2009/01/30

0003 Lakera 12: Twenty-five

So, there's this "say twenty-five things about yourself meme" going around, and all the cool kids are doing it. Since the best way to be a non-conformist around here is to see what all the other non-conformists are doing these days, here's some thoughts on what goes on inside my head:
  1. My first real written fiction, Chuckles in the Wind, was a sixty-page horror novella that could be summed up in the following sentence: "when a young man discovers that his real mother is a witch bent on revenge from beyond the grave against her murderous husband and the rest of his line, he must learn magic to survive."
  2. I wrote Chuckles in the Wind when I was eight.
  3. I wore contact lenses before I had glasses; I got my first pair when I was nine, because my father feared that I'd be called "four-eyes." My opthamologist switched me to glasses when I was twenty, saying that my corneas looked "rumpled" and that he feared that I'd be blind in five years from the abuse through which I had put my eyes.
  4. In what should've been a warning sign for the future, my first two spoken words were "no" and "up", in that order.
  5. When I was three years old, before I knew the names of things, I invented a pair of words, "bushwog" and "dipschwong," which I used consistently to identify... something. By the time I my vocabulary was sufficient to explain to my mother what I meant when I used them, I had learned the standard names for whatever they were, and had forgotten the neologisms. To this day, the words remain a mystery.
  6. I've had so many cases of swimmer's ear, with the accompanying waxy build-up, that I have a doctor's permission to stick Q-Tips in my ears as temporary relief for excess wax. This also means that sometimes, loud noises literally turn into static in my right ear, because of the blockage.
  7. I used to love going to waterparks as a kid. I was never much of a swimmer-for-swimming's-sake, but I loved diving and waterslides.
  8. I have a head for languages, but not a muzzle. I almost minored in French in college, but then was forced to withdraw from Conversational French I when the professor quietly told me that despite my amazing grasp of vocabulary, grammar, and idiom, my accent meant that he could at best give me a D and that I might want to rethink my plans.
  9. In addition to five years of high school French, I dabbled in Welsh and Japanese before jumping to Esperanto and then branching into conlangs. In addition to Khonnen Simplex, I have an additional three "project" languages in various states of completion.
  10. Despite not having a job involving wearing a velvet cape and weeping in a Paris sewer tunnel or busking with dancing skeletons, I'm an oldschool fan of gothic music, style, and imagery. Related to this, it frustrates me to no end that the two typical approaches to the classic World of Darkness RPG setting in general and "Vampire: the Masquerade" in specific are "I outgrew that in high school" and "I drink blood martinis and sleep in the coffin that will one day serve as my eternal resting place."
  11. I'm emotionally and morally conflicted about the impact of postmodernist philosophy on art and artistry. When meaning is in the eye of the audience as much as in the eye of the artist and any interpretation that makes sense is a "right answer," what's the point of trying to deliberately encode ethical ideas into one's creations?
  12. For all that I excel at technology skills, I hate being a professional technologist. I went into computer science and software design in college not out of any love of the profession but because I knew that being a writer wouldn't put food on the table and wouldn't support a family.
  13. That said, I have a great love of gadgetry and miniaturization. I love the fact that my current phone has more memory than my first four computers combined.
  14. I believe that Sunday School and other efforts to teach the specifics of any given religion to children are tantamount to child abuse. Comparative religion and theology as introductions to metaphysics are fine, but specific instruction in the "right way" to "worship" "God" before they can hear the quotation marks should be treated as cruelty.
  15. I believe that the idea of "nation" is obsolete and should be scrapped as quickly as is feasible. "Nation" is a blunt instrument, a crude tool for mapping the unrelated concepts of "culture" and "geography." I'm convinced that the best way forward involves the establishment of a secular global caretaker government and the elimination of national boundaries, and I have hopes that the European Union will continue to evolve into such a structure. I hope that, as national boundaries collapse, factional identities with their own internal legal systems will rise to replace them.
  16. I believe that humanity has already passed the Malthusian crisis point, and that we've been delaying the inevitable by learning how to eat things that aren't food.
  17. I have two very bad habits that are going to get me in trouble one day: my own internal editorial commentary becomes part of any conversation whether I actually say it out loud or not, and I tend to exaggerate for emphasis. Given these working in conjunction with each other, it's a wonder I haven't claimed that the Pope is trying to get God to throw the moon at the Earth yet. I don't mean to cause drama when I do this, but often it's only upon additional reflection that I ever catch that I've done it, by which point it's often harder to fix than to simply let drop.
