Before we get down to the devilishly fun business of venting my views on politics, faith, the media, movies and the process of writing a book, traffic jams and coffee rings, office politics and my lazy cat, cabbages and kings, I should like to introduce myself.
As if you care.
I am a writer. It’s what I do. I’ve done it since I could hold a chunky green crayon. I’ve never found an end to the things I could write about, but I’ve never found the time. Time is a commodity both scarce and precious. Before the world became Biblically illiterate, all men knew from their Sunday School lessons that one should redeem the time, for the days are evil. The lesson is easy enough to understand: We should prioritize and spend our time on things that truly matter. When we’re not playing video games, surfing the net or watching television, of course. I suppose that it goes back to the old adage that all that is required for evil to prosper if for good men to do nothing. The adage under estimates the opportunity and propensity for evil to thrive when good men are too busy doing things of trivial consequence to bother with slaying dragons and riding out against the forces of evil.
Writers have this desire to write about everything under the sun, but we are forced to prioritize if we ever hope to get anything at all accomplished! I literally have an idea box. I read about the concept of an idea box in some book or magazine article, where some nameless author [of a book about how to write successfully, if memory serves] swore that he used this wonderful device to keep his mind on his present body of work by placing ideas he had in the meantime in a box, so he could utilize the ideas he’d birthed at a more convenient time. The author claimed that this device had helped him enormously. He was a wonderful liar, of course. This is how it really works: I throw ideas, written on little scraps of paper and torn notebook pages, for future essays, articles, short stories, shopping lists and novels into that blasted box and, I’ll be honest with you here, it’s completely and utterly pointless. I throw things into my idea box, but I never take anything out of it. It will never empty, because I simply don’t have the time. I threw the ideas into that black box because I didn’t have time to develop them and, since we’re still being honest, it’s impossible that I will ever have the time to develop them. It’s my mnemonic trash dump, a pensieve of good intentions, a black hole of unrealized dreams and doomed inspiration. It’s bloody depressing! It does serve a placebo effect of feeling that I’m doing something with my orphaned ideas, but that’s little comfort when I realize I’ve simply mislabed a trash bin I’ll never empty.
Which again brings me to the subject of blogging…
I believe it was C.S. Lewis who noted that all men face nits and dragons, and that most men are well-equipped against big barkin’ dragons, but are usually eaten alive by insignificant little packs of ravenous nits. [I’m paraphrasing.] The reasons we must concentrate the mass of our efforts against dragons is because dragons are big, flame-belching engines of destruction who will eat all of our livestock, destroy our harvest and make off with our prettiest maids. We dare not let down our guard against such beasts! Nits are annoying, but only dangerous en masse. But they are dangerous, if only we let them alone long enough. So while I dare not waste the majority of my time combatting nits when there are perfectly good dragons stomping about, I must at least spend a little time at nitpicking. At the risk of mixing metaphors, the little foxes spoil the vine.
Those of you who are still following me at this point are amply blessed with a double portion of intelligence and patience. To justify the fact that you are still reading this introduction, I feel compelled to make my point. My black box of good intentions has officially found its way to a real trash bin. But neither ideas nor nits will just go away with the dissolution of that useless device, so I have come up with a simple solution:
This blog will be my new black box.