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William Lashner's PI-Writing Blog

My Ideal Purpose

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Finding meaning in helping others is really finding meaning in other’s tragedies.  It is finding meaning in being in a superior enough position to help.  And it depends on willing victims.  To imagine a world where everyone was just fine and dandy coupled with a world where everyone could only find meaning in helping others is to imagine tragedy on an epic scale.  Entire populations scouring the world for the one selfish person not looking to help others, but instead looking to be helped.  What a valuable commodity he would suddenly be.  That in fact is my goal in life, my pallid attempt at meaning – to be the one guy everyone wants to help.  Think of all the good I’ll do, think of all the meaning I’ll spread, like a Johnny Appleseed sowing the seeds of purpose.

Yes, I'll have a mocha latte with my foot rub, and thanks for painting the house, it looks grand.



Thursday, January 19, 2012

We are always being told what life is about. Family, love, helping others.  We toss of these milky bromides like they are self-evident, universal truths.

But I am lactate intolerant.  Every time I hear what life is about I just want to puke.


Midnight Run

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just as it may be impossible to find pure meaning, it has become just as impossible to deny it, as the very denial, taken to the extreme of principle, will be construed as meaning itself.  The more we run, the more the fleeing defines us.  Who is more in thrall to God than the atheist?

But is this the truth of things or an external imposition by those who can’t fathom pure meaninglessness.  Whether it is a darkness so bleak its terror leaks into our bones or a brightness that is scarring, we can’t help but turn away and imagine something in the nothing. You exist, therefore you must mean something.

But is your attempt to lay a template of meaning on me just a testament to your blindness?


A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Monday, January 9, 2012

Music is perhaps the truest expression of the sheer beauty of meaninglessness. As soon as a piece means something it is ruined.

We laugh at Kumbiya, but the less we understand Dylan’s lyrics the more we adore him.


Man’s Inhumanity to Man

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Meaning might sometimes be ennobling, but it is always reductive.  Like a painting with a point or a movie with a message, a life saddled with meaning becomes nothing more than a vehicle for something external:  Save the whales.  Save the planet.  Saving your life by defining it into non-existence.

A guy walks into a bar and instantly becomes some other guy's punchline. 


Ready Made

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meaning has become a public part of our lives. We hide our deep-seated sexual dysfunction or our most fervent dreams of ill-will toward others, while we advertise our meaning in the most public of places, our church, a PTA meeting, presidential campaign rallies We show it off by the vegetarian entrée we order in restaurants or by the Birkenstocks we actually wear in public or the Hummer we drive just to piss off the weenies in their Priuses. In that way, meaning is like fashion, we pull it off a rack to define our individuality. 

Except nothing is less individual than someone else’s certainty.



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

HENCHMEN was a pretty good idea but I got waylaid and I had to put it aside.  If you don't have more ideas than time to write them then you're doing something wrong.  Anyway, I'm going to try something different here that will keep this blog busy for awhile.  I've been thinking about the meaning of life.

I know, I know, it sounds like a bad joke, but there it is.  It's something that has preoccupied me ever since high school.  In a way all my books are really about it.  When I wrote KOCKROACH as Tyler Knox it was more front and center, and it underlies something I just recently finished.  But lately I've been having a new take on the whole thing.  Maybe it has something to do with a sense of ennui that has fallen over me, or the way the Phils collapsed in the playoffs this year, I don't know, but I've been thinking of it in a new way than I ever had before.  I could try to express it right off, with some sort of ringing note, but I don't think that works very well.  What might work, however, is a series of aphorisms.

I love the way Nietzsche wrote THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA even if I really abhor what he's saying.  And there is a book called MONOGAMY by a guy named Adam Phillips that was all aphorisms but which revealed some interesting truths about marriage.  It seems like a way to deal with lots of the facets of an issue in an entertaining way without being too didactic.  So that's what I'm going to try, to use aphorism to burrow toward the thoughts I've been having about the meaning of life.  And maybe this blog will become something more than just a bunch of disassociated thoughts about writing.  We'll see.

So in the next post I'll give you the first one to kind of get you started, and I'll be adding one every couple of days.  If you like what you're reading, pass it on and maybe we'll see how many people we can infect.  But don't read them in the middle of night, because night is the dangerous time and there's no telling what could happen.  As Hemingway wrote, "There is no reason why because it is dark you should look at things differently from when it is light.  The hell there isn't!"