21 January 2011

Which Would You Rather Read?

School Daze

Bookstore and Clock Tower, Fresno State

Things in my life have been moving quickly, and time has once again become my scarcest commodity. Over the winter break, it was my habit to work all day on my woodcarvings, at which I make a humble living. Then, as night fell, I would come inside to read and write. I started blogging to fill this niche. It's better than watching television.

But now, I am troubled.

Let me fill you in. I have some very intense classes, and I take my schoolwork seriously. Here's my class list, in order:

  • History Writing. This is one of the main classes required for my degree, and it will require the longest research paper I've yet done. The teacher is tough. This class is so tough, a "B" or higher means one need not take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam, normally required to get into graduate school)
  • Advanced Greek. This semester we are translating Euripides' Medea. The department head chose Euripides because he is not too difficult. But Ancient Greek is difficult. Period.
  • Humanities Honors Seminar I. This is a special class in which we will be reading a vast selection of important works in the history and development of the humanities. We will develop a prospectus for a thesis. This is stage one of a three stage process. This will be a fun class.
  • Advanced Latin. Virgil! Finally! We will translate "Book IV" of the Aeneid. This will be work, but Latin and Virgil have always clicked for me.

Yes, I'm getting a proper gentleman's education. Enough said.

The problem is this: I find that these scholarly activities exhaust the part of my brain I use to blog. Reading. Thinking. Writing. Reading. Thinking. Writing…

I have a meme I use to describe this. I call it "Q." "Q" for "Quotient," that variable quantity of mind which when full allows for intellectual work and which when drained, prevents it.

I know that school is going to drain my "Q," and blogging uses it up too. But I need it all to handle my tough classes.

But I do not want to stop blogging. I find the experience too valuable, yet I know there is no way I will be able to write four, or three, or maybe even two good posts a week.

Doing the two reviews I did has taught me that each of them is about a week's work. It takes a lot of digging. I should have done more. I should have gotten more material together. I should have run my stuff by those I talked about. I should have put together a list of questions in advance.

I have made commitments, and commitments, are, well they are commitments. One doesn't want to be a flake, but I want to be more conscientious and write a little more slowly. If I lose readers and comments while at the same time increasing quality, well, is the fault mine?

I know what the I Ching would say, "The way of the superior man. No Blame."

So "Rick's Blog" might become the "Sunday Review."


So there's that.

And now there's thisThe reason I returned to college in the first place was to improve the accuracy of my fiction. Not by studying writing, per se, but by studying history and the classics. My passion is classical history. I have one novel written and another in the works.

And now, I am seriously thinking of publishing the first on the web. I know enough Roman history, and I know enough Latin to fix the errors in my draft, and here's a neat segue. I am going to propose, as my Master's Thesis, a paper documenting the true history in the fiction. I do not know if that will fly, but in order to make it fly, my novel will have to have been exposed to critical review, and a blog is certainly an advantageous way to do that.

Also, since I've started the new novel, I'm not feeling too stingy about sharing the first. My Well, in this regard, has proven to be deep.

The beauty of this last idea is that the work has largely been done. I have many hundreds of thousands of words already written.

But there's more. Here's a little fact I have been kind of cagey about. Though I now make a living as a woodcarver, I used to paint for a living. Portraits, mainly. Then, one day, a friend talked me into doing the art for a comic book, but we never finished; still, I became intrigued with the idea of doing illustrations rather than painting, and from the very first moment I began my first novel, I had planned for it to be illustrated.

The Oracle, Oil on Canvas, 24x36, 200524

So far, I have only a lot of sketches, but it would actually be not that difficult for me to do the drawings while in school. Drawing does not burn up "Q," it burns "X."

If you read my review of Bruce's blog you may recall me asking if he rests from one kind of work by doing another. His answer was, "Absolutely."

These are my thoughts. I am known to change my mind. I am not sure what to do, but I do intend to keep production rolling. That's a given.

Which would you rather read? A beautiful, but tragic, love story taking place in the Age of Augustus, or reviews of more blogs?

