I’m going to try something different this time. Instead of trying to quiet my inner mind-monkeys like I normally do, I’m going to do the opposite.
I’m going to chuck a buttload of bananas at them.
So get ready for a tour de force of seemingly unconnected random thoughts from the mind of Daniel Bean at 6:00a.m. on this fine Friday morning (for a more coherent dissertation, I humbly refer you to my last post, The Inner Battle.)
To quote a much-loved movie that I haven’t seen in too long (Emperor’s New Groove):
Feel the power.
Oh, I can feel it.
Consider this post my version the 7 -minute opening shot from the seminal Robert Altman film The Player. (Except, that shot took an inhuman amount of preparation, rehearsal and timing, and a small army of professionals, and this post took almost no preparation and was done by an army of one. Plus my obedient and well-fed pack of mind monkeys.)
As I stare at my ever growing list of quotes, I once again feel something that can only be described as the antithesis of writer’s block. Each quote contains a sermon. There’s just too damn much preaching to be done.
So let’s get crackin’.
Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.
– André Gide
Wait, I feel like no one was listening on that last quote, so let me reiterate…
Actually, my man André was just repeating what King Solomon penned thousands of years before him:
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
– Ecclesiastes 1:9
The classic dilemma of postmodern man (and woman). (Superfluous parenthetical: by putting ‘woman’ in parentheses, I in no way imply that ‘she’ is any less important than ‘he.’ Maybe I should reorder the sentence thusly: ‘The classic dilemma of postmodern woman (and man).’)
How can I create anything? Everything has already been created.
As Jonah Lehrer posits in his book Imagine, creation is simply the act of applying new connections to things that already exist. We can’t come up with something new. However, we can put a different spin on old things, in turn creating something that people will hail as fresh, original, even striking. People will use adjectives to describe our work that they used to describe M. Night Shyamalan’s work at the beginning of his career (not adjectives they use to describe his more recent stuff, thank goodness.)
Okay, let’s move on. Lots to cover.
By the way, I am stealing most of the quotes in this mind-dump from the book Steal Like An Artist, by Austin Kleon. If you are a creator of anything, and haven’t read that book yet, stop what you are doing and read it! Required reading, folks.
Make things, know thyself.
– Austin Kleon
Oh, oh oh oh oh….muahahahah. Too much to say about this. Basically sums of the last six months of my life. Here’s what I scribbled in the margin on this one:
We come to know ourselves by externalizing ourselves. As we create, we are manipulating the world around us to appear similar to what we hold inside of our minds. We are fashioning it after our form. But if we don’t externalize, we never understand what is inside our minds. If we don’t create, we don’t truly understand ourselves.
So to truly understand oneself, one must create.
This reminds me of something that happened in Orson Scott Card’s novel Xenocide. The protagonist, Ender, travelled to a theoretical, primordial dimension called Outside, where existence is so primal and tenuous that whatever is within the travelers heart and mind will automatically be externalized and created outside of himself. Thus Ender externalizes or sires two “children of the mind” who embody two facets of his own nature, symbolized by his sister in her youth and his brother in his old age.
The point being, Ender didn’t really understand what was in his own heart; so in order to understand, it was necessary for him to first externalize his thoughts and feelings. (Who the f*#& needs a psychiatrist? Just write a novel!) It is no different with us. We start out not understanding the dark and murky subconscious. We only come to real understanding as we externalize, that is, as we create.
Which brings you, my ever so patient reader (you’ve made it 727 words into the article, congrats!) to my next mind monkey: my progress on my Book In A Month escapade, and more importantly, what I am learning from it. (For my new readers, about 3 weeks ago I decided to write a novel in 30 days and finish it before my 35th birthday on June 19. Now that you all now when my birthday is, I do accept presents in the form of small, unmarked bills.)
I am writing roughly 1,500 words a day. Rather than try to spend a lot of time preparing and outlining, I am just letting it flow from the subconscious. And oh, what interesting things are popping up from the murky depths below! Interestingly enough—as I am a Gemini—and a rift has occurred in my protagonist, creating two versions of himself. The two versions are somewhat diametrically opposed (although still two sides of the same coin) and apparently reflect two sides of my own nature, which I am learning more about as I externalize it by way of this fictional story. Quite allegorical, really. (Isn’t all fiction allegorical?)
So we have the protagonist, David, who is in love with the deuteragonist, Robogirl. My fictional character learns a lot about himself through his fictional love interest. Isn’t that how it is in real life? Time for one of my all-time favorite movie quotes:
“You can learn a lot about yourself from a woman like that.”
– From the classic Bruce Lee flick Enter the Dragon
Dante had his Beatrice, and I am not without my runners-up for that title (whether they know it or not.) Somehow it seems everything I do starts and ends with a woman. If it wasn’t for women, I’d probably live the rest of my life in a Soulcalibur 4 coma. (Hmm…not that bad, really.) Instead, I set out on this Quixotic quest to find myself. And I come back with a lot of rubbish, and every once and a while some good stuff. I’m trying to cull out that good stuff and include it in my novel.
Anyways, where was I before I got sidetracked thinking about the mystic feminine force which spurs artists on? (Personified as the Muses in Greek mythology, of course.). Oh yes, externalizing. Time for another all-time favorite quote:
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
– Carl Jung
I could write whole books on just this quote alone, and I actually, I have. My 163-page manuscript on overcoming crazy limits in my life in the short timespan of 6 months is all about looking inward, not outward, as is the ebook I published last week, The Inner Battle.
Suffice it to say that this inward-looking process has only been intensified during these last three weeks as I have written my novel. (Holy crap, in a little over a week I will have finished my 50,000 word novel!)
I’m going to have to save discussing my progress with the Book In A Month and what I am learning from the process for another post. As we can see, both your patience as reader and my ability to sustain an inspired, creative flow (insert other early M. Night Shyamalan adjectives here) of words as writer are severely limited.
And so we come to the close of yet another session of my further fine tuning my writing prowess, in hopes that one day, I, like Parvulesco, may answer an audience of eager fans with their notebooks and questions, one of which will be a young lady in shades who shall ask “What’s your greatest ambition?” And to which I shall answer:
“To become immortal, and then die.”