Buenos Aires

Inconsequential random thoughts

Example of typical graffiti in Buenos Aires

This slice of graffiti life in Buenos Aires has nothing to do with anything in this rambling post; I just like it. It can be found on Darregueyra Street, somewhere past Charcas.

I am now 66. The Christian types passing occasionally through my space in the world claim that is one 6 too short.

Something I’ve noticed:

Life’s days pass at the speed of light during the first ten years; days like minutes. Then comes a dramatic lull, a bog, that appears during the teen years, when days pass like months. This stabilizes in the middle years — a day is a day, passing as it should, or as one expects, for quite a long time, decades, actually. Then one goes over the hump, when there are more days behind than there are possible days ahead. Say 50, to be generous at describing a midpoint in a typical life span.

There is a decade or so returning to the lull time of the teen years, when one feels truly bogged down, trapped, maybe, or static.

Then 60, when there is doubtlessly many more days behind than there could ever be ahead. Time returns to the speed of infancy, days are minutes. I don’t know what happens next, because I have not yet, but am ever hopeful, experienced, and will never actually experience, even one moment into the future. All sight is hindsight, all understanding is historical.

An epiphany on writing:

I have been a writer by profession for 30 years, a writer by necessity since I learned how to form letters with a pencil. For most of that time I thought that what I did with my time much of the day constituted a hallowed art; I thought it was a vitally important thing to do. I felt an almost patriotic swell of pride when being described as “a writer.” Then one day, and not so long ago, it occurred to me that thinking of writing as exceptional was an illusion. Or a delusion. That was my writing epiphany. What is the exceptionalism of writing, or for that matter, anything we call an art form? How is what I do much of the day different from accountants who move numbers instead of words on a page? How different from the person screws on a part on an assembly line? How is the sweat I pour over a fine sentence any different from the sweat a gravedigger makes? How is the book I produce any more of an exceptional object than a pot or an automobile?

Graham Greene called most of his work “entertainments.” He was right. As a writer, I am simply one variety of entertainer, a version of a baseball player and an actor and a musician and a clown and a rodeo rider and a TV host. We entertainers occupy ourselves hoping to make others laugh or cry or recoil in horror or feel inspired or call to action or to educate, but in this the writer is not exceptional — this is threaded through all entertainment. Writing is not hallowed; I can’t even say what art is, what it could be that makes it exceptional from any human endeavor.

Why is there evil in the world? Evil has no rational basis. There is no human value in it. Attempting to answer this dilemma by relying on ancient myths about devils and gods and all that oh so mundane lack of intellectual awareness that produces the odd dogmas of religious beliefs, may assuage one’s individual fears or emptiness, but it belies any hope for a real answer. Yet evil is everywhere, in such abundance that one would suppose there must be some value in it. I have just seen photos of American soldiers gleefully murdering innocent people, then posing with the torn, brutalized bodies. When those soldiers were boys playing in the backyard, was this evil latent within them? What evil drives a person to strap a bomb to his body and blow his life away in bloody bits for no other reason that the desire to murder as many other people as possible? If we make evil, can we stop making it?

Other random thoughts of the day:

Why has Buenos Aires so totally wasted its possibility of being a truly wonderful and livable city?

Why are we unable to see how completely anti-social social media has made us?

Is evolution going to make the human thumb smaller and curved more downward for more efficient typing on miniature keyboards?

And by the way, The Last Island was uploaded to Kindle and iPad eReaders yesterday. Kindle usually has the book up for sale within a day or two, Apple takes a week or two. I’ll post a note here or on FB when it is available. It is about 128,000 words, the original version of what was corrupted into the Hatch trilogy.

I never imagined it would come to this — there are many things I have never been able to imagine about the future — but I now have four of my books on digital readers, while only two remain (tenuously) in print. I have only one manuscript (Blossom) still floating around looking for a print home. I’ll give it a year. After that, I’ll probably retire from print publishing and go digital. (Go digital reads a bit like “go for throttle up”).

Than you for your visit.

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6 replies »

  1. I think value and/or meaning doesn’t reside in anything other than our assertions. I used to believe otherwise, but then I started trying to get published.

    I look forward to reading about Hatch as he was originally intended.

  2. I’ve had my share of social media rants. I use the Internet flagrantly, especially the facility of more or less instant research. I don’t know how much I would miss what computers and the Internet provide. We will never know; that bridge is crossed and burned.

  3. If you retire from print publishing and go digital, I’ll never get to read any of your work again. I refuse to go digital.

    • It may end up being digital or nothing. That’s what publishing is coming to, and whether or not we like it, that’s the new world. By the way, I don’t own an eReader and do not read digital books. I am putting my old, out of print, works on eReaders because there’s nothing else to do with them.

      • I will continue to ignore the “new world” and believe that as long as I live, there will be real books.