On Erections & Nonfiction Essays

Nonfiction Essays. Photo Credit – Flickr: mugley

“All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.” Marcel Proust

Many creations begin with the intent to communicate an emotion or state of mind.

Nonfiction essays are no exception, but unlike works of fiction, nonfiction writing rests upon a straightforward notion that the writer and reader share the same reality.

Instead of transporting you to a fictional universe with imagined circumstances and characters, the nonfiction writer observes and deconstructs the world that is already familiar to the reader.

With fiction, there is an implied distance between the writer and the manuscript and necessary space between the writer and the reader. The story is disconnected from the author.

This is also the case in some nonfiction work, but reflective, prescriptive, or philosophical essays tend to incorporate the author. The reader views a topic through the writer’s mind.

This type of nonfiction writing can cause an uneasiness and anxiety for the author when a piece of text is published, promoted, or read at a later time. The essay may have been erected from an emotion or state of mind that no longer exists for the author.

The erection is fleeting; the creation is permanent.

Does such a case affect a nonfiction essay’s authenticity? [Read more…]

How to Be Smart in a World Full of Dumb Tattooed People

Photo Credit – Flickr: Nina Matthews PhotographyThey’re so gross, aren’t they?

I don’t know the exact group of people you have beef with, but I’m sure you have beef. Humans love disliking other groups of people because we love to blame everything that is wrong on someone or something else.

Our perceptions of what is wrong are innately external. You would prefer a situation to be different, but it’s not, so your human instinct decides to be pissed off about it.

Unfortunately, facts aren’t going to magically change just because you don’t like them, and excessive lamenting is a waste of energy.

Let’s focus on energy for a minute.

We all want more energy—especially in a society where “tired” and “busy” are common, acceptable, and often preferred responses to the question “how are you?”

Everyone has important tasks to accomplish and feels there is never enough time to get it all done. Energy helps us execute our to-do lists.

So, why do we waste so much energy “liking” and “disliking?” [Read more…]

What Tattoos Can Teach Us About Art & Writing

The Philosophical Functionality of the Tattoo: A Philosophy of ArtTen years ago, the two words that most accurately described my identity were “philosophy” and “tattoos.”

Philosophy consumed my life as an undergraduate student, and tattoos were my favorite hobby—one that I incorporated into my studies as much as possible.

When it came time to pick a topic for my honors thesis before my senior year, the decision was a no-brainer.

Justifying my topic to the faculty in the philosophy department at my college was another story.

Since anthropology was one of my minors (studio art was the other), the philosophy professors were quick to dismiss my idea of using tattoos as a focus for a philosophical examination of art.

Luckily, my faculty advisor saw potential in my perspective and convinced his peers to hear more about my paper in a meeting.

The objections that I faced stated the obvious: [Read more…]

Philosophical Functionality of the Tattoo: A Philosophy of Art

The Philosophical Functionality of the Tattoo: A Philosophy of ArtItems I wrote less than eight weeks ago often embarrass me, so I expected to be horrified when I sat down to read my college honors thesis from eight years ago.

Even though it can be painful to review old pieces of writing because the editor in me doesn’t refrain from noticing room for improvement, the process energizes my creative sensibilities for new projects.

Since my forthcoming philosophical Percocet, How to Overcome Heartbreak Without Projectile Vomiting, is an argument about heartbreak’s role in identity formation, I thought it would be helpful to review the structure of my long-forgotten philosophical argument about art.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading the essay, so I turned it into a 75-page book that’s divided into six chapters:

 

The Philosophical Functionality of the Tattoo: A Philosophy of Art

 

Introduction: The Philosophy of Art

Part I: Traditional Art and Tattoo Art

Part II: The Conditions for the Creation of Tattoo Art

Part III: How Does Tattooing Evoke New Ideas About Art?

Part IV: The Function of an Animate Medium

Conclusion: The Missing Link in Danto’s Theory

You can download the book for free here. [Read more…]