The Internet was born in November 1969, just after an exciting summer that included the Woodstock festival, the Charlie Manson murders and the Apollo 11 moonshot. The first successful demonstration of the Internet went much more quietly. A computer at the University of California at Los Angeles exchanged a series of messages with a computer at Stanford University in Palo Alto, 360 miles away, and at this moment -- well, one can only imagine that champagne bottles were popped, colleagues in various corporations and universities and government offices were giddily notified, and several West Coast nerds went home very happy. It didn't make the evening news.
The Internet grew, slowly and steadily. By the time I graduated with a Computer Science degree from Albany State in May 1984, the Internet was still nothing but a rumor to anyone I'd ever met. I worked for an aerospace firm and a robotics firm in the late 80s and never once saw a TCP/IP packet that didn't come from inside my building. We all knew that the Internet was somewhere out there -- I read about it in magazines like Byte and InfoWorld -- and in late 1992 I noticed a strange new book called The Whole Internet: User's Guide and Catalog by Ed Krol. It was published by O'Reilly, the most respected technical publisher in the Unix field, but it had a strange sort of 60s-ish San Francisco feel to it that was unlike any other O'Reilly book. I thumbed through it and read about Telnet, FTP, Usenet, Archie and Gopher, but it didn't make much sense and I didn't know where to find the Internet anyway.
(This is the first chapter of my new memoir of the Internet industry.)
I didn't become a computer programmer because I wanted to. It was the door that opened for me.
I was a Philosophy student at Albany State, but my stepfather Gene kept reminding me that I was eventually going to graduate and nobody was hiring philosophers. Gene (a successful businessman who still gives me good advice whenever I need it) made me a better offer after my sophomore year -- a summer job in the software department of the aerospace electronics division he managed, at General Instrument in Hicksville, Long Island. My brother Gary already had a summer job with Gene, so I decided to tag along. It was a better paycheck than McDonalds.
Back at Albany State for the autumn semester, I noticed a strange and growing convergence between the Philosophy department and the Computer Science department. My Symbolic Logic professor (who'd given me an A+) James Thomas suddenly resigned his full professorship in the Philosophy department to become a doctoral candidate and teaching assistant in the Computer Science department. I asked him about it and he said "Are you kidding? This is what's interesting in logic right now. This is where I want to be." The fact that he was demoting himself from professor to grad student didn't bother him at all. That's the kind of "logic" I admire.
I left the banking industry to join Time Warner's new media division, where I played an integral role in the now-famous disaster known as Pathfinder. I also launched my own website, Literary Kicks, was hired to build Bob Dylan's website, and had my own first taste of creative satisfaction and personal success. In 1999, I finally struck it "rich", cashing in on one of the biggest IPOs in stock market history, just as my marriage broke up and my workaholic tendencies reached a hysterical peak. A year later, the high-flying dot-com stock market began to crash. My paper wealth disappeared along with my job and much of my remaining sanity. I was beginning to gather my resources back together in 2001, only to face new shocking events of a completely unexpected kind. This is the memoir of a software developer who learned how to be a survivor, and a record of the life lessons learned along the way.
1. I attended a preview screening of Revolutionary Road, the new Kate Winslet/Leonardo DiCaprio film based on a highly regarded 1961 novel by Richard Yates, along with a few friends who'd all loved the Richard Yates novel. They all hated the movie. Myself, I haven't read the novel yet, so I can tell you how the film stands on its own. (I'm also reading the novel right now, so I may sound off on this topic again once I finish.)
Revolutionary Road is the tragedy of a marriage that starts off shaky and ends worse. Kate Winslet and Leo DiCaprio play two earnest and artistic New Yorkers who find themselves living a conformist lifestyle in a fashionable Connecticut suburb (with a street called Revolutionary Road) even though they have strong Bohemian yearnings and can't stand their neighbors. The only neighbor they like -- in one of the film's best scenes -- is a literal madman, played by Michael Shannon, in whom they find a kindred alienated spirit.
The fiesty lovers fight constantly, humor and ignore their children, dream of solving their problems by moving to Paris, all the while descending into greater and greater miseries. I can see why my friends who are familiar with Yates's novel consider the movie a simplistic and commercial betrayal of the source material, but even so, the film packs a punch. It's a bleak and unblinking stare at a troubled modern family, and Kate Winslet's performance helps carry the message. Leo DiCaprio, unfortunately, still can't act -- he sure can emote and yell, and he has a craggy face you could carve into Mount Rushmore -- but he can't act. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) is also fond of an artificial and histrionic style of acting (Winslet somehow manages to appear natural even in Mendes's hands), and it's frustrating to realize how much better this film could have worked in subtler hands.
