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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Revisiting writing the book

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C144519857/E20090507063929

the book

Essays on writing have me thinking and remembering

A couple of the people who I read on the internet (read, D., as opposed to Watch, and yes, there is a difference. Remember? We talked about it) linked to some things by professional authors on writing in the last couple of days.

Jason Pitzl-Waters over at the Wild Hunt Blog (and who has long since displaced Wren's Nest as my first choice for Pagan news) linked to an essay on ego by Cat Chapin Bishop at Quaker Pagan Reflections. And lupa linked to a piece by Maggie Stiefvater on writing.

Let me talk about the one on ego first.

These blogs are pretty much a personal indulgence. Yes, I registered the domain names, but I've gone out of my way to protect my privacy. Part of this is because I am libertarian, but a bigger part is because I don't want to be known because of my faith or because of my name. If I am going to be known at all I want it to be because of what I do and to a lessor extent of because what I say.

There are a lot of things I could be doing to drive more traffic to my blogs (and believe me, I've thought about that one too). For example, I could put pictures of topless women up. After all, I'm a Pagan and a naturist, I know where to look. But that is not what I want to talk about here. If you'll excuse the vulgarity (and even if you don't), it ain't about the tits.

What this particular blog is about is me sharing my thoughts along my path. That's a growth experience for me because I do not naturally open up to people. Especially with the things that I care deeply about because opening up means opening up the "vitals" to be hurt.

I come from Christian Evangelical stock. Both my mother and my stepdad were raised Southern Baptists. I was raised sort of as a Methodist, but as a young child my family didn't attend church much. For reasons which are far too complicated to go into in this entry, the existence of the Divine was never really a question for me, the manifestation was. I knew there was a God (and I was pretty sure He was married), I just wasn't sure the Christian ministers had His telephone number.

As a young man I was screwed up emotionally and I was doing some pretty stupid things. Mainly because I was thinking with the small head instead of the big one, it happens, most men outgrow it. Among Baptists, there is this big thing about publicly confessing your sins and seeking forgiveness from the people you have wronged. Think Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker and you get the idea.

So here I was, ready to find "redemption" among the good Pagans. In my first coven experience, I "confessed" my sins, I told about some of my Left-Hand path experiences. There were a lot of bright smiles, a lot of encouraging pats on the back. A lot of people deciding that they should take care of me "for my own good" and for the "good of the community."

The technical term is witchwar. I've called the whole mess NeoWayland and the Wiccan Crusaders. Back then I wasn't NeoWayland, but you get the idea. It was nasty and my reputation under my legal name in certain quarters has never recovered.

On the other hand, I'm still in Arizona. I have no idea where they are. I'm pretty sure they aren't in this state, or Utah, or New Mexico. I'm not sure about California or Colorado.

It did drive me to operate from the fringes, from the borders, from the shadows of the "Pagan community." By now you understand why I dislike and distrust that term. But that actually worked out pretty good, because it also let me make contacts in the freedom movement and exchange ideas there.

Along the way, that's given me a different reputation.

Then there's NeoWayland. It started as a throwaway identity to check out a few Pagan groups in the old Excite Clubs. It developed into something else. It's not a name, it's a title, and maybe someday I'll be good enough to deserve it. But not yet. I'm not looking for redemption anymore, I am looking to make restitution when and where I can.

I'm still not convinced that writing a book is a good idea. I'm not sure I have enough to say. But I am also pretty sure that if I do, my past is going to get publicly attached to NeoWayland. I'll admit, I prefer working from the shadows these days. Fewer questions, fewer justifications. Being a "Famous Name Pagan" would make that harder. And naturally, I am less impressed by fame than I am about what someone has done and how they have lived.

The Story is not the Journey.

But yes, my ego would profit. Immensely. So she gave me something to think about.

I'm still thinking about Stiefvater piece. Reading it, the thing that popped into my head was a bit from Back to the Future when George McFly is telling Marty McFly why he doesn't share his stories with anyone else.

That one hit a bit home too. Especially since I have put aside my fiction writing.

But there is an awful lot of junk being published, and I don't think that is going to change. It's the desire for content, especially fresh content. And failing that, reliable, feel good content.

I was a film major in college, with a emphasis on television production. There's a story I heard about the early days of television.

Back in the days of vaudeville, performers often spent years refining one act. Well, television was desperate for content, especially quality content. So this show booked a master magician, a man who had been performing variations of the same act for twenty years.

The show was a smash success, wildly popular beyond anyone's dreams.

The sponsor called the magician in. "Great show, great job! The audience loved it."

Pause.

"What are you going to do next week?"

So yes, there is a hunger for content. Stuff that pushes the borders. I myself read. A lot. And not just "the classics." Depending on my mood, I'll read almost anything.

But the content thing is pretty important. Somethings you can read more than once, some you can't.

I believe in words. Some of the entries I put up here in this blog (and occasionally at Pagan Vigil) have spellforms woven into them, it's one of my specialties. (And no, you're not going to spot them all).

I'm just not sure that books are the way to go anymore.

Posted: Thu - May 7, 2009 at 06:39 AM



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