I gotta admit to you that I do not read a lot of blog posts, but Ethan Bryan has this way with blurb-quote tweets.  So today he got me with “There is no Photoshop for the soul in the desert,” and I found myself reading this blog post instead of getting started mixing like I was supposed to.

The post, called “The Desert”, connects various Biblical images of deserts & the folks who found themselves within them, with a metaphorical “desert” state of being, which Ethan outlines in the post.  It’s a highly relevant post, as I’m sure many people are familiar with this. I would say that I have been in a desert similar to what Ethan describes since I dropped out of college two years ago–separated from most of my friends both physically and with respect of interests/efforts/lifestyle, so I definitely relate to this post personally, even though I don’t identify as a Christian anymore.

That’s the most striking thing about Ethan’s writing to me–that it’s still able to connect to me.  Several years ago I confronted a few major internal conflicts I had with Christianity–my faith perspective since birth, though it took many forms during its course–and I ended up in this sort of spiritual no-man’s-zone; or, a Desert, if you will.  What I ended up with is just whatever grew up out of the ruins–a spirituality without any sort of name or well-defined guidelines, but one that works really well with me.

The thing about falling out of Christianity, though, is that it left me with a great deal of aversion to it.  I knew that it wasn’t fair, and it really frustrated me, because I knew from experience that Christianity has a lot of good to offer.  I’m also of the opinion that faiths are the frameworks or languages of a larger, more ambiguous spirituality, and that a certain religion itself isn’t intrinsically Good or Bad, though there are certainly things that I find positive and negative in their individual implementations.  Still, whenever I heard people speak from the Christian perspective, it always stirred up the old conflicts for me, even though there are many implementations of Christianity that don’t uphold those issues at all.

As time has passed, my aversion has subsided quite a bit, though I still find that I don’t relate as well to Christian expressions as I might to something from a faith that I don’t have personal experience with, and I think that is in part because of a lingering hesitation I have to really engage the Christian language.

Ethan’s writing, though, has always been extremely approachable to me, and this is what I find so amazing about it.  I had the pleasure of editing Run Home and Take a Bow only about a year after my transition out of Christianity.  It’s a book about Jesus and baseball, neither of which were topics of any interest to me at the time, and yet I still found myself connecting to both.

It is my goal to be able to engage Christian language as I would any other faith or perspective, because I think they all have something beneficial to offer, and I don’t want to be shut off to that.  I’m sure I have some more ground to cover on that front, but I think as long as folks like Ethan keep doing what they do, then finding a way to approach Christianity as an Outsider won’t be hard at all.

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Ten Big Things for September

September 2, 2012

Hey Folks!

It’s been a long time, I know. I’ve been unfortunately neglectful of this blog of late. Still I have been keeping busy–I have another album brewing, though it’s difficult to say how close to completion I am–likely less than half way. I’ve also programmed a little html game called Auld Land using Construct 2, which you can read more about here.

More along the topic of today’s post, I’m going to be starting a new job in two days, and I want to keep myself productive even despite this (I sometimes tend to get lazy after working 40 hours a week and not pursue my own endeavors). To help, I have crafted a list of ten things that I plan to accomplish in September. One of them I actually completed yesterday, but that will give you a feel for how I’ll be updating as the month progresses.

Ten Big Things for September

  1. Host a Coffee House Game Night
  2. Print The Coffee House Games
  3. Finish songwriting for disc 1 of the new album
  4. Host a House Concert
  5. Write a short story/play
  6. Submit a play to a theater company
  7. Do a full sheet (8.5×10″ or larger) drawing
  8. Write another blog post
  9. Host an Autumns Eve Feast
  10. Make a Knytt Stories Level

Okay, I know things have been quiet around here lately, but that usually means I’ve been busy!

And I have.

A little while ago, I joked on twitter about creating the I Found a Box single. Well, maybe I take my jokes a little too seriously sometimes, but I will actually be recording vocals for the second of the four songs tomorrow.  I think it will be called I Found a Box EP, because I like that a bit better, but this is actually the closest thing to a concept album (EP-thing) that I have created (I have been pursuing concept albums since I first started writing music).  Anyhow, I will keep you updated as to the progress, but I think it’s safe to say that at this rate, we can expect it sometime in March.

