social stuff

Season Unending


Ernest Hemingway is coined to have stated that “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”. What were his thoughts, I wonder, regarding sitting at a typewriter when those red rivers have all but run dry. Does the typewriter consume ourselves, much like when our body consumes fat and muscle when out of food ? A story about the written word, the theory of everything and also nothing.

Season Unending

I am not a psychologist and therefore anything past this point should be taken with a heavy dose of sea salt. It is my understanding that ever since we are born and all throughout our lives, we are in fact alone, although frequently not lonely. Our conscience, sub-conscience and any other parts exist in this insulated inner world. We connect with external things and other inner worlds through our own world’s borders. Consume external information through our senses and let escape a part of ourselves, which takes the form of the persona we either considered appropriate for the situation at hand, or are willing to share within our comfort levels.

I share the belief that no matter how deep a connection between two people, even if lifelong, our inner worlds will never fully overlap. And so, like the humans that we are, we develop tools to overcome our limitations and make our presence in this world either more comfortable or meaningful. To help us have a better understanding of stuff and to help us reach out from our borders with our own understanding.

Way way waaay back in the days, when I was doing time in the Portuguese Education System, me and my classmates were fortunate enough to have had fascinating teachers. One of which was an elderly, wise, occasionally harsh but caring Chemistry teacher. Although I don’t recall the context per se, I recall clearly the moment in which she dropped a neutron bomb on us. She stated that “the world was built on models inside models”. While she was, without a doubt, referring to the scientific Physical Model, given her lecturing personality I’ve always questioned if it was intentional for her to convey a lot more than that.

At a time when for a young person the world that surrounds us is considerably more incomprehensible, those words, that layered world perspective had some significant impact on myself and my own world view. One of the impacts, I believe, which also contributed to a certain form of stoicism, was the relaying of calmness. The type of peace we obtain from an increased understanding of things, given that we tend to fear the things we neither understand or know. Even if the thing is merely the future. It told me that it was ok to just focus on the current layer, there and now.

It eased me into the career in Computer Science where modularisation and encapsulation are crucial concepts. It enabled me to wiggle my way through the many times un-perfect but good enough resolution of challenging issues where I was in over my head. Get a foothold by unboxing issues through the box I was familiar with and move up and down throughout the layers to get a clearer understanding. While the layered boxed worldview lesson has served me well at many times through time, over time I found it insufficient to capture reality, or enough of it. It is too linear and the layers are complex. More is needed, a lot more.

Another somewhat impactful experience in my life, came indirectly from the fact that at an early age I was diagnosed with Von Willebrand. The diagnosis came from the fact that I had a couple of serious episodes, not of the metaphorical bleeding over a typewriter, but the real life threatening kind. Good news is I’ve been all dandy for decades. At the time tho that implied many trips to the doctor. One of the things my mom did to either (or both) ease my frustration and make me more manageable as she dragged me all the way across the city as a 5 year old or whatever, was to buy me comics. While I never really bothered to go back and look it up, I do clearly remember a particular scene from The Hulk where Dr. Banner somehow had managed to separate himself from the Hulk as two distinct entities.

For the life of me and all that was good and true in the world, I must have turned around that comic on all possible sides and, even being fully aware that I was pure fiction, I could not understand how that could have been possible. So far they have been an intrinsic part of each other. I think that particular book broke me at the time, like a one brain cell orange cat. It also fascinated me and made me fall in love with the world of creativity and more importantly the value behind both creating things AND letting those escape our own inner world so that they might have a chance at having their own life in someone else’s inner world.

I am deeply passionate about writing, to a level I hardly ever let transpire to anyone, save a few light mentions here and there. It is my favorite and most granular creation tool. I both fear and respect writing as the powerful impactful tool that it is, which might as well be one of the reasons I have been mostly silent in the last few years. Some of it was … ruff and maybe best written in invisible ink.

Silent, at least until recently where I found myself rewatching Former US President Obama’s fascinating eulogy speech for late US Senator John McCain. While I wasn’t necessarily the target audience, there was a considerable amount of food for thought in his words.

One particular passage struck me personally and intimately as a deep deep cut. In reference to late US Senator John McCain presidency candidacy which he eventually lost, Mr. Obama mentioned the “timid souls which [by not playing the game] did not know neither victory nor defeat”, and so have learned or changed nothing. Change and progressiveness is a crucial aspect of life and nothing good can come from stagnation.

Had I turned myself into even more of numpty again, cowering behind the walls of my inner world’s border fort ? Well thanks, Mr. Obummer, for making myself have to move my lazy ass again, even if amidst existential questions.

“Amidst” is an unnecessarily fancy word but this is MY article and I want to use it.

In the video game Skyrim, they call war the “Season Unending”, which is a good metaphor for our constant inner struggles. War … war never changes.

Every time I face the typewriter, I feel like Neo when first meeting The Merovingian in the movie Matrix, in which Merv chastises Neo for coming before him without a “why”, without a reason. I’ve very very recently, since 30 seconds ago, come to believe that the “what”, as in what to write about, might be the least important question, when there’s a meaningful “why”.

Over focusing on the “what” might be a symptom of our inner world border patrol holding us back. There is value in assaulting that fort. Knowing the taste of either victory or defeat.

My dream is to write a novel. CLIFFHANGER.