Unproductive nonsense abounds

At the moment I’m considering cleaning up all the bookmarks from my Chrome browser. I have a folder with all the old bookmarks I have been accumulating over the years. It might be easier to simply delete the folder given that none of those bookmarks are probably necessary to keep. Well that happened. I was seriously sitting around looking at the bookmarks I had dragged to a folder on my Chrome browser. It was a true act of unproductive nonsense. 

Writing should have been a primary task yesterday. Instead cleaning things up took priority for some reason. I could have spent the whole day just typing away in my office, but instead of using that time wisely I cleaned out the main draw on my Alava credenza. It really did get cleaned out. Everything that had been shoved in the drawer was carefully taken out and set gently on the floor and things were sorted, thrown away, and a few cords were sent to the basement to reside in the cord box. Several other cleaning projects occurred throughout the and my grand plans for writing simply fell by the wayside. 

Today however will be different. I’m already beyond the paltry number of words produced yesterday. It is entirely possible that I’ll be able to really dig into a few things today and tomorrow making solid use of the time off. I did take a look at the folder called novels in my publication collection. It has roughly 20 false starts in the form of formatted and stored novels. Most of them are not very long and that is what stopped them from being shared with the world. They are previous works that are between short story or novella length. Most of them were started about ten years ago and getting back into the right headspace to complete them is going to be interesting. 

Instead of focusing on writing some of the academic articles that I have outlined for future publication my interests seem to be drifting from non-fiction in the realm of fiction. It has been some time since I would sit down and hammer out the better part of a novel in a few days or maybe even a night. That type of prolific writing was something that happened from time to time. I would simply lay down with a laptop or sit at a desk and do nothing but create prose. Getting back to that level of productivity is something that I spend a lot of time thinking about from time to time. It is something that I fondly remember and that spark does arrive sometimes. You have to respect the spark of creativity and seize the day when it shows up. 

I may end up releasing all the content from my weblog back into a public status. Back on February 19, 2021 I moved a ton of content to a private status. It looks like right now 253 posts are being held back in draft status and 2,130 are set to private. That means people who are members of the weblog would be able to see them, but given that the weblog does not have any members outside of the administrative accounts for posting that effectively renders the private content invisible. I’m now back up to 56 posts that are in a published status and it probably will make sense to take the content later today and just release it back into the wild. On GitHub it is possible for somebody to grab my writing corpus and train a GPT-2 model that literally writes in my style of prose creation. Given that synthetic prose creation will soon outpace actual prose creation, having the content as private seems unnecessary.  

I have spent a ton of time thinking about what happens to content over time and the nature of permanence within a weblog space. For the most part the internet does get some archiving, but for the most part most work is ephemeral. It has a place and time and fades either into the pile of content that is amassed over time or in very rare examples it ends up being curated as part of the collective academy of human thought. Only a very small sliver of the collective works of humanity reach that status. I’d have to really focus on writing something profound to hope to get a few missives into that pile of remembered history.

I used the export feature in WordPress to create an XMl file of all my content before releasing the private content back to the wild. Hitting the double chevron from the posts screen took me to the oldest posts contained in the 2,130 private collection. They were from back in 2004 it looks like the earlier content is not even loaded to this weblog anyway. Instead of releasing all the content I moved one of the 9 pages of the archive from private to public. That moved the total of published posts to 307 and effectively released all the posts back until the end of 2019.

That exercise turned out poorly. It looks like the Twitter integration got excited about the content moving to a published status and sent out hundreds of tweets in a matter of minutes. It took me a lot longer to delete all the duplicative tweets than it did to make the error in the first place.

All those notes and ideas

Some of my notes over in Google Keep have suggestions for where to take my writing this morning. Throughout the day I capture a few notes now and again that are aimed at sparking a writing adventure at a later date. They are just little nuggets of ideas, but they are rarely drawn out into a full sketch of what could be produced. A long time ago (over twenty years), I used to have a proper idea notebook where I would sketch out ideas before putting them down on paper. For better or worse that idea notebook went everywhere with me and all sorts of things were jotted down for later. At this very moment, I think that notebook is sitting in a pile of retired and slowly aging notebooks in my office. Actually at this very moment they are sitting behind me in the bottom drawer of a cabinet. It could be a somewhat frightening exercise to grab that idea notebook and review it now with the power of twenty more years of life’s lessons, wisdom, and hindsight. Some of those nuggets of an idea that were taken down by hand on page might be interesting. I’m going to venture to guess that a good number of those ideas are about the nature of normativity and the contempt the social animal has for the social fabric. The rest of them are about the opposition the thinker would have to have to that as a juxtaposition or opposite reflection. 

Right now I’m resisting the urge to turn my chair around and start to dig into the ideas of the past. That resistance is allowing me to begin to really think and write with my Google Doc window taking up the whole screen. My chair is comfortably positioned and I’m in a good place to write for about 30 more minutes, but we will see how it goes. Being interrupted in the middle of my writing projects always is so disruptive. When you really focus and get into the moment where your full capacity of thought and emotion is targeted at the act of writing something happens. You let everything else sort of fade away and the moment is yours to take in any direction you want to go one keystroke at a time. Sometimes my thoughts even wonder in the middle of typing as the act of entering actual keystrokes is much slower than my ability to sort of create out loud from the inner voice of narration. I hope that sort of captures it in a nutshell. At the point of meditation taking hold you can feel a sort of zero space where nothing is pulling or pushing you in any direction. In that moment is where I like to allow my thoughts to form around what will get put onto the page. That is the space where I attempt to do my deepest thinking. This is a very different effort from the tactical process of problem solving. 

This post was almost titled, “a history of notes and ideas.” However, the current title of the post won out today. It seemed like the right way to go in the moment. Something in the background took me out of my writing flow for just a second and my thoughts scattered. Recovering from that moment of chaos in a stream of creativity takes a lot of energy and focus. Part of this daily writing project is the commitment to sitting down and filling up a page of prose in one writing session from start to finish. Starting the day off with a solid 500+ word writing session is really a good way to open up the day to more possible paths forward. In some ways it helps me focus my thoughts and really refine where my energy and focus are going to be placed. Generally anything that is really on my mind during this time will proceed to the forefront of my thoughts and receive attention. Inherent within that previous statement is probably the nexus of why this exercise is valuable. All of the content that is outputted is probably less important to me at the moment than the clarity and focus that are achieved through the process of writing.