This screwed up mess is forcing people to change their daily habits (which should have already been modified, due to other reasons like: pollution, or traffic congestion, material waste, or sustaining public transportation financially), and I’m one of those at the brink of forced change.
After reading an article in the LA Times today on people making an adjustment to taking public transit just one day a week, I decided conclusively that it was something I was willing to negotiate. I was quite engrossed in the MTA website, downloading schedules for both subway and bus, in the midst of planning trips, only to let V successfully distract me away in romantic silence.
Several days ago I entertained the idea of getting a bike. Firstly, for entertainment purposes– I thought it would be something fun to do on the weekend. That thought transitioned into biking in lieu of driving. Reality set in for me, as it swiftly and always does, and I wondered, where exactly would I bike? Would the savings outweigh the costs?
This is how my mind thinks. Thank goodness. However frivolous my attitude, especially my superficial-superfluous public persona may be, my practical side shifts into gear. I really wish– people would not live beyond their means. Because living that way is going to suck (related to instant gratification and lack of accountability).
Everything is taken to be an investment for something else, attached to each other like a staircase. Otherwise, why bother?
Same with the public transit debate in my head. How many times do I need to ride public transit a week to be worth the hassle? The article said: just one week. I should look on this as a sacrifice. And do it.
If the cost of gas/depreciation of car/etc is approximately $0.562, I’m really only saving $3.50 dollars a day. If I only take public transit once a week, is $3.50 a week worth the much increased time and effort? I mean, what’s the difference between a $68 tank of gas and a $65 tank of gas?
This is the sole complaint I have about Los Angeles: public transit and walking sucks. Scenery is beautiful, but where’s the practicality?
Sigh. Not everyone can be like me.
I had the fortune of having serious writer friends who thought nothing of criticism– towards me, telling me things like:
“Platitudes will get you nowhere. It either works or it doesn’t.”
“Snippets aren’t smashed, they’re snipped.”
And other helpful things to note. That’s why I’ve tried to steer my writing towards a drier quality. When things are kept concise, free of flowering vocabulary, that’s when the genuine sincerity of the meanings will blossom. Being a good technical writer is not good enough– knowing what’s a coordinate conjunction, a subordinate clause, etc., doesn’t matter except when there’s confusion about semicolons.
V mentioned today that the difference between those who make it and those who stray behind– although inundated with talent– is discipline.
I had been aware of this and failed to work to my limits in the past. I was told that writing is not a talent, but a craft, requiring time and discipline. An excellent book to read: Hemingway On Writing.
Several of those people have gone on to east coast MFA schools and are working very hard, interning at Harper’s and The New Yorker and starting their own literary magazines. The rest of us are writing blog posts glorifying and adorning our daily lives with glittering words. Let’s not gloss over that at the very least. Instead, use it as motivation.
I’m not going to be one of those people who compliment anything manifested in writing for the sake of complimenting or because the subject matter is sensitive. Work hard on your craft. The subject matter doesn’t matter if it’s mundane or life-changing. Just make it real.
Leave the platitudes in the closet for fear of craft coming across as your high school diary. Use personification of objects sparingly.
If anything, make at least 10 edits. If not more. One word choice here, syntax change– you can be better than you currently are. Keep going until you become one of your favorite writers to read– or at the least, have the ability to write about the couple sitting next to you at brunch like it’s Nabokov’s long-awaited unpublished novel.