Additionally, just last night I finished proofreading and song-checking my album booklet for The Night Wind, and I have sent it to Renee to be PDFatized sometime soon.  I’ll let you know when I have it, and I will add it to the album folder on Bandcamp, as well as posting it for download here.

Best,
Nash

Hey Folks,

Yes, it is true.  I have canceled funding for the coffee house games on Kickstarter.  I made a couple of pretty critical mistakes which I wasn’t able to fix after launching the project, and they would have left me struggling to meet impossible deadlines had the project been funded.

However, we are not done yet.  I’ve taken this opportunity to step back and reevaluate the project, adjust for some of my miscalculations, and really reconsider exactly where I want to see this project going.

As a result, I have decided to team up with my designer, writer, artist, and all-around brilliant friend Renee to fundamentally redesign the coffee house games.  We have a lot of ideas in the works, unfortunately it is too early to share them at this point in time.  However, I feel it is safe to say we are scrapping our traditional publishing plans and moving in a more hand-published direction.

I’ll publish more information once I have it!

Best,
Nash

Well, today is the day! National Novel Writing Month has officially launched.  So far, I am at 0/50,000 words.  Guess I better get writing, eh?

To help launch things off (and to help me keep my story straight), I’ve been working on a little map of the planetary system in which my novel will take place.  The system, as well as its red-dwarf star is called Tin.

There are also some uninhabited moons/dwarf planets which aren’t shown, but these are the ones in which humanity has taken the greatest interest.

In other news, the good folks over at Red Moon Medicine Show, a small KC-based RPG press, are having a ghost story contest, in which people can submit their own, real-life spooky stories for a chance to win a great prize bundle which includes their latest game, Don’t Walk in Winter Wood, as well as a digital copy of my own ghost story, “The Blue Wasp”!

Anyhow, I probably better get to writing…
Nash

My ghost story, “The Blue Wasp”, is up on Kickstarter as of this morning.  The project is only running until October 22, in order for the copies to ship in time for Halloween.  This leaves only a week for you to show your support for hand-publishing and secure your copy of “The Blue Wasp”!

You can read all about the project on the Kickstarter page (linked above), so I won’t repeat myself too much here.  However, I do want to say that every night I will be posting a new sample from the story (no spoilers) up on the Kickstarter page, so keep an eye on the Updates section for that.

Best,
Nash

We used to do this thing on RPG forum sites called thread-necroing, where we would dig up some ancient, pointless post, full of trolls, flaming, and general sound and fury–a post that was just about to hit the cutoff line and be deleted from the server–and bump it up to the top with a new comment.  Anyway, I feel like this is a bit of blog-necroing.

I started this WordPress account a long time ago for some reason or another (because someone told me to, maybe?), and I quickly learned that I was a terrible blogger.  I lacked the grace and casual fluidity of a laid-back blogging voice, and, well, it took me forever to write a post.  I hung in there for a while, posting a little less than once a month, but eventually I called it quits for the sake of time.

Now I am in a predicament.  I’ve been developing a whole slew of creative projects, and I’m right on the cusp of putting some of them out for the public (more on this later).  However, I don’t have a stable, professional internet presence to send people to.  My twitter, though witty at moments, is hardly mature, let alone professional, and my tumblr may have occasional updates about what I’m doing, but it is hardly organized.  So, I think, my solution lies here; in the hallowed halls of the Wandering Ponderer (I still wander, you know? Perhaps more frequently by bicycle, nowadays).

So here’s the deal.  I’m resurrecting this blog with a more focused purpose: to keep readers/subscribers/digital drifters up-to-date on whatever creative projects I have brewing.  Yes, there will be the occasional off-topic post about my bird or Quetzalcoatl, but my priority will be creative works.

Well which project is coming up next?  Glad you asked.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing and developing a ghost story (illustration close-up here) called “The Blue Wasp” which I am going to hand-publish (write, illustrate, print, bind, and mail) and distribute through Kickstarter.  I don’t want this to be my last hand-publishing endeavor, so I want people to have a place to go to keep up with further hand-published stories, as well as the other sorts of trouble I’m causing.  Once again, that’s where this comes in.  Consider this blog home base for everything I’m up to.

