Repetition

Standard

To me,

Repetition is death.  Creativity and variety is life.  I have to find my creativity in my day to day life, among what I frankly like to call death: commuting, cooking, laundry, cleaning, errands, calling people back, appointments, etc.  All of the stuff that I just listed is just bullshit, and steals your time without giving anything substantial or fulfilling back.  Mind you, I am not saying don’t do those things.  However, my take on those is to hack life and take care of those things in the periphery, so that you spend the majority or best times of the day on shit that you actually care about.

Life is short, and to go through life like you’re on a conveyor belt, which is sort of what this capitalistic society wants you to do.  While I am not an expert on this subject, this economy was built on consumption, labor, and production.  I guess “supply and demand.”  First, in order to create a market, you need some abundance.  The working class can be used as instruments to fulfill that vision.  This is done by the division of labor, which Adam Smith wrote about in the “Wealth of Nations.”  Basically, if you have have 5 people, each creating a complete basket, then you may have 20-30 or even 50 at the end of the day.  However, if you created a production line and each person was doing a small part of the task until each basket is finished, then the number of baskets may equate to over 100, BUT at the expense of each person only repetitively completing one small part of the task in a mind numbing and repetitive work environment.  Back then, everybody farmed their own crops and did their labor, and perhaps later one, people specialized, so one person was the village blacksmith, another a cobber or shoe repair person, and they traded or bartered goods or services.  Smith discussed the spiritual satisfaction of creating and selling a piece of work, which the modern man knows not of.  The modern man specialized in one small aspect of their task for the greater production of a final product; perhaps a product they will never see (thus losing the meaning in their work).  To add, Smith indicated that this all is done with the end being each person has more free time for themselves, and with the luxury of buying shoes or going to the supermarket without having to make our own shoe or grow our own crop.

Now, why is it that most of us feel we have so little time in our days and weeks?  And, many people rather than dealing with problem simply intoxicate themselves or going on empty trips to exotic places, or have mindless sex, simply to pretend this machine, this thing we are plugged into, does not exist.  Mindless entertainment (cite Star Wars) is another way to distract us, or tuning into the news (which is targeted for the audience and usually biased) or music (which is controlled by corporations) or food (you get the idea).  Now what is left?  What is the solution?  One solution is hopefully at some point more and more people awaken to the true potential of their creativity, to find their true purpose, and act creatively and spontaneously to what life has before us.  This means to step out of the cookie-cutter role that life has funneled us into, jump off the 9-5 train if you need to, and do something with meaning.  Do something that contributes to humanity.  Do something that makes you feel alive, do anything that will stop us from feeling this dull, repetitive, choking pain that modern life suffocates us with simply to stay alive.

It is very hard to break a system that we have born into and that may date hundreds if not thousands of years.  I have a better idea why my parents, who are 1st generation Asian Americans, have some degree of discontentment.  They grew up with essentially nothing, and saved every penny, but in the end, when they have reached their end goal, they do not 100% know what to do with retirement: a life of leisure, plentitude, and stability.  What good are those things if you have not asked yourself the existential questions and found peace inside of yourselves?  All those years they were toiling were for material goods; a chance for themselves, a chance for their children, and savings.  Not that those things are not important, but if happiness was the end goal, they overlooked that.  Stability and financial well being are nothing without a fundamental recognition of our creative selves and purposeful selves.

Either way, try to do something meaningful today, try to get your errands out of the way so you can watch a play or watch a movie, kiss someone and tell them you love them, sit and watch a bonfire instead of Netflix, read or write a poem, or do anything that removes us from the trap of repeating the same thing over and over again.  That repetition is death; a gruesome, spiritual death.  Doing something fun, spontaneous, different, and meaningful is life – something that makes you lose track of time because you are so engaged and so focused.

Advertisements

Failure

Standard

Failure is the fire water,

That burns my throat,

As the heated, powerful elixir,

Sears my esophagus and stomach

With the  fire of failed ambition,

Lost appointments,

And unpolished goals,

Yet I wipe the black ash and dust

Off my face, sip from my canteen,

And prepare for another journey,

Another attempt at the impossible,

Another taste of that concoction,

Which waives it’s bitter taste,

Drowsy effect,

And sharp headache in the morning,

For you have to taste the bitter,

In order to taste the success.

