Monday, July 28, 2014


"At times I almost dream
I too have spent a life the sages’ way,
And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance
I perished in an arrogant self-reliance
Ages ago; and in that act a prayer
For one more chance went up so earnest, so
Instinct with better light let in by death,
That life was blotted out — not so completely
But scattered wrecks enough of it remain,
Dim memories, as now, when once more seems
The goal in sight again

~Robert Browning, Paracelsus, 1835

Like the tortured Paracelsus in Browning's poem, I often wonder - is there more to life? Certainly existence has many levels to it, or at least our consciousness does. An odd thing to think about, isn't it? The poem excerpt above almost certainly suggests a form of reincarnation. But I like to think of it as about a person who has been through many different stages in his life. Perhaps he was a drug addict or a criminal who reformed. Perhaps he was an atheist who converted to a religion, or vice versa. And this poem are his thoughts from late in his life, many, many years after such a reform, or stage. He imagines his life pre-change, and muses whether he made the right choice.

Enough with Browning. I'm alienating you, Dear Reader, I'm sure. But that was just an example of my observations. I read a lot - mostly poetry and the "classics", as well as historical lit, but if anything catches my interest, I'll read it. It leads me to research, to learn about the world I live in, and to think about what makes it work.

Dear Reader, these are the topics and questions I'll pose to you, and try to answer - or at least give my ideas about it. I like research and new things - the more obscure, the better. I created this blog with my good friend Heather to try to discuss, to write about things that interest us, and how our previous experiences and observations help explain these things. Or something like that.

I will try to post as often as I can - a guarantee, I'm afraid, that you'll only have to blindly take my word for. I lead a busy life - not now, during the summer, of course, but during the school year. I'm 16 - an incoming junior. I lead in many different clubs and take ungodly numbers of AP courses. But I enjoy the study and the workload of schoolwork, like learning new things (extracurriculars, I'm afraid, are a different matter entirely. Except for the journalism program I'm in, which I am completely devoted to.)

Thus, with Heather, we'd like to offer this blog to you, Reader - a blur of observations and ideas. Confusing, an obscure hodgepodge with no rhyme or reason, isn't it? But isn't this what makes life worth living? It's like the famous line Robin Williams gives his Welton Academy students in Dead Poets Society:

"'That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.' What will your verse be?"

As a budding writer, that line particularly hits home for me, and I'm sure it does for Heather, as well. I intend to scribble quite a few jottings on the script of the powerful play that is Life: let this be the first of many.




Flickr Credit: shutterhacks
It’s 10 PM, July 27, 2014. And this post was supposed to be done maybe six, seven hours ago. Before supper, at the very least. But no.

There was church. We finished the video series we’d been looking at, “Fan or Follower?” Dripping with pathos, I’ll admit, but not without reason. The decision to follow is hefty, and there’s something about closure—the savory bitterness of the denouement, the inspiration and lethargy that haunts you until the hangover fades—that craves satisfaction. It was enough.

We got home. I walked around the block, just imagining things. Years of struggle, pain, nakedness, hurt. A little bit of humor never killed anyone, either. So I dreamed.

Then the birthday. There’s a Pinkie Pie in my family—enthusiastic, energetic, all-out party lover who also loves pink. The resemblance is uncanny. We paused for a moment, wondering: if we were ponies, what would our cutie marks be? The world may never know.

(I would like to note that I have not actually ever watched My Little Pony. I just read the guidebook.)

Party business aside, I could have written this afterwards, but we got Splash from the library, and I’d been dying to see the “Madison story.” So we did. Also the bonus features. Had to help grandpa with his computer, go out to eat, and I couldn’t rest without seeing more Firefly.

Holy buckets I love that show. The transformation of Mal’s moral ambiguity is as an exciting adventure as any, and I love the irony of Inara’s Companionship being so “respectable.” The faith fascinates me, I gotta say, and the Tam siblings are total keystone. S’like, “alsdjfasdlfadlkfjadlkfj” every time I pop those discs in.

But I digress.

Now it is 10:18 PM. And I have let two Youtube videos distract me twice, not to mention my family. Three Days Grace is on, there’s a watermelon jolly rancher in my mouth, my word document is calling for me, my book bemoans my absence, and the half-done novella is still waiting.

Perhaps I seem unproductive. “You just watched TV all day and ate party food.”
To that I say, “I did not! I only had two cupcakes!”
“Still,” you counter. “Doesn’t sound like you did much at all, does it?”
“Ah,” I reply. “But look. I was there at church, noticing appeals and tracking purpose. On my walk I fiddled with a story, as we did during the birthday party. And hey, Splash and Firefly? Um, I think you could say I gave them some pretty undivided attention during the day. Sounds busy enough to me.”

See, there’s something about stories. Literature. Movies, plays, books, musicals, dramas—they’re inescapable. I did spend a lot of time wandering today. Can’t say it was the best time ever spent. But I wandered, and I watched.

And that’s why I’m writing.

There is going to be a day when it is going to be 12:01 AM, I’m tired, and it’s a school night to boot. And I’ll be here, editing a blog post anyway. Because I must. To read is to breathe. To write is to live. There are nuances to discover, on the page and in my life, and I hope to capture them here as best I can. Rob is supposed to be helping, but that guy—well, you’ll have to read his own writings to get to know him proper.

I’m still awake. It’s 10:41 PM. And I think: I could still start that book, if I wanted. Not everyone is into this kind of thing. High adventure. Highlighters. Connections. Heroes and demons. Archetypes. Sexy villains. Symbolism and crap. But I am.

So, prepare yourselves: it begins now.