Friday, June 8, 2012

The Invention of Sophy Laughing

That for which we find words is something already dead in our hearts.
Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols


Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
The Player King in Hamlet



I've recently experienced a lull in my writing, as if repunctuating myself. My friends and family have been asking me to publish a book, which, like any unpleasant task, I have avoided since I wrote my first manuscript at age 14. Writing is easy for me, knowing what is worthy of publishing is the challenge.

This reluctance to publish tells me that I consider blogging different from publishing. Somewhere in my mind lies the sentiment that the written word when not pressed to paper is not written. It would appear that I've held a simliar belief since my youth, having written many letters and reports, but no novel or nonfiction book.

Throughout my professional career, I've written manuals, strategic plans, business plans, marketing plans, public offerings, and the like - but no novel. Since April 2011, I've written letters, blog posts, Facebook posts, and Twitter Tweets; I even wrote two novels as a ghost writer - but no book. I wrote a full-length book for a close friend, published a book of poetry for family, and designed calendars - still no book.

How could I allow myself to sit on a thousand novel ideas and publish not a one? I could have pulled out the remnants of that box and salvage at least three novels - I'm sorry to say that right before starting this blog, I threw away 20+ years worth of poetry (over 1,000 poems) and a number of full-length novels. The reasons for which I did this are my own.


People are relatively unchanging; we pass through stages of aging, changing in large part because of our relationship to ourselves. Sometimes this comes about because we overhear ourselves thinking. This self-overhearing becomes the elevator music on the road to individuation whereby we accomplish coherency in irrespective of life's circumstances.

In that writing I tossed away was years of coherency expressed in the midst of extraordinary life circumstances and associations. Some of the attempts were far from developed, many unfinished, raw, and puerile, but here and there, youth inspired passion, fieriness, animation, and enthusiasm came through in my romps through the Mayan jungle and epic Shaman-like poetry.

Alas, they're now gone, but the spell of that light remains. My explorations into human character and personality continue to reside within me, as, perhaps, does some of that naïvety.

As difficult as it is for those who know me to comprehend coherency in my revamped appellation, I see it as the culmination of a life's work in reading, writing, exploring, and venturing forth into unknown territories. My prior name - and names, in general - are, for me, a fixed, unspoken outward limit of human achievement, and my mind wants to reach further. Like Dr. Who being addressed by his title - as in the days of lore - I like the sound of Dr. Laughing more than any other label or sobriquet. Perhaps someday I'll change my name again and leave the new box blank. Wouldn't that be something? 


the origin of the last name Laughing is a mystery. It is said that it could come from a profession, such as with the name "Taylor" (My tailor is rich). Recognizably, the last name Laughing could have come from a jovial, good-humored spirit - similar to myself - merely bent upon having the last laugh. 

I believe I may be the first person in history to purposely (and legally) change my surname to laughing just so I'd have the outré nonconformist experience of enjoying the humor in my own epitaph: She died Laughing...  

The Laughing Cavalier (1624) by Franz Hals

So, what of my self-invention? I'd like to think that my originality is represented by cognition, personality, and agreeable character...with a dash of extraordinary modes of consciousness coming into being for good measure. All traits worthy of documentation and dare I say (when the time is right for me) - publication.

I have considered going beyond all precedents to wite my memoirs early; after all, I have, in a sense, died as one identity, and been born (in the same lifetime) under a new one. Typically, we save memoirs until that time in life when our memory comes into question or when we recognize the immanence our own mortality. In my case, it is a mere recognition of an originality that is here no more. In this respect, memoirs written today are akin to a death bed confession... only normally one gets to die before questions arise. 

I live in the abundance of my imagination where good humor rules the land with measured absurdity, a concept we ascribe to humor. No doubt, any memoir I write would include my journey into humor with perhaps a few grains of insight into the subtle feelings associated with this elusive trait we call our own.

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