Sadness in the Library

Over the last year I’ve started intermittently collecting copies of my favorite books on meditation, magic, and mysticism. The general, if ill-planned and erratically implemented idea is that I want not only backups, but I want to distribute “full collections” to friends I trust. I could probably do this in a more orderly manner, but doing it I am.

When I look at the state of the world, from climate change to book bans, from greedy publishers to floods of bullshit books, I want to do something to preserve wisdom. When I look at past pogroms and attacks on knowledge, I can see how others saved knowledge. It was necessary before, it may be again, so my sporadic efforts are my poor attempt.

I’m sure I’ll have more organized in time. It is likely the daily news will inspire me further.

I look at my pile of “backup” books sitting at my mixture altar/bookshelf and feel sadness. My erratically-expanding and not-yet-complete “stuff to send friends” pile on my religion shelf is a constant reminder of my morose thoughts. It’s a low-level, constant reminder of where the world was, is, and may be.

I share this not as some grand plan or goal – rare for me – but just to share my thoughts with you, my readers. I’d like to know what you think about preserving and distributing knowledge, your hopes, and fears, and what you do – if anything. Maybe I am indeed too negative – or perhaps I’m not negative enough.

However, this is a discussion we should all be having. What do we need to do to preserve and disseminate wise words and advice in these times – and in times to come? How can we handle this and keep our mind and spirits in order?

If nothing else, it would be nice to discuss the sadness I feel when I look at my library.

I also have a recommended reading list. Perhaps it will help you –

– Xenofact

Writing, Publishing, and What’s Next

Bundling up my columns here as my Xenofact Xines (yes, I’m sticking with Xine not zine) was both an artistic endeavor and an experiment. It was an artistic endeavor as it seemed fun and creative, something to do as it was neat not out of some calculation and coordination. It was also an experiment to see how that helped me reach out to, connect with, and communicate with people. As a writer under several names, a good experiment keeps you from falling into a rut.

I was thrilled when one of the Xine readers said they had sat down and read the whole thing, taking notes. While talking on the phone they had so much to tell me, to ask, and to speculate on. However they had a question.

“What do I do now?”

Was the phone right? An email? Should they write in their own blog? Should they post things to my website? My answer was simple.

“I don’t know!”

This was an experiment! I wanted to mess around, reach out to people in a different way, and see what happened. Well, what happened was one of my friends felt inspired and wanted to communicate more. I figured we’d work out the fine details eventually, but at least something was happening.

Experiment successful – something happened.

Experiment ongoing – we’re still figuring out what to do.

So many times we get stuck in one creative way of communicating. We do art in one medium, publish our written works only as ebooks or only as blog posts, and so on. So many of us fall into habit, into expectation, and into doing thing “the right way.”

But communication is about connecting and reaching people. It must by it’s nature be experimental because everyone is different and every communication is new. To over-organize it is to make it less communicative and more rote – data without information.

So, my friends, I invite you to look at your creative communications – art, writing, blogging, podcasting, publishing, costume, whatever. I challenge you to try something different as an experiment (it may also be fun). See what happens when you use a different medium, publishing method, or, well, anything.

Let’s see what happens.

(Oh and you can get a PDF of my first Xine here and here, or a print copy here.)

– Xenofact