Sep 27, 2015

Lost Art of Writing

For the past several days I've been engaged reading "Gone With The Wind", a novel I started reading a while ago (in 2012, I think - it was the first e-book I actually paid for), and since I've already achieved my 2015 Goodreads Challenge (I set myself the goal of rading 24 books in 2015, just as in the two previous years. Earlier I didn't made it, I was always a couple of books behind, but this year I reached the 24th book sometime in August, I think), I decided to go to the books I've started but never finished and so here I am, reading this lovely, interesting novel, which is quite different from the movie (as it usually is). Anyway, I must say I'm really liking it, and I really like Scarlett O'Hara-Hamilton-Kennedy, even though she's stupidly naïve at times, and other times plain mean, she's just bewitching.

In the past weeks, I had a been reading quite voraciously, and with a speed that's not my usual speed either. I think I'll never forget the week and half where I read eight books in nine days. Yes, curiously, most of those books were gay romance. A lot of them were really good and I enjoyed reading them so much I could hardly think of ever reading anything that wasn't gay romance. I did pull myself from it at one point and went back to read other types of books as well, but then I went back to a gay romance... and hated it. Not the gay romance itself, but the story I read.

Through my many forays into the fields of gay romance, I have noticed that there's a peculiar profusion of bad writing among the ranks of the writers. Those this happen in any other literary circles? From texts plaged with typos to grammar and spelling mistakes even I can pinpoint, many stories and novels pululate out there in this particular theme, that are in desperate need of an editor. The last such story I read, I actually erased from my Kindle. The writing was so poor, it was basically unreadable. There was this chunk of text with no visible plot, peppered with so many grammatical mistakes, typos and whatnots - even there seemed to be words loose over there, just there, without anything to do with the sentence of the paragraph at all - that made the reading even harder.

I don't get it, this was a Kindle book - for $0,00 mind you, but still a book sold through - shouldn't there be some sort of editing involved? Nobody is reviewing these texts? Or shall we all think that anything priced $0 is a surprise-bag, and you could get a serving of crap for your click? Not that paid books skip the craptacular circles, but still. Shouldn't there be a certain commitment with quality here?

Posts and articles are found by handfuls on the internet about how writing is being lost among today's youth, but I'd say the art of writing is also lost among today's adults as well, and the reasin for it is that nobody actually cares about reading. People can concentrate enough to type own a tweet, or  comment in facebook, but nobody reads - really reads - anymore. Even in the case of books, each chapter needs to be cut up into smaller bites because people can't read a whole chapter anymore. People seek images and can't keep their attention on anything for more than a couple of seconds. Information must be absorbed in a glance, all pre-thought, pre-chewed, pre-analized, and pre-opinioned.

Poorly written books, poorly written articles, and everything terribly watered down is what people have for their eyes now. This is it and this is all there is. In a world like this, where no depth is sought, doesn't it makes sense that people seek instant gratification too? This is, after all, the only type of gratification their attention is capable of grasping.

Am I getting old and thinking that all was better when I was younger, or am I right? Really what has the modern times brought to mankind, other than further deterioration of the cognitive capabilities?

Sep 20, 2015

Oh Boy, Mercury Retrograde

I started the week following the wrong week on my Witches Datebook. This is the datebook I use to keep my non-work related appointments. My filofax contains all my appointments and notes, and so, at one point I noticed that the dates, the appointments, but above all, that the Mercury Retrograde period wasn't matching.

In the past several days I've been reading voraciously, and when I say "voraciously", it means that I've been reading at a speed of a book-a-day in several cases, but even a book in three days. Considering that I usually read a book in 2 weeks, this speed is unusual for me. Specially sustained through several books. Ok, well, a lot of those books have been gay stories, so I burned through them like acid. From these books the following:

1. The Alaska books or North Series of Cara Dee were delightful, though none of the books were on te same height as Aftermath.

2. I really like Alessandra Hazard's writing style. From her Straight Boy series (was that the name of the series? I don't really remember), all of the books followed the same formula: older, taller man dominates through some degree of violence the younger man, who usually displays some degree of "attitude problem". Even so, I read through her whole "Just a Bit" books and loved the last one like you have no idea.

After that I tackled a Mexican novel "Los Corruptores" (The Corruptors), by Jorge Zepeda, and kinda liked that one too. This one is about four friends and how they find themselves involved in a murder with deep political roots. What I liked most of this book was that it had a lot of talk of political situations, and political antics.

Politics in Latin America can be a really exciting thing, from a very morbid point of view. The intricacies, the weaving of corruption, drugs, human trafficking and so on, are all actual parts of the real scenario of real Latin American countries, and as such, are depicted in the novel in a way that might seem a little too extreme, a little too fictitious, but then, as the author himself explains, the extents of corruption in this part of the world reaches so far, that when put on paper in a novel, they look like nuking the fridge. Funny thing is that, politics nowadays are a long string of outrageous maneuvers hardly even bothering to cover.

