Morning Thoughts & Links for Wednesday, July 20th

Morning thoughts and links are brought to you by all the circumstances that leave me with not enough time to write full length blog posts. Enjoy.

Note the absences of either bottle or glass.
Note the absences of either bottle or glass.

Morning Thoughts & Links for Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

Welcome to the new feature, where I will write down the things in my mind I wish I had time to blog about today. Some of these things may get a full post later, but most will not. As always, many more links can be had by visiting TLP’s Facebook page.

Philosophy, Re: writing both creatively and well

There is a quote, often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, imploring us to “write drunk; edit sober.” The quote is a sort of Hemingwayified paraphrase of a much longer thought that is sometimes misattributed to Dylan Thomas:

“Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”

That thought did not come from Thomas himself, but rather from writer Peter DeVries, whose 1964 novel “Reuben, Reuben” featured a protagonist based on Dylan Thomas. Hemingway would not actually say any of this as he was supposedly strict about writing in the morning before he started drinking, saying instead:

“My training was never to drink after dinner nor before I wrote nor while I was writing.”

And again, Hemingway:

I have spent all my life drinking, but since writing is my true love I never get the two things mixed up.

Of course Hemingway didn’t have a blog, but his wisdom applies. I generally don’t try to use my faculties if I have done anything to impede them – it just seems like a lose/lose proposition – but have found there are a couple times when blog posts are not too ill-affected by a drink or two. Specifically tv show/movie reviews and contemporary Republican/right-wing politics. Even then, while the former can be helped by an uninhibited “fuck it, just publish the thing,” the latter is more likely to lead to a “fuck it, why am I even writing about this” well before anything is ready to publish. I can’t imagine how someone like Christopher Hitchens – who famously drank every day and evening while nonetheless producing copious copy – was able to pull it off. I suspect that a fair number of aspiring writers have fantasies about being drunken prophets, which dreams are presumably only half realized, but I prefer my personal excuse of being too busy to write. It feels virtuous and is much less fattening. But I digress.

The intention of the original misquote, fleshed out by the actual original passage by DeVries, is to draw attention to the need to be both disciplined and uninhibited while writing; both focused and careening. Altered states – be it from drink or ADD meds – tend to provide one at the expense of the other, so that’s a bad move. In my limited experience as a writer, and much more extensive experience as a conversationalist, the best way to get Apollo and Dionysus playing nice together is to  have as little self-image involved as possible. I set intentions for the pieces I write – a Game of Thrones recap needs to be funny, movie reviews should have a dash of serious but never ever be severe, a critical response to another writer should be vulnerable and even self-effacing – while making my best effort to have no intentions for myself as a writer. Having some sort of writing-ego-based rules that always apply would be (and used to be) stifling. Sticking with the Greek mythology archetypal metaphor, my inner Apollo brings its own rules and my Dionysus won’t suffer any, so there is nothing to be gained by me setting them. The big bonus here, too, is the vulnerability; if I’m never sure who I am as a writer, then I get to be surprised each time I write something, and that keeps it fun.

So there is my take: have fun writing; have fun editing. Or if you like it in a more judgmental tone: If writing doesn’t feel like play time, then you aren’t doing the work. I look forward to being flattered by seeing to whom those quotes get misattributed.

Politics, Re: GOP Convention Day 2  (a mini Voyeur Recap)

Well the political story at the moment is still the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Day two sounds – or at least reads – like it was as bad as day one.

There was another kind of plagiarism seeming moment in Donnie Junior’s remarks, but it turns out it was just his speechwriter recycling his own previous work. Maybe today we can be more focused on all the white nationalism happening at that convention instead of the plagiarism stuff.

A speaker from the NRA unwittingly made the case for much stricter gun laws.

Dr. Ben Carson ditched his prepared remarks that figuratively demonized Hillary Clinton in order to, well, literally demonize Hillary Clinton. Seriously, he spent time talking about how Hillary is in league with Satan.

Plenty of other crazy shit went down, including Chris Christie leading a mock trial of Clinton so the folks on the floor could spend another night shouting “lock her up.”

Not entirely related to the convention, but the NYTimes has a lot of background on how Trump’s VP selection process went.

Nerd stuff, Re: making Batman V Superman funny and Star Trek stuff

My thoughts and feelings on Batman V Superman are on the record, as well as my views about how Batman should be portrayed on screen V how Batman has been portrayed on screen. And while I do not hold out much hope that Warner Bros DC Cinematic Murderverse will be getting better anytime soon, I did at least find great joy this morning in watching the Honest Trailers take on Dawn of Justice. It’s over seven minutes long, but wow, what a cathartic seven minutes:

In other nerd news, ScreenRant is all over Star Trek news right now with scoops about Star Trek 4 is already a go, the series (thank goodness) will not be recasting Chekov after actor Anton Yelchin’s death, and JJ Abrams continues to be one of the few directors of nerd fare who can reflect on his missteps, in this case regarding Into Darkness, after fandom has helped point them out.

Image of the Day

This has to be the best image I found on the interwebs yesterday:


Enjoy your Wednesday.

Have a question, comment, or request for one of these thoughts to become a whole blog post? Send an email, comment on Facebook, or tweet on Twitter. There is also Tumblr and the comment field below, if you’re into that kind of thing. 

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