I’m not exactly sure what got me thinking about the Amish and their coming-of-age ritual called rumspringa but once it started rattling around inside my head I couldn’t think of much else. Well, until I started to think about the Vulcan psychological condition pon farr. For those of you who are unfamiliar with one or both of these I will elaborate… although if you don’t know who Spock from Star Trek is I’m not sure I can help you. I’m not saying that you need to be a fan of the show but if you’re unfamiliar with Spock you’re probably not from around here or, even worse, Amish.
Rumspringa refers to the window of opportunity for an adolescent to break the rules a bit to see if he or she is really cut out for the Amish way of life. It is not uncommon to see such crazy behavior as driving automobiles, using telephones, wearing brightly colored clothes and doing drugs with an underage prostitute before engaging in oral and anal sex. After a certain period of time they then decide whether to go back into the community and accept baptism within the Amish church or head for the fucking hills.
Pon farr on the other hand occurs every 7 years and causes Vulcans, both male and female, to go into a fit of uncontrollable rage until such a time as they can procreate. They are prone to violence and will actually die unless they can get some.
We all know that feeling am I right?
I guess we know now why there weren’t any Amish Vulcans. You get a rumspringa running smack dab into a pon farr and it is on. Everyone on board the starship will be sprinting away from the ruddy-cheeked bearded guy with pointy ears and suspenders!
I guess I can’t imagine any space-going vessel having any use for a crewmember who can’t use a computer, won’t fight a Klingon (ghuy’ lo’laHbe’ghach amish jaghla’) and absolutely refuses to beam anyone up in the first place.
If you’re thinking that I’m going to spend the rest of this story making fun of the Amish your instincts are dead on but today my heart just isn’t into it. The problem is that a few days ago I got some advice from a real author who for some reason chose to treat me as a peer and gave me a good book to read. Obviously he’s never read what I write or he wouldn’t have bothered but I ended up buying the damn book and diving in and now I can’t help but see my stories as sophomoric and my interest in developing quality ideas and compelling characters as completely non-existent. Curse you Lance Olsen and your new book Architectures of Possibility!
It’s the kind of book that challenges writers to push their boundaries and craft something meaningful. Well, most writers. It just makes me realize that I refuse to put any effort into this at all. You see the original plan was to consistently write interesting material and slowly, organically develop a cult following. A small but loyal group of people who not only appreciated my messed up view of the world but actually inspired me to weirder efforts. It would takes years but eventually providing quality content would allow me to create a market for my books. It’s been nearly a month and there is one inescapable conclusion… that plan is not going to work.
Here’s the thing, being an unknown writer blows. The worst part about it is having to listen to advice from people on how to improve my ‘craft’. You know why it sucks so much? Because they are usually right! Bastards. Why can’t they keep their relevant comments to themselves? How do I tell them that I’m not really a writer… I just like to write? My degree was in Economics and the thought of going to a writers ‘workshop’ creeps me out. Really, I’d rather get a colonoscopy.
This is it, this is as good as my writing is going to get. I’m on an endless literary rumspringa with every 7th story going off on a pon farr bender. Lance Olsen is going to churn out great books on the value of language and I’m still going to be sitting here in my underwear looking up how to say stupid shit in Klingon.
Time for Plan B. I’ll let you know what that is when I think of it.