The Panic Caused By A Blank Canvas
Here I am again. I've been sitting here a few minutes with this posting screen open, trying to figure out what to write about. You probably heard me breathing.
Mostly, I've not been one to lock up when faced with a blank canvas of any kind. In fact, a favorite trick of mine has always been to just put a mark down somewhere right in the middle of a blank page, to get over that hump. So I guess that's what I'm doing today--once I have that first mark on the canvas, I can get down to work, and though I may not wind up using the original bit.
Trouble is, I'm really drawing a blank today--I'm just not moved to rant (the wellspring of my powers). Well, not a lot on any one topic.
I've been considering a piece on Dave Sim (creator of long-running comic book Cerebus
and notorious misogynist) and his views--he's very much of the opinion that most people are almost pathologically opposed to rational thinking, and I agree. He is also, unfortunately, of the opinion that women are the source of this irrationality and, overwhelming focus on feeling instead of thinking, an opinion I do NOT share. As you can see, though, it's likely to be a large undertaking, and until I've gotten myself organized a little better, I can't really work it out.
Then there's a post on Oinkment today about an atheists convention. I share Girlygirl's views on religion, which works out since I also share a house and life with her, though we don't always have the same opinion about motivations. Mostly I was struck by her report that the "journalist" who wrote the article just couldn't get it through his or her head that theism is not necessarily the default setting in human minds. In this person's world (and indeed, in the world of pretty much all religionists), failure to subscribe to religious belief is a conscious change of course from the in-born state of religious belief. Thus, all atheists are somehow pushing an agenda, rather than struggling for acceptance.
It seems to me that the folks pushing an agenda are the ones who say religion is important for more than social functions, the ones who say that I've got a screw loose for not
believing, the ones that find me and my compatriots so frightening that they want to force us to believe what they believe. I don't want to convert anyone to atheism. I would like, if it's not too much trouble, to not have everyone assume I have religious beliefs like theirs. I realize that in this country pretty much everyone but Christians are in the same boat with me, but atheism is largely unacceptable worldwide.
If you want to believe that rubbish, go right ahead. Just don't ask me to do so, and don't expect me to want to listen to your beliefs any more than you want to listen to mine*.
I'd also considered a post about writing music. I finally figured out my recording software for my PC last night, and managed to put down a really basic drum loop and about a minute of guitar chords. It's going to be an interesting exercise, I can tell. While I have some skills, and a definite beliefs and understanding about what makes certain music interesting or pleasing to me, I don't necessarily know a damn thing about actual composing. I don't write tortured lyrics on acres of yellow legal pad paper--I am no longer sixteen, and neither am I an axe grinder or zealot who's dying to sugar coat his views with musical frosting. I don't burn with emotions that need to be expressed through my instrument (not that
So far all I've got going for me in the recording arena is the equipment, a working knowledge of guitar, and a willingness to put that first mark on the blank canvas. Hopefully I can spin that into something more, just like today's essay. Even if it's crappy. Also like today's essay.
*We had a couple of Mormons come to the door the other day. Pimply-faced teens with badges on that said, "Elder" so-and-so (I scoff). I didn't even open the screen door--just said, "No thanks, I'm not interested. Really," and shut the other door. One of them had plainly seen such things before, and was amused. The other seemed kind of put out--I guess he'd never run into anyone who was completely and unapologetically guilt-free about turning down a Mormon, just like he'd shown up selling something I didn't need. I knew what they had to offer, and wanted no part of it. Why waste their time, just because they were willing to waste mine?
Now don't get me wrong--I think the Mormons' system of making these young kids go to a strange place (usually a big city far from their small town upbringing) is a good one. Kids need to have some experience outside the isolation of their place of origin. Seeing how other people live, facing some of the big, scary world, and getting a shitload of doors slammed in your face is a really great educational experience. I don't agree with their stated motivation for doing so, and probably would disagree with much of what they take away from the experience (closer to god, etc.), but I think it's probably good that these poor deluded saps see something beyond the doors of the temple before committing to staying inside the rest of their lives.
In this respect, perhaps I should have invited them in--"Thank goodness you're here--I understand that you desperately need to be saved from a life of unexamined superstition. I'm ready to help you if you're ready to receive my lessons." Trouble is, I'm not an evangelist. Not even an evangelist of opportunity. If they want to believe in their voodoo or witchcraft or whatever, they're welcome to it. And they've probably heard that line plenty of times before anyway.