Reflections – 12-11-2017

I’ve watched Justice League four times.

The first time, I was pretty disappointed. I thought it was shallow and decidedly non-epic for a movie that should have been super-epic. It was a violent shift in tone away from Batman V. Superman, where people were killed, Batman kicked butt, Superman had a giant bone shoved through his chest, and Wonder Woman took off Doomsdays arm with her sword!

Justice League feels like it was written by PC police. The intro includes a white almost bald dude attacking the business of a Muslim woman. It has tones of post-modernism to it, as the beginning sets up their fight against “power”, the core evil to that philosophy.

Still, I’ve watched it four times, since, 1 – I live in China and am way too desperate for English movies; 2 – I love super heroes, even in not great movies; 3 – Gal Gadot is stunning; 4 – Once I got over my disappointment and accepted that it wasn’t going to be a continuation of the dark tones of before, I accepted it as a Marvel movie in disguise, that it was just something fun to watch, and that made it much easier to accept.

I hope they do a better job with the next one.

I watched The Majestic today for the first time. Starring Jim Carrey, it is one of the more endearing movies I’ve watched in a long time where Jim gives a dramatic performance, and he did a great job. He gives the part nuance in expressions, sincerity, and the notion that a man can change for the better, going from coward to courageous.

The Majestic is poignant, especially as pertaining to the struggle for free speech in America and Canada. Canada now has implemented a law, C16, which requires people to use gender neutral pronouns to refer to transgender individuals. In America, universities have moved away from any real idealistic diversity in favor of an identity politics which disempowers individuals and empowers groups of PC police like Antifa to terrorize those they disagree with politically. In The Majestic, Jim’s character is summoned in 1951 to testify before a congressional committee¬† as an accused communist, and must decide whether he will plead guilt, or speak his mind. The movie is a treatise on free speech and what it means to serve in the military. I encourage you to watch it.

I am in the process of editing the fifth chapter of my book, which is tentatively titled Transition Points, which charts some of the lessons I’ve learned the last several years. For me, writing is relatively easy compared to the editing. I’m a big picture person, and when I get into the editing process, it starts to feel like doing taxes. However, I’ve begun to realize that if I’m going to forge any kind of future in writing, I’m going to have to write, publish and repeat, again and again. I just finished a book that goes by the title Write. Publish. Repeat., which used the 80/20 rule a lot, which means that 80% of what’s produced comes from 20% of the effort. Stephen R. Covey would say that it’s focusing on what most important instead of what’s urgent, or not important.

At the behest of the authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., I bought and have started reading The War of Art which talks about beating the Resistance which conspires to keep those of us in the creative professions from doing our work. This lies at the core of why I haven’t published by book yet. It’s more than procrastination. It’s the fact that I mostly won’t sit by butt down and do my work. Thinking is relatively easy compared to writing, so I get a lot more thinking than writing done. But actually sitting down to do the work of writing and editing and making progress is what I usually avoid the most.

I bought the laptop I’m writing on with the purpose of writing. It has a number of cracks in the screen now, because one morning when I was walking my down down the debris ridden stairwell of my apartment building, I slipped and landed on my butt and back. Later that night, I took out my nearly new laptop and cried when I saw the left side of the screen looked like someone had punched it full force.

I taught basic writing this semester for the first time at university level, and in the beginning I sucked at it. I had no idea what I was doing and my lessons were sparse. Now, I’ve figured out how to make my students sweat during class as they write thesis statements, write abstract cross-topic, open ended questions, write essays, and correct each others writing by pen and in front of class as they read their peers writing out loud. When my students make the sounds of agony as they grind their way into writing that doesn’t suck, my soul gleans joy.

Justice League had to be written. People write books. I write, sometimes. My students write. Why is writing important? Because writing is thinking. Writing gives us the opportunity to observe what we think objectively, separately from ourselves, and assess it. We can write to see if we agree with what we’re thinking. We can write about our pasts to see if our feelings about the past match our beliefs about our past.

I was fired about 8 or 9 years ago from a job, and today I wrote about it. The feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, guilt and shame and stress came right to the surface and gave me the chance to observe them and do something with them. I chose to forgive the woman who fired me. And then I jumped onto YouTube and stuffed a burrito in my face because feeling stressed is super not fun.

I’m writing right now because it helps me recover from my past. It helps me process through what I’ve done and reorient myself to reality. I write because it helps me practice telling myself the truth, and the more I’m able to tune into the frequency of truth, the more I’m able to live with integrity to who I really am, not some fake personality I’ve constructed to keep people at arms length. I write because to write, I must dig past the upper levels of consciousness and find my way deeper and deeper until I hit the pay dirt of my heart. When I dig down to that spot, I find the real me, my feelings, thoughts, and more. I write because writing helps me know who I really am, and when I know that, I can give that gift to people. And if I give me and my writing to people, perhaps it will helps them find themselves, and help them want to change and be authentic and do some writing themselves.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections – 12-11-2017

  1. Exactly: writing makes you think. Our world is spinning so fast, people would rather have someone else think for them, do for them, hear for them, take responsibility for them; hence, the move away from self-government into forms of life where someone else IS in control of you, because you don’t want to think. Those forms are referred to as socialism, communism, etc.; maybe even ‘religion’ and ‘legalistic tradition’. Wow, Levi, I think you opened a can of worms. And I don’t ‘think’ half as much as you do. We feel so sorry about your laptop. My gosh. Merry Christmas, Levi!!

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