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Asimov and Jim....

  • Feb. 6th, 2004 at 6:11 PM
Sly Smile

Last night was spent mostly photographing myself from different angles.... The reason might sound tremendously weird and well, I'm not one to justify such things to every soul hanging around in my vicinity. :) I'll spare you the roundabout and get to the reason for this journal entry....

Firstly, I finished reading a 430-page book in less than three and a half hours.... Of course, the book i was reading was about my favorite author. (No guys, I'm not mistaken, "about" not "by"!) Isaac Asimov! He's the one person who's brought me into a whole new world of reality and disillusion. Conflicting ideas, I hear you say? Naah! I meant just that.

If you've read enough of his works, (a tremendous catalogue awaits you if you have'nt already read all his books by the way.) you'll know what it is that I'm talking about. The book I read is called "Gold". It's actually Isaac Asimov's first original collection of science Fiction in ages. It's also, unfortunately, his last SF collection. It contains some of his uncollected SF stories that have never appeared in book form.

It's named after the title story in this collection, "Gold" (of course!). Gold is a really moving story about a writer who gambles money and emotion into a chance at immortality. But of course, as I would expect, not in the manner you people expect. Not 'physical' immortality, but immortality of the kind all of us wish and dream for, can achieve, but cannot all achieve.

It's a gamble that Asimov himself won by being who he was to all of us SF readers and writers. He lives on in our hearts.

"Gold" contains more than just Science Fiction though, it contains various essays about Science Fiction as well as practical advice about how to go about presenting yourself to the world in written form. It's by no means a bible for aspiring writers though, and if you people figured that it would be a good idea to pick it up as a reference guide or a manual to move ahead in your literary careers, I'd suggest you stick your head into a bucket of Liquid Nitrogen and see if that helps any.

The advice Asimov gives is more of a mind twisting game. It deals with the view behind writing the way that he does. He prophesizes and annihilates form in quick succession, leveling out somewhere in between, thus allowing the reader to actually disconnect oneself from loyal following to individual foraging and hopefully, even individual understanding through procreational thought processes.

Frankly, if you have'nt read any of his earlier works, I'd never consider this book to be worth reading. You have to understand how his mind works before you can begin to get a feel of how his words go together differently at a subliminal level.


A few of my friends (who happen to be SF geeks too), tend to inform me, rather coyly, that my own writing has a flavour that's not so different in the way that my own writing has subliminal information. I write for lots of reasons. The main reason is so that I can put my thoughts, my emotions and feelings into the incredibly insufficient written language. An idea almost always loses most of its luster and detail due to the insufficiencies of the languages that we, today, use.

The art in my own writing is hidden between the layers of value that one can extract from my works. As a mind matures, it begins to uncover a deeper layer of understanding. For instance, I'm a mentor to a young lady (have been for two or three years now) who lives far away. The only means of communication is via writing through the Internet.

She was 14 (or so) when we began communicating, but now, she's older. With the passage of time, she has begun to understand a lot of things about the way that I think and myself. She's also matured phenomenally (as far as intellectual maturity counts in any case).

Today, when she reads what I write, she understands me better than most people. When she re-reads the same works of mine that I'd written two years ago, again now, she sees more. It's not that the complexity of the words or the way that they were put together have changed, it's just that she is seeing a layer that's hidden deeper than the surface meaning.

Most people (I'd say an average of about 98%), tend to be content with the surface meaning when they read my words. Some people have actually gone all freaky and have actually analyzed and dug layer out of layer of information from my writings. At first, I was stunned to see that people could actually be obsessed enough to do such a thing, but (as I've come to accept now), it's a general objective of many a literature and semantic student of the higher level.

I'm yet to find an individual who has managed to dig out the deepest layers of meaning, and I'm certain that no one ever will. Sometimes, there are people who actually (upon digging into my writings), unearth things I never imagined. Things that I'd never put there.... Pretty interesting? Yeah, I'm quite surprised myself!