Yet Revolutionary Road is worth catching, if only to see the stars of Titanic gloriously reunited. I was surprised that the preview audience didn't gasp during the scene where Kate Winslet fingers a brochure for the Cunard Cruise Line as she makes plans to sail with her family across the Atlantic Ocean. Once again, Kate and Leo don't make it to the other side.
2. The new Pal Joey ended up getting trashed in the New York Times. I think the show deserves a more sympathetic review, even with its many problems. It's still about a hundred times better than Little Mermaid or Legally Blonde.
3. Maud Newton introduces Iceberg, an exciting new iPhone e-book approach pioneered by ScrollMotion. In other e-book news (and there seems to be a lot of e-book news lately), Project Gutenberg is going mobile.
4. Heartbroke Daily is about one writer's persistent lovesickness.
5. I told you last week that I am going to begin an extensive writing project here on LitKicks in January. I first conceived this as a book idea, but since I am already working with an agent on a different book proposal I am going to begin writing this one right here on LitKicks in occasional blog-post segments, not necessarily chronological, and I will continue until I either tell the entire story or decide to stop.
The story is about me, specifically about my work in the internet industry in the last fifteen years. I have seen a lot -- and survived a lot -- since launching LitKicks in 1994 and leaving my job in the financial software industry to work for Time Warner's first internet startup in 1995. In the years to follow I became a spoken-word poet, helped to launch one of the web's first advertising networks, insulted Bill Gates in person, published a book, built BobDylan.com, drank too many martinis, became a paper millionaire, went completely broke, got a divorce, watched my kids grow up, endured a year's employment in what must have been one of the most dysfunctional technology departments in the history of mankind (at A&E Network/History Channel), fell in love, and found a new footing online in the age of blogs and Web 2.0. I watched the birth of the dot-com industry, the birth of Yahoo, the birth of Amazon, the birth of Java, the birth of XML, the birth of Google, the death of the Pets.com sock puppet, and the incredible hair of Rod Blagojevich (okay, Blagojevich's hair isn't in the book, but everything else is).
I have been burning to tell some of these stories for a long time, and I hope to do so in a way that is both entertaining and intellectually stimulating. I'm not a big Ernest Hemingway fan, but my method in telling this story will be to follow his advice in what must have been one of his best lines: "Write the truest sentence you know."
Truth? That's a tall order, but these stories need to be told. Some former Silicon Alley colleagues of mine may not like some of the things I'll say. Hell, I may not like some of the things I'll say. But in my opinion the only reason to write a memoir (James Frey notwithstanding) is that you want to tell the truth, and that's exactly what I plan to do. I hope you'll check out the first installment, which should appear just after New Years Day.
We'll be closing down (and putting up our annual Action Poetry retrospective) between Christmas and New Years. Yesterday I posted a video from Godspell, and in the same spirit, here's an even better random video I found on YouTube, an extremely intense version of Gethsemane from a Peruvian production of Jesus Christ Superstar. This is my idea of a good Christmas video. Enjoy, and see you in January!
Last Friday I "storytelled" at a Brooklyn storytelling event. The assigned theme was "gift". Here's a reasonable facsimile of what I said.
I began by describing the irony that I'd been asked to tell a story about gifts, because I hate gifts. I always seem to screw them up, both the giving and the getting. However (I explained to this patient crowd of North Brooklyn hipsters) I came up with three mini-stories about gifts, each of which portray a lesson I have had to learn in my life.
The first story was when I was 8 years old, about to turn 9. My parents had just gotten divorced and so I told them both separately what I wanted for my birthday: a big build-it-yourself dinosaur model that was advertised in the back of one of my comic books. The thing would supposedly be six feet tall when fully constructed, and even though I couldn't quite figure out what it was made of or how realistic it would look, I could tell it was pretty cool, and I wanted it for my birthday.
On the morning of that birthday, I woke up at 4 am, and there was a giant cardboard box on my bed containing the dinosaur. I immediately tore into the box and started putting it together. It turned out the bones were made of molded styrofoam, and they were fairly realistic. However, it was hard to put together and I quickly changed my plan and fell back asleep with the bones all over my bed. And then in the morning I think my Mom was disappointed because she had wanted to watch me open it. Oh well.
