and wake me up to the brutal cold.” I care not any longer.

I am really bad at all of this, but God damn do I wish to improve upon it…

I wish to be independent to a degree that I’m comfortable with. I wish to have the confidence to accept the consequences of my actions. I wish to improve upon my writing ability. I wish to learn to have enough self-confidence to reread and edit my work. I wish to have enough self-confidence in my own ethics that I do not feel the need to validate myself through other people. I wish to shed negative perspectives about life through religion that have enslaved me for most of my life. But, I think, most of all, I wish to really feel like I’m in control of my life; in control of myself; and to feel happy about that.

Those are the most crucial elements of ALL of this.

…And, of course, I wish to get paid…

This is also a message about conflict: I fiercely don’t care about what other people think about my work, but I do in the sense that I wish to get paid. But I don’t want to create work simply because I know it will sell well. But I still want it to sell.

These conflicts are just at the crux of life, I guess.

I think time has the answer to those questions in particular for me, though.

…But God damn those bumps of shitty writing along the road!!!

Ah, shit…Fuck…ASS…

I don’t like editing or thinking too hard when I write, but instead prefer the “quick burst” approach, because anything else makes me feel like a bad writer…

Logic.

More logic.

Excerpts from my fiction.

My poetry.

Articles.

Insightful.

My work.

Intelligence.

Perfection.