The Account of a Lifetime

January 9, 2013

Demon the Fourth: The Extinction Tower

This evening, I was most intrigued to read this thread over on the Bolthole. Directly, it links to Steve Vernon’s Advice for dealing with a bad review in the context of an author.

The Bolthole, being a place for would-be and fledgling write-y types to congregate and share their enthusiasm, to draw on one another for input, feedback, advice, criticism etc… well, we naturally would be inclined to sympathise. For the bulk of the Bolthole, that basically amounts to ‘imagining the completed, released story’, not really much of a leap of imagination: compared to myself, the vast bulk of folks are actually likely to be published. Some of them have a tremendous output even as amateurs. Wacky, hare-brained or embarrassing fan-fiction isn’t really something that’s to be found in the community.

Nevertheless, always one to see a different (and perhaps non-existent) angle to a conversation, I was reminded rather strongly and in quick-succession of a few thoughts and ‘bad reviews’ I’d had myself. Obviously, they’re not bad reviews: I’ve barely created anything, except any vaguely original thought that’s escaped my mouth – which I doubt there are many of.

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August 6, 2011

Demon the Third: The Creature of an Ashen Home

Filed under: demons,Reflections,Tea. Earl Grey. Hot — xisor @ 6:48 pm

Through this summer, I’ve found plenty of time for introspection. Mainly with a feeling of being on the outside looking in, on my own life. Not a sensation of being ‘out of control’, but of not quite having the prolonged, guiding/directional control most folks feel fairly comfortable with.

In that manner, I felt some discomfort. Not an immense amount, mainly because it’s been a rather pleasant summer, but a subtle discomfort, a nagging that things weren’t quite the way they should be. And it’s ruddy annoying, I’ll say, mainly because it seems there’s nothing to be done to rectify it except actually getting on with things. Life is certainly not in a position, for me, where if I’m not doing something I’m somehow ‘dead’. I’ve prided myself for a very long time on the maxim brought to my ken by way of Marcus Aurelias “To think is to live”, which seems pretty reasonable to me.

The trouble is that, though thinking is al well and good, it would seem that being able to sustain longer, focussed and organised periods of thoughts is something I’m yearning after and which, for the past … well, recent history, it’s something that’s generally been escaping me. I can think well enough to hop from A to B to C, but all the way to Z without touching down in the middle? No, I’ve not done that.

The thing is, I’ve not tried either. Which leads me to the simple case that to really have the perspective I’m mooching after, I need some metric by which to measure success.

Victory is Life

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May 8, 2011

The Second Demon: Kshawor

Filed under: demons,Reflections — xisor @ 3:35 am

Kshawor

I think this one’s actually pretty easy. Sometimes, in life, you feel yourself. Most of the time, in fact. If you don’t, I understand that to be a spot of an issue. Nevertheless, this Kshawor, as it is difficult to really analyse, except for the things it does, is a fiesty beast. More than that: it’s a binary beast. It either has you, or it’s long gone and untenable.

How would I know it? Looking back, particularly in the times closest to now (what we normally call the recent past, I’m given to understand) I identify the sensation by simply having gaps. Long gaps, usually, (i.e. not mere minutes/hours so contrasts to any points where I lose my temper, for instance) wherein I do almost nothing at all. Not ‘cease existing’ and bored myself up, but fritter the time away. Do nothing, uncaringly ignore plans and schedules I’m supposed to be keeping, half-arsedly attempt/say-I’ve-completed the things I do actually undertake. I imagine I’m probably a bit annoying when I’m in ‘that place’, but perhaps fortunately I’m suitable inactive/lacklustre enough to fly within people’s tolerance levels, to mix a metaphor or three.

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February 10, 2011

Demons can be fought

Filed under: demons — xisor @ 11:41 pm
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They say we all have our demons. It’s difficult for someone, like myself, who has for a good few years now studiously poured scorn on such notions to really turn around and pick up some of the beneficial bits of the ‘ritual’ of religion that I left behind. Prayers, for example, seem to me very much a way of getting your head straight. Of focussing. I’ve spent many a conversation since affecting the guise of a curmudgeon and firing off lazy quips like “praying is indistinguishable from talking to yourself” to poison the well of opinion.

I’ll confess, I also do it in the name of comedy. It’s lazy, still, but it appeals to my sense of mischief. On a walk this evening, I had a few thoughts. In some of the fictional universes I read a lot (notably the Star Wars, Warhammer and 40k settings, I’m a geek y’see) there’s a prevalence of mental, psychic and faith powers, the manifest will of the mind.

I don’t much care for deities and strict metaphysical orders, mainly because I’m a bit of a materialist in that manner. If ain’t falsifiable or a reasonable extension, it’s up in the air and fair game for messing about with. This is a frustrating position to be confronted with, I imagine, but it’s also a wearying one to hold too. It requires a lot of thinking on my feet, a lot of risking arguments by anticipating points and  dodging contentious issues by thinking it out. Sometimes, many times, it is not successful and an argument will be had. As Dr Steve Novella has mentioned a couple of times on the SGU podcast, it’s an advancement in my style of arguing.

Many years back, I was characterised as argumentative. Or a know-it-all. Or always-has-to-be-right. I always took this to be a good thing, I was either pushing myself or testing myself, in hindsight I see the flaw. I apologise to those who’ve suffered my nonsense because of it. In light of that, though, I see arguments nowadays not about being right, but as a means to foremost understand the difference  between my opinion and someone else’s, but secondarily as a means to see how either, both or neither of the opinions and arguments need be modified to reach an agreeable position. Novella takes the view that it’s about honing one’s ability to craft a sensible argument and, practically, as a means to find out what you and the other person actually agree on. Different styles, but not exclusive, certainly.

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