7 Quick Takes Vol. 49: First Post Edition!

Welcome to my new blog! Since I’m embarking on a new phase of life, I thought I should start up a new blog as well; really make it feel like I’m starting afresh.

As an introduction, here are seven quick takes about me.

  1. I don’t like writing about myself; I’m a very private (and mildly paranoid) person. As the tagline on my site’s title indicates, I’m very introverted, to the point that I suspect I’m skirting the AS borderline. I haven’t gotten officially diagnosed because I couldn’t afford it even when I had a job. I know I have some symptoms of Aspergers, but not all, so who knows what that means? The point is, I’m introverted, solitary, and I tend to think differently than most people.
  1. Currently, I’m in the process of transitioning out of my job as an office administrator (read: receptionist with benefits) into a fulltime Freelance writer (read: unemployed and living off of savings). It’s a decision I’ve put a great deal of thought into. I’m approaching it not as ‘I’m tired of working and want to have more free time’ but as ‘this job has become a positive obstacle in becoming the man I want to be and living the life I want to live, so I am going to remove it and pour all my energy into things that I believe will actually improve me and increase my ability to find the kind of work I’d be interested in.’ So, I think of it less as being unemployed and more as making an investment in self-education.
  1. Part of my problem is that I have such a wide range of interests that it’s hard to decide which one I should focus on (another reason for cutting out unnecessary time-drains like employment). My main focus is on writing, whether fiction or non-fiction (though I tend to prefer the former), but I also dabble in video editing (see my YouTube channel), martial-arts and self defense (not the same thing, fyi), photography, and music (I play the violin and plan to start teaching myself piano/keyboard soon). I’m also trying to learn to draw and plan on starting 3D animation once I finish with work. That’s not counting my pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, in which I’m pretty much insatiable, especially when it comes to history, philosophy, theology, and zoology (hence my love of snakes). I’m something of a film buff, have a pretty solid grasp of video-games and comic books, and I love art (real art, not the hideous, narcissistic crap that passes for ‘modern art’). I have little or no interest in sports except historically (not counting a practical interest in boxing. Note also that I have a great fondness for parentheses).

          I’d call myself a renaissance man if I thought I could claim any real talent or expertise in any of these areas.

  1. The purpose of the last item wasn’t to boast (as noted, I have very little in the way of actual accomplishments in any of those areas) but to give you an idea of the range of topics that might show up here. I’m planning on blogging a lot more than I have in the past and not being particularly selective in what I write about or how much effort I put into it.
  1. I’m a cradle Catholic and have never been anything else, unless you count a brief period in preschool where I worshiped Sharptooth from The Land Before Time (I was an odd child). The advantage of growing up a social outcast is that I don’t set much score by popular opinion and hence have never really found much challenge in maintaining my faith in the face of the world’s opposition. Not that I haven’t had my intellectual difficulties with Catholicism (and still do in some areas, most notably in use of force issues); but I’ve learned that anything I don’t understand I should simply accept, set aside, and wait and pray for God to help me to understand it. So far, He always has.

The practical difficulties of living as a Christian are rather more of a challenge for me.

If you’re expecting any talk about how Christ has impacted my life, I’m afraid you’re probably going to disappointed. For one thing, as noted, I’m very private and reserved, so that kind of thing is difficult to talk about without seeming false. For another, I confess I have a very ‘intellectual’ faith; one that tends to boil down to “okay, I see that logically this must be true, so what’s the big deal with saying I believe it?” and which, all too often, tends to be a bit detached and legalistic.

I’m really not sure whether that’s a bug or a feature. I’m not ‘on fire’ as they say, and I often pray for that kind of blazingly felt faith, but on the other hand I think a lot of modern Christianity is too emotionalized, especially when it comes to ethical issues, and I wonder whether people like me are more what is called for to balance the scales. I realize that may sound arrogant, but note I said ‘people like me’ (as in ‘people like me in this one specific area’) not ‘me personally.’

That’s a side issue; the point is, I’m a Roman Catholic, always have been and see no prospect of ever being anything else. As Walker Percy said, “what else is there?”

  1. As indicated, my greatest claim to talent, such as it is, is as a writer. I do Freelance work, mostly through Elance, and occasionally submit things to certain websites. I’m panning step up my game in that regard in the future. My main focus, however, is in my own fiction, which I sometimes post here. The long-term plan is to be able to make my living as a novelist.

I dabble in all kinds of fiction, but most of my stories are to some degree or another fantasies, and I tend to lean heavily in the pulp area. My philosophy is that most great works of art are nothing but very good examples of popular art, and the best way to tell a great story is simply to tell it to the best of your abilities, not to try to write ‘the Great American Novel TM.’ I just want to write the kind of books I would want to read, which I never quite seem to find. So, I guess my success will depend largely on the question of how many other people in the world actually enjoy the same things I do. That’ll be interesting to find out.

  1. Those of you who read my previous blog know that I have a weakness for quotable quotes. Bartlett’s Quotations (14th Edition, just before it started to suck) has a permanent home on the table next to my reading chair, and I maintain a currently 230 page file comprised entirely of quotes, which I consider woefully incomplete (in particular the sections for the Bible, Shakespeare, and Harry Potter are embarrassingly threadbare). In that tradition, allow me to cite the wisdom of Mr. Dean Koontz:

“Civilization…exists only because the world has barely enough of two kinds of people: those who are able to build with a trowel in one hand, a sword in the other, and those who believe that ‘in the Beginning was the Word,’ and will risk death to preserve all books for the truths they might contain.”

Brother Odd

So, there you have it: me. I’m really excited about this new blog, and I’m looking forward to making it something really worth reading. Now, if you want to read more 7 Quick Takes, follow this link back to This Ain’t the Lyceum. 

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