Staring At What Was

I’ve spent the last few days (actually, weeks) trying to figure out what I’m doing here, what constitutes “success”. Looking to what I’ve done to figure out what I want to do next. Bad, bad, bad idea. It’s fine when you go through each moment, doing things, saying them, allowing them to be captured. This post being a case in point. It’s even alright to look at the shape of things afterwards, to look at the handiwork and see how it all turned out, altogether. It is not, however, a good idea to preserve, replicate, or remake something, or to stare at it for to long. All that causes is lethargy and decay.

In a way decay is just part of the overall process, but that doesn’t always mean it has to be visible. You’ll notice that while I might’ve talked about doubts before, inaction, the uselessness of reflection and dwelling on the past… I rarely talk about it in the moment. As it’s happening. Here, now, is the first time I can think of. It probably won’t be the last because I’m a shameless hypocrite and I contradict myself often, but there’s a quote that captures my meaning pretty well from Scott Adams, about creativity needing needing the freedom to make mistakes.

According to him, art is simply a matter of keeping the right ones. I try not to censor myself to much here. The idea from the start here was unchained writing, in any form and on any topic. Including messy freewrites, if that’s what I feel like writing. I cherry pick the posts I publish to a certain degree, but the more I do that here the more I’m shooting myself in the foot. Put another way…. ideally, I like to keep self censorship to an absolute minimum.

I really shouldn’t even be doing that on my other site, where I write fiction, because while that falls more into the “art” category than Heart of a Lunatic does, I am still just a nobody and an amateur. When I reach 4,000 subcribers I’ll still describe myself as one, unless I happen to write an entire book in the meantime, but even on the off chance I pull off a novel out of nowhere it’ll only be my first one. Maybe I’ll still be an amateur. When or if I’m paying bills with the money I’ve made from book sales, then (and only then) am I likely to change my mind about that.

There’s no reputation to ruin and not really any existing stories to ‘tarnish’. Anyways, the point is that looking back is almost always a bad idea. The longer you stare at pieces of the past, the less time you’ll have to destroy or create pieces of the present. Even when or if I’m more than just an amateur, a hobbyist, a nobody… even then I need to be willing to forget all of it.

The answer to “what should I do?” is always the same. I am satisfied when I’m creating. When I am making something to look back on. Not when I’m trying to figure out how to do it properly as I continue, and not when my mind is stuck on repeat. Better to forget the past and (accidentally) “repeat” myself from time to time than to leave the same moment, words, or actions on repeat. If it’s new to me in the moment, it’s not just the same old song. Maybe it has the same message, but the undercurrent will be different, the attitude accompanying it will be fresh.

Gem for the Reader

Better to act foolishly than to not act at all.

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