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Failure and Autodidacticism.

Dope_SFRecently I received the feedback for my final exam presentation and I failed with a grade of 49/100 (50 being a passing grade). It has brought up a real sense of entitlement within myself that conflicts with the way I would like to live my life. My inability to work within the framework of a university has also driven me back to my autodidactic practice.

Factors of Failure

For some bizarre reason I really feel as though I should have passed. When I view the criteria sheet in relation to my presentation I believe I was judged incredibly harshly. Perhaps I am making excuses for myself when at the end of the day, had I reviewed all the material provided I probably would have passed… Or would I have.

They call it dope for a reason

During the semester I took many different substances, all considered by the vast majority of people to be far more sinister than jazz-herb. That said, my marks did not deteriorate until I took up smoking it.

I feel like a damned fool. My arrogance lead me to believe that I could pass a final exam with less than two days of presentation after smoking (daily) for more that four weeks straight. Not to mention, during this period there were various other substances, such as alcohol and prescription drugs taken.

By Hunter S. Thompson’s standard I had a pretty relaxed May/June, but by the average masters student I was Ozzy fucking Osborne.

Autodidactic Practice

I have returned to viewing my own content, just as I had before university study and it has cast a lot of doubts on whether or not I am in the right place. There are so many things I want to explore and want to do in my life and this course seems to be putting them on hold. The ironic thing about this statement is that this course is quite possibly the ticket to achieve many of the things I want to.

I just lack the focus and restraint. I do what I want to do and within the world I’d presently lived that was more than enough – the life of a welfare recipient and practising artist does not set the bar particularly high when it comes to achievement. I feel as though there are not enough hours in the day and that by continuing with my studies I am failing to contribute something more positive to the world.

What am I doing?

I am training to be a teacher. I am not sure that there is anything more selfless in the world than taking a low salary to work long hours to teach the next generation, but I can’t help but feel it’s not enough. It feels like I am simply becoming a cog in a western societal machine that doesn’t have neither the time nor the inclination to include someone who wants to push the boundaries.

My biggest problem is that I’m always right

This is probably the biggest personality problem I need to address in my life. No matter what happens I always have to do things differently and I always have to be right. This does not mean I am adverse to admitting I’m wrong (quite the opposite) it means I have become and expert at manipulating nearly any situation to prove myself right.

Even if it’s only in my own mind.

So what next?

I am at a loss. I need to make some serious decisions about whether or not I go back to university next semester. Presently my biggest issue is that I feel like an idiot and am not sure how I can face returning to school but as I say this I realise that the poisons are still draining from my system. I am still affected by substances that alter my mind and generate anxieties and self doubt.

In 8 days time I will be going on a retreat. House sitting for my mother who leaves for the desert. If I was to leave tomorrow I would spend the three days in meditation. By the time I get there however, I may have lost interest.

50 followers!

ImageWhoa! 50 followers :D. I’m really quite shocked at how responsive the wordpress community is as a whole. With so many awesome blogs out there, I’m really proud that people have chosen to follow little old me. So thank you!

“There are not enough hours in the day.” Is something I’ve really been feeling lately. the content that has been going up lately was pre-written. I was in the zone one day and ended up writing about 6000 words worth of articles. Recently I’ve really slacked off.

 

I’ve had so much freelance work, along with two businesses I’m building up that I simply haven’t had time. But that’s about to change, a month from somewhere is being bumped up to the top of my list of priorities. So sorry to those who left comments and have been seemingly ignored.

Thanks to everyone who has been following me, and will follow me in the future, love you guys!

Time to answer some comments!

An Anti-consumerist’s rant about Anti-consumerists

As the title implies, I identify myself as an anti-consumerist. I do not believe that the way in which the western world consumes is ecologically, or economically viable in the long term, and will inevitably lead to the coming of a second dark age. But, with that in mind, the hypocrisy that surrounds what I believe to be a scene really riles me up.

First of all, there are a few things that people I know, who identify themselves as anti-consumerists do:

  1. They consume. We have to, to live. It’s a fact. Yet, they act as though they do not, and proclaim the capitalist machine a devil
  2. They make no real effort to curb said consumerism, they simply talk about it
  3. They’re phonies!

Why I am an anti-consumerism?

For starters, they environment. I know, you’ve heard it all before (which is why this will be brief), polar bears are sun baking, pandas aren’t boning any more and the whales are being harpooned. Consumption of throw away goods like electronics, cheap clothing and jewellery, is very literally covering the planet.

With Carbon emissions all the rage now days, nobody seems to be talking about landfill – it is still a serious problem, and makes Pixar’s Wall-E futurism, and not fiction.

Secondly, the third world. China and India are essentially slave economies, with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of sweat shops still in operation. This kind of exploitation of human beings I personally find grotesque.

How am I an anti consumerist?

This is going to make me sound like a grub, but; I own three pairs of pants (1xJeans 1x Shorts 1xSlacks), I have a lot of t-shirts, but I make them myself, I have five jackets (2xSnowboard, 2xCotton hoody 1xWorkwear), and then I have a lot of underwear and socks (pretty much the only thing I own a lot of… I draw the line at dirty undies). Most of which (underwear and socks excluded), came from thrift-shops.

