Contemplations – 1

Contemplations – 1


I long ago labeled this blog: Fiction, Poetry, and Contemplations, but have not posted many contemplations. Too dangerous perhaps. I Googled the word: A transitive verb, “to think about something as a possible course of action.”
Contemplation. A powerful word . . . or thing. I’ve always thought of contemplation as a sort of meditation, requiring peace and quiet. And I think that’s true. When you turn off the cell phone, and TV, and radio . . . you’re more likely to think, perhaps a bit more introspectively. But we’re always thinking, and our thoughts inevitably morph into choices. Large and small: First thought of the day: Should I get up? A question.

Questions, an essential part of contemplation. Do they always come first? The mothers of thought? A Buddhist abbot asked:
“What are the first words of wisdom?”
Correct answer: “I don’t know.”
That is a good one. I suspect some kind of question lies at the beginning of consciousness. The first primordial thought, the first thought. Of being aware of self? Perhaps asking, “Where the hell am I?” Must be something like that. I’m still asking the same question after 76 years.  Not many of us have been born with answers. Answers need to be found. Questions come on their own, without asking. Even without words, the questions come.

So . . . It seems reasonable to name these posts, Contemplations, although the word sounds a bit pretentious . . . learned. I am neither. These are only random thoughts . . . unplanned.

Enough. I get bored when people talk about what they are going to talk about.

I’ve been spotting writing tips, and insights that show up and Facebook, and on blogs. Small bits of wisdom – blurbs. One most often seen this last week has been: “First drafts are shit.”

Hemingway - Shit

These insights are quoted from successful writers: Hemingway, Huruki Marumkami . . . Natalie Goldberg. I believe these words apply to most of us, except a lucky few writers who can just sit down and knock it out. I suspect Kerouac was one of these, and Charles Bukowski . . . Whatever.
For most of us the first draft is a question that requires some thought. You crank of ten or fifteen thousand words, then read it two days later and it’s shit. It really is. How do we ever know, for certain? The artist’s dilemma. A motivational speaker told his audience, “To be successful, an artist must possess ‘dumb determination’ – an unfounded belief in self, beyond the reach of critics and naysayers.
But what if you’re wrong? Time spent, hours wasted? Maybe . . . maybe not. Writing’s become as popular as yoga was in the mid sixties. Seems like everyone is doing it, and are self published. E-books, digital productions. A few people on Linkedin described their writing as, a hobby. Nothing wrong with that, a thing to occupy time. Writing can sure do that. And it’s so much easier now . . . computers . . . spell-check. It’s no problem making changes, cuts and pastes, no ribbons! Anything you want to know is but a moment off on Google. I look at photos of old writers pounding away on Underwood uprights that imprinted on paper! The IBM Selectric was a magnificent improvement, wonderful machine – no keys, and a correction ribbon. Obsoleted by computers. I’ll say more about Selectics later, but the next installment’s subject will be paper . . . I think.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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10 Responses to Contemplations – 1

  1. I like the musings, Bruce, and the points of view

  2. authorjim says:

    I like this. So many truths in one post. Yes, it seems to me that a question always precedes a new development or new product. No, make that several questions. Whether it is an invention, an idea, a work of art or literature, Having said that, I can’t resist doing a little picking. I worked for IBM for a number of years and even worked on the Selectric at times. Being a technician, nomenclature is important to me so I am compelled to point out that the Selectric did have keys. Like all typewriters, the keys were in the keyboard. What it didn’t have is typebars like other typewriters have. It had a sphere, or ball. with all the characters on it and rotated into the right position to —–“select” the right character. No more jammed typebars. Good post, Bruce.

  3. The one thing I do know about typewriters is they are dangerous in the hands of an angry policeman. I’ve seen one hurled at a suspect across an interview room. That aside I have to agree with Ernest about the first draft being shit, they can be terrible. Thankfully like shit they can morph into something useful, fertiliser. 🙂 Looking forward to more contemplations.

  4. Bruce I love this… the pic – of course ( give my love to Bucks) – and your thoughts and meditations on contemplation are really interesting… not sure if I believe in the first draft thing… I’ve never written one… but maybe others might think I should… I just find first thoughts are best, and as soon as I start tinkering, all the tenses and sentence construction go awry, and then I feel all spontaneity has gone…
    Love the phrase dumb determination… describes exactly the despairing obstinacy of sitting at the type-writer – oops – I mean computer….interested that you think everyone is writing these days.. I’ve puzzled over this, myself – when I was young writing seemed rare and esoteric – but as you say – now everyone’s doing it !
    Looking forward to your next contemplation…

  5. I’m an at least 99-draft person. I rewrite until I have to submit. Then, I never read the published piece because I see how I can improve it.
    I love the photo. If that’s really your office, I identify. I’m a neat-nick everywhere except my desk. It’s piled with all my projects.

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