[Footnote: Notice that the above photos have captions? I just I figured out how to do that in Blogger, but I'm not gonna tell you how to do it. You have to ask. Hah!]


bruce said...

the reviews to me are important but a novel is also worth a read! i will be here for either, cuz i am adaptable like that!

many thanks again for the review!

and there is nothing wrong with just being a sunday review either, we all have lives..

you have a full plate my friend, and school is very important and a huge time commitment the blog world will always be here...

all that being said...changing your mind is what thinkers do. as the input grows, so does our perspective...and perspective is the food for change of mind, and change of mind is the food for growth...and thinking is the food for perspective…i call it the circlular logic of the growing mind.

and if
you are unable to shift on the fly
the world will pass you by!
bruce johnson jadip
stupid stuff i see and hear
Bruce’s guy book
the guy book
Dreamodel Guy

Anonymous said...


Sorry, that doesn't help does it?

Seriously though, as Joseph Cambell would say "Follow your bliss". It sounds to me like Ancient History, and writing are your bliss. So think of the blog as another pathway (like your painting, and carving) to follow that bliss.

Lastly, don't fall prey to the tyranny of time. If a Sunday Post is all you can do, do it well and the readership will follow. People can go anywhere on the internet for quantity. Quality is much harder to find.

Richard G. Crockett said...

Hi Bruce, Tom

Thanks for your thoughts. I am keeping this in abeyance. I need to just live with the doubt, but I am leaning to BOTH!!!!

Throttling back on the reviews, taking my time, and ramping up the drawing for the novel.

Bruce, I keep considering your way of doing different blogs for different mode.

Tom, you nailed it.

StephanieC said...

These guys have said it better than I ever could. Ultimately (and I will keep hammering this one over and over) you must do what make you the happiest.

It is no fun to be a slave to school work, blogging, or writing in any fashion.

Keep it light enough to be enjoyable to you. That's key.

p.s. You may wish to scrap that word verification stuff, it drives the masses bonkers! ;-)

Zakgirl said...

Haven't we all been here.

Sounds like a conundrum in an enigma wrapped in a quandary presenting you with quite a predicament. Glad it's you and not me!

Life is compromise sometimes.

I'm not sure how much work you want to put into your schooling over the coming weeks, months and possibly years but I find breaking the projects down into manageable chunks (or tasks) of my time works. It's easier for my small brain to handle workload if I tell it nicely - "You only have 14 weeks or 14 classes until exams" rather than saying I'm studying for six months this semester. And this also gives me a sense of urgency too. "Only 14 lessons. Oh my".

Plan out the workload at the beginning of the semester to avoid the heartache and the "shit, I've got an assignment due today!" moments.

Then allocate time to each thing you want to do and prioritize by importance. An hour spent doing this is worth hours and hours of torture later.

Sometimes I delete things from my list of "to dos" (not very often). Other times I make a written note of that thing that I thought could be deleted and see whether in a few weeks time it's still as important as I first thought.

We are all different in the way we handle things and we sometimes say we don't have time when really we don't care for it enough or have the energy, the motivation or the want to do whatever it is.

Perhaps a weekly or bi-weekly review and only a couple of short, sharp posts during the week. Sort, of this is where I'm at type posts.

We will all be here.

Relax in what you do...


Richard G. Crockett said...

The aforementioned problems have prevented me from immediately replying. Time, yes, but also, having received such thoughtful comments, I wanted to answer back the same in turn, rather than dash something off.

@Stephanie - Thanks for the follow! I read your blog with every post, even if I do not always comment every single time. I like to have something to contribute, and sometimes it seems that I just don't.

And I was totally thinking of ditching that word verification stuff. I guess Blogger turns it on by default. So yeah. Agreed! Done!

@Zak - I like what you are saying. I have always tried to be one of those persons who is very organized, but I've never succeeded. Your tips are actually useful for one such as me. And you are right, the problem isn't always time, but energy.

@all - I am seeing a consensus: Be true to oneself. Thanks.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

You are a very talented man. Woodcarving, what a wonderful way to earn a living. Good luck in all your ventures.

Richard G. Crockett said...

Thanks for your kind words, Sir Ken.

Always a pleasure to read you, and marvelous to see that despite your large following, you found the time to read my blog.

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