The funny thing is, it was only many years later that I thought back to this and wondered how hard my Mom or my Dad (I never actually figured out which one acquired the dinosaur) had had to work to get the present. Did they actually clip out the comic book ad and send in a check or money order, and if so, how had I not noticed the clipping missing from a comic book? Did one of them buy their own copy of the comic book? Where had they hid the box? And which one of them paid for it, and did they have to fight over which one of them paid for it? So many questions, but none of them entered my mind on my ninth birthday. This present involved two parties, and two parties alone: me and the dinosaur.
So, the first life lesson I learned is, gifts are not between you and the gift. They are between you and the giver. Important thing to remember.
The second story takes place about fourteen years later when I was in my early 20s just out of college, and my old Albany State buddy Russ Miller called me and told me he was going to be in Manhattan for just a few hours, flying in to Kennedy, catching a bus at Port Authority, did I want to hang out? Since he and I were both music freaks, we agreed to meet in Greenwich Village and look at record stores. We went to Bleecker Bob's and I was admiring a John Lennon album I wanted to own when Russ suddenly said "Hey, I'll buy it for you."
Now, after graduating college Russ had become an accountant and was definitely a yuppie. He was also definitely making more money than I was as an entry-level computer programmer, so even though I thought this was a very nice gesture, I thought it was maybe a bit show-offy too. But I let him buy me the album. We had a nice chat for a couple of hours and then he took the subway up to Port Authority to catch his bus. It was a nice summer day so I wanted to wander around Washington Square, Macdougal Street, Bleecker Street, St. Marks, Tompkins Square. The only problem was, it was a hot day and I was carrying around this big record album. I didn't want to carry anything, and it was annoying me.
So then I did something sort of strange. I ditched the album. I just left it by a garbage can, and I hope somebody picked it up and liked it. I went on my merry way and had a nice long stroll all over Greenwich Village.
So, the second lesson is: every time somebody wants to give you a gift, it's not necessarily something you want to own.
The third story is the shortest. Not too long ago my wife Caryn surprised me by buying me a banjo for my birthday. This was a very nice gift, especially because I had only hinted very subtly and very few times that I would like to someday learn to play banjo. It was also a very selfless gift, because Caryn was basically guaranteeing that she was going to have to listen to me learning to play banjo.
It was in thinking about this that the third lesson occurred to me: gifts are a language. Every gift is an expression. A gift can be a question, and a gift can be an answer. A gift can be a joke. It can be a hint, an exclamation, an explanation. A gift can be a promise, an apology, a warning, a confession, an invitation. It can be a revelation of a secret. It can be a reminiscence of a past time. It can be an expression of hope for the future.
(That was pretty much all I said. The event was a lot of fun, and also featured some kickass country music by Alana Amram and her Rough Gems, a twitter story by Tao Lin, and solid hosting by Jena Friedman and Jay Diamond. There's going to be one more LitKicks post tomorrow, and then we're going to put up some of the best of the year's Action Poetry and close the blog till 2009. Finally, just for fun and while we're on the gifts tip, here's a nice version, found on YouTube, of "All Good Gifts" from Godspell by an outfit that calls itself KPHS.)
What does this mean? It's difficult to tell. Browsing online sources (including Houghton Mifflin's oblique website), I quickly got caught in amazing accounts of the history carried by today's Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, whose previous permutations and acquisitions include Harcourt Brace, Harcourt Brace and Javonovich, Henry Holt, Holt Rinehart and Winston, Houghton Mifflin and even the legendary Ticknor and Fields, which was merged into Houghton Mifflin in 1880. (No, not 1980. 1880.)
Books these publishers have been responsible for include Thoreau's Walden, Sinclair Lewis's Main Street and Orwell's 1984. So is this company "too literary to fail"? I doubt that. I can't possibly guess as to the business implications of today's dramatic announcement, but the fact that a major publishing firm is closing its doors even temporarily is obviously bad news for writers, publishers, booksellers, agents and pretty much everybody else. Ironically, as we've pointed out here on LitKicks often, books remain a highly profitable business every year (current code word: "Twilight"), but our top executives don't seem to be doing a good job of keeping the financials under control even with all that money (yes, money) floating around.
