Cigars

I’ve always wondered why things sound better when smoking a cigar, or why we get a sudden rush of our seemingly best ideas late at night, and I think I’ve finally found the answer: it’s when we are at our most relaxed that our mind is free to wander and think outside the proverbial box.

Think about it this way; cigars take time to smoke, unlike smoking a cigarette, which is rushed and filled with anxiety to get that next fix of nicotine. With cigars, you’re able to relax, sit back and think, and it’s only when you have that time to let your mind wander freely that you are open to new ideas and concepts that were once foreign and strange to us. For me, personally, I find that the same premise can be applied to mundane tasks, because those almost always require zero brain-power; our bodies are on auto-pilot and we’re able to go off into our own distraction free world where any random thought can be explored fully.

When it comes down to it, it is the imagination’s ability to wander that births good ideas, and it us up to us to simply embrace this.

Something Left To Give

If there’s one thing that I’ve realized about wanting to become a writer is that my heart and my mind has become divided between my many selves.

When I first started writing nearly four years ago, I wanted to stand apart from the rest of the aspiring writers. I aimed to add bits and pieces of my own life, experiences, and thought processes into the works that I had created in order to make the settings seem all that more believable and the characters people that I, and whoever found and read my pieces, could relate to in some small way. However, over the years, the characters that I have fleshed out via words have become as much a part of my personal being as much as I have become a part of their imagined beings.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that everything is connected in some small way, and if you can’t get anything out of whatever it is that you’re doing, then no one else will ever be able to.

The Fear Of Being Alone

What I’ve always wondered is why people are so damn terrified of telling the person that they care for, that they care for them. Romantic comedies and perpetuated this fad wherein person A likes/loves person B, yet cannot tell person B for whatever reason. Person A then goes around telling everyone else this new addition to her life, all the while, not telling person B that he/she likes/love him/her. It makes no sense to me.

I suppose it has to do with the fear of rejection, mixed with the want to feel validated. For instance, let’s say I like a certain musical artist, and you don’t. Nine times out of ten, I will most likely say, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU YOU’RE INSANE THEY’RE THE BEST BAND EVER!” I noticed this about myself, and others, when a good friend of mine told me that he did not like bacon, while another said that he did not enjoy sushi. We seek that sense of validation from others so that we don’t feel alone in our life choices, so that we can justify our actions as other people are partaking in the same activities and decision make processes.

The fear of rejection, however, is an entirely different story, which goes back to my first point; people are finding it increasingly harder and harder to tell the people that they want to tell what it is that they are exactly feeling. I’m guessing it’s because in doing so, you’re opening yourself up to that other person; you become incredibly vulnerable. And that’s where movies tend to fail us. They are an incredible story telling medium, but they don’t prepare us for the flipside of these situations. In most romantic comedies, person A and person B are together in the very end. However, that doesn’t necessarily always happen. Two people may not feel the same way towards each other at the same time, so what happens when one person opens up and the other one cannot reciprocate? How are we meant to deal with that? All I’ve seen is a slippery slope of awkward conversations because in the back of their minds, they’re both trying not to let what they say affect the other person, and after sometime, the strangers turned friends and almost lovers, are strangers once again.

And all of this, the fear of rejection and the need to feel validated, stems entirely from the absolute fear of being alone. We’re all so wrapped up in each other’s lives that we don’t take a minute to stop and think about what it is that we’re doing in our own lives. We don’t like being alone with our thoughts, and we drown them out with alcohol, weed, music, or whatever, because we’re so terrified of being honest with ourselves. We’d rather lie to others and say that we’re alright, when we’re not, even if we don’t know why. We don’t like being alone, and we don’t necessarily know how to be alone anymore either.

And that’s what terrifies me; distracting myself from myself.

The "I"deaology of Writing

As someone who wants to write, I recently began asking myself the question of why it is that we, in general, write. In the simplest of terms, I think that writing serves as an extension ourselves, or more specifically, of our thoughts and our oral language, since it’s a practice of the everyday. In writing, we are attempting to take the thoughts we often turn into inarticulate speech and attempting to give them a sense of coherence.

Writing, much like oratory, is essentially the art of storytelling, which attempts to preserve, or document, some sort of “truth.” This can apply equally to fiction and nonfiction, both of which ask questions such as, “Who shot first, Han or Greedo?” The sharing of these truths communicates our own interpretations of something that is already established.

