Don’t Write About Yourself

These sorts of things always start with someone making an irrational claim that, “there are two kinds of people in the world,” and then proceeding to contrast both types, one against the other.  It is a greatly overused ploy and a bad way to begin an argument.  Casual observation will clearly show that people are endlessly varied in their attitudes, beliefs and habits.  Any attempt to break that vast spectrum down into some simplified ‘this’ and ‘that’ would suggest a conceit of the highest order.

And so…,

There are two kinds of people in the world: Planners and Jumpers.

The Planners are the ones who like to break any new task down and examine it before proceeding from theory into action.  These are the sorts of people who read the owners manual before driving their new car off the lot.  They know every little step of their itinerary before they have even purchased the tickets for their trip and have visualized just where each guest will sit at the dinner party.

Jumpers just go for it willy-nilly and deal with the unexpected consequences as they present themselves.  They play with all the unfamiliar buttons while driving their new car down the freeway.  They toss a change of clothes into their carry-on bag and buy whatever else they need when they get where they are going.  Not enough chairs for everyone you invited to the party?  Awesome, I wonder who will volunteer to sit on the floor.

Planners.

Jumpers.

Two kinds of people in the whole world.  Deal with it!

Now I, by nature, am a Planner.  I like to know where I’m going, how I’m getting there and what time I can expect to arrive.  I never approach something new without researching it throughly.  The idea being, that by knowing what I’m getting in to, I can get the most out of the experience.  Why spend valuable time wandering around trying to figure out what it is I should be looking at, or eating, watching, doing?

This universe we live in, the gods and fates or whoever are, all of them, less than friendly toward us planners.  Beneath all that wonderful order that keeps the atoms in their places and the Earth orbiting the Sun in a nice mathematical ellipse, there is a powerful stream of pure chaos that powers the whole thing and buggers our most carefully laid plans at every opportunity.

The best thing a Planner can do is to keep a little Jumper tucked away in our heart of hearts for those moments when all our plans go screwy.  It’s going to happen and if you can just get past the aggravation you can have a wonderful time just wandering around trying to figure out what it is you should be looking at, or eating, watching, doing.

A few years ago I started to get the writing itch again.  I had done a little, here and there over the years, but I had never really exercised those particular muscles to what I felt (or rather hoped) was their full potential.  Somewhere, rattling around in the back of my mind, there is a book wanting to be written.  I catch a glimpse of it from time to time, like the Salmon of Knowledge it appears as a pale flash of movement just beneath the waters surface, and then it is gone.

Part of my reasoning for beginning this blog was to lure that fish to the surface and to give me strength enough to catch it when (or if) it came within reach.  As I made my plans for this project, I read through what seemed like an endless array of “advice for writers” columns and Top-10 Lists of Do’s and Don’ts for prospective bloggers.

Among the most useful suggestions I read was one that really stuck out to me:

Don’t Write About Yourself.

This seems counter-intuitive unless you are writing a purely news driven blog, but the reasoning given appeared fairly sound.  It comes down to this: You are less interesting than you think and eventually you will run out of things to say about yourself and your blog will wither and die.  The best thing to do, it was suggested, is to just stay topical and leave yourself out of it.

I thought that sounded like excellent advice and I have tried to follow it.

That was the plan, but it’s harder to do than it sounds.

I’ve heard it said (though I am not sure that I believe) that every character we encounter in our dreams is simply some aspect of ourselves projected into the dreamscape of our minds.  The same can be said for the creations of fiction writers and artists of all sorts.  If art holds a mirror to the universe, surely that mirror must be tinted by the perceptions of the artist polishing the glass.

While The Stone of Destiny is by no means a work of art, it is, at it’s heart, an opinion blog.  My expressed goal at the start was to write about the world around us from a polytheistic perspective.  I do not claim to speak for all polytheists.  These are my perceptions and my opinions.  Turning the mirror analogy on it’s head: the world as I experience it functions as a sort of mirror turned back on myself.

Well, that certainly wasn’t the plan, but I find the symmetry enlightening.

Todays entry marks the 26th post since I began this project.  This means I am halfway through my first year of writing here.  I must say that the response so far has far exceeded my expectations.  This site has received over 900 views as of this writing and I am deeply grateful for every single one.  A number of you have been so kind as to follow my musings, either here or via email subscription and I am touched and thankful for your continued attention.

In the past few weeks I have been preoccupied with plotting my travel arrangements (hopeless Planner that I am) and dealing with the physical and spiritual exhaustion that too much work and not enough play can foster in even the best of us.  I am back now and feeling greatly refreshed from time spent re-connecting with nature.  I’ve got lots of plans (wait, plans? oh dear!) for the weeks ahead and many topics I look forward to delving into.

Before we get started however, I wanted to show you something.

This beautiful thing was purchased earlier this year just as this blog was beginning to take shape.  I couldn’t afford it, but I could not go home without it.  I knew, when I saw it sitting propped in a display case, that it was already mine.  I also knew that it is not intended to be a Book of Shadows or a Grimoire but rather a gathering place for the lore I’ve been collecting in books and boxes and text files for what seems like the entirety of my life.  I close my eyes and I can see it’s pages: colorfully handwritten and carefully illustrated.  It wants to be as much a work of art as a reference book.  I imagine I’ll be working on it for the rest of my life – if I ever get started.

At the moment, it stands empty and intimidating.  I am afraid to begin because I know what happens to plans and I don’t want to see this one falter.  This blog and all of my readers are helping me face that fear and to find the Jumper within me.  Still, I open the cover and I doubt myself.

And a voice whispers, “Don’t write about yourself.”

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Filed under About this Blog, Modern Life, Spiritual Journey

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