You know, sometimes the book game reminds me of the bank game. I just had to say that again.
Anyway, this is especially galling to me because, as I told you many months ago, I am trying to sell a book. I finished a proposal this summer -- an absolutely kickass proposal for a non-fiction book on a popular topic -- and a top literary agent (who I am very proud to have representing me) began approaching publishers with the proposal in August. This agent, who appears to be a man of few words, delivered a status report to me recently which wasn't what I wanted to hear. The email contained two sentences:
not a lot of reaction to it. but i will keep trying.
I know this will be a great book and I seriously expect it to sell a hundred thousand copies, so I find this very frustrating (though I realize that it's only been three months and I am glad that my agent is still trying). But with companies like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt slamming their windows shut and going into fetal positions, even temporarily, I am that much more depressed about my chances.
Whether we are publishing professionals, writers or readers, these business developments will affect all our lives and the lives of our children just as much as developments in the inexcusably mismanaged financial markets will. I think we'd all better pay extra close attention to the publishing industry in the next few weeks. (If you need a starting place, here's one.) Let's just hope we can get through the holiday season with no more dominoes falling.
Shea Stadium, a futuristic perfect circle ballpark cast in concrete over the ash piles of Flushing Meadows, Queens, has now gone dark forever. It will be replaced by CitiField, right next door. As a lifelong Mets fan and neighbor of Shea Stadium, I am upset to see the great building go and I don't like the corporate label on the new ballpark. But at the same time, I'm grateful the Mets will remain in Flushing Meadows Park, and I like it that CitiField is architecturally based upon Ebbets Field, historic home of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Needless to say, I loved Shea Stadium. I even wrote a book about it (I still say The Summer of the Mets was a damn great book, but nobody loves a self-published novel). I've probably seen at least sixty Mets games there, including the intense 2006 Mets, the doomed 2000 Mets, the boring 1995 Mets, the legendary 1986 Mets, the hapless 1973 "You Gotta Believe" Tug McGraw Mets, and, yes, my friends, when I was seven years old I saw Tom Seaver pitch against the Chicago Cubs with the "Impossible Dream" 1969 Mets. I also drove past the stadium about four billion times, saw the Police with Joan Jett and R.E.M. there in 1983 ... me and that big concrete bowl go back a long way.
I'm coming at today's post from a slightly off-topic direction, mainly because I'm thinking about inspiration and discipline and the idea comes from an off-topic place. I hope you can forgive me.
For a few years now, I have been a photographic hobbyist. I have no aspirations to be anything other than a hobbyist and though I've sold a few prints here & there, photography is not something for which I would ever quit my day job. I am fascinated by the craft of photography and the fact that it allows me to translate all those pictures I get in my head without having to go to the trouble of writing them. What can I say but I am an instant-gratification junkie. Sue me.
Anyway, nearly a year ago now, I started a project. It's a simple project in theory: take one self-portrait every single day for a year. (I have less than a month left, and yes, I am counting the days.) For the purposes of the project, a self-portrait can be something traditional or it can be less so, a fragment, even: a knee or a foot or a hand or an elbow. The photographs can be artistic or bland, inspired or dull, and it doesn't matter. The only point is that I'm there every day, taking a photograph.
It's a weird project for a person like me to undertake anyway, because I'm not all that interested in myself as a subject. I am not overcome with vanity and I don't just looooooooove looking at myself. I look the way I look and I'm pretty ambivalent about it all, to be honest. Comments about my appearance usually gain nothing from me other than a shrug. Whatever. The point is that I chose the project not because I really really wanted to take a photograph of myself every day, but because I really really wanted to challenge myself to do something, just one thing, one relatively simple thing, and see it through to completion.
When I started, I'm sure I thought I'd be able to come up with something undoubtedly fascinating every day. But then I got into the project, the day-to-day drudgery, the days when I didn't feel like it, the days when I was sick or tired or busy, and I have most certainly had my fair share of days when all I could think to do was hold the camera at arm's length and fire. So be it. Just as I've come up with several shots that I'm rather proud of, shots that took planning and set up and work, there are just as many (maybe even more) that I just didn't give a damn about, but you know what? They're done.