However, the oral is prone to error and wide interpretation, allowing for a distinct dichotomy between what may have actually happened and what was recorded. The benefit of the oral is in that those oratory stories can convey emotion through emphasis, and body language; however, the context can change depending on the space in which it was first heard, and the space in which it was retold. Oral retellings, in essence, are always mythic in nature.

Writing, on the other hand, is often seen as more rational: We are allowed to take our time to figure out the exact sentence structure, removing all room for error. It is temporal, in that it allows us to record a specific event and time, with the context of the delivery entirely removed. What differentiates writing from the oral is that writing is not done to seek truth in the general sense of the term, but rather as a very personal act of self-discovery. Many of the topics that we write about or find interesting often contain bits and pieces of ourselves.

Through this, writing is in effect a discourse of power. In psychoanalytic terms, we repeat the act of writing in order to get it right. So writing is inherently a violent act, since by attempting self-discovery, we initiate a process of a self-revisionist history. How many times have we looked back at the works that we have written, or things we have done, and thought to ourselves, “Man, I was really young,” or, “Man, I was really dumb.” The benefit of this violence is that, by externalizing ourselves, we are taking something that is intrinsically “us,” and letting others challenge and provoke our ideas about the topic at hand — and therefore, about ourselves. A completely objective third party has no social requirement to lie and be nice to us; they are allowed the position of being 100 percent honest. Writing, therefore, is industrious; we are often building something from nothing, developing and approaching a future notion of what we think we ought to be.

So why is it that I write, and want to continue to write? It’s because writing serves as a medium to connect two people who have never met over ideas they find interesting; it allows for a sense of commonality between two complete strangers; it serves as a different means of understanding ourselves, and, through the lens of ourselves, the world.

Everything Does Not Happen For A Reason

I have recently discovered that many of my friends align themselves with the ideas that 1. the movement and trajectory of the stars and planets somehow governs their lives and that 2. everything seemingly happens for a reason. These ideas of theirs tend to come up in varying contexts, but the one that I most frequently hear is in relation to a failed relationship, or in regards to some terrible event that they are currently experiencing and working through. Time and time again, I find myself disagreeing, and having to explain why everything does not happen for a reason.

Saying that everything happens for a reason is an extremely comforting idea; people know that bad things will happen in their world, but they do not know how to understand and come to terms with that idea. That’s because it’s troubling, and it should be. It’s a form of escape; It’s easy, light pseudo-spirituality that allows people the feeling that they’re off the hook. This sentiment is largely a moronic cop out, in that it is meaningless, and a way to avoid responsibility and avoid facing certain facts. We might not necessarily ascribe this to something religious in nature, however, we are still perfectly okay to write everything off as being orchestrated by unseen forces for our own personal, explicit, benefit. The assumption that everything happens for a reason lies under the faulty world-view of a predetermined future in which you have very little control of events that happen around you or that take place in your life. In effect, that statement serves as a type of crutch, where we are allowed to stick our heads into the sand and avoid facing the sometimes harsh reality. It removes all sense of agency, in that by blithely proclaiming that anything and everything in your life happens for some cosmic reason does not make you look sage and self-aware; it makes you seem rather stupid and overly self-indulgent. It makes you look unwilling to seek out or even acknowledge your own culpability in your actions and words.

However, that sense of responsibility, to me, is a much more comforting thought as it allows me to have a greater sense of control over my own life, and my own personal being. It gives me that sense of agency, wherein I am able to decide and make my own choices. The lack of being able to own up to something just allows you to follow the crowd, not really allowing room to think for yourself, and not having that time or space to think can be incredibly dangerous. Anything less than owning up to everything in your life is a direct avoidance of facing the tasks that lay ahead, or working towards improving yourself; it’s changing your mindset to fit the bad state of things to somehow rationalize it and make it better in their heads. And that is a huge problem, because it does not actually address anything; it’s all in their heads.

Of course, there will be certain things in your life that are beyond your control, and sometimes knowing what or why it happened will not give you control over other future events. But, if something does happen, it is your responsibility to find out why. At worst, you’ll be better informed, and at best, you’ll know how to potentially avoid that situation in the future. If we’re lucky, we all have about 100 years on this planet. We should not allow ourselves to become so complacent and brush things off with an easy excuse that everything happens for a reason; they don’t. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. We need to learn from our mistakes, and take solace in the fact that in some small way, we will all live a small mark in the world that we live in.