5 Things a Sick Writer Can Do

Some days you’re just too sick to write an interesting post. However, you may also want to follow the advice of Dr. Robert Anton Wilson and “do it every day” to make your writing improve. In the spirit of Gary Vaynerchuk’s suggestion that sometimes it’s better to document rather than create, here is a list of 5 things a writer could do on a day they don’t feel up to writing.

1 – Poke away at your pieces in progress. I use Evernote as my drafting space. The primary reason is ease of parity across multiple devices. Whether I am, in a cafe, in the bathroom, or curled up on my couch wrapped in blankets and feeling like hell, I can work on my writing with ease. I mostly work on my laptop, but it’s just as easy to work on my iPhone or iPad. This leads to…

2 – If you are on a schedule, you can post something you’ve written before. Perhaps a piece is already done and waiting, or perhaps it only needs some quick finishing up and editing. Keeping a rolling set of posts in progress makes this easy.

3 – Not every post need be completely original. If you are stuck for inspiration, a quick scroll through your favorite social media feed can provide something to riff on. Sometimes I take a scroll through Quora, looking for requests I have gotten for answering questions, or I review answers I previously gave to see if I can expand on what I said.

4 – Write a review! I do not mean to suggest that writing a good review is easy to do. There is a reason some reviewers have fans and followers. However, writing an okay review is decidedly easy. All you do is give your opinion, and everyone has those in spades.

5 – Lastly, you can write a list of 5 things a sick writer can do. (Or any list really.) These kinds of posts are the lowest hanging fruit in the blogging world. 😉

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The Law of Fives and How Cool It Is

Being it’s a Friday, and being that I am a Discordian, and being that Fridays are a minor holy day to Discordians, and being that today is the 27th of January (2 from 7 is five), I thought I would share one of the central tenets of Discordianism that is designed to free the Discordian’s mind from linear thinking.

“The Law of Fives is one of the oldest Erisian Mysterees. It was first revealed to Good Lord Omar and is one of the great contributions to come from The Hidden Temple of The Happy Jesus.

POEE subscribes to the Law of Fives of Omar’s sect. And POEE also recognizes the holy 23 (2+3=5) that is incorporated by Episkopos Dr. Mordecai Malignatus, KNS, into his Discordian sect, The Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria.

The Law of Fives states simply that: ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5.

The Law of Fives is never wrong.

In the Erisian Archives is an old memo from Omar to Mal-2: ‘I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look.’ ”

A quick look at the standard issue human vehicle reveals how close to home the Law of Fives hits. The vast majority of us have five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot. (Although there are exceptions. I once went to a family owned pharmacy in India and all but one of the men in the store had an extra finger on at least one hand. The one with five fingers had a surgical scar on his right hand where the others had the extra digit, so he presumably also had six fingers on that hand at some time.) We also usually have five limbs, if you count the head-neck assembly as one.

From my personal life, I can see that I was destined to be a Discordian. I was born on October, 7th 1969. 1 + 0 + 7 + 1 + 9 + 6 + 9 = 32. 3 + 2 = 5. I was doomed to follow the Goddess Eris from the get go. (SIDE NOTE: Since we got “32” in there, which is the reverse of the sacred number “23” first revealed as the “23 enigma” by William S. Burroughs, this probably means that I am the evil anti-Burroughs. A title I will proudly wear.) As the Principia says, “The Law of Fives is never wrong”, especially if you keep in mind the reminder given by Omar, “… the harder I look.”

Here is where I give the game away (though you have likely seen the gag already): The Law of Fives is a mental gimmick meant to get us to look at things more deeply while simultaneously driving home the realization that since the brain is built to find patterns and assign meaning, we can find patterns and assign meaning consciously if we remember that it happens all the time. This gives us the possibility of being free of our cultural conditioning, and the dominant educational system of our upbringing if we choose to be. The Law of Fives reminds us that the patterns and meanings we work with can be a game if we decide they are. The way to get good at this is to practice the Law of Fives. Look for the five wherever you can, and if you need to, go through the necessary mental gymnastics to make it work.

This is just one of many distinctions in the Principia that promote free, critical, and creative thinking. These distinctions are why it’s one of my favorite religions. Read any five pages and you might be impressed, and will very likely be confused. Eris is the Goddess of confusion after all.

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Some But Not All

I have been a student of Robert Anton Wilson’s work for a couple of decades now. I have read all his work, watched all his videos, and listened to all his interviews, most of them more than once. I first came across him when I found the book, “Cosmic Trigger volume 1” on the shelf at Green Apple books in San Francisco. I’ve read that book 14 times now, and I always find some new nugget of wisdom that rocks my world. “Cosmic Trigger”, along with “Prometheus Rising”, form the core of the man’s thought and work. I have taken a great many of Robert’s distinctions and notions on in my life to great effect. I feel that I suffer less, and have more robust relationships with the people in my life than I would have had I not learned from Wilson.

Today I’d like to share a little gem that I got from Robert Anton Wilson which has kept my mind free of cultural boundaries and helps me avoid slipping back into the many mental traps and prisons that life gives us the opportunity to encounter. The gem I am speaking of is the word, “sombunall.” The word sombunall is a short version of the phrase, “Some, but not all.” Primarily this word helps us shield ourselves against becoming convinced of something about an entire class of things in the world without enough evidence. In life, we can often become convinced that we know something conclusively about a given thing in the world, and this colors our perceptions of said phenomenon leaving us blind to other possibilities.

As an example, let’s say you’ve had occasion to hire three plumbers in your life to come to your house on the weekend and fix an emergency issue. Twice they were an hour and a half late. All three charged what seemed to you like an excessive fee, which was mostly for their travel time since the time they spent actually fixing the problem was minimal, and one convinced you to replace your piping with copper tubing which a friend (who knows nothing about plumbing, by the way, later told you was a rip off). All of this combined to give you the opinion, “All plumbers are crooks!” Having met 3 out of all of the plumbers in the world, under conditions of duress, you now “know the truth” about all plumbers. Such a belief becomes a barrier between you and honest dealings with the portion of the world population who are plumbers. Under this habitual, unexamined thought you would react poorly indeed if your daughter brings home her new beau to meet the parents who just happens to be a plumber in training. This sort of situation would be fixed if you had initially thought, “Sombunall plumbers are crooks.” Then when your daughter brought home her fella instead of thinking of him as a crook by default, you could have asked questions about plumbers in general and perhaps discovered someone you could call on the weekend when your pipes burst again.

Think about how different the world might be if Hitler had not been able to sell his line of, “All Jews are evil” because his audience edited the incoming signal to, “Sombunall Jews are evil.” Imagine the difference in anxiety if you ran the internal script, “sombunall dentist visits are painful” instead of, “all dentist visits are painful.”

Sombunall is a more honest take on the world because, just like the simple fact that Hitler never came close to meeting all Jews, none of us get to assess a sample set of phenomenon that comes close to all. Sombunall armors our psyches against pre-judgment and knee-jerk prejudice.

The way to integrate this idea into your life is pretty simple. Say, “sumbunall” internally on occasions when you find yourself reaching for “all.” Also, you can edit any message you receive from the outside world that contains the assertion “all” to its “sombunall” equivalent. Over time this becomes second nature in the very same way that saying “all” became second nature (if, in fact, it did for you.)

The simple little word sombunall will not fix all your problems, but I bet it will fix sombunall.

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