All of this to say that I've learned a lot about creativity over this year. I've always been a creative person, and if I had to pick a defining characteristic about myself, it would be my creativity. It is something that drives me. I love to make things. But the thing that I have learned, the most important thing, is that much of it is drudgery, much of it is work. I have always approached creativity as something that happened almost by magic, something that came about when I was inspired. But -- and maybe this isn't news to anyone but me -- waiting for inspiration leaves so much stuff undone. I don't always feel like creating. I don't always want to do something. Sometimes I just want to watch TV. But even when I don't feel like it, I make myself take a photo anyway. Not always, but occasionally, those photographs end up being more interesting than the ones I felt like making. So it goes.
In doing this project despite the many days when I wasn't actually interested in doing this project, when I wanted to hang it up and call it good, I have learned that making art (ha -- not that I would call the vast majority of my self-portraiture art... I might be pretentious, but I'm not that pretentious) and completing things is not a romantic ideal but work. Often the work is fun, and I sometimes end up having a good time working on something even when I started out being cranky about the whole business, but it still requires showing up and doing something, even when the inspiration isn't there.
And now I'm going to get to writing. (You thought I wasn't going to, didn't you?) Writing has been my life-long love, and something I've been good at, struggled with, enjoyed, hated, did, didn't do, etc., etc., I approached it like it was this magical thing that would happen when the moment was right, when the stars aligned perfectly, when I had something to say. But it turns out that it doesn't actually have to be like that. Or that, perhaps, it shouldn't be like that. Writing, like anything else we take seriously, takes dedication. Inspiration is all very well and good and I am not scoffing at it, but there are days when I don't want to write anything, yet I do it anyway. It isn't always good, it isn't always pretty, but it's written. And what's written can be edited, can be worked with until it's better, but the stuff that doesn't get written because I'm too busy waiting for the moment to be right never becomes anything.
The point is that through making myself employ dedication and stubbornness to an unrelated project, I have become a more productive writer as well. Last year, I interviewed Greg Fallis, who said, "The only thing that gets you past the dull, grinding bits is keeping your ass in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. Putting words in a row." I didn't quite agree with him then, thinking that certainly there was more to it than that, that there was always some inspiration, some muse whispering brilliance in my ear, but he's right.
Creativity means creating. Just showing up and doing the job. And despite its drudgery, despite the days when it doesn't feel inspiring or interesting at all, and the only thing that keeps it going is sheer determination, what a fun job it is.
i ran out t the phone booth
made a call t my wife. she wasnt home.
i panicked. i called up my best friend
but the line was busy
then i went t a party but couldnt find a chair
somebody wiped their feet on me
2. Hootenanny time! Somebody wants to make a Broadway musical version of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. I like Ellis (sometimes) but consider American Psycho his least inspired and most sensationalist work. With those credentials ... it'll probably be the next friggin' Rent. Great.
3. Ed Harris is very good as Ludwig Van Beethoven in Copying Beethoven, a movie making the rounds on cable TV. Ed Harris was also recently great as Jackson Pollock, and while he doesn't quite equal that accomplishment here, he does transform himself into another creature as Ludwig Van. Copying Beethoven's plotline about a young copyist working for the master is sometimes dull, but the big scene depicting the debut of the Ninth Symphony at the end is worth the wait. This scene even captures a moment from Beethoven's life once described by Schroeder in a Peanuts strip, when the deaf composer is led to the edge of the stage so he can discover that the audience is clapping. Well done.
4. A Scott and Zelda biopic is in the early stages (via Books Inq).
5. Also from Books Inq, a new Nick Cave novel will be called The Death of Bunny Monroe.
6. I am going to check out the new Chuck Klosterman novel. If Klosterman writes fiction as well as he writes about rock music, I guess I'll be happy.
7. Bill Ectric interviews Pete Brown, a poet from the British Beat scene.
8. Everybody's calling for a time-out now.
9. The importance of The Dot and other things ASCII.
10. You know, every autumn I get some crazy idea here on LitKicks (like last year's book pricing inquiry, which certainly took on a life all its own). This year, I think many of us have the upcoming USA presidential election on our minds, but we're tired of hearing the same superficial angles explored on TV and in newspapers and online. I'd like to dig deeper, using literary points of view and original source texts as much as possible, and hopefully find more insight into some of the difficult issues that Americans are currently debating (especially issues of society, war, violence, international politics). I'm not exactly sure what I have in mind, but I've got a few more days before October starts, so at this point I'm just letting you know that this is coming up. I also hope each day's discussion will be highly interactive, so I'll welcome your input once this gets off the ground.