Writing 5/15: Time and Money

Standard

Yep.  I have come to the conclusion today that time and money are not to be simply saved, and stored up to be used at some far off, fantastical time, but it should be contemplated upon and used in the most valuable and creative and appreciating way.  We will all have a finite amount of time on this Earth, and it is a waste trying to save it, hack it, rush it, or splurge on it.  What is it that you want to do with your time?  Why are you on Earth?  Perhaps, before realizing how to spend it, you have to understand who you are and why you are here.  While not impossible, it could take a few decades.  But it’s well worth it,  because when you do find that reason, the rest of life, perhaps a lot of life (or a good quality life) is waiting for you.  The same goes for money.  Money should be used for things that you love, things that will nourish you and help you grow, and things that will help you further experience the full richness of this life.  Worrying about it, hoarding it, saving it, and investing it can only give you a headache in the middle of the night.  Not to say all of those things don’t have their place, but ultimately you have to spend your money, and it’s best to spend that money on things that are most important to you – don’t let it waste on some frivolous purchase, a stressful shopping spree, or a 5 star restaurant in Paris (well, do so if that’s what you love).  I would say people and experiences are what I value and would put my money towards.  I guess training and my martial arts class is another one.

I guess it comes down to prioritizing – not a checklist of god damn errands – what values, pursuits, and experiences mean most to you, and funneling the time and money that you have towards those things to have the ultimate end: happiness, balance, and well being.

Okay.  That ends this rant. Holler at your boy.

Another Entry on Writing and Modern Society

Standard

Yep, why do I start all my posts with yeppers?  It’s a way to break the ice for me, to start that conversation and get the ideas rolling.  Yep.  So I am starting to sink my teeth into the whole writing thing.  I am figuring a schedule and number of hours that suit me.  Most people talk about having an exact time and space to write every day.  Well, hell, if I could do that I would.  But, life gets in the way, you know: the oil changes, friends’ emergencies, people from out of town, last minute errands, social events, and yes, the shorties.  So, the better way that I am doing it is having a set amount of hours that I will try to make every week, and I will achieve that number.  Hit my quota like a Born Again Christian on campus.

There are not many other aspects to my writing life.  I have charge ahead, sink deep into it, and practice and learn how to create characters and story lines, express deep thoughts and use eloquent language, and simply express all that good shit that I have wrapped up in my soul.  There are many high art forms, and writing is one of them.  “The pen is mightier than the sword,” and this pen will chop down prejudice, ignorance, and hatred.

Next, it has come to my attention that modern society is becoming harder and harder to live in.  Most people may not notice these subtle changes, however, as a martial artist, I am trained to notice subtle changes.  One main issue is traffic; back in 2014, I once was able to ride the 495 beltway from Arlington, VA to Upper Marlboro, VA in 25 minutes around 4pm on any given week day.  Some 3-4 months later,  it would take me about 1 hour and 20 minutes to ride the beltway from Kensington, MD (which is 33% or more closer to Upper Marlboro than Arlington).  That is a huge jump!  Now, May 2018, after all the craziness of the never ending winter, we have another jump in traffic.  There is rush hour at ALL times of the week on 495; I’m talking about 2pm on Sunday afternoon or 6pm on a Saturday evening.  That is a huge time suck.  The accidents are accruing and so is the distracted driving (they are one and the same).  I also find people are not paying attention to the flow of traffic; e.g. – when the car ahead of them is moving, it takes the average person 5-12 seconds to recognize that and to start driving.   Now, if we have 40-50 cars doing that, those are some major delays!  The second problem is urban sprawl; more cars on the road equals to more traffic, and more lanes on the road equals to more congestion!  I learned in Introduction to Environmental Science Class in 1999 that more cars and more lanes equals to more traffic; public transportation and car pooling are some solutions to this issue.  However, another issue is that our public transportation system sucks (long waits and unpredictable service and poor quality) and some of the good stuff like Purple Line metro line (that connects different parts of Maryland), which would help with congestion, is 24 years late in the making!

