Looking over the Rainbow

I fancy myself a writer. Well a potential writer. Actually I want to be a writer and I want to write.

That’s close enough to the truth. The problem has been inspiration. I haven’t felt very creative recently. Recently means in the last eight or nine months. Yup, it has been hard for me to get the old noggin’ producing anything more than short poems. That isn’t a good sign. This blog exist partially as a result of this dry spell. I needed a place to practice writing, even when I don’t have anything to say.

Working at Borders I see a lot of books, duh. My store has a section on writing. It includes books on plot, character names, finding an agent, getting publish, constructing story arches. All sorts of reference material. Just about anything you can name or guess that is related to the field of writing and publishing, a book exists on it and my store carries it or can have it for you in five to seven days. I’ve been tempted at times to buy some of these books, in the hopes that their authors have some how distilled the essence of best selling novel writing techniques and methods into 100 or 200 pages. But then I shake my head, laugh a little to myself and realize that there is no formula and that these people are writing these books to makes some money off of me and besides where are their New York Times best seller list novel? Half the authors of these books I’ve never heard of and searches on the database at work show that they’ve only ever written books for the “how to write” market.

So what do I do to get back into the groove? Does anyone out there have any ideas? Maybe I should post the question to Metafilter and see if I can get some answers… That’s a great idea and if I do I can post them here! Even better I can do a search of Ask Metafilter and find this! I could search for more but I should read this over first… It seems persistence is the key, damn no quick and easy here either, oh well I guess that makes it similar to everything else.

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I finished the Tao of Pooh today. It’s a short book but it does a good job of introducing the basic beliefs and philosophy behind Taoism. I enjoyed reading more for the pooh part than the Tao… I’ve been a Winnie the Pooh fan since I was a little boy watching the daily show on Disney, not the cartoon but the live action one with grown men in ridiculous costumes. Yeah, I ate it up. I’ve never read the Pooh books but after seeing the excerpts in Huff’s books I think I might check them out from Borders. Yeah, that’s the great thing about being a Borders employee, it’s the only good thing about being one I get to check out two books at a time. The store is my own personal library! The only problem with that being all the space wasted on romance novels and manga. You know that Borders isn’t in the book business to spread good literature they are in it for the cash and we don’t stock what doesn’t sell. We have eleven or twelve full bookcases of manga and two for graphic novels. The entire history section gets about the same amount of space. For a bibliophile and lover of history that is a depressing thought.

But I digress. I think the point of this post was that I got my midterm back from my Religious Studies 140b class, “Gospel of John” and with a minimal amount of time and energy investment I got a B. Not bad, eh?

Losing out to Ennui

I’ve barely committed myself to doing a blog and I’m already skipping out on days? I admit I have a terrible work ethic. I don’t know where I got it from both of my parents work and they work hard. My mom consistently spends one to two hours at the office after she should have left, often it is four or five. My dad, a teacher, is the same. He signs himself up for every seminar or session that the school district might have. He never says no to the positions that his principal and other teachers volunteer him for. Before he taught he spent his days at the office and a great deal of his nights at home doing appraisals of agricultural land for a bank that could care less for him. His work was immaculate and often went into great depth, a depth that was unnecessary but which he did anyway.

But what have been the rewards for all my parents hard work? My dad, at the bank where he once worked was passed up time and time again for advancement, even though he was more qualified than other applicants and had a perfect performance record, For all this effort he was eventually layed off and his retirement fund cut to ribbons, leaving him at the age of 40, with a wife 3 children, a mortgage, no secure financial future and 20 years of his life wasted. My mom? She too has little to look forward to, her late unpaid hours at this point are expected of her. If she doesn’t put in the time pro bono someone else can be found who will.

On the other hand we have the fantastic example of our current President George W. Bush. A man who as far as I and anyone else can tell has never worked for anything in his life. He is the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet, perhaps the most powerful in history. Is he doing a good job at it? Not particularly but that is beside the point really. The point is, that he didn’t work for it, and he certainly didn’t work hard at it. No, this man has been handed everything he has ever had and instead of working with it he has quickly destroyed it and moved on to the next “toy”

George W. Bush is just one example of the people who get ahead in life, not by labor or an ethic of any sort but by dumb luck and the avoidance of responsibility. So why should I commit myself to much to this blog? It’s not as if hard work at the craft of writing or dedication to a cause or ideal will bring me anything in life.

No, if I have learned anything here it is that, recognition will only be dispensed to me by powers completely beyond my control and that once I do receive it, I will have do nothing to continue to deserve it. In fact my best bet would be to trash it and hope for no expect new and better things to come my way.

Poor Performance

Last Wednesday was my midterm for my Roman culture class. I got an A on the final but my grade isn’t what I wanted to write about here. The class is twice a week from 6 to 8 PM. The schedule insures that a great deal of the time the people whose names are on the roll are only in class during tests. This is complicated by the professor, who seems to lack basic organizational scales. This is her first year here at UCD, but she has been teaching a number of years at Santa Barbara. Despite her professional history she can’t come to class on time, nor can she prepare her tests.

Wednesday night I come to class at 6:15, I can do this because I know she is not going to be there. I sit in the back of the class and talk with some of the friends I have made in the class expecting her to be in around twenty after. At 6:26 one of the other professors from the classics department comes in to tell us that she is having problems with the copier but will be in soon. More times passes and then some more. If I knew the midterm wasn’t today I would have left. UCD has a policy saying students can leave the class, if the teacher does not show up after a reasonable amount of time (generally 15 to 20 minutes) without penalty.

At 6:57 she stumbles into the room! Complaining and explaining all at the same time about copiers and toner and computer complications. The bottom line is simple. It takes her another 15 minutes to hand out the midterm and “give directions”. It is a simple scantron the same type of quiz that those of us who have gone through public school have been taking since 3rd grade! Needless to say the instructions are overly complicated and unnecessary, no one in the room needed to know that the circle had to be completely filled in with a number 2 pencil. But she felt this knowledge was crucial…

It took me 10 minutes to take the midterm. A midterm that had no number 8, 15, 31,32, or 37. Three of the questions only had options A, B, and D?

I don’t know what to say? This is what I am paying three thousand dollars a quarter for? I hope she does phenomenal research because Lord knows the Regents couldn’t have hired her for her pedagogical abilities.