The writer Ann Sterzinger included me in a group of bloggers she’s thrown eleven questions at, part of a chain letter or Ponzi scheme of some kind. (http://fineillstartagoddamnblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/someone-liebsters-you.html
I don’t do chain letters, but the eleven questions are interesting enough to try answering.
1.) WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?
Don’t know. Lucky, I guess. I’m surprised myself.
2.) WHY ARE YOU STILL TRYING TO WRITE A BLOG?
(The cynicism of these questions is palpable.) I hate to go positive, but this is an exciting time to be a writer. The possibility is there to reinvent literature. Specifically, narrative fiction, though poetry could be upgraded as well. The writer should never stop thinking about ways to improve the art. What’s the best mix of elements—of description, dialogue, pace, plot? Can one play with time and keep the tale moving, the reader hooked?
Fiction will be reinvented. By someone. Now, or in the future. I can imagine what the new story will look like. I’m not yet able to create or perfect that new product myself.
I still write a blog because I like keeping my options open—to be able to jump back into the fray in a big way if an opening presents itself.
3.) JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, ANYWAY?
I’m a guy who thinks he has answers.
4.) WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU HAVE INSOMNIA?
I ponder dilemmas of time and space. I consider historical examples of individuals who’ve jumped through “holes” in time and space, and changed history as a result.
5.) WHICH ARE YOUR TEN LEAST FAVORITE WAYS TO DIE?
This is the kind of question twelve year-olds debate. Up there with who’s the toughest monster: Frankenstein; Dracula; the Wolf Man; or the Mummy? (We won’t get into Marvel superheroes.)
Whichever way I die, I hope I’m brave enough to face it. (Someone once told me dying is easy. Living is tough.)
6.) DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD? IF SO, HOW CAN YOU TOLERATE HIS APPARENT INDIFFERENCE, EVEN HOSTILITY, TO YOUR HAPPINESS AND WELL-BEING? IF NOT, HOW CAN YOU TOLERATE THE VOID OF YOUR MEANINGLESS UNIVERSE?
I didn’t know it was God’s job to make us happy. We have to figure that out ourselves. But yes, I do believe in God. Science is discovering that the universe is vastly more complex and intelligent than once thought. It’s difficult to believe there’s not a mind of some kind behind it.
As to God’s apparent indifference—the greatest works of literature wrestle with that question: King Lear and The Brothers Karamazov. They were written by two men far more intelligent and wise than any of us. Worth a look.
As the Bard said in another play, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than in all your philosophy.”
7.) GO BACK TO QUESTION 6. IMAGINE THAT YOU BELIEVED THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU DO, AND ANSWER THE SECOND HALF OF THE QUESTION ACCORDINGLY.
40% of the time I disbelieve; i.e., fight with my belief. But the void is unsettling. Hell is the world without God.
8.) ARE THERE ANY REALLY AMAZING NEW BANDS YOU THINK I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
The Detroit Cobras come to mind, but they’re not new.
9.) IS PAINTING A DEAD ART? HOW ABOUT THE NOVEL?
Dead. Rotting. Corpse-like—at least compared to where they’ve been. They’re at seeming dead ends artistically, and marginalized in the greater culture. But this means opportunity for those willing to reinvent an art. For those brave enough to break with the present and overturn the same-old ways of thinking, creating, and operating.
10.) COME UP WITH A WORLD VIEW WHICH IS COMPLETELY RATIONAL. . . . YOU HAVE 200 WORDS.
The universe is rational. Humans aren’t.
11.) HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ONE OF SEVEN BILLION HUMAN BEINGS?
Not all bad, when I consider the immensity of the universe and the idea that we may be the only (semi)intelligent beings in it, as many physicists now believe. (Fine-Tuned Universe Theory.) Anyway, seven billion is an anomaly, part of the age of antibiotics, which are lately losing their effectiveness. We fragile creatures could once again be open to a host of plagues. Besides, birth rates worldwide already are plummeting. Some nations—Japan; Russia—are in demographic free fall. You’re far more optimistic about the survival of the human race than I am!
I currently live in a once-vibrant city (Detroit), now depopulated, so I’m more aware than some of how quickly things can reverse themselves. There’s more terror at being alone in the universe than being surrounded by people with all their many failings. :-)