All texts have a beginning. Whether it is a story of some fictional land and the heroes that must traverse the threats within it, a treatise on what is the path to enlightenment, a screed calling for more government boondoggles here and less involvement there, or even a silly piece to make one chuckle, all texts have a beginning.
And if you got this far, there’s a fairly good chance you know what this entry is supposed to be.
My name is Jeremy Kolassa. I’m a writer (as I’m sure you guessed.) I intend for this blog to be not only a showcase, but a place where I can discuss the finer points of writing. Whether that writing is a press release, a novel, an op-ed, a screenplay, a technical manual, or some pompous literary avant-garde hypertext foolishness, I want to take it apart, analyze its innards, see what makes it tick, and maybe suggest some upgrades to make it work better.
I should probably point out a few things before we get started. First, I’m a science fiction aficionado, and my writing and other preferences reflect that. Science fiction is a subset of speculative fiction, which I feel best embodies the entire point of fiction: helping us escape our mundane lives in the here and now and travel to places far beyond the realm of comprehension. The traditional word for this is catharsis, defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:
1 : purgation 2 a : purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art b : a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension 3 : elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression
What is proper fiction but a purification of ourselves–a removal of our mundane fears and wants and other things niggling in the back of our minds–and a release from that tension, that teleports us to another plane and we feel “renewed?” Some may not think of it as a spiritual thing, and in general, I would agree. But I feel the point stands.
Which means, for all those literary types who write stories of what is going on with these old ladies drinking coffee at a diner down on Fifth Street and trying to find the “truth of the human condition” through blunt realism, well, my honest opinion is: “Fiction: You’re doing it wrong.”
I’m also a huge fan of technology, especially anything relating to space development, green energy, computers, or mobile phones. I am intrigued by the fantasies woven by the advocates of transhumanism, but frankly I feel that a lot of what they say is pie-in-the-sky fantasy. (I won’t say nonsense, I will be generous.)
Politically, I’m a libertarian. I am not a fan of giant corporations eating babies with Tabasco sauce, as I’m sure half of you are thinking at this very moment, and I am not a fan of ripping down all the borders and firing our soldiers and letting those pinko Commie bastards from Ottawa form an alliance with the illegal immigrants to our south in order to form a North American Union. I merely believe that the only just society is one that exists without coercion and is based on voluntary association in a free market, allowing individuals to exercise their own judgement rather than being dictated to from on high. I’m a fierce individualist and oppose collectivism at all costs, since it is the origin of nearly all of the ills the modern world faces today.
I’m also a humanist. I believe in a human centered existence, without some other force creating our destinies–in fact, being an existentialist as well, I don’t think human beings have any sort of destiny whatsoever, other than the ones that they manufacture for themselves. However, I do not entirely discard the concept of a “human spirituality,” and I think there’s room for it in our modern lifestyle, secular humanists and Hitchens be damned. I’m also not a traditional “atheist” that you’d expect: while an atheist would say “I don’t believe in god,” my view is more of an ignostic one: “The question of whether or not god exists is irrelevant and meaningless.” And it’s true, it doesn’t really matter either way. As long as you don’t try and shove your teachings down my throat, I will not try and sway you from whatever you believe.
However, do expect a lively discussion every now and then, just for fun.
Good beginnings do not take too long; they do not get in the way of the story which is found in the middle. And thus, I will close out my beginning here, and let us get on to the meat of this blog.