Yesterday was a fairly productive day for me. After contacting most of the employers I’d spoken to at Wednesday’s job fair for yesterday’s round of "Nope, we don’t have anything your skills would be useful for, but we’ll keep your resume on hand just in case", I went off to the public library in Davis to do some writing and see if I could track down any poetry by Gary Snyder (more on that in a moment). Since "Mother Tsan-Chan" has been giving me such trouble lately, I decided to get cracking on the player’s information guide to the campaign setting for "Incident at Mount Joyce". To my surprise, I got nearly two thousand words written. Sometimes, it takes just a change in scenery to get the creative juices flowing. And during the excellent Call of Cthulhu game that Evilpheemy ran last night, I managed to churn out another two hundred more words.
Yeah. I love my Palm Pilot and the keyboard that comes with it. Much easier to lug around than my laptop; I can put my Palm Pilot in my pocket and ride my bike down to Starbucks to work there. Not that I actually get on my bike nearly as often as I should, of course. But the important thing is that I could.
Sadly, today has been less productive. I’m simply not feeling as inspired as I did yesterday. I forced about five hundreds words out today, of which perhaps three or four are good. But that’s okay. The point now is simply to get words written so that when I present the campaign setting to the players in two weeks, they’ll have some background. Quality work will be expected as some point, of course. After all, Evilpheemy and I plan to sell this product to someone at some point.
But today wasn’t a waste. I read a lot. Jennifer and I rode our bikes about four miles down the county roads. I read some more. We watched an old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I read some more. I surfed the web and thought about writing.
But the muse just didn’t feel like talking today. Some days, the muse can’t keep her gob shut; and some days, you have to strangle the words out of her one by one. And far too often when she’s running off at the mouth, you find that what she’s inspired you to write is just plain excrement and needs to be reworked — usually on a day when she isn’t available.
While I was working out the other day, I read a magazine article about photographer David Robertson, who teaches at UC Davis. The article caught my eye because I had taken a class with Dr. Robertson back in my freshman year of college, a class called "Ethics and Society", in which we students were assigned to write a credo of our beliefs and values. I still have that original document somewhere; it would be interesting to read it, since I’m sure much of what I believed and valued back then has changed significantly.
In this article, Dr. Robertson told the interviewer that much of his work was inspired by Gary Snyder. Gary Snyder is a poet (who also teaches at UC Davis), whose work, in his use of nature imagery and mythic elements, really reminds me of Robert Bly. Dr. Robertson said that Gary Snyder’s poetry reveals a universe which is "wild and imaginative" and "un-sort-out-able" by human beings.
I’m down with that. I think that I could get along pretty well with a universe which is essentially barely controlled chaos; I’ve never really believed that the universe made much sense anyhow. I think, though, that I just enjoy the idea that the universe is, at some level, essentially unordered, and that is where the surprises come from. Ideas and inspiration come from there as well; it’s the unordered, messy level of things that don’t make much sense, like dreams, and it’s where most of what goes on actually happens (this might be a clue as to why I prefer Linux to Windows: it’s vastly chaotic on a certain level, but that’s where the good stuff really is, as opposed to the neat and orderly universe of Windows). I suppose you could say that my muse is just a filtering mechanism of sorts, that goes through the bizarre stuff that happens in my subconscious and occasionally finds something worthy of notice.
I could go on about this for quite awhile, but it would probably just degenerate into some really bad poetry, and no one wants that.
At any rate, that’s why I was looking for poetry by Gary Snyder. It doesn’t explain, though, why I couldn’t get any good writing done today.