It's quite an exciting feeling when I receive mails from people who send me their analysis of something that I've written. At times, they compliment me on my abilities and at times, they condemn the structure that I tend to formulate.... It's a mixed reaction usually and I'm not sure I want to change my critics. :o) Often, the analysis is six to eight times longer than the actual written text. And never has any analysis thus far been complete....

I wonder what it would be like if I were to analyze my own work.... But that, I guess I shall do on a rainy day perhaps. I'm usually too busy writing or thinking about stuff, to actually sit around writing out an analysis, since I already know what it is that I'm writing anyway, it serves me no practical purpose really.

Some people ask me why I write so much....

The answer is not in the least simple. It's mainly because I have too much to say. It's because I can't bring out my entire idea in a single statement. I use puns, I use symbolisms, I use things like similes and metaphors to lay out a layer of thought over other layers of thought. A single sentence can have varying meanings depending on how one reads it. In my case, I build up a mood, a theory, a setting, a landscape, I build a foundation and then build up a structure over it.

One can't possibly expect me (a pathetic little quark), to actually be able to translate all that thought into a compressed version. One can't possibly summarize when one wishes to obscure certain facets from view, one can't begin to explain it all that easily. I for one am incapable of doing all that in a few words. I need space to expand and explore.

The more intellectually sound readers derive far greater pleasure from my writing than do the mentally subordinate. The reason is because I don't wish to give people information that they are not capable of understanding because their perception level does'nt match.

The greater the perception level, the greater depth of understanding an individual can burrow into. There is of course the basic understanding of my writing that anyone who can read and understand words can perceive, but that's just for the surface.

What does a reader care about the hidden intonations of a given work when he does'nt see anything below ground zero? What's the use of giving someone something directly when he's capable of understanding at a deeper level? If a person is incapable of digging deeper into the substrata of any substance (whatever it might be), why should I assume that they would be capable of understanding (or appreciating) the value of what I have to say?

I write stuff that can be read by a very broad audience of readers. Children from the age of eight and ten have read my writing and value it. People seven or eight times that age have also read and appreciated my writing. Both on different levels, the younger crowd reads and understands the surface ideology while the older readers, (though they read exactly the same thing), understand a great deal more.

There are kids who are mentally capable of digging way into the foundation of what I write, and there are fully grown individuals who can't dig deeper than the second or third level.... It's a problem I don't wish to discuss here in this post at any length.

When I write something, it invariably has a literal meaning.... Upon closer, or more mature reading, my words take on different intonations, they reflect thoughts mentioned earlier, they metaphorically link themselves to different parts of past and future references. The small mind sees the literal intonation and that's as far as they will see. The greater mind sees not just the literal intonation, but also the layers of ideology that lie below the literal intonation.

People learn to branch out their thoughts much like the branches of a tree. People, who read my writing, are of the kind who just follow the tree trunk, the kind who can follow the branches too, and of course, those who can follow the branches, the trunk as well as the root system.

There are (though terribly few in number), people who can follow through separate specialized thought channels into the sub structure that makes the entire tree alive, they can see the internal structure and they can actually see the tree as something that is alive and in constant ambient motion of fluctuating waves and ideologies.

I've said more than I'd intended on saying.... From Asimov to me? How'd that happen? Well, the one thing that I found from the book ("Gold") that I read that made me identify so well with Asimov was the fact that apart from Science Fiction, we have another thing in common.... Our ability and passion in composing as well as reading and understanding layered literature....



angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2004 04:44 am (UTC)
I just finished reading a book called "Gold" by 'Isaac Asimov'. Wonderful book.
I relate to The author in two ways (I initially thought it was in just one way, but corrected my self now).
I am a great writer, so great am I infact, I'm not even worth my own time. :o)
(Rephrased: I can't give even myself the time of day!)


"I can't give even myself the time of day!"
"I can't even give myself the time of day!"

