Let’s wipe the slate clean again. So okay, I want to be a man of my word. I want to be a strong, responsible person. I want to stand tall, have good posture. I want to speak clearly and confidently. I want to be able to walk into an expensive hotel and not be intimidated at all. I want to be calm in the face of uncertainty, confusion. I want to have a deep inner strength, a deep inner calm. I guess I need to meditate, I need to breathe, and most importantly of all I need to do the work. I gotta be willing to take the hits. I gotta put in the hours of practice, day in, day out. That’s where the confidence comes from. Not from a single moment of magnified inspiration or eureka or anything like that, but from the daily grind. From sweat and toil and practice.
I acknowledge this. I know that I’m a better writer than I was 300 vomits ago. Hell, I’m a better writer than I was 100 vomits ago, and probably 10 vomits ago, too. If I feel nervous or insecure about my writing it’s really just that I’m aware of nuance that I wasn’t aware of before. The quick way to reduce my own anxiety in that regard is to rewrite old work… if and when I want to. I don’t feel like that’s necessary right now. So… let’s not worry too much for now. Let’s trust in the process and keep going. There will be a lot of time for a lot of rewrites once all of this is over. Or I might even want to do something else altogether. I might do them along the way. For now, I’m happy just to ride this particular wave.
So I’ve thought vaguely about what I want. What about it is not true yet, what’s the gap? Physically, I’m not as strong as I’d like to be. Am I at my weakest right now? Well. I think I was at my weakest a few months ago, maybe. I’m not sure. There’s no way to be absolutely certain. But I’ve been running quite regularly for a couple of weeks now. I can run more. I can keep going. I’ll get better. I’ll get faster. I’ll get fitter. So let’s just keep going.
Let’s ride this one thinking about the vomits I’ve read so far. What’s different? What have I learnt? I guess one of the big things is– I used to use way too many lines in my sketches. I don’t exactly mean that I wrote too many words. After all, I’ve been writing at least 1000 words per vomit, over and over again. What I mean is that I wasn’t very exact, and I’d circle things far too much. I’d repeat myself. And I think I have more of a sense of rhythm now then I did back then. I was more verbose.
If I wanted to be a little mean to myself, I’d say something like– I was in love with the sound of my own voice, I wanted to use as many big words as possible. I wanted to show off all these concepts and ideas that I was learning.
But I don’t think it was as literal as that. When I read myself– and I guess this is me being generous– I realize that I was kind of desperate. I wanted to make sense. I was trying to put things together that worked. I parroted the ideas of others because they seemed more valid than anything I had to say– and really, nobody owns any ideas anyway. Everything is a remix. Every perspective is a kalaidescope. Things are blunter and less refined early on. It takes practice to get to refinement. So… I can say that I’m getting more “refined”. That’s always quite a loaded term, though. I guess I feel like I have more range of expression. I used to operate in big blocks, and now I have more varied choices. And some things that I thought I cared about– well, it turns out that I only might care about some subset of something, and that the vast majority of it doesn’t actually matter.
Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize until you attempt to make it precise. And everything precise is so remote from what we normally think… and in the process of making things more precise, we don’t just say different things. We see different things. What was soft sand turns out to be a rich landscape of detail, color, texture. Your initial assumptions break down– not because you were WRONG, but because what you were talking about was so far removed from what things actually are.
I’m not sure if I’m properly capturing what I’m trying to say here. Images might make it clearer. You start out with something with very low resolution. You see a big, flat, single-colored blob with a tidy little shape. And you might say, I like that colored blob. Or I don’t like it. Maybe it’s the girl you love and want to marry. Maybe it’s your career. Maybe it’s your abusive parent.
As you get more precise, you find all sorts of new details and nuance that you had never considered before. It isn’t a single color, it’s a rich tapestry of many colors. It isn’t flat, it’s got its own staggeringly complex topgraphy. It’s got peaks and valleys. And you might find that– what you thought you were right or wrong about, what you liked or disliked– it wasn’t about reality itself, but your model of it. And once your model changes, a lot of things collapse, breakdown, become naive. I won’t even say wrong. It’s not exactly wrong.
Maybe someday I’ll be able to talk about this more clearly, with fewer words. Anyway, I’m glad that I’ve written so much, and I wish I had written more, and I’m planning to write more still.