Sunday, February 22, 2015

Still Here, Still Writing

I haven't posted for something like 8 months. It's about time for an update.

Last October I was hired on with a new company that has given me a little more free time, doubling my weekly writing hours. I now write an average of 20 hours a week -- I am officially a part-time writer.

Last update, The First King of Montana, was my main project, a post-apocalyptic novel about the forging of value from anarchy. I wrote about 160 pages, then stopped to write a detailed outline. I made a scene-by-scene sketch complete for the whole thing, and detailed outline of each scene up to about 1/4 of the way through the novel. At this point I became preoccupied with philosophical questions ... this was back in November.

I returned to my project of writing a philosophical work that explains my cosmology, that is, my view of history, civilization, evolution, values, the impossibility of progress, the importance of ecology, and why we need truly philosophical and spiritual thought now more than ever. I still have a lot to say on these things, and I don't feel that I've been able to express myself perfectly clearly on them. Last November I wrote a very detailed 50-page outline of this book. (It was great to finally have the time to do this.) I worked on this book through Christmas, and wrote about 140 pages of it, including chapters on Cosmology, Philosophy, and Logic. I developed a nice formal theory of syllogistic logic that I think may be of interest to educators some day. The working title of this book is "The Cultivation of Wisdom."

At this point I felt the need to share my writing with someone to get an idea of whether I was on the right track. My grandfather had been the initial inspiration behind my writing the book, because I had kept arguing with him, challenging ideas in certain New Age books and he had asked me why don't I write my book if I'm so damn smart. So I wrote a 20-page letter to my grandfather introducing my book and including some material from the Introduction and Chapter 1.

He enjoyed reading it and invited me up for dinner. He disagreed on every major point because he felt that I was stressing the material world and completely ignoring the spiritual world, which is the most important aspect of reality in his view. He told me about his mystical experiences and why he thought the world wasn't just matter. I said I believed that matter and spirit were one. He said he supposed some people just didn't have such experiences. I said nonsense, I'd had several mystical experiences. So I printed out my blog and had him read it and he said it was "Damn good stuff." This from the same guy who, after reading my first novel asked, "Do you really want to be a writer?" and proceeded to list about a dozen fatal shortcomings. Now both he and my grandmother were encouraging me to expand my blog into a full-length book. They argued that if I told my philosophy as a personal experience then people would have something to relate to.

I had received almost entirely positive feedback concerning this blog, and going back and re-reading it myself, I realized that I had been meaning to expand the story anyway because a lot was being left unsaid. So around New Year's I started writing yet another book, a semi-autobiographical novel telling the story of a man (myself, for the most part) who was told at age 14 that he was free to choose--or not choose--a religion.

At first, he opts for no religion, spends the next decade chasing after the ultimate mathematical theory of physics, and the next decade after that searching for the ultimate philosophy. At times he skirts the edge of madness, is put on medication, but presses onward inspired and warned by the biographies of dozens of poets, philosophers, mystics, and scientists who had all sacrificed sanity, happiness, and love on the same quest. The current working title of this book is Wisdom's Thousand Jilted Lovers: On the Deep Ecology of Value. I've written about 500 pages of a first draft, and have probably another 150 pages to go before I finish it.

This first draft is turning out fantastically well, I think, if a bit of a mess. I'll have a least a couple of years of editing ahead of me.

Anyway, back to it!

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