Thursday, November 23, 2017
4 a.m. All day in the company of Tom Cutter, yesterday. How many times now have I re-read [Nevil Shute’s] Around the Bend, and it is still as fresh as ever.
We have accumulated something like 90,000 words since mid-September. Several people have asked, is this to be a book, and I have said I presume so but don’t know. Do you have a theme to set out, book length or so, and then perhaps another, or should I regard this as a continuing series that may be chopped into convenient segments, or what?
You are torn between the goal of delivering books and that of providing day-by-day guidance, or entertainment, or company, however you wish to see it.
True. And the answer to that dilemma is?
You might look at this as a bite-size precis of life on earth. You can shape your experiences into convenient units around a theme or you can regard your life as an unbroken whole, which has its own meaning. There is no “right” answer; it is a matter of choice. You have been doing a little of each.
Awakening from the 3D World certainly had a theme. Rita’s World did, and yet not so focused a theme. Well, actually – looking down the list – every one had a theme; every one was also an installment in the on-going saga of waking up. Even Imagine Yourself Well and The Cosmic Internet, very separate and themed books, were also part of a developing theme. I suppose you could say it is all one book, continuing as I continue. Maybe more than anybody cares to read.
Times change. A book is no longer the letter from author to reader that it once was. The coming of the internet’s continual interaction has meant that any given book may be dribbled out moment by moment – and, same thing – may be created in continuous interaction with those who participate as it develops. You are moving into a future with your assumptions shaped by a past, as necessarily happens. In this instance, your idea is to bind your experience first into words, then into collections of statements. That is, first transcription, then collation as physical books, a far more permanent form than the evanescence of electronics. It is the divided (or two-sided, anyway) reality that results in your divided or two-sided efforts.
It’s true. to reach people instantly is good for them and good for me, but in itself results only in a few people printing out the sessions and (presumably) three-hole punching the pages and holding them in binders that are not a particularly attractive way to re-read them. Those who don’t print them out see them once, perhaps twice if they re-read, and then not again. Nothing seen once and then not again – or no, what I mean is, nothing seen so spaced in little daily increments can be grasped as a whole. It’s only impact can be cumulative, which means it has one chance to be effective; it relies on the reader paying attention day by day, changing in response, and then, changed, experiencing the next. That’s too much to ask. If there is a book, it will sit there on the shelf waiting for whomever to pick it up and receive several months’ worth of effort in as little time as the reader cares to compress in reading it. Only, books need to be created, sold, and read. As you imply, there’s something to be said for both phases of the information-dissemination process, but I prefer to wrap it up into books.
There is another factor.
Yes, I got that. The day-to-day interactions may need pruning. Not every golden glowing word needs to be immortalized.
Like you, we’re smiling; like you, we agree on the problem. How do you know what is meat and what is fluff? How do you know what little detail, or misunderstanding straightened out, or casual aside, or any seeming irrelevancy may be safely omitted? Yet at the same time you know that saying a thing in the fewest words possible greatly increases the effect. However – on the third hand, so to speak – it is very frequently the case that people edit out what seems to them redundancy or prolixity, and in the process haul up the only ladder that would have allowed some people access to the ship.
That is pretty direct and unambiguous guidance, there. Avoid Scylla and Charybdis. All that is missing is the “how.”
Now we have passed beyond smiling, into chuckling.
Meaning, “that’s all the guidance you’re going to get, buddy”?
Meaning, it is as we said. It’s like life. No clear unambiguous path for you; your choice.
This morning I woke up thinking, more than ever, that I can’t write my – spiritual autobiography, call it, my interpretation of my internal life as it has manifested externally – if I keep doing this. Not that I don’t
New idea, eh?
Well, yes it is. Stopped me cold. An interesting idea, for sure. Write it in the same way we’re writing this, working with you in the same way, putting it out on the blog day by day in the same way. Autobiography on the fly. The drawbacks probably won’t be any greater than what I have gotten used to doing.
Only, give yourself greater latitude. Revise freely. Consider your morning sessions to be your first draft. In the old days one would never publish a first draft; neither should you. but you could consider the readers of your blog as your editorial committee, your readers (in the editorial sense) pre-publication. And thus you could accomplish all your goals in the sonly way that takes advantage of the instant-access of the internet and the later more permanent published form of books.
It hasn’t been clear to you, but a part of your problem has been your wish to preserve our words intact, as part of the record. In other words, you didn’t feel justified in editing the process except in the sort of minor correction that amounts to scratching out typos and inserting the intended word. That is no longer necessary, and perhaps not even appropriate or desirable.
In that –?
In that you have demonstrated what you set out to demonstrate. Anyone wanting help in doing this work can read what you have produced. It’s there. but you don’t need to keep repeating the demonstration. Those who come to your work later in the process will be able to follow the line of books backward, as you followed Colin Wilson’s when you found him.
So if I’m hearing you correctly, you may go underground, so to speak. If I concentrate on a theme, working with you as I go, there is no reason why it has to come out in this dialogue format, or, if it does, why it need remain that way.
As we say, just like the rest of life. And if on this day of thanksgiving you choose to consider this your final entry in the book of Nathaniel, that’s fine with us. We have said what we wanted to say; anything more would be repetition, which has its uses but quickly loses savor.
You know, it is an appealing idea. I may do it. Thanks for all your help so far, and I look forward to whatever new form of collaboration may follow.
Just like life in general. Very well, maybe take a day or two to do other things, and to prepare, and – as people say – we’ll see you on the other side. In this case meaning, on the other side of your decision.
That’s less drastic than saying “when you die”! Again, our thanks.