I cook myself, grow my own food, and am working on getting chickens. If I need something new, I tend to make it from what I have laying around, rather than buying it. I believe the kids are calling it up-cycling now, but I like to think of it as “not wasting money on crap.”

In a given week, I really don’t buy anything but food. My laptop was the last real thing I purchased and that was 14 months ago (my old computer was 7 years old). With all that said, I don’t live a Spartan existence. I eat very well, my house is heated, and I consume a lot of literature (library) and cinema (digital).

The most important aspect of all of this, is it’s not a concious decision, and not something I talk about.

I don’t wake up in the morning and think “Mmmmm, this is a good day not to consume.”

Phonies!

I have to take a leaf out of Holden Caulfield’s book here and say most anti-consumerists are phonies! I have far too many people in my life that I call friends, whom you can’t speak to for more than twenty minutes without the conversation turning to some bullshit environmental issue, or ant anti-capitalist rant.

The worst thing is, these rants are usually spurred on by a complaint about the price of some inane object. Oh apple macs are too expensive, clothes are too cheap. For the love of… These same people brag about finding things in thrift stores. Because that’s some kind of achievement, in the X-box game of life; finding someone’s mouldy threads and barely paying for it some sort of badge of honour.

They constantly banter about housing and sustainability  and yet in five years time they’ll have a kid, a mortgage and be just another cog… As will I. The difference being, I know this.

It’s like some childish idea of bohemia. “Naw, man, rock n’ roll will never die.” True, it won’t. You’ll just grow out of it, get a real job, reproduce, and get a house. It blows my mind that people can’t come to terms with this basic premise of normality. We’ve been doing it for millions of years, unless you’re a heroine addict, chances are you’ll be no different.

Blah!

This probably didn’t make a lot of sense, sorry, but thanks for reading… Do you know any of these anti-consumerist phonies? Surely there must be at least one.

Cortez

P.S. Buy the shit I make, haha!

Follower Spotlight: Ally’s Desk

alice leiperEvery couple of weeks I review one of my follower’s blogs, last time I took a look at Theparasiteguy, and this week it’s Ally’s Desk.

If anyone knows anything about me it’s that I like three things; history, fantasy, writing craft, research and that I can’t count. In this Follower Spotlight, I’m taking a peek at Ally’s Leiper, a fantasy writer who has a degree ancient history and Archaeology.

First off, we should all wish Ally a happy six months on wordpress! By the sounds of it she’s learnt a lot about the world wide web, and a lot about its frivolous nature. But, it it time to take that trip into Ally’s blog and see what little gems we come up with, because I do believe this writer, reviewer and general lover of fantasy has more than a few.

Post Spotlight: Announcement: Article on Mythic scribes

This post is terrible! At only fourteen words it’s a total waste of… oh, wait, there’s a link… (I’m so funny).

Ally has written an article about medieval weaponry (awesome), she gives some examples of kick ass fantasy swords from various movies (awesomer), and gives tips on how to develop your own fantasy weapons (AWEESOOMERER!).

When I first saw that some of the items she reviews were from anime, I was a little disappointed. Not because I dislike anime but because… No wait, it is because I dislike anime. But, even with my prejudice aside Leiper I really enjoyed the little reviews of the different weapons. Discussing why how they fit into the world and why they work for the characters.

Leiper’s tips for creating weapons will likely open your eyes to at least one or two things that you should consider when designing the tools of war your characters wield. Pop over and have a look, if you are a fantasy writer, or world builder, you might just be inspired.

Post Spotlight: What’s with all the kings and queens in fantasy?

One thing that is rare on wordpress and perhaps shouldn’t be is well constructed articles. One of the many beauties of the blogosphere is its spontaneous and conversational nature. You feel like you’re speaking to the person, rather than an expert. But, Ally asks a question, and answers it in this well constructed and refreshing article.

Leiper’s writing style is clear and concise, she delivers her knowledge in an easy to follow manor and uses applicable, and well know references (such as robin hood). Essentially, the premise of the article is why in a world dominated by democracy, are fantasy readers so attached to the idea of kings and queens.

She covers histories and myths, story telling and human nature.

The concept of the rightful heir to the throne is centred around a character who has something of theirs, something they had a right to expect, taken from them, and then seeking to have it returned to them. The individual who took it from them is seen as morally corrupt, while the individual seeking to regain it is, if not perfect, certainly more moral than the person who took it.

This is a quote regarding human nature, and I think it’s something we can all agree with. For a person to enjoy your story they have to relate to, and as Ally herself says, we’ve all had something taken from us, and thus we can relate.

There are some really great, well informed posts on Ally’s Desk, and I recommend anyone interested in history and fantasy check it out. Leiper has been published on Myths Inscribed, and as mentioned, has content available on the fantasy writer’s forum Mythic Scribes.

Check it out, and as always; thanks for reading.

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Follower spotlight will be a weekly instalment, if you want to be featured, follow A month from somewhere. I will not ask your permission, but I will never give negative reviews. This section is intended to build the community, not break it!

Thanks for reading

Cortez