2014-01-20

[General] Wanting to be a writer

When I was a wee lad, I wanted to be several things; a cosmonaut, a scientist, a game developer, an AI researcher, a swordsman, a hero, a sailor, a turtle, a cookie, a stellar body, and a writer.  And other things.  I mean, I could enumerate all day.  I could enumerate the set of integers, but that's infinite.  That's not what you're here to read.  If you're here to read anything, I'm sorry.  But I'll write for you anyway, because you came.  Thank you for coming.  Please come again.

My iaido sensei is a writer.  He doesn't write young adult fiction (that's John Green, go read him), and he doesn't write software (that's me), he writes wisdom and knowledge, the stuff of budo that he's grasped.  He writes it down into manuals.  They're not the most technical manuals, or the fanciest formatted, but they're broad and specific and rife with meaning and information and his personality.  They're great. 

I'm editing a 90 page manual for him right now, on Tachi Uchi no Kurai.  I can't get over having access to his thoughts collected into one body like this.  It's why I like books, and why they're so much better than just reading short articles on the Internet.  He's documenting his experience and knowledge for future generations, so they have a cue, a hint, as to what to do.  They'll never understand Tachi Uchi no Kurai as he does, as he tries to convey.  Just as he does not understand it as his teachers did.  However, there are many signs and cues to share to help the next learner along to deeper theories of their own.  I really appreciate him taking the time to put this down.

So in some ways, I feel like I've accidentally started down a path of being a writer.  Right now, I mostly write meandering, incomprehensible blog posts about whatever hits my fancy.  In other places, I introspectively record my angst (outlets are good things, just not for sticking forks in).  I'm a bit of a cowardly writer, though.  I rarely dare to assert anything, to claim knowledge or understanding, even on matters that I've practised and thought about for over a decade (like programming).  I think that's alright so far, since there are many more capable people who are writing, who are disseminating and developing the knowledge base better than I can yet.  I have some observations, and I'm cultivating my own theories, and when my betters are dead, I'll start making my arguments (hopefully they'll all be made before me) like I argue in the seminar rooms and labs where I T.A. to students.  T.A.ing is a bit dangerous; I don't know everything (yet) but I'm expected to help guide younger students along a good path and not stray.  However, in some regards, they need someone, anyone to help them make sense of the overwhelming world of computer science, and while I might not be perfect or have the best answers, I have some good answers, and that will hopefully be better than nothing.

So I write here, quite pretentiously, imagining that someone other than my best friend and a few other close friends actually read this (or hopefully at least the opening paragraphs), but it's all just practise.  Practise for future papers, for future manuals and books that someday will be my responsibility to provide.  It's the privilege of the experience to spread their learned wisdom with those who have not yet had the opportunity to know the same things.

Also, I will write fiction.

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I am aeronautical, vanship-style.  I am olympic and mythical.  I rest on my laurels.