“My concern is how we learn to be genuine human beings. I never found out all I want to know about writing and realize I never will. All that writers can do is keep trying to say what is deepest in their hearts.”

-Lloyd Alexander


Some Quotes That’ll Make You Go, ‘Okay, Sure.’

  1. “I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing, and a second time, a bit later on, when someone says your name for the last time.” –Banksy
  2. “If you’ve nothing to say, say it any way you like. Stylistic innovations, contorted story lines or none, exotic or genderless pronouns, internal inconsistencies, the recipe for preparing your lover as a cannibal banquet: feel free. If what you have to say is important and/or difficult to follow, use the simplest language possible. If the reader doesn’t get it then, let it not be your fault.” -Niven
  3. “Better an imperfect dome in Florence than a cathedral in the clouds” -Twyla Tharp
  4. “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become one. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” –Nietzsche
  5. “What is better—to be born good? Or to overcome your evil nature through great effort.” –Paarthurnax

A few words from Vonnegut

(I would say he said it in a different time . . . but it was 2005.)

“Here is a lesson in creative writing.

First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I’m kidding.

For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I’m kidding.

We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them away. I’m kidding.

If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

– Kurt Vonnegut


Ocean Letter


What do you say to the ocean? It quickly becomes apparent that many expressions become irrelevant. The cold truth of the matter is that the ocean cannot understand you, and does not care. Perhaps, however, this is liberating. The message becomes free to become whatever it wants. I wondered if there was something that I may have been subconsciously inclined to leave out elsewhere, and if a non responsive ambivalent audience might be what I need to say it. Not entirely aware of what I was looking for, I set out anyway with a draft of what I might wish to say.

If you’ve ever written in the sand, then you’re aware that it is not an easy task to preform precisely. I became immediately reminded of this when I put the stick down on the beach. While I wanted to pull ideas from a draft, and work them seamlessly onto this medium, the ocean rejected the notion outright. Here is the draft I went with:

I imagine that the distinction between walking and swimming is smaller than we perceive it to be. Water acts in many ways like air does, but with a greater resistance. In a way, water slows down time, magnifying the force it takes to move through the world. If it took the same kind of effort to stand up and walk across a grass field, we might choose more carefully which corner we want to end up in.

Given infinite time, this would be irrelevant, but we only have our lives to work with, and the field is larger than our ability to perceive it. This is where we wake up, at an undetermined position within an unperceivable time frame. We are fortunate enough that this time and place is not deep within a vast void, but among a bustling metropolis of physical laws bouncing off of each other. In addition, we have the capacity to look out at the shadows bumbling along, and can trace these places we will never go. You don’t have to go far to witness a large part of realities mosaic.

And we stand not only among the infinite perplexities, but as a part of them. We are limited in our senses to the edges of our bodies, but the governing laws of the universe cover all ground, from the center of our minds to the outer reaches of reality. Everything we feel is part of a grand amalgamation of all that is existence. When we are happy, sad, or afraid, the universe is happy, sad, or afraid. The concept of being alone assumes a separation that does not exist. You are not alone, you are everything.

This is not what ended up being written. I needed to work at reasonable pace, and to do so meant working from memory, improvising, and letting the words and letters stand as they passed. While the product was in many ways similar, it had been irrevocably changed by the medium I tried to present it in. The ideas had shifted, and the images were tilted. I can’t tell you how, because it’s gone now, washed away by the tide. Perhaps somewhere in there is a response of sorts. While I would never personify the location in that way, I suspect the way it altered what I wanted to say may have been the sign I wasn’t looking for.

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