Just an update on my life right now: I’m researching Wittgenstein in hopes of finishing up Witch Hunt soon, which is a powerful novel critical of some of today’s “hostile environment” sexual “harassment” law (not quid pro quo law, which I support). I’m thinking that once I finish my research, it should only take about a month to finish the book, because most of it is already written. I plan to shop it around to agents once it’s done. I think that, since Witch Hunt will be the only novel, that I’m aware of, that goes so in-depth with this issue, there will be some demand for it. I hope so.
Once I finish Witch Hunt, I will study for and retake the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) for a possible return to graduate school. I’m going to talk about that more below. First, let me take an aside (since I can’t figure out how to cut and paste paragraphs on this blog like I usually do…sigh…)
I just recently watched the movie Pleasantville, and wow! There are so many ways to interpret that movie. Obviously you have a political interpretation (with phrases like “family values” and “kinder, gentler”). And you have a feminist interpretation, with the mother finding herself and freeing herself from the “baking cookies” role. And there’s a queer theory and philosophical interpretation of allowing diversity and freeing oneself (like Plato’s allegory of the cave). Of course, you have a religious interpretation, with the apple evocative of the Garden of Eden and Don Knotts as a kind of God figure. And hey, there are artistic and “sexual harassment” law ways to interpret it too, with the conflict of rules for security versus freedom of one’s sexual expression. With my work on Witch Hunt, I obviously like that latter interpretation. 🙂 You could even interpret it from the standpoint of Pauline and Lutheran theology, with grace emphasized over law (and obedience to rules). And there’s an emphasis on books in the movie, so there’s an element of education that reminds one of Dead Poets’ Society. It’s just a powerful movie packed with lots of stuff. Oh, and the “black and white” people picking on the “people of color” brings in an element of racism thematically into the movie. Solid stuff! Also, the “world beyond Pleasantville” versus Pleasantville implies a world beyond this one, evocative of Jesus, Plato, and even the gnosticism of the movie The Matrix. And how one’s perception can free one can bring in a Buddhist or even Hindu interpretation. Yes, I very much like the movie Pleasantville. I think if I taught a full semester class of philosophy, that might be a good movie to show. It also relates to Kierkegaard’s discussion of the Garden of Eden and human freedom/free choice in The Concept of Anxiety. The fact that it brings up so many ideas makes me think Pleasantville is a very rich movie.
Also, as a teacher, I liked how “Bud,” or “David” (the main character) met people where they are. He taught them in a way that brought out the best in them, rather than teaching them much of a set dogma. In that sense, he reminds me of Socrates and Jesus.
Okay, back to my life for a minute (again, apologies that I can’t figure out how to copy, cut, and paste stuff to move it around):
Lately, I’ve been researching Wittgenstein (because I think his thoughts on how language works can impact the “hostile environment” sexual “harassment” ideology which Witch Hunt deals with). And I have also been reading and taking notes on Kierkegaard.
One of my struggles is deciding whether I want to go back to graduate school. I just don’t think I can make a living writing, so maybe I need to qualify myself again to teach on the side, since I walked away from my Ph.D. program before completing the dissertation for personal and ethical reasons. If I do return to grad school, I may get an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and possibly a Ph.D., which is why I want to have Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard down pat (I would want to do a dissertation related to them–Kierkegaard is my favorite philosopher).
Just a couple of thoughts on some evil things that happened in my life which drove me from my Ph.D program and academia to begin with, and how they actually turned out for the good by helping me become a writer: I don’t know if evil is a systematic, planned force or not. I can’t figure evil out. It seems destructive, yet when you resist it, it’s transformative. Otherwise, would God really be all-powerful? I certainly don’t know the answers to such questions, but I love thinking about them–that’s the philosopher in me. All I ultimately want to do is please God/the Goddess/the Power of Love and Compassion. That’s who I identify with. That’s where I belong.
As for works I’m thinking about after Witch Hunt, I want to write a novel based on a character trapped in a mental institution (I think I’ll call it Ward). I also plan to write a science fiction conspiracy piece critical of certain Orwellian and profitable aspects of our government’s “War on Terror” (I’ll call it World Wanderer). And I want to work on a supernatural thriller which I’ll call Frozen Ghost. Along the way, I’ll probably also work on my sequel to The Deviants called Deviants Too. Also, I’ll continue to work on Barrier, a dystopic novel similar to 1984 which also deals with some of the sexual issues of Witch Hunt; I’ve written much of it already, but put it on the backburner since it’s so thematically similar to Witch Hunt. So anyway, those are my plans right now, along with continuing to study for graduate school should the need arise.