So, what’s with all the complaining?  Well, recently there has been a hike of about 10-15 minutes on all of my commutes; it’s not just the time, but the quality of the time.  Time sitting in dead and bumper to bumper traffic!  It’s a basically dead time that has been stolen from me due to the degradation of the quality of life.  So basically, urban sprawl is the rapid increase of the population in urban and suburban areas (which leads to pollution, segregation, congestion, and spread places which require an automobile).  The more people move into an area, the more buildings, cars, and overall congestion.  Also, sociologically, there are statistical correlations between the density of population and the amount of crime (they’re directly proportional); and, things that aren’t always measured includes mental health issues (e.g. – having a public park or a public lake or creek may have correlations with mental clinic intakes, etc.; social forces at play that adds a wrench into the Freudian universe, where everyone is their own orbit and in total control of their fate), dietary issues (if I’m having a bad day, I go straight for the candy drawer – others the weed drawer or whatever floats their boat!), and health issues (if I spent 45 minutes more in traffic than I did in 2003, then you better damn believe that’s time taken away from my social life and my fitness routines [or cooking]).

The modern society is basically squeezing its residents like a boa constrictor: greater traffic and congestion, higher prices, fixed or slowly increasing wages, entertainment and politics are controlled by corporations (and social media!), our food is losing nutrition with GMOs (we have pay “extra” just for real food!) and artificial ingredients (basically, whatever food companies can get away with so they can reduce costs and increase profits; this includes yoga mat rubber, high fructose corn syrup, and antibiotics in meat!), and, yeah, I’m pretty upset that there are is no good music on the radio now because corporations take surveys and create a generic playlist based on studies of test audiences (not to mention talentless pop singers).  This is just skimming the surface.  So what is the solution?  I mean, we are getting the life squeezed out of us (not matter how well off or not well off we are today, every decrease in quality of life is damaging our health and well being) like a boa constrictor as opposed to a fast death like a rattle snake or cobra.  Is it really worth it to be slowly digested over the course of 10,000 years like that “sarlacc” creature in Star Wars?

Sarlacc/Modern Society pic.

Anyway, so what is the solution?  I do not want to sound like I am complaining, I am simply calling a deuce a deuce.  I have many thoughts on that, but until another day, that is it for now.  Have a great day and please feel free to write to me (chingyinwriting@gmail.com) or find me on facebook:  Boom, My Facebook Page .  Solutions will come soon!  Another issue I want to discuss later is the complete willingness for the modern man to be complacent within a shitty system as long as they get their fodder and shelter.  Survival is not succeeding, it is simply a starting point to existence.  If you’re read this whole thing, you’re either really patient, really scholarly, and somehow, some way, give a shit about me.  Have a great day.

 

 

Next Projects

Standard

So, there are a list of projects that I have in mind.  It’ll take some time to filter out.  This includes revising a draft of a book that I helped co-author and completing a self-help book about happiness (I have about 60% of a draft).  I believe they’ll both be published online in digital format, but I look forward to writing and improving and growing.  It’ll just take time and effort, like anything else.  Since I am not 100% dependent on writing, I do not hope to be going around from freelance job to freelance job.  I don’t intend to ham it out and just “do what it takes to succeed.”

I hope to stay focused, to write things worth reading, and to constantly improve upon my craft.  It’s easy to write a little every day, or to write a lot every day, but it’s not easy to have an idea, see a draft through and through, and revise and edit, and complete everything until publication.  That is a very daunting process and it scares the hell out of me.  That will wipe me out as a first time author, and it has been my biggest mental block.

Other ideas includes various books of poetry that are centered around a central theme, such as the meaning of life, true love, or the conquering of demons.  Also, I’d like to write a series of short stories in volumes, which again focus on central themes.  While I am not a big fan of horror, I have had several dreams about zombies in the past year and a half.  I sort of take that as a sign and find a zombie apocalypse to be a great backdrop to tell a human story.  Another project I’d like to see completion would detail the Asian American immigration experience and various stories centered around the Asian American experience within the United States.  This includes the Japanese internment camps, building of railroads, and other historical events.  I’d like to humanize this group and eventually create stories that integrate various characters and groups to facilitate diversity.  Writing and art should be all about exploring and opening up minds.

Word up.  That’s where the next level is at.  First, I need to publish a damn book.  Holler!