More later,
Nash

We went in through the bookstore, which is maybe why it didn’t hit me at first.  I’ve been in quite a few bookstores lately, so, even though they bother me sometimes, I’m relatively used to it.  Before long, though, we were heading out of the bookstore and into the heart of the shopping mall.

I was just following, day-dreaming, at first.  The next stop was a jewelry store, or an accessory store, targeted at women.  I’m biased, I know, but jewelry–at least store-bought–seems pointless to me.  Homemade trinkets have history–creativity; but this stuff is hollow.  I step outside for some air.

I’m trapped.  Down the wide, marble hall is a cell-phone booth–the ever hastening chase for the latest mobile technology, at the expense of the African child-soldiers that fight over the materials we need to make them.  Across from me is Baby Gap, so even your baby can wear trendy, overpriced, labor-exploited clothes.  Buy him whole closets full; the other babies will think he’s cool.

Pictures of sexy women are everywhere.  Store signs light up the hallways.

I’m freaking out.  Materialism surrounds me.  Image pressures smother me.  I go back in.

The makeup section is an armory in the Beauty War.  I like our real faces better.  Racks and racks of earrings, bracelets, trinkets line the walls.

“Oh!  I like this one.”

“This one would look good!”

I’m judging them.  Oh, I wish I weren’t, but I am, and I’m so sorry.  All I can think is “How much does it cost?” and “Do you really need it?”.  They’re buying stuff for Halloween costumes.  For one day.  I’m a hypocrite for thinking it, but it’s there.

They can tell something’s wrong, and I hate that, because I can’t say it.  It’s too mean.  But the meanness is in the thought, and now I’m being mean for hiding it.

Dillards.  Clothing hangs around me in every direction.  I notice some that my friends wear, like their shed cicada shells, hanging from the racks.  What are they like underneath?  I’m one to talk–I hide behind my clothes too.  I don’t even know what I look like underneath, except maybe a crazy person.  I shouldn’t think like this, but I can’t stop thinking it.  I have to stop thinking.

We learned a meditation technique in class the other day–I’ll try it.

One.  Exhale.
Two. Exhale.
Three. Exhale.

I’m wringing my hand around my wrist, over and over, and I know that I’m doing it.  Now I’m analyzing my behavior.  It’s a sensory thing.  I do something repetitive that sets off the nerves in my skin, and it distracts me.  I’ve never been this bad before, but I’m still aware of it, which I kind of hate, because now I’m not sure if I’m doing it on purpose or not.  I’ll try to stop.

Hot Topic–I used to go here.  ‘Social trends suck!  Rebel!  Don’t let the world define your image!  Use our image instead’–wait.  Acting just to rebel to social pressure is still acting under the influence of social pressure, especially when there’s a social force telling you how to do it.  I hate this, but I’m noticing that most of the people I see in each of these stores fit the image of the store itself.

It’s too much.  This can’t be reality.  This has to be some dream–a caricature of our social stupidity.  Why do we buy this crap?

Our Halloween costume quest is taking us all over the mall.  We’re searching for wigs, earrings, and I don’t even know what else.  I’m completely lost from what’s going on.

In Claire’s there are big posters of kids in costumes.  We don’t really have holidays anymore, just giant marketing schemes.  Do we really think about what we’re supposed to be celebrating on Halloween?  Or are we so caught up in the costumes and candy and spooks to take pause and reflect upon the relationship between life and death, or to consider the departed?

And do we really think about what we’re dressing up as?  Would people smile at me if I went trick-or-treating as a rapist?  No.  But we like pirates, and pirates rape people.

I’m so negative when I’m like this.  I could spoil anything.  Halloween is about fun, it brings people together.  It let’s us be silly and dress up like things.  I can’t stop thinking it, though, and in this mall I’m surrounded by it.

I give up on meditating, officially now, though I haven’t remembered to do it in quite a while. I roll my knuckles over and over until the muscles are tight and hold their position even after I relax my hand.

We pass another jewelry store, and I notice one of the workers, standing at the counter.  She probably stands there eight hours a day.  Is it her passion?  Maybe, but probably not.  Perhaps a moral drive?  No, I know I’m biased, but I could hardly see how it would be.  The money.  Yes.  We all must have money to live, and we must work to earn money, and, more than likely, the work that we do won’t be enjoyable.  It won’t have a point, other than fueling some petty corporation.  But, that’s life.  Take it in stride.  Try and forget that we’re selling nearly a fourth of our time away (Assuming we only have to work full-time, and not more than that).

