Tag Archives: wiggle

Complex entertainment

Consider the entertainment industry 100 years ago. Or 200. Or 2000.

Could you ever believe you might be satisfied with shadow puppets, Punch n’ Judy, traveling minstrels, oral stories in an amphitheater or around a campfire and maybe, if you’re lucky, a play or a view of the art of a city, the wealthy or a religious edifice?

Throw your 21st Century self back into antiquity and imagine how bored your mind would be after about a month of getting used to life then. Sure, your time would be taken up with ten times the survival activity you practice today. But if you were one of the leisure crowd, try and picture the limited mental stimulation you’d be exposed to.

Today that would be worth a few hours of “Oh, this looks interesting…” (Now, what’s next? Because — I’m bored to tears.)

In our era, we’ve got so much entertainment, arts, media, sociality that we have a hard time turning it off. The common mantra “unplug, disconnect, go outside and live a little” is to return to a time when humans had little to fill their intellectual minds. “Ah, no jingles, beeps and buzzes, aside from the insects. Tranquility.”

I wonder at this progression.

From the simplistic, 300 baud data input stream of the natural world to the flood of terabytes saturating our brain cellsĀ  — we adapt; humanity’s every growing capacity to embrace the complex.

In 100 years we’ve gone from, what today’s media moguls would call pathetic information and entertainment input streams to what can only be called total-sensory-overload. Yet we condition ourselves, brace for the onslaught and beg for more.

In 100 years from now, imagine the exabytes that will blanket our minds and drive our desire for more, faster, now — even higher.


A bramble vine basket

Humanity evolved creating stuff.

Everyone in a tribe or clan contributed to the group’s survival. If things needed to get made, everyone (I imagine) pitched in. Sure some segregation of tasks took place, but I suspect most jobs were shared across gender, age and ability.

Here you see a simple bramble vine basket I made just for fun. (I later hung this up in a small tree in the woods thinking it might become a nest for some woodland bird.)

BrambleVineBasket

The thing is utterly simple yet effective. Crude but serviceable. Just what, we could imagine, some bygone set of folks traversing the hills and valleys of ancient lands — eons ago — might make, on the spot, to help them gather berries or herbs or for ceremonies to honor deities and spirits they found compelling.

It probably took me 30 minutes to weave from wandering bramble vines I found in the backyard. The effort was thoroughly fulfilling. Taking a weed and turning it into a functional tool easily cast my psyche back to a time I know our ancestors found invigorating.

In those times, everyone (I’m sure) participated in the survival of the People. Sharing was a built-in response to everything that was done. If you had two, you gave one away to another in need. Of course you did. And you did this knowing when they had two, they would do the same for you.

The unit of survival was the group, the tribe, the clan. Your kin were all those people around you who knew you and protected you — and you protected them. When the group needed housing you all pitched in. When the clan needed to process an animal — all were on deck. When you found a cache of vines to make baskets, you picked all you could, shared the resource and if you wove many, passed them out without expectation of recompense (not entirely, but the spirit was there).

I think we’ve lost that altruistic sense of collective prosperity — enacted on a daily basis. Giving when you can. Accepting kindness when you can’t.

A simple, empty basket seems the most unlikely symbol of charity, don’t you think? But, filled with wild-picked berries, you can see what a gift it might be.


Writer’s Log: 1732 Neil Gaiman

EXCERPT FROM “The View from the Cheap Seats”:

“I was, as I said, twenty-five years old, and I had an idea for a book and I knew it was a real one.

I tried writing it, and realized that it was a better idea than I was a writer. So I kept writing, but I wrote other things, learning my craft. I wrote for twenty years until I thought that I could write The Graveyard Book–or at least, that I was getting no better.

I wrote it as best I could. That’s the only way I know how to write something. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be any good. It just means you try. And, most of all, I wrote the story that I wanted to read.

~~~

And then, whether the work was good or bad, whether it did what you hoped or it failed, as a writer you shrug, and you go on to the next thing, whatever the next thing is. That’s what we do.

~~~

We who make stores know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort.

And that is why we write.”

~~~

The above was from Neil’s acceptance speech for the 2009 Newbery Medal.

  • I had an idea for a book and I knew it was a real one.
    There you go. You sometimes just KNOW that an idea is a good one.
  • It was a better idea that I was a writer.
    Wisdom told him that he shouldn’t write this story ‘just yet’. Wow. How many of us would just blunder into it and write it anyway?
  • I wrote it as best I could.
    Is that not all everyone of us can hope for? To write as best we can — at-the-time?
  • I wrote a story that I wanted to read.
    Please yourself as a writer. Do that, and what you produce /may/ become something that will please others.
  • You go on to the next thing.
    Write. Edit. Perfect (to the best of your ability) — and move one. That is the single biggest lesson here. Just. Keep. Writing.
  • Someone there needs your story.
    The world is huge. And if you have a TRUE story to tell, unique, well conceived, and well executed — then there WILL be an audience for it. Maybe not in your lifetime. But someday. Would you deny them, that one person, in the near/far future who benefits and is changed by your story? No!Write your Story!