Alex the Scribe

Exploring the craft of writing. Sharing resources for writers.

Month: May, 2016

My Life is not my Own

I sell my soul

My life is not my own:
I rent my hours for a living;
I whore my body to feed it;
I sell my mind to free my soul
(or is it the other way around?).
I spend my time building lies,
confabulations to appease
the growing unease,
the dissonance between my needs and my wants,
between expectations and commitments.
Past decisions have left me disowned,
owner of my cat’s life,
of garden-grown produce
and growing debt,
but my home, like my life,
is not my own.


What I say, what I see

An artist is someone having the courage to say, "Here is what I see."I want to write to share my worldview. I want to write to touch other minds and bleed a bit of myself in them through osmosis, an osmosis of the minds between the writer and the reader.

I want to have things to say. I’m just not sure what that might be.

I guess it has something to do with being heard. Let’s face it, it’s pretty lonely down here when you get a glimpse of the unimaginable scale of time and space.

Immeasurable only hints at the magnitudes involved. And infinity isn’t useful in this case. Given the infinitesimal blimp that is my existence in the universe, I wish to imbue it with meaning. I want to mean something in this unreasonable universe, even if only to me. That self-definition would be much more meaningful, much more valuable to me, than the futile products I create in my day job.

I want to create to define myself. To find myself, my voice, and my message. To gain clarity of thought, clarity of worldview.

Am I only writing for myself?

If so, is it a worthwhile pursuit? But I would only write for myself if I were my only reader. But I don’t want to be only a journaler (i.e. one who journals). I don’t want to keep it to myself. I want to share my writing.

But why?

Should writing be about what I want? Or should it be for the reader? If I write only for myself, my writing will be unsatisfactory. If I’m my only reader, I’m not a writer. To be a writer, one needs to write, and to share that writing.

Writing for the reader isn’t all bad. You get to create entertainment, food for thought, subversion, alleviation of suffering–if only for a few hundred words or a few hundred pages. But then you’re selling your artist’s soul, in a way. Writing to please isn’t authentic. Writing, as all art, should be about expressing oneself, not about pleasing the crowds. It should be about observing the world in all its brutish glory and showing it through my irregular colored lenses. It should be a duty of recording the world, like a scribe being a witness to existence, to our shared existence.

Would that be a higher purpose to art, to writing? To present a biased frame of reality? Or is it art for its own sake? No. Sharing art–and writing–alters the beholder’s reality. It touches her empathy, it’s a sharing of the soul. We partake in an osmosis of the minds miles and years apart. We defy thermodynamics. We twist space-time by entangling our minds for an instant. It’s another way to be connected. It’s a manifestation of the interconnectedness of everything, of everyone. While you read my words, our selves meld, along with all the other readers before you. We become a new amalgam stretched through space-time. We connect through the higher dimensions to share something ineffable, meaningless like ourselves yet pregnant with shared humanity in the moment.

And sometimes, I ramble aimlessly, go on a tangent, leave the path I had traced for myself and get lost in the wilds of my thoughts. Sometimes it’s dark. I can only guess at roving shapes in the void just beyond the mind’s eye. Nightmares on the tip of the tongue. Sometimes I find forgotten bits of me. Some are broken, shards of what I’ve been or might have become. Some are whole dreams that had faded to mist, veiled just beyond consciousness, like waking with the feeling of the dream but without the images. Some are wholesome, some vile, some corrosive.

Sometimes, I find a gem. Or the hint of a gem, like the glint of moonlight on a broken mirror.

So. What DO I have to say? Should I even have a message? No. I think I was going at it the wrong way. The ‘message’ of the artist isn’t a statement per se. It is an observation. It is a biased, deformed, colored snapshot of the world. Of a world. An artist is someone having the courage to say, “Here is what I see.”


Take the time to watch the video above. Thirty-two metronomes are set to the same beat-per-minute rhythm and started at random so that none of them click at the same time. They all sit on the same mobile platform. After a couple of minutes, all 32 metronomes click at the same time.
They synchronized.
Could it be an analogy to the creation of life? Molecules swim in a common medium and, given enough time, synchronize. And order comes out of chaos.
It could also be an analogy to the singularity that caused the big bang. Space-time is the mobile platform, energy and dark energy the metronomes. In time, it all synchronized into a singularity. A synchronicity. And kaboom. Universe, stars, supernova, star dust, planets, water, life. Roughly in that order.
It’s a self-organizing universe, organizing towards complexity. But in the end, entropy will win.
Because, given enough time, the metronomes stop.