This reminds me of that person I think I wrote about, who actually considered corrupts and thieves to be incredibly gifted people with a superior intellect. Well, what can you expect from someone who as managed a lot of things in life by dropping to the knees, if you know what I mean... according to what's said, which actually explains the given persons lack of intellectual capabilities.

Well, through all this, I was suddenly taken by a bout of literary inspiration - I consider it an advance on the usual October Inspiration Season - and I actually started drafting up an original story. Go figure. It's been a while since I've actually typed something that's not a fanfic. Whether I'll finish this one, I'm not sure, but one thing is for certain, I'm typing it and letting it lose. Whatever happens after, well, it will happen. Nah, you'll never get to read that one, I don't publish.

Through all this time, I've also been quite snowed wth work, and the college project is also going on and we need to move on that, but there I've been a little stuck. Boy talk about Mercury Retrograde! Supposedly, when we are on Mercury Retrograde you should avoid starting new things, and rather concentrate on revising things you are currently doing and keep on working your projects. It's a time to slow down, look closer to stuff, thread carefully, talk carefully and above all, avoid risks. And what do I do? Start a new story. Am I normal? Then again, my Muse has been on a long vacations and she basically works only one month of the year (October Inspirational Season isn't a coincidence, no, it's like the only time my Muse is willing to work. Like the bitch is an accountant or something, working only to do the yearly balance, end of the period, and then she's off again, vacationing in the Bahamas with the money made), so yeah, if she wants to work on Mercury Retrograde, who am I to say no?

This is the year's last Mercury Retrograde and it took me by surprise, walking into it with all the things I would not normally do. Starting things, stagnating ongoing things while waiting for the impulse to get to them... wearing red. What was I thinking? Why wasn't I being more careful?Who knows, but be it as it may, so far it has been awesome. ^_^

Sep 13, 2015


I'm trying to understand myself and my grief. It's been about a month and a half since Hyperion died, and somehow I don't get over it. Through the years, I've had many cats and many of them have died, of course. While Hyperion lived, I thought sometimes about what would be my reaction  the day he died. I thought that maybe I'd be sad but I would quickly look for a new cat. It had been so with Ramses, our Siamese cat. However, ever since Hyperion got sick, the idea of him dying on me was simply unacceptable for me. Now, after he has been gone, I find myself missing him everyday.

My memories of Hyperion extend to all of my senses, but curiously, they are mainly concentrated in my sense of smell and my touch. I remember his smell vividly, often to the point where I can suddenly smell him, and fell at the same time the soft fur of his head pressed to my upper lip. I remember his fur against my nose, the touch of his head against my hand, how it fet when I scratched him, or his weight as he leaned agaings my hand or sat on my lap. The heat of him, the vibrations of his purring, his big paws in my hand or pressing against me.

I still sad as I remember that he's no longer with us, that I can't go home and wait to see him, pick him up and caress him. Yes, no cat has ever been so long with us as Hippie, so is it that why I don't get over his death so easy? I got over breaking up with my ex so much faster and so much painlessly, and yet here's a cat - ok, a great, awesome cat - and I don't seem to be able to move on, see my life without him.

Grief can be so weird.

Sep 6, 2015

The Death of Communication/Civilization

Checking on the blogs I follow - or used to - suddenly I was overcome with a certain type of sadness of how we go changing through time. Admittedly, I heven't been blogging as regularly as in the past, nor is blogger the site I always keep open on my tabs in every computer I sat to, and of course, this also means that blogger isn't anymore the one I check constantly. To my horror, that "honor" might be currently fall upon Facebook, though that doesn't mean I'm checking it everyday (yes, even on my Blackberry, the notifications might tend to accumulate for  a couple of days before I even take the time to check them or just erase them unchecked). I think I'd like o change that, and though I have tried to go back to my twitter-days, or maybe embrace tumblr better, the truth is that I want something more of substance, not a social network full or - oh, I don't know - useless stuff, anf virtual screaming and bullying, but rather something thought provoking. Like blogs. I want blogs back in my life.

Is anybody else already tired of social networks? The likes, the shares, the comments. If you agree, if you don't, the constant bullying, the concurring or "agreeing minds" and never growing. Most of it are always short messages added to shared messages, or pictures. And if you come across a long message you often hardly read it becaause the media already makes you feel predisposed to laziness regarding it. 98 comments are nice, but nobody would read them. Only, perhaps, the publisher of the deserving post. So really, do we want to be part of that? Do we really?

Twitter makes sure I get only bite sized pieces, but then how much insight can your earn in 140 characters? Once I heard a prominent Costa Rican twitter-blogger say how great twitter was for developping writing skills, since it forces you to summarize your thoughts and make them clear to fit in 140 characters. The conversation wasn't directed to me, us I overheard it I wondered how little conctact he might have with actual writing. Shouldn't writing be about expressing yourself coherently? It's mindblowing how many people nowadays can't compose a simple text - limited or not by the number of characters usable. A140-character space accomplishes only to hide that fact. 140 characters give you enough space to say a quick, unelaborated thing, but if you take that cap off, a lot of people get lost.