But what can we do about it?  There it is, my crucial question.  What good is pointing out a flaw and offering no solution?  That’s my problem.  I can’t think of a solution.  I can’t even talk to my friends about it without being a jerk!  I’m trapped.  We’re trapped.  The whole world is trapped in it’s stupid self.  I want out so bad.  I’m losing my mind.

My friends have found everything they came for.  We head back through the bookstore and out into the rain.  I’m glad it’s raining, I needed to feel Nature.  I’m cold, and the puddles in the parking lot soak right through my canvas shoes.  I’m glad for it, though.  Anything to take my mind off things.

In the car, I am overcome with exhaustion, and I sleep on the way back.

Tonight is a Halloween party.  I’ve spoiled Halloween for myself, though, so I’m not feeling up to it anymore.  But in my room I am alone with my troubles.  I don’t have anywhere to go; I hate to be alone while I am unhappy, but I see in all my friends the very woes that cause my unhappiness.

Introduction:  There has been some conflict within the Board of Nash Managment as to what this blog post should entail; however, it is widely agreed upon (save perhaps by Lazy Nash and Self-Doubt Nash) that the upcoming holiday deserves a post (if nothing else, it will maintain my at-least-one-post-per-month pace).  As such, to ensure that each Nash is adequately represented, it has been decided that this post will contain a dialogue between Nashs, in regards to both the nature of this post, as well as the impending 2010’s.  It should be noted, however, that the Board will be conducting this dialogue live, and that it is not prerecorded.  As such, the reader should expect a certain (and, quite possibly, irritating) level of self-reference.  For this we, the Board, heartily apologize (Introspective Nash, however, is not represented by this apology, as self-reference is his primary occupation).

