Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Return of the King

No, I am not a descendant of Elendil the Tall, but as Rand I am the king of that rocks with the prerequisite rolling.

I played around a lot with ideas of the title of this post. This post being my glorious return to the world of blogging, there were many possible titles that flashed within my head. Two of the ones that appealed to me most strongly before the current one, still ring significant. They draw themselves from a song by the always awesome U2 (well, not really always, between albums they swing wildly between mildly entertaining and insanely cool), which itself is not among the highest of their songs, but does contain some awesome lines, (I have digressed wildly within this sentence, so let me return with the name of the song). I am speaking of "New Year's Day" (Lyrics)(Music Video), and the lines in question are:

"I will begin again"
"Nothing changes on New Year's Day"

Those phrases struck me as poignant especially as:

A. I've been thinking about this since around New Year's and so the latter phrase would have been especially appropriate (although it is amusingly coincidental (but NOT ironic, since this fact fits in literally with the phrase, and contains no element of contradiction which is the sine non qua of irony) that when New Year's Day came I ended up chickening out and hence nothing did change on New Year's Day).

But B. more importantly I was kick-starting an overall renewal in my creative ventures, a core part of myself and hence I was beginning again.

One might think (Juan, Juan, who is this Juan and why is he always cited, heh, heh, heh, okay that joke doesn't work that well in the written word) that after many, many half-starts (like the before-mentioned New Year's day 2009) and aborted bursts of effort, that I might find it wiser to give up on the idea of renewing my creative efforts, but that dog won't hunt, monsignor.

Because does Rand give up? A thousand times NO!.

More seriously I considered retiring my creative dreams. To be honest, there were moments when that prospect seemed, if not attractive, obtainable, and promising perhaps an ultimate reward of satisfaction. For even without my creative ventures there are still the aspects of my life relating to my family, friends, and perhaps someday wife and kids, which can offer me much opportunity to do good, fulfilling work. Relationships have always been important to me, and indeed a source of much concern and effort, but looking at a life centering solely on them, I felt a little bit disappointed. Afterall, I am an ambitious man, indeed, I am Rand the great and glorious.

Yet, brooding more on my situation, I found that a relationship-centric life, even if not necessarily the most attractive now, could become more attractive and ultimately satisfying over time. People change, even I can change. And as I deepen my connections with people, and engage deeper with their lives, and gain the small victories and triumphs that mark relationships, I could imagine this would trigger a growing appreciation for a life devoted simply to friends, family, and those in my immediate circle of contacts. And as an advantage, the relationship-centered life seems (although I am not certain from this vantage point) to offer a better chance of giving me a level of success (success within the center of my life, which in this case would be relationships), than one with a good deal of energy spent creatively.

But screw success! (cite the defiant Billy Idol punk snarl)

Looking forward in life, I find I could possibly be happy with a life less creative, but I don't want to be. I find something beautiful in the simple effort of striving toward creativity and striving to share my creativity (if that is calling myself beautiful, well, I like to think I am rather pretty, but for all of it, I must always give props to the Good Lord, the founder of the feast (Perfect Toast I've Never Had a Chance to Give: To all the girls I've ever loved, and to God, the founder of the feast)). I find something even more beautiful in striving for creative success (success measured in creativity and the sharing of the creativity, not as much money or fame, although I admit those things do tempt a little attraction, a matter I must watch out for further on in my life) in the face of a strong likelihood of failure.

As a fan of The Great Gatsby I must admit a fondness for a life spent as a boat against the current, running toward the green light, while the tides bear ceaselessly into the past...

Not that I consider my chances that grim. I think I have some good ideas, some good stories, and an essentially attractive, though flexible writing style (although style is not something inbred, it is earned, through thought, effort, and technique). Moreover, I have the advantage of being open to many different fields of creativity. While creative writing, particularly fiction, is my favorite, I also enjoy historical writing and speculation, Math/CS speculation, creative programming, even scientific speculation when the mood strikes me right. A key quality of success I feel, though some have told me different, is being willing to throw many things against the wall, aware that most objects will shatter, in search of that one that will stick.

So in the end I begin again. So why not that for the title? Well I have an explanation for that Mr./Ms. Smarty-I'm-So-Smarty-I-Like-To-Eat-Smarties-Pants. I value introspection. It is something that has helped me greatly in life. But there is introspection and then there is imprisoning oneself in considerations of the past, and to break out of that prison, one must sometimes not simply defy the failures of the past, but fully cast them off, throwing them to the backseat of your life as you look into the future confident that, with God's help, anything is possible, or at least something quite beautiful is possible. So I titled this post to frame it not as a meditation on defeat that is overcome leading me to start over, but rather as a celebration of the effort I am undergoing.

And this effort will likely seem daunting at times, given past mistakes, but I believe in False Bravado, the idea that to obtain a measure of glory, one must act above his own confidence, and so to signify my commitment to that effort, I take on the title of king (though Christ is the only true King, but I take the title both in sincere imitation and in light pretense), as a warning to my fears, anxieties, and temptations, that I will not be servile to them.

Because Rand is back.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight folks!

And God Bless.

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