This morning I spent two hours proving (-1)a = -a. I tell my friends I finally figured it out and they stare at me a moment, narrow their eyes a bit, and say, “But isn’t it obvious?”
That’s the problem. It is obvious. We’ve been raised in a culture wherein elementary math education is spewed to the masses–but it’s all given in bits and bytes of data, none of which is strewn together with any understanding of the processes at work beneath them.
That’s why it took me so long to solve the problem–I kept getting stuck on claims of “This is obvious” and had to turn back to step one–to the rules that govern real numbers, the foundation upon which the world was built.
But figuring it out wasn’t the most amazing thing to happen today.
Have you ever started writing with a point in mind, and noticed by the time you finished writing you’d never really gotten there? Earlier this week I wrote a post about mourning monsters–reflecting on the inspiration that childhood pastimes like Pokemon and Digimon gave me (and continue to give me)–but that hadn’t been my intent.
Not my original intent anyways.
Instead I wanted to write something wild. A story of man against nature.
It’s been a long time since I’ve said this and an even longer time since I’ve sincerely believed it, but today I feel happy. Genuinely happy. And for the life of me, I can’t even say what’s changed.
It feels like, for so long, dark clouds have held their hands around me, ethereal and tornadic fingers twisting around me, tumultuous chaos attacking me from every angle. Today the wind awoke over the world and while I was crossing the Brickyard–an open courtyard at the heart of campus–I felt the wind whipping around me, awaken the wind inside me, and in a burst of ecstasy I spun around and watched as the world itself twisted beneath me….
The tears of yesterday set aside, with reflections upon language and leadership already considered, I can speak perhaps of but two final topics–the first I shall address tonight, and the other tomorrow.
It’s another special day today actually. It is the fiftieth anniversary of Rachel Carson’s novel Silent Spring, the book that has been credited with the start of the modern environmental movement. Now, I’m not going to speak about the environmental movement today, but it will suffice for a wonderful starting point–and if before this you hadn’t heard of Rachel Carson, I encourage you to learn more about her.
Read the fine print! Don’t sweat the small stuff! Contradictions abound–and there’s no shortage of such when it comes to defining the perfect balance of details in writing, and whether or not those details matter. (After all, if we don’t sweat the small stuff, we won’t read the fine print, will we?)
This chapter that we’re working on is all about crafting exact scenes using concrete and sensory details. What does it matter? Why should I bother? If it isn’t obvious, then read on. You’ll be sure to be surprised.
I read today’s teaching last week, to get an idea of what I’d be working with, and I was a little surprised. It seemed to me to be an exact restatement of the principle of karma: What goes around comes around. Reading it again today, I can’t say I feel much differently. And that sort of puts me in a strange place to be.
I apologise. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, a flamboyant overestimation of my annual feelings. I do not hate Christmas. I don’t quite understand it (forgive my hitherto lack of sensitivity, but if we all know historically Jesus was not born on the solstice, why do so many people still insist–and heartily believe!–he was?), but I do not hate it. More aptly, I hate the commercialization of Christmas, and as one who doesn’t celebrate it, that’s the only part of it I have to deal with on a regular basis. So from my vantage I hate all that’s to be done with Christmas–but that’s only because I’m on the outside, looking in.
There was a time, however, when I did love Christmas.
Honestly, it slipped my mind. It always happens like this: I get so accustomed to the day-to-day of the school year that, when it abruptly ends about this time, I forget what day it is. Every day feels like Saturday, or Friday afternoon, or some Sundays… You get the picture. There are two things I notoriously admit to lacking: The first is depth perception. The second is a sense of time.
Neither of which has anything to do with being thankful. In fact, I almost don’t feel much to be thankful for today–to put it lightly, I’ve been in one of those moods. Yesterday I went to the used book store, hoping to find one movie I really wanted…and instead, they had almost nothing I wanted to buy. I was disappointed. I finished watching the entire first season of my favorite TV show on Tuesday. I spent most of today cleaning. And every guy I start to talk to, either ends up not talking, or becoming friends with no hope of becoming more than that.
It’s depressing, the encroaching New Year. I’ll probably speak of that some other time.