See a difference in meaning? Structually and gramatically, a casual reader sees the same idealism from both sentences.... They will invariably absorb the meaning stated in the second phrase when reading the first one. Except ofcourse, if both statements are presented together as is done here. In which case, they notice the distinction and realize that there is the possibility of an inflection variance involved in each of the sentences. Think about it.... :) Kaydeeyoh!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 6th, 2004 06:07 am (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)
J. R. R. Tolkein does a similar play on content as I mentioned in my post above.... I have'nt read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance" yet, but someday, I think I would.... "Catcher in teh Rye" I have'nt yet read, but then again, I might. lol!

Which book by Asimov do you have? Have'nt you read any of his works so far? :o

Cheers and Kaydeeyoh!
namus wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2004 07:13 pm (UTC)
Catcher in the Rye is a nice book. At your reading speed levels it wud take u abt an hour to finish it. Reading that book spoiled the way I write or think. It makes slang so adorable and now its an addiction. It really is.

If you read the book you'll know what inspires the it really is phrase.
angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 7th, 2004 03:21 am (UTC)
Hmmm.... My reading speed depends on what I'm reading....

Easy reading is done at a phenominal speed.... With 150 odd pages being done in about 45 minutes.... at times.... Mood has a lot to do with my reading speed....

Weird! lol!

Slang can be a wonderful object.... I see a kind of candid humor in slang.... I prefer the normal tongue usually, Slang in my opinion lends spice.... :)

datempest wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2004 01:34 pm (UTC)
Goodness, I can never get over the underlying humor in your posts... will post when I stop laughing.

And that icon of yours makes me chuckle all the more!!!
angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 6th, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'll be waiting for your extended comments regarding this dash of humor. :)

Every time you say that, I feel this urge to keep using that icon over and over.... :o) It's gonna die out one of these days if I use it so much. hehe...!

Kaydeeyoh Angel....
atharvan wrote:
Feb. 10th, 2004 01:32 pm (UTC)
Asimov is one of my favourite writers too!
Have you read his Foundation series? And of course, the Robots!!
Will take a longer look later on; just a quick comment to show that I aint dead yet!
angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 10th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, I've read his Foundation Series many a time.... I have the whole collection as well as his robot series and the books he wrote in between to make the whole thing into one huge epic.....

Infact, even though I was running out of space to keep all the tons of books that I have, I managed to make space for Asimov.... My library is now at over 6200 books and I think when I shift next, I'll have to have a library in the new haven. :P

Glad to see you alive for a change. lol! It's been a while, but it's good to know you're still in activity.... :o)

Cheers and Kaydeeyoh!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Feb. 17th, 2004 05:57 am (UTC)
angiasaa wrote:
Feb. 17th, 2004 12:02 pm (UTC)
No, not 6200 books but over 6200 books. Small difference, I know.... But when you see that millions of people the world over can't lay any claims to the ownership of even a single book, even half a book counts. :)

What kind? Hmmm.... Well, to begin with, I've got books in English, Hindi, German, Latin, Hebrew, Russian and Greek. (That's on the broader categorization.) I don't read most of those books. Partly due to my inefficience at speaking, let alone reading them languages....

I'm trying to learn Greek, but Latin and Russian have been placed on the back burner for a while. It'll be followed by German perhaps and I'll stop there. No more interesting languages in my vision I guess....

I've got subcategories, ranginf from Science Fiction to Romance, From Psycho Kinesis to Self Realization, From Body Massage and other Therapy related books to Reflective Particular Physics.... I have a very broad range of interests, and you'd perhaps figure them out from the books that I read.... Or from the junk that I write.... (Yeah, junk, I've been told quite a number of times, even by some of my friends, that my writing sucks big time!)

No, I don't have the "ENTIRE" Asimov series, though I must add here that I have quite a good number of his works.... (most of them actually). What I meant was that I have the complete Foundation saga. That's starting from the caves of steel and ending at Foundation and Earth. I also include the "Prelude to Foundation", "Forward the Foundation" and others when I refer to the Foundation saga.

I often pick up an Asimov between my other reads, I love interpolating Asimov between my other reads because it's like a taste that I savour, a touch of wonder that I really enjoy running my fingers over....

When you grow up and get lots and lots of money, you could present me with a library with lots and lots of shelves.... Once you've done that, you may go ahead and realize your dream. :o)