Friday, February 01, 2013

The Future in My Head

This is the kind of abstract work that causes me to see things
differently and to wonder about what comes next.
Giacomo BallaAbstract Speed + Sound, 1913–1914.
Borrowed from the Wikipedia entry on futurism.
In preparing to write this post, I did some minimal research into 'futurism' and being a 'futurist'. Enough to know that I've been using those words incorrectly to this point. 'Futurism' is about the Italian movement that focused on speed, technology, youth, violence. I am not exactly a 'futurist', either, because I'm not necessarily trying to predict the future but rather trying to see myself in it.

I've played music, made art, speculated about any number of things in my writing. Maybe that makes me forward-thinking, but a futurist? Not by strict definition because I'm not a scientist. I admire the paintings and architectural designs of The Futurists. They inspire me. More, they inspired the Art-Deco movement which really speaks to me.

By wanting to be and then consciously pursuing being a writer of science fiction I'm landing in a camp that's been well-established. Those who've gone before are giants in the field. There are a lot of folks who have set up their tents in this camp who were wildly successful in predicting all sorts of things (Jules Verne being the best example of 'wildly successful', I suppose) and dozens upon dozens more. But this isn't about them.

How did they do it? What flights of fancy or bolts of inspiration caused them to think ahead like they did?

Obviously they were readers. They were thinkers on what they read, and I suspect that many of them (like Verne) sought out thinkers and scientists and engaged them in conversation. Picked their brains and then began the process of extrapolation.

This is what I try to do, thinking about the fields of my own interests and how they intersect with my daily life. My job is in college foodservice and has been for half my life. I've got stories that don't necessarily involve working in food but that have been inspired by what I've experienced there. It's a way for me to relate to the work I'm doing during the day to the things I think about when I'm not doing that (or really anything else).

I daydream stories. What if? What then? What next?

My admiration for people who can work across different aspects of the arts (visual, performing, literary, gastronomic, 'mathematical') is greater than anything. Of the seven 'arts' I've tried my hand at four with varying degrees of success. If you add in the eighth and ninth, I've worked at (to some degree) six of them.

But I'm always looking at the horizon, trying to see which path leads me to the next thing, the next idea. I doubt that makes me a futurist but it does mean I'm thinking AT the Future. Trying to grasp something that has meaning.

It means I'll keep trying until something sticks. Indulge me in a prediction that I'll continue to expound here and wherever anyone will have me. I'll be the guy in the coffee shop or the bar with a book in hand, trying to figure out what's next.