11. Ten years ago I directed a digital movie called Notes From Underground, based on the Dostoevsky novel and starring Phil Zampino as the Underground Man. This project was probably the hardest and most obsessive thing I've ever done, and it was also probably the most acclaimed (it got rave write-ups in WIRED magazine, Entertainment Weekly, New York Press, Time Digital). The other thing I was really hoping to do this September (but I think time is running out) is celebrate the 10th anniversary of Notes From Underground with a fresh new You-Tube version of the whole 64-minute film (in ten segments). However, I am a perfectionist and I'm not happy with the way the digitizing has turned out, so, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to do this 10th anniversary thing in September. I am going back to my original video masters, and it'll probably take another few weeks before I can show anything. Hell, I'm the only one who remembered the anniversary anyway.
12. Well, anyway, now, to lighten up ... and because I have no shame and love making myself a damn fool in public, here's a video I just dug up and digitized while I was working on Notes From Underground, featuring me four years ago performing at the Back Fence nightclub in Greenwich Village, New York City. I'm singing a Bob Dylan tune from "Nashville Skyline", "To Be Alone With You". As you'll be able to see, my guitar playing is highly influenced by Johnny Ramone and I sing like Peter Brady. But I think the song is saved by slide guitarist Will Hodgson, of the Pennsylvania jam band the Manatees, and we really start to cook during the second guitar break.
There was also a good bass guitarist whose name I don't remember. I was singing "To Be Alone With You" to Caryn, who I like being alone with.
So, while Levi was busy getting married, I was busy watching him getting married and then doing the Hokey Pokey at the reception. And then when I came back home, my refrigerator broke, my computer crashed, my blog’s database exploded, and then when I tried to log in to write my post here, WordPress was all, “Access DENIED. No, seriously. Go away.” The moral of this story is, of course, don’t come back from vacation. Take it from me. It’s a bad idea.
Anyway, even though I wasn't smart enough to stay on vacation, the refrigerator has been replaced, I bought a new computer, I fixed my database, and here I am writing this post. So it all ended up okay, and all, but when my computer died, I lost a lot of stuff. I haven't given up hope on being able to fish around in the dead tower and retrieve some things, though I wish I'd been more vigilant about backing stuff up in the first place (this is a lesson I thought I learned a few years ago the last time I had a computer die on me, but I guess it didn't stick). It's funny though, because I obsessively back up my photographs to an external hard drive, and I'm pretty good about backing up my iTunes, so the main thing I've lost is my writing. It's a lot of writing. I may be able to get it back or not, but I can't help finding it interesting that out of everything, this is the stuff I didn't bother to save. And while I know there was some good work there that it would be nice to have, the truth is that I wasn't all that upset about it. A little upset, sure, but definitely not as upset as I thought I might be, as I thought I should be.
I'm not sure what that means, or if it means anything other than I am careless, but I sure have thought about it a lot. The main question I ask myself is that if I can write pages and pages and do almost nothing to make sure they survive, and when they're lost I don't seem to mind too much, then why do I write in the first place? Why not just take up sudoku? I've given myself a few answers:
1. I hate sudoku.
2. Habit. I've been writing all my life (or at least since I've been literate, which has been, you know, a few years), and at this point it's just one of the things I do naturally. I sit down and write something every day, good or bad, serious or not. It's just a guarantee that at some point during my waking hours I will write something, even if it's only a couple of sentences. And when I'm not writing, I'm often thinking about it, planning what I'm going to write next. It's a compulsion, almost, minus the "almost" part.
3. Words. I love them. Fiercely, passionately. I love them in four languages, and I'd love them in more languages than that if I knew more. Despite the fact that they fail me all the time in my day-to-day, face-to-face life, despite the fact that they are approximations, I love them. And it's important to spend time with the ones you love.
4. Because I can. There are a lot of things in the world that I can't do, and I am aware of them, but I can write. I don't even suck at it.
Are those good enough reasons? Does it matter? I don't know. What I do know is that I'll keep writing, and maybe I'll even get better about preserving what I write. But even if I don't get better at it, even if everything I write remains momentary and impermanent, it's enough that I do it. So perhaps the biggest reason is that I write just for the sake of writing. Sometimes I write for an audience, most of the time I don't, and I am after the creating more than the creation, I suppose. Perhaps someday that will change, but for now the very best part is the act itself, the practice. Lining the words up neatly in well-formed rows and then doing it again.