What it’s like to be a writer

Standard

So yeah, now that I am officially writing daily, I have to ask myself: what is it like to be a writer?  Well, my feeling is that everyone has their own formula.  Some people can write amidst a storm; water crashing, crew men running about and changing the sails, and fish flopping on your lap.  I cannot.  Writing probably takes about 60% of my daily energy, and if I am running around and doing errands, cooking food, commuting, coaching, working, and handing the daily craziness of life, I CANNOT write.  I feel 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there is not a good formula for me.

I find it hard to get myself to do it (because that requires a certain amount of finite willpower that I usually do not have), and when I do it, I find I lack the energy to follow through on an important project or initiate an important project.  Surely, commuting and life and the craziness of city or suburban living drains a lot of you.  I am no different.  But I have attempted to move to a place that’s closer to nature and I have cleared space in my schedule, and I have worked hard to do what I live and stay alive.

So,  in summary, find your own solution or formula to writing!  I don’t think there is an absolute method or approach.  I don’t prescribe to the “just do it!” approach, nor the “just pick a time and do it every day” approach nor the “just write in the middle of a storm!” approach.  It’s something deeply personal and something that requires a major investment in my opinion (based on what I want to do as a writer; maybe that’s not a lot ask for daily journal writing or reflect – I don’t know, each person and their needs and wants are different).

After that, what else is there for me to want?  Now, what am I going to write about?  First, I will probably study a lot of philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, and other “ologies.”  Why is that?  I want to educate my mind and I want to see through the curtains of delusion and cut through the dust of injustice to help others and to bring new meaning to my life.

Okay, that is it for now.  My goal this month is to read and finish “The Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith and probably some philosophical text: Confucius, Plato, or Lao Tzu?  It’s all about the classics and for now, I do not care for any modern literature or texts.  One love.  Peace.

A New Birth as a Writer

Standard

So it has finally happened.  I am on the verge of quitting my side job as a Writing Tutor, and will now devote half of my time as a writer.  It has been a long and winding road, from the car accident that caused me to reexamine my life and goals and dreams to the series of jobs, hassles, and troubles in the past 4 years that had finally pushed me to clear some space permanently as a writer.  In that time, I had quit my job, drove across the country, and lived in a car for 3 months in California.  It was fun, enlightening, very rarely dangerous, and a good opportunity to connect with nature, the fresh energy of California, and hang out with friends (and make friends).  It was truly life changing and has helped me get over existential and day-to-day humps in the past 4 years.

Also, I had moved out to Columbia, MD in hopes of being further away from the hustle and bustle of the DMV – this includes the suburbs of Montgomery County, parts of Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C., and the god-awful Northern Virginia area.  There is nothing wrong with these places intrinsically, but the traffic and pace is too fast and hectic, the people are too tense and hurried and neurotic, and the focus in those places is on wealth, affluence, comfort, and power; all of things that I do not care for.

I also realize that the world is in the state of a transition, with many peripheral problems finally surfacing, with access to information about the various political powers, new causes, problems with the environment, and just general human suffering.  One of my jobs as a writer is to educate myself and reflect upon the truth, and reveal back to humanity so that they can have perspective about their day-to-day life or broader affairs.  I want to shake humanity by the shirt, and say “wake up!”  I want people to understand themselves, understand others, and treat each other and the world with more respect and dignity.  I want reduce the crux of human suffering bit by bit and help people see a better truth and light.

Those are some of the reason that I write.  I also intend to be a good storyteller, a good technician, and a good student of the arts.  While I may not be the best writer, I think my current skill level can suffice, and I can build upon it.  I would rate it as an intermediate level, if I am measuring myself against some of the greats like Hurston, Marquez, Li Bai, or Baldwin.  Now, it’s a craft like anything else, and I can use the formula that I have used in martial arts; Kung Fu = hard work over time.  That’s all I need.  I intend to be a live for another 80 something years, so let’s put this creative heart to work!

Today is the day that I become a full time writer, finally.  Thank God too.  The twists and turns of my life in the past 4 years have been winding and deep and treacherous.  I should get another Bachelor’s degree, except this time not with a 2.4 GPA.  Thank you thank you.