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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The worst part of composing

Everyone has their own damn hell to push through, but here's mine: after months, nay, years, of feeling creatively kind of constipated (refer to multiple posts about depression on this very blog), I go back to a theme I smeared on the page maybe a year ago, and I hate it. It's supposed to be a twisted love theme. It's shit. It's a turd that I have tried multiple times to polish, but all it does is smear into ever more bland and messy stains. I decide to scrap the entire theme and do the whole damn thing over, which is going to affect a bunch of other moments and scenes, but whatever; they're all shit, contaminated by the stink of this stupid theme. They all need to be rewritten. In fact, most of the scenes in question need to be written, never mind the re-, so who cares; I may as well start over. After hours of staring at the newly blank staves while too afraid to move, I finally write a different theme. I think it's better, but I'm not sure. I worry that I'm second guessing this brand new theme. But then, I was second guessing myself by scrapping and rewriting the original theme, so actually, this is at least the third guess. I'm starting to think everything is a damn guess, and none of the guesses are close to the mark.

Sometimes I really wish I could trust myself. But if I do, and the result is a giant smear of excrement, well, that won't do at all, will it?

In conclusion, I hate everything.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Slime Mold

I remember a night in 1997. I had recently turned 17, and I was in med school, living in Goldstein College at the University of New South Wales. It was 2AM, and I was desperately, miserably trying to cram an entire biology syllabus into my head for a final exam the next morning. I hated the class (I hated med school) and had paid no attention all semester; I had skipped most of the lectures in favor of sleeping off all-night drinking and card games. The process of forcing hundreds of pages of dull knowledge into my brain in one evening had so defeated me, I was in tears.

And then ... then, in a small box on one page of the textbook, I learned about the slime mold. I can still clearly see the picture in the lower right corner: a tiny, nearly transparent wormlike creature formed from single-celled organisms that had come together like Voltron to move as one. And something indescribable happened to me. For a moment, I became delirious with love and awe for the slime mold. It was an uncontrollable manic happiness that pushed me out of my chair to skip about my room laughing. I wanted to tell the whole world about slime mold and how much I loved it. With renewed vigor, I kept studying and somehow I got a B+ in the exam.

And even though I quit med school not long afterward because I hated it so much, I still love slime mold, and I can't even explain why.

Anyway, now, apparently, other scientists perhaps afflicted with the same manic adoration are doing things like designing transportation systems and transforming computing with them.

You go, slime mold. You go.