Through my latest college experience, I've met quite many people rather advanced in their studies how can't compose two coherent paragraphs, even if their lives depended on it. I've also met far more people with the same issue at work. And you know I work at a rather high profile enterprise, where everybody must have at least a college bachelor degree to be working in the areas I've contact with. Is it that writing skills are no longer an important subject at school or is it that teachers today have no clue about the basic rules of composition? Well, either would be sad, but the last option would really make me cry.

The art of writing, as we sail deeper into this "modern" XXIst  century, has become a dying art, if not an already dead art. I've already often complained about poorly written news articles (at least this is the leading trend among journals in Costa Rica), but this sort of lack of quality in the written word is also appearing in magazines (and not only fashion magazines) and other virtual and printed texts. When this sort of poor writing is found in textbooks, well, all you can think of is that the time has come for us to go back to the caves and start again with pictograms, because evidently language has no meaning anymore.

So what is coming to be of our communications, that thing that we humas have so often said is what separates us from the rest of the animals? As speedier means flood us, as our media becomes global and we delude ourselves with the stupid idea that we have access to more "information" - some even deluding themselves far more by actually saying that we have a wider access to knowledge (ha!) - we lose our communication skills. What is going on? People meet for a coffee or a drink with friends and spend the whole time (or at least a 85% of the time together) LATCHED to their phones checking and replying to e-mails, texts, facebook comments and messages and so on. I mean, really, we have a REAL PERSON right there, in front of us, who has presumably taken time from their schedule, has moved to share a location with us, presumably to talk with us, but no, we each share a space and a slot of time which we use to follow up with other people. Practicing the art of writing? No, rather like butchering any form of intelligent writing by emoticoning our messages, sharing posts and pictures, typing down strings of "hahahaha" an other crap like that, because, really, the ping of whatsapp is far more important than the person before us.

We are constantly bombarded with news from around the world, some times to the point where we know what's going on in another continent and curiously have no idea of what's going on in our own country. From America we actively join the argument about whether Spain should or shouldn't keep on the Monarchy and viciously debate upon whether it's worthy to be paying so much taxes to keep up the Royal Family when it has absolutely no influence whatsoever in oour lives, and yet we have no clue of what are our own taxes being spent on. We tear into countries and governments for acting one way or the other, often for not communicating properly and yet, are we communicating properly? How can we really demand proper communication from our Parliaments when we won't communicate properly with the friend sitting in front of us in Starbucks?

As the art of writing slips from our grasp, slowly like a ghost vanishing in the fog of the night, telltale signs let us now that their inky, lettery fingers are dragging after it the whole of communication. We don't write prroperly anymore and so we don't speak properly and slowly we lose also our hability to think. When speeches stop being about eloquence and rather become a jumble of words thrown up together - kind of like vomit after a night of heavy drinking, where along with all the booze you!ve swallowed also come up the whole of what you!ve eaten the whole day, from the asparagus from lunch to the omelet of breakfast - where it's not about making sense but sounding smart, when it's not about presentinga rational position, but to drown in noise the other part, yes, then 'd say our words are nothing but the meaningless babbling of humans, a sound they produce without sense, nor any more intelligent than... well, is there an animal that produces dumb sound just for the noise of it; Oh, right, humans.

For a species allegedly picked by God to rule/guard this world, for being supposedly, the smartest species of this planet, are we still so? Or have we managed to stupidify ourselves enought through our own creations, to slowly slip down the very pedestal onto which we have put ourselves, to become the dumbest of all species, defeated by our own work? When all of our communication skills finally collapse - and they will - are we still going to pretend we are God's chosen ones? Are we still going to call ourselves "civilized" and pretend we are the top of the food chain?

Letters are no longer of interest. Nothing longer than 140 characters is actually being read. News are all about headlines, the first sentence of the article in the best of cases, and then presumption. Reading is now merely a glance through, whatever your lazy eyes catch in the quick slide down the pages, eyes that would only stop for a glossy, fancy picture and notthing more. People no longer read, no longer write, no longer communicate, but they do bitch. We are no longer "engaged", we no longer "care", everybody is so alone, nobody helps, there's not sense of community anymore, it's harder to find a life partner, relationship are no longer meaningful, everything is so fake, the human touch is fragile like a thin sugar sculpture melting at touch. And everybody bitches about that. Well, are we looking up at our friend across the table right now? Are we communicating with the friend we've finally got to meet with, or are we more engaged with our phones, checking e-mails, messages and notifications, maybe even reading blogs and news articles or a thread in a forum - which we could be doing at home, from bed, before we fall asleep?

It's our fault. How can any of us pretend to have any significant relationship with anyone, of any kind when we are ok ignoring the person right before us for a fucking phone? Why is that person more important when they like something on our facebook than when they are there, with us? And this, my friend, extends to the rest of the world. We no longer care with what's right next to us, and we neglect to communicate properly, because we find it better and more important to become espectators of the world, care about what we can't change, and reduce our whole interaction - which is no longer communications - to clicks. And this is what things are the way they are.