SENTIMENTAL NASH:  To begin, I would very much like to make a short monologue about the holiday, because, as many of you know, I have been developing a great passion in regards to the meaning of this turn in decades, and I would be honored to pour my heart out to the Board.
HERALD OF THE BOARD:  Your Request is granted, Sentimental Nash.
SELF-DOUBT NASH: If I may interject, I feel this post is very stupid–
HERALD OF THE BOARD: You may not Interject, Self-Doubt Nash, please Remain Seated.  Sentimental Nash, please Continue.
SENTIMENTAL NASH: Thank you very much, Harold.  Now, I begin.  Tomorrow, my friends, marks the beginning of not only a new year, but a new decade.  This will be the third decade in which we have existed, and it will be another major portion of our life.  I feel as though we are standing in the fog on the ledge of a great ship, and our port is just out of reach, but there is no telling what this port has in store for us.  As we near this harbor, I have been reflecting on our voyage thus far–specifically through this year.  Now, as you know, this has been quite a year for us.  There have been crushing defeats, heartbreaking tragedies, and great struggles of the soul, and I am thinking, as I reflect upon these events, that they have been leading us to this very point.  They are our conflict, but tomorrow night will be our climax.  Tomorrow night we turn over into a new land, a new harbor, and the defeats of last year will be nothing more than the ocean that brought us here.  Okay.  I think that’s about all I have right up front.  Thank you again, Harold.
HERALD OF THE BOARD: The Table is now open for Discussion.
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH:  I would like to point out that the “New Years” holiday is purely a social construct, the actual date of which is completely irrelevant.  New Years might as well be on January 2 or even in some other month entirely.  In fact, it would seem to be most appropriate to place the beginning of the new year at such a date so that it coincides with the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring, since, in common human symbolism, Winter is representative of death and Spring of rebirth.
SELF-DOUBT NASH: Yeah like we haven’t heard that proposition before.
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: I offer only the truth, trite or not.
SENTIMENTAL NASH: Well, I was just trying to explain that, no matter when New Years should fall, it happens to fall at a critical point in our own life, since it will be the cumulation of a years worth of struggles and personal growth on our part.  Tomorrow night the phoenix dies and by morning it is risen anew!
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: Now that assertion is even more ridiculous.  Yes, there have been struggles over the past year, but what reason do we really have to expect this to be their cumulation?  Tomorrow night is just another night.  Tonight is a night.  You didn’t disagree that New Years could fall on any day without problem, so why isn’t tonight the cumulation?  What reason do we have to expect our problems to cumulate tomorrow night?  Surely you don’t believe that we’ll magically stop having struggles after January first?
SENTIMENTAL NASH: Well, no.  It’s just–It isn’t that New Years Eve fixes everything.  It’s just that it helps to remind us that the past is in the past, and that there is hope for the future.  That is why they cumulate with New Years, because we let them cumulate with New Years and that way we can keep on going.
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: If we are truly honest with ourselves, would we really need to be reminded of those things?  Could it be, Sentimental Nash, that the reason you are so excited for this holiday is that you need to be reminded and reinspired by this holiday because you allow yourself to succumb to the emotional effects of those past events as well the chill torments of having your warm blanket of dreamy idealism ripped away from you by the brutal hand of reality?
INTROSPECTIVE NASH: I move that we forcibly redirect the flow of this conversation, as it is now representative merely of personality differences.  Since both Sentimental Nash and Objective-Critical Nash are equally unable to conform to the other’s personality without defeating their identities as well as their roles on this Board, our purposes are best served by abandoning our present debate.  Also, Objective-Critical Nash, you’re only going to make Sentimental Nash cry by speaking to him in that manner.  You aren’t going to convince him of anything.
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: His tears would only further prove his misguided thinking.
INTROSPECTIVE NASH: Well, your insistence on the superiority of your own mindset only proves the imperfection of your objectivity.
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: On the contrary, since said superiority was derived in an objective environment, it is still objective to insist that it is superior, since it is the truth.
HERALD OF THE BOARD: Introspective Nash, your movement for a Redirection has been Accepted.  Are there any other Topics for the Table?
PUBLIC RELATIONS NASH: Yes.  I move that we end the blog post now, because it is becoming quite long–as many of our posts, unfortunately, are–and readers will probably not want to put up with this much reading.  Especially seeing how, erm, well, how abstract and blathery it is.
NON-CONFORMIST NASH: oh so the point of posting on the blog is just to appeal to the readers?  some blog it is then!  we should change the name to “a wanderer’s popularity-contest entry” then, because they’d hardly be honest ponderings.  oh wait, that wouldn’t go over well.  are we just looking for sheer number of readers, PR Nash?  because then we should just change it to “naked celeb pix”.
PUBLIC RELATIONS NASH: I move that we erase the last sentence of Non-Conformist Nash’s previous remark.  Though his “rebellious spirit” will appeal to teenagers and college students, the phrase “naked celeb pix” may very well offend many of our readers.
NON-CONFORMIST NASH: there you go again.  trying to censor me.  objective-critical nash! back me up here, man.  should we really be biasing our blog just to make people happy?
(SUPPOSEDLY) OBJECTIVE-CRITICAL NASH: If this purpose of this post is to be an unbiased, egalitarian expression of each different member of the Board, then it would be hardly egalitarian or unbiased if we were to censor Non-Conformist Nash’s remarks.  Whether or not the phrase “naked celeb pix” is rude is purely subject to interpretation.
PUBLIC RELATIONS NASH: And that interpretation is exactly what I am taking into consideration, OC Nash!
INTROSPECTIVE NASH: Seeing that we have, once again, fallen into another rather circular argument, and that we have strayed quite far from the topic of the New Year, I move that we take a moment for any further thoughts in regards to the new year, and then go ahead and wrap the post up.
HERALD OF THE BOARD: Movement accepted.  Are there any further Thoughts in regards to the upcoming holiday?
SELF-DOUBT NASH: No.  But we aren’t seriously going to post this, are we?
NON-CONFORMIST NASH: yeah.  just be-cause we can.
SELF-DOUBT NASH: Don’t do it. Please. We are going to feel so stupid when we wake up tomorrow and read this.  Don’t you realize that we’re writing this at 1:38 in the morning?  That more than half of this is just introspective blather and is completely unrelated to New Years Eve?
NON-CONFORMIST NASH: well.  the first part is kind of related to new years eve.  and that’s all people are going to read anyway, so we’re good!  but did anyone else feel like introspective nash was kind of running this show?  why did herald listen to everything he said?
PHILOSOPHICAL NASH: Well, he was kind of running this show.  I mean, how else do you think we would exist?