SECTION 0. MY FIRST DISPUTE WITH THE TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
In 2006, the TSA banned liquids. Being a clever, pedantic, and thirsty child, I arrived to the airport with a bottle of ice.
“You can’t bring that through security,” the agent explained.
I asked why.
She said, “It’s a liquid.” With a shit-eating grin, I replied, “But it’s ice.”
“I know,” she answered. “Ice is a liquid.”
SECTION 1: THE MOUTH
- Saliva is under-appreciated.
- Drool is disgusting.
- Spit should be avoided at all costs.
- The saliva of a lover requires further research, currently accepting applications.
SECTION 2: COMMON APPLICATIONS OF WATER
- The water that makes up 80% of my body: Great.
- 80% of your body: Passable.
- 80% of Donald Trump’s body: No comment.
- Water-based lube: good.
- Tears: Bad, unless they’re being used as water-based lube.
- Water is great for fish, camels, and rainforests, necessary for farmers, and hit-and-miss with New Orleans.
- Showers are good, baths are great, and hot tubs are excellent.
- The four differences between a bath and a hot tub are friends, chlorine, jets, and clothing. Realization: Friends and jets must be fabulous, because chlorine is awful and clothing is the worst.
SECTION 3: LOCATIONS WHERE ONE MIGHT FIND WATER
- Cup: good.
- Bottle: fine.
- Pool: excellent.
- Syringe: concerning.
- Computer: oh no.
- Bed: your fault.
- My van: bad rust.
- The statue of liberty: somehow delightful rust.
SECTION 4: LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS
- SUBSECTION 1: FICTIONAL ETYMOLOGY
- “Water” derives from the Latin “Wah-tah-ré,” meaning gift of the gods.
- SUBSECTION 2: SYLLABLES
- Wat: the Thai word for temple
- Er: the sound often heard during the search for a hard-to-find word.
- SUBSECTION 3: CURIOUS INSIGHT
- Food, air, sun, earth, touch, love, mom, dad. Why is the word “water” two syllables when all other life necessities can be described in one?
- SUBSECTION 4: WORDPLAY
- Water you doing? Water you talking about? Water you looking at?
- Too far:
- Water you want her, the waiter, to wither while we a-waiter to order?
SECTION 5: TRAITS
- Warm water: good for bathing.
- Cold water: good for drinking and borscht. Otherwise to be avoided.
- Hot water: Excellent for cooking.
- Also means “trouble,” as in the phrase, “While exchanging saliva, Carol and I overheard the deafening footfalls of Principal Jerickson’s rotund personage and knew we were in hot water.”
SECTION 6: ENDING
- Some say the world will end in fire, others in ice. I say the world already ended in a flood… or at least that’s what the Salt Lake City billboards taught me.
Special thanks to Brine Waves, a Salt Lake City writing group that invited me to their gathering this week, themed “water.”
Did you like this piece? Hate it? Throw a comment below so I can know what to write in the future.
1. Compose from my place of emotional vulnerability until satisfied.
2. Edit such that I like it sufficiently. (ideally, I would edit until I like it maximally, but 1. One can only do so much in limited time and 2. It’s better to edit something over multiple days than to avoid editing it altogether because I can’t make it maximally satisfactory in one.)
3. If it’s safe for public consumption, share it.
1. Punctuating outside the quotation marks.
E.g.: The man told me, “You ain’t never been to Nashville ’til you been to Graceland”.
I’m still unsure about double-punctuating, e.g. She asked me, “What happened?”. I told her, “Sherol yelled, “Help!”. Open to thoughts.
2. Hyphenating -LY adverb constructions.
E.g.: “The greatly-appreciated man showed the onlookers around his gardens.”
Grammar is for clarity. this exception does not help with clarity.
More to come.
Since this year began, I have written and published each day. (Some “days” were completed 2 am the next morning, but I pre-determined that to be okay.)
I only once spewed a first draft, tabbed to publish a different writing, and forgot to polish the original spewing. A technical success, but not within the spirit of the law (nor something I’d like to repeat).
Since May 2017, I’ve written every day. (In addition to that half-time, I’ve only forgotten once, wherein I wrote twice the next to compensate). I’ll continue this habit, probably for the next eight years. That would make ten. Hell, I could do this for life.
The more that art affects lives, the better it is. (Assuming it affects lives in a positive way).
This can be broken down into two dimensions:
- How many people it affects.
- How much it affects them.
You could define “expected impact” as (Total number of people) x (Average amount of impact).
A few methods for creating art with a high expected impact:
- Create a valuable message
- Make the message easily digestible (more memetic).
- Create a message that lasts a long time
- Widen the audience it appeals to (target more demographics).
- Focus your art on the influencers (powerful/social people, good promoters).
(Creating art that impacts other artists would fall into this category)
- Make your art have less of a negative impact (be harmful to fewer people/less sizably harmful to those it harms).
- People often make the art they would want because:
- It’s relatively easy to do it well (easier than doing market research on an audience)
- Their own taste is an approximate proxy for “people who are like them”.
- If someone had every trait in the world, they’d make the most popular art because it’d be the most relatable (which increases digestibility of messages)
- Good art should add value to people’s lives. Value is important to note as distinct from perceived value (which is what money measures).
- Children produce great value for a few people. Cat videos produce little value for many people.
- Historically, creating evergreen content has been a stronger strategy than creating one-time impact, as that includes future generations in potential audience.
- Assuming its impact is good, the art you choose to do should be the one with the greatest expected impact. That is often similar to what you want to do most*, but not always.**
- I’m starting my career doing what I want to do most because I currently have the strongest ego (as you get older, your drive decreases) and may end up more on the intellectually-driven side later. (Editor’s note: a conversation earlier today redefined the word “ego” for me. I have more musing to do on this topic.
- Another approach is changing what you’re passionate about.
- Famous philosopher/author Nick Bostrom wrote a book that convinced many, many people to worry about AI as an existential risk. This prompted many people to start researching friendly AI, which may save the species and therefore have a HUGE impact on the world. (the hugest from here on out, perchance, because it’s necessary for all other future positive impacts.)
- This would suggest that a solid course of action for me—if there are any existential threats to humans—is to use art to fight them. (If it’s a thing that I could impact significantly. It’s not the only choice—my talents may be better used elsewhere—but it’s certainly a reasonable choice.)
*: You’ll want to do the thing that matters the most to you, and it mattering a lot to you is a good prediction that it’ll also matter to others. It mattering to others is a good predictor of how much it affects them.
**: That math has two spots of “good predictor”, so it’ll be exponentially removed from truth.
Why do I consistently wait until the last minute to complete work? (I recently completed my largest project of all time. I had over a month to complete what amounted to 44 hours of work, yet I still crunched through 38 hours in the final two days, staying up until 5:30 am and evolving into a giddy, manic machine).
- Being in time-crunch is thrilling and I enjoy a good rush.
- It makes work take less time, and I don’t like work. (Since I don’t have time to lollygag or double-back, I don’t lollygag or double back).
- “That’s a problem for future-Julian, and what has that guy ever done for me?”
- I’m a lazy fuck… who does what he promises. (I would never do it, but that’s not an option so I come as close as possible.)
- The system works so I have no incentive to change it.
- You never know when the teacher will change the assignment last minute. Did I say “teacher”? I meant “customer”. They’re shockingly similar.