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I’m taking a self-directed literary course to improve a certain aspect of my writing. It brings up the continual battle between writers who want to portray the world realistically as it currently is versus writers who want to portray the world as they would like it to be. This has been going on for more than a century actually.
It’s an idea that I think bleeds into everything else. It may even be one of the reasons why so many are quick to believe fake news over scary truths.
In terms of martial arts, the battle is often between those who practice more theoretical arts versus those who practice more sport style with competitions that regularly test your mettle, though not as they would have hundreds of years ago. In the old days, death was a common outcome for the weaker party.
Many of the writers I know hope to change the world by writing it as it could be. A problem I can see is that it can be hard for people to read something that is a blatant lie. For others, they love the chance to retreat from the horrors in their everyday. Many of the realistic works are more pessimistic than my own experience of the world, which can be helpful in promoting a feeling of gratefulness about where things are at versus how bad they could be.
I know a lot of people who wonder the point of learning a martial art that won’t prepare you for a street fight. The thing is, most people I know doing the main art I do, didn’t start there and many of us do other arts as well. I went to blue belt in karate and did some jiu-jitsu long before I found iaido. I’m planning to try taekwondo when I have the funds for that, because I think you need both hand-to-hand and some more theoretical arts to get everything you should from ‘the way’ today. It’s a mistake to think that all people who do an art like iaido can’t defend themselves.
Does focusing on how you would like something to be make it more likely for it to become reality? Sometimes. One of the often touted keys to success is visualizing where you want to be. The thing is, you can’t just live in a dream world. You must take actions that will get you there. If I keep seeing how lovely my living room is going to look in my head and do nothing to move it from where it is to where I want it, it won’t ever become that nice place I see in my head.
At the same time, changes take time for people to get used to. One can’t just force things. Part of me would love someone to do one of those home makeovers in my condo. The rest would be wondering where all the paper and stuff I need to go through went because I know probably half of it needs to be digitized and kept rather than thrown out. Sometimes doing it yourself and going slowly is the way to get something done properly.
And many goals take a lot of time to achieve them. Some novels take a decade to write. Others a few months. Fitness goals can take a long time too. The body doesn’t magically become fit overnight. I know my glutes suck right now. My quads are stronger than my glutes. This is causing an imbalance, which when combined with tight hip flexors means my posture is in trouble. Both of those things are because I sit a lot as a writer and office worker. I have a plan involving my soon to arrive space gym I backed on Kickstarter two years ago, taekwondo, and maybe a small piece of equipment like a stepper to reduce my seated time while watching the things I need to for my career and not taking up tons of space I don’t have in my small condo.
All of that takes money I don’t have to spare right now except the space gym, but I know what I will be working toward when I do have the funds. Having a direction is important.
I think that in everything one must decide who they want to be. For me, I prefer the balanced centrist path. I don’t think it benefits me to create works which ignore reality, but I also don’t think my place is to write stories so out of touch that they ignore important issues. I know only practicing a predominantly theory based martial art is never going to help me achieve the level of fitness I want and I know it won’t help me pursue my other goals. How do I know? Years of karate followed by around a year of roller derby have put me in tune with my body. Hell, iaido was my cool-down exercise when I was doing roller derby. I’d work hard skating and using every muscle in my body for three hours, then do all the lunges and such that are inherent in iai right after.
Back to learning more about writing.