Thinking in UNIX

Do one thing and do it well.

From the beginning, my intent was for this blog to be about, for the most part, storytelling. From reviewing movies to posting my fiction to discussion the ins and outs of the publishing industry, I’ve wanted above all else to outline what I feel makes for a good story and the best ways for those stories to be told. Granted, this means the blog will likely have a smaller audience than some, as it has a more focused appeal rather than a universal one, but I really should take that with good grace.

I lost sight of my original goal when I started putting political rants in this space rather than my LiveJournal or Facebook. Sure, some of my diatribes are amusing and there are points to be made, but this is probably not the place I should be making them. I won’t take any of my previous posts down – I have nothing to be ashamed of and am in fact proud of the stance I take on things – but I’ll refrain from posting such things here in the future. If this is to be my place for telling and discussing stories, I should not be discussing politics. I’ll find other forums in which to do that.

There is philosophy among UNIX programmers. They write their scripts to “do one thing, and do it well.” It’s a simple, straight-forward philosophy that made Orville Redenbacher make such good popcorn and brings hundreds of thousands of fans to AC/DC concerts. Orville didn’t try to make snack mixes or granola bars, he just made popping corn. AC/DC doesn’t put hip-hop or electronics or country or jazz into their music, they just give us rock, the whole rock, and nothing but rock. And it seems to me that in that way lies success.

I am not a journalist, nor am I a biographer. I’ve given thought to offering my services to men other than Fritz Sprandel to help them writing their memoirs – this time getting it in writing, of course, because of how it turned out the last time. I’ve also thought about writing a philosophical/spiritual work (perhaps adapting Sun-Tzu’s “Art of War” to a truly Christian mindset, without bringing in things like guilt or evangelism or burning people at the stake) or an examination on how certain political climates of the past mirror some of the undercurrents of the current state of affairs. But are these things I really want to be known for? Are they things I really see myself as being good at?

I’m a dreamer. I’ve spent a lot of time with my mind in places other than where my body was. I’m a gamer. I roll dice, push buttons and deal cards to escape from the rigors of everyday life. I’m a traveler. I want to go places I’ve never seen before and do things I would otherwise not do. And I feel all of these experiences are, more often than not, better when shared. In roleplaying on World of Warcraft, participating in tabletop games and writing speculative fiction, I invite those around me to join me in a journey. I don’t always know the end destination, but sometimes I think that’s less the point than the actual journey itself.

This journey will be a bit more pleasant, I think, if I can move away from the emotionally-charged rants about neo-conservatives. Going from a discussion on the creativity or lack thereof in a given story to an angry response to conservative stupidity and back to movie & television reviews can be somewhat jarring. If I’ve managed to retain readers more interested in the geekiness than the politics I’ll be very surprised, and I’d rather lose the politicos than the dreamers.

I need to focus on doing one thing, and doing it better than the Dan Browns and Stephenie Meyers and Laurel K. Hamiltons out there – produce original speculative fiction that captures the imagination of the reader and takes them somewhere they had no idea existed before opening the cover of a book that I have written.

So. Let’s move on, shall we? The journey into the unknown and undreamed can’t continue unless we take a step in the right direction.

1 Comment

  1. 2nd to last paragraph – right there with you.

    I didn’t mind the political stuff, but yeah, the other is definitely more interesting.

    For me, need to pull myself up and get back to writing.

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