Basically Rimbaud

I’m officially a published poet.

The latest issue of Scifaiku arrived the other day, containing one of my poems. So that’s pretty cool. I don’t have too much to say about it.

The one really interesting is the cover, which is ridiculous in the best way possible. It features a green man basking shirtless in the sun. He’s sporting a mullet and everyone around him is looking at him like, “What the Hell?” I’m pretty sure it’s a metaphor for my life.

Anyway, that happened. Hope everything’s well with you all.

Peace.

The Tao Te Ching

Been reading Derek Lin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching this week, bit by bit, so I can really think about each of the Chapters (which seem analogous to verses). To state my opinion briefly, I’ve liked some of the Chapters, and disliked others. My opinions are probably in part based on my mood (when I’m anxious I find them calming and beautiful, but when I feel content they don’t really do much for me), but some of them I think just don’t connect with the way I see the world. For instance, the middle third of Chapter 52:

Close the mouth
Shut the doors
Live without toil all through life
Open the mouth
Meddle in the affairs
Live without salvation all through life

I’ve been trying to get at the meaning of that. Is this saying that a person shouldn’t be a gossipmonger? That I can get behind. But there seems to be a deeper philosophy there, particularly with the “shut the doors” line. Should we shut the doors? Should we ignore the stuff going on in the greater world?

Sometimes we have to ignore the world around us. Whenever I get anxious, that’s exactly what I do. But how much is too much? When do we become ostriches with our heads in the sand?

(Literally? Never. The question might become more interesting if we ask if figuratively.)

Then again, there are some Chapters which practically bowl me over with their beauty. To quote the entirety Chapter 50, just two Chapters earlier:

Coming into life, entering death
The followers of life, three in ten
The followers of death, three in ten
Those whose lives are moved toward death
Also three in ten
Why? Because they live lives of excess

I’ve heard of those who are good at cultivating life
Traveling on the road, they do not encounter rhinos or tigers
Entering into an army, they are not harmed by weapons
Rhinos have nowhere to thrust their horns
Tigers have nowhere to clasp their claws
Soldiers have nowhere to lodge their blades
Why? Because they have no place for death

That’s probably been my favorite Chapter thus far, the depiction of philosophical transcendence being turned into something so physical and superhuman. All that build up in the second half, and then the response, “Because they have no place for death.”

Whew, good stuff.

Sad True Detective Prediction

Season 2 of True Detective is probably going to be bad.

I don’t want that to be true. Season 1 was great, and I want nothing more than 20 seasons of strangely philosophical men struggling with cults and alcoholism. But I just don’t think that’s going to happen.

Nic Pizzolatto is obviously a good writer. But writing season after season of a TV show all by yourself is tough, and the recently released story blurbsounds really similar to what we saw in season 1.

Also, apparently the ending of Season 1 was kind of borrowed from Alan Moore?

It’s too early to tell, but things just aren’t looking so great.

Editing

I just wrote a really long post about Greek Theater and Television that I edited and edited until I decided it wasn’t good enough to put up, so this might be a short post.

But it does lead me to ask myself: how much editing is enough? How much work should a writer put out there?

For the most part, I’m a somewhat obsessive editor. I just prefer the editing to the writing, and I genuinely do believe the devil’s in the details.

But then I know and respect so many writers who don’t like editing much at all. One of the most famous is probably Robert Heinlein, who went so far as to make it a rule, “Rule Three: You Must Refrain From Rewriting, Except to Editorial Order.”*

I really don’t know my thoughts on the matter. You don’t want to turn out bad prose, but at the same time, if you want to become a professional author you don’t want to fiddle with a piece to the point that the time spent on each piece makes writing economically non-profitable.

Questions, questions.

What do you guys think?

*If you want to see all of Heinlein’s rules, Robert J. Sawyer does a pretty interesting write-up about them here.

The Author Bio

Think I finally nailed down my author bio (for now).

It’s a tricky form: a short piece of prose that’s supposed to reveal your poetic soul. Of course, my poetic soul couldn’t be captured without mentioning alcohol and pancake houses.

Anyway, here it is:

“Billy Peery is a writer, trumpet player, and comedian. Born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, he’s written for a number of venues, among them Sick Puppies Comedy and Iris. He can probably be found at a Denny’s near you, laughing too loudly and slipping liquor into his Coke when no one’s looking.”

I imagine it’ll change a lot over the years, but I like this as a start.

My Internet Doesn’t Know I’m Gay

The Atlantic posted an interesting article a couple days ago about “The Invisible Economy,” and how our economy is doing a lot better than we think it is, because so much exchange happens for free these days online, which means that the GDP is no longer a useful economic metric.

I was worried the author was going to completely ignore people who had lower incomes, but he addressed that near the end of the article, so that was good.

Anyway, part of what I found so interesting about this article was the idea that this “Invisible Economy” existed because we traded our personal information for the ability to use admittedly awesome websites like Google, Facebook, etc.

The author didn’t flat-out state this, but he kind of hinted that the trade was worth it: Google and Facebook perform services of such high value to us, so giving away our personal information really isn’t *that* bad. And I 100% agree with that idea.

Also, I’m not really all that worried about how much personal information I’m giving away. I mean, really: my Internet hasn’t figured out that I’m gay.

Sure, the ads on the side of Goodreads are sometimes insanely specific, like they’ve figured out the subgenre of a subgenre that I’m loving at the moment. But at the same time, I’m constantly being bombarded with those ads for matchmaking services that are like, “Tiffany58 is available to chat.”

And you know, Tiffany58 eyes the camera while making sure to emphasize certain parts of her body.

And I’m sorry, Tiffany. But your vagina is a bit of a turn-off.

Of course I’m fully aware that all these ads are scams. I mean, when you see that “Tiffany58″ is available to chat for seemingly 24 hours a day over the span of 6 months, it’s not hard to figure out that there’s some sort of scam going on.

But all I’m saying is, if I was drunk enough, and they put a picture of a hot enough guy there instead of Tiffany 58, I might — just might — click on it.

You know, because I’m someone who has trouble controlling his impulses.

And also, I don’t really worry about viruses because Macs don’t really get viruses.

So yeah. People are worried about giving their information away online. But I’m not going to be worried about that until the Internet can figure out I’m gay.

My friends know I’m gay. My family knows I’m gay. When I wear my rainbow suspenders, it seems a pretty safe bet to say that people I’ve never spoken to know that I’m gay.

But the Internet? The Internet keeps showing me Tiffany58.

Oculus Rift: Seeing Through the Eyes of the Other

I’m excited for virtual reality.

On the one hand it’s quite scary. The Matrix, The Truman Show, and Ray Bradbury have all given me plenty of fears about what such all-consuming technology could mean for our everyday lives. And in all honesty, I already have a bit of a Philip K. Dick-esque paranoia about how much of reality is truly real and how much of it is just the crazy improper interpretations of my own brain.

On the other hand, it’s undeniably cool.

This is science fiction come to life (not that a lot of things in our recent past haven’t been incredibly science fictional. I think Warren Ellis’s recent blog post had a nice way of summing up how science fictional our world truly is).

You guys ever watch Batman Beyond? Do you remember how popular Virtual Reality headsets were in those arcades?

I mean it: this stuff is friggin’ awesome.

And, despite my own worries, I can’t help but reflect on how virtual reality fulfills one of the goals of literature. Don’t people read books to see through the world as it is seen through the eyes of others? Aren’t people literally able to do that with Oculus Rift?

Of course, there are still a ton of things literature and other media will do better than Oculus Rift. But I just find it interesting that VR can actually do what literature only does in a metaphorical sense.