The Problem With Ideas

I have a lot of problems with having too many ideas at once, and trying to follow through with all of them (at least partially). The beauty of a blog is, the articles aren’t too long, so I can pound one through when I have something to talk about – usually these are about two single-spaced pages – and wrap them up with a little linguistic bow at the end. But when it comes to longer work, like a novel or other long-form projects, there’s usually a lot of planning and re-working to make them functional and not… y’know, total garbage.

In that spirit, I thought I might elaborate a little on some of my current projects, some of which will likely never see the light of day. But knowing somebody is reading this, coupled with the idea that somebody might be interested in some of these ideas, maybe I’ll be bugged enough to bring more to fruition that I otherwise might.

Yay for self-imposed pressure!

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Pascal’s Wager (and why it’s bullshit)

I’ve been on a Christopher Hitchens kick recently. Say what you will about his thoughts on Mother Theresa (a con artist), or George W. Bush (supporting the surge into Iraq), or Henry Kissinger (a war criminal), when he debated the religious he was always two things above all: smart and witty. As I watched him decimate the likes of the abrasive Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and enjoyed his running circles around the backhanded (and remarkably ignorant) host of “Wretched Radio”, it reminded me of the times I’ve been approached by the proselytizing, and one of their most common approaches gets to me like no other… a popular argument commonly referred to (when identified) as “Pascal’s Wager.”

It basically flows like this: if you don’t believe in G/god, and you’re wrong, you’re infinitely punished for your mistake. And if you believe and you’re right, then you’re infinitely rewarded via heaven. If you’re a non-believer and you happen to be correct about there not being an afterlife, then you’re still in the ground. You’re still dead. Right next to the religious person who was wrong in their assertion. It’s the making of a grid with four boxes, only one of them leading to eternal paradise, and only one side even proposing such a possibility.

“So why not take the chance?”

This is one of the oldest and most classic of the arguments in favor of believing in a higher power – at least, one with an assertion of an afterlife – and thus I think it deserves a specific rebuttal. Because the very concept of it to me, the thought that such an argument is still considered “valid” and not “insulting to the human mind”, is very, very stupid.

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It’s gold-flaked name is accurate.

I don’t like making “resolutions” for the beginning of a new year. Not simply because the vast majority of resolutions made tend to be very vague and mostly lip service – “I’m going to read more” and “I’m going to try to not eat as many cookies” are not particularly precise, exigent and driven as they may be – but because the idea of trying to better myself isn’t a yearly dedication. As I’ve grown up I’ve experienced time seemingly go by increasingly fast, and I’ve learned that “I want to” statements are the type that get into your head, stay there for a month at best (the more intense ones will niggle at the back of your brain for longer, but rarely resurface except in half-chewed idealism), and lead to temporary results, followed by the disappointing memory of their dedication eleven months later.

So, I don’t make resolutions. I do, however, see some good in having a marker for progress, fleeting as it might seem more often than not. Instead of resolutions then, I try to put plans into place for the upcoming year, and line them out with just enough detail that there’s method to the madness, while leaving them lax enough to maneuver and take them seriously. It’s the same concept as dedicating oneself to writing for five minutes or so a day: it’s a short period of time, sometimes all one can afford, but if a rhythm is found that five minutes can stretch into an hour, or two, and produce some grand results in the end.

I’ve written a few things down for this year, specifically one list and one worksheet. And I thought I might share them with you, because if nothing else, this will make them feel more… “

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A Word For Expensive Notebooks

I was walking through the local Barnes & Noble recently, and there are a few parts of that store I always have to explore: literary fiction, manga/graphic novels, and reference books (I need to learn how to edit longer work more efficiently, I admit). But on my way out, there’s that space where they keep the greeting cards and fancy notebooks, and I’ve been drawn into that space more times than I can remember.

Touching the covers of a beautiful, empty, lines-properly-spaced notebook, reading the quotes in typewriter type printed across or wrapping around, they’re all beautiful little snowflakes. At least, until I find the price tag on them and practically snowball them back onto the shelf.

I have a theory. Not just about myself, but about most writers… we have a love/hate relationship with expensive notebooks. We love to look at them, we love to imagine the stories that should be written in them, but we hesitate to mark them up with a possible failure. And EVERY story started is a possible failure.

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The Taller Eight

Puns are fun. I made one once, and it’s stuck in my head for some time now. Since it sounded kinda interesting for a name, and not THAT terribly hard to remember, I decided to make it a reality.

I’ve been a blogger for years, but after losing my previous work for various reasons, I’ve decided that starting over is the best option. And there’s always something great about a new project; the enthusiasm to make something great, the lack of restriction when laying out what is to be, the general excitement in getting hands dirty, all of it. LOVE it. Always looking for another something worth starting.

Which reminds me. If you would like some help in getting started, why not ask me for some help? Drop me a line and we’ll see what we can arrange!