  18. In the same vein, I'm very bad about speaking as distinct from writing. I'm not an orator. I tend to say exactly what's going on in my head, even if it's unprocessed and unfit for public consumption. When I'm emotionally stressed, this tendency becomes even worse. Often, half an hour can make the difference between using the right word and using all the wrong ones, but I'm not always afforded those thirty minutes to sort out what's going on between my ears. I've deeply offended more than one person by answering a question while under pressure to provide an instant answer and while emotionally agitated.
  19. As a creator of narrative, both in my own life and in my characters' lives, I tend to judge others' creations by the near-impossible standard of "would I have done this the same way, and does that make me a better or worse storyteller than the person in question?" This makes watching most movies nigh-impossible, aside from the ones that absolutely blow me away. I don't mean to imply that anyone's enjoyment of any given media is wrong or misguided, but I have a difficult time enjoying stories when I find myself constantly saying things like, "it doesn't make sense for her to have done things like that" or "how could he have been so stupid?"
  20. I read and write everything for the characters. The larger plot is, by and large, just window-dressing to motivate characters to explore their thoughts and emotions, and perhaps even those of others. If the characters are obnoxious or difficult to appreciate, I'm probably not going to enjoy it, even if the rest of the film is right up my alley. I didn't enjoy Dr. Strangelove, for instance, and I came away from it with the same feeling that I had when I watched Being John Malkovich. Meanwhile, I fall all over Big Trouble in Little China, despite its goofy nature, because the characters are real people to me.
  21. In case it weren't glaringly obvious at this point, I'm highly sensitive to language in media, especially to what I consider unnecessary neologisms and what I can only describe as "silly-sounding" words. One might think, and quite rightfully so, that Harry Potter would be directly up my alley, but every time Rowling introduces a new word I want to climb up onto the back of my chair and scream. Now, I won't say I'm not hypocritical on this point, especially in light of my childhood bushwogs and dipschwongs, but in my defense I was three and for the most part I grew out of it.
  22. I have, or at least had, internalized the label of Objectivist so deeply that at one point during Greenspan's testimony before Congress on his shock at realizing that people hadn't acted in rational self-interest, that I actually thought, "Greenspan must not understand Objectivism." Then I remembered that he was one of Rand's direct disciples and probably one of her ex-lovers. This let me, for one shining second, to actually hold the thought that Ayn Rand didn't understand Objectivism before I suffered a massive synaptic misfire.
  23. After years of frustration and introspection, I've finally come to accept that I owe a larger spiritual debt to Malcolm X than I do to Martin Luther King Junior. I'm not interested in reconciliation with the mainstream, and I'm not interested in integration and understanding. Somebody else will need to be our community's voice to the outside world. Meanwhile, I'll be back here, speaking to my own and doing what I can to inspire them to build their own crazy worlds away from external criticism.
  24. I recognize that ghettoization is perhaps the worst and most dangerous thing that any majority can do to any minority population, but I also think that voluntary isolation and autonomy can do more to bolster a sense of worth and community than almost anything else. I'm not going to claim that reservations and internment camps are a good thing, but I will gladly point to the endless isolated monestaries, cloisters, convents, temples, and hermitages, as well as events like end of the U.S.S.R. and the creation of East Timor, as examples of my views.
  25. I harbor a secret fear that I'm more like Mason Lang than Queen Mab.
To those who understand, I extend my hand. To the doubtful, I demand, "take me as I am."

1 comment:

  1. (Pardon me for commenting late; I've been slow to catch up because every time you refer to things with that damned separate calendar vocabulary, my brain glazes over and I go "Huh? WTF?" and start stumbling before ultimately giving up on trying to follow what the hell's being talked about. Which is, incidentally, why I was so passionately against it beforehand - it is an active barrier to communication. If you don't want to reconcile, that's one thing - but actively preventing the ability to have things understandable at all is just going to make your life worse.)

    I find it interesting that you apparently hold Malcolm X in such high regard. I consider him to be one of the greater evils the world has ever known, and I thank G-d he never held serious political power; his influence was bad enough. One should *learn* about the idiocies and stupidities and mistakes that cause the hardships you live with and *work to fix them*, not appropriate them as practical building blocks of society! I find it morally equivalent to, say, the idea of Jews gassing Germans instead of the other way around.

    MLK was an idealist, and that always implies some degree of naivete - but at least he didn't think of "eye for an eye" as a stable future plan that can happily continue into blissful eternity. Societies built on that ludicrous idiocy deserve to die and frequently do.

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