What is Jabberwocky?

Jabberwocky is a word invented by Lewis Carroll and used in a poem called Jabberwocky to describe a ferocious beast. The significance of the poem is that it uses mostly nonsense words to describe a young adventurer going off to fight this beast. The poem and the word have become a part of American lexicon since it first appeared in 1871, and Lewis Carroll’s books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There are considered classics. Maybe you’ve heard of them.

By Mirriam-Webster’s definition, the word jabberwocky actually means “meaningless speech or writing” and is synonymous with words like mumbo jumbo and prattle. Assuming that I don’t consider my blog to be complete mumbo jumbo (close to it, but not completely), I thought it might be important to explain what “jabberwocky” is to me personally and why it seems to be the theme of my website.

For one thing, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the first books I remember reading and enjoying as a kid. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland animated film is one of the first movies I remember truly creeping me out, too. The book has served as an inspiration for me ever since I decided I wanted to be a writer. Books like that and Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remind me not to take myself too seriously.

Jabberwocky the poem is also one of the first things I ever memorized. Memorization is important to me. I’ve memorized a lot of different things in my life, including poems like that and parts of the Bible. To this day, despite having not seen the poem on paper in years I could recite it out loud. I’ve always loved that poem for reasons I really can’t explain, but I know those reasons will help drive me the longer I pursue my goals to become a writer.

So what does “My Personal Jabberwocky” mean? Well, it means two things to me. In that context, the word jabberwocky represents everything that doesn’t make sense, doesn’t add up, or hinders me in my pursuit toward becoming a writer. Mostly, I’m talking about myself. I am my biggest enemy. I am “the jaws that bite and the claws that catch.” So this blog represents the documentation of me fighting me, and I have yet to find a vorpal sword to help me.

The jabberwocky in “My Personal Jabberwocky” also represents the author who originally created the word. It represents him and J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin and C.S. Lewis and any other famous author with or without abbreviations for names. It represents me as an author creating a unique and powerful voice in my work. This is me striving to become what very few ever become. It is my ultimate goal.

That is everything Jabberwocky means, both to me and the real world. I don’t mean to sound pretentious or arrogant. I certainly don’t want to come off as naive. But for what it’s worth, jabberwocky is a word of complexity for me and I think it’s important for you to know that. It doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes it’s complete gibberish, but it is a dream worth having.

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Why it’s Time to Live a Better Story

It’s often hard for me to articulate my frustration. It’s easy for others to just write me off as impatient, and that’s true… partially. I am impatient, but that impatience is not driven by intolerance in a negative sense. I am a planner. I don’t just look at the future and dream. First off, I dream big. But more than that, I see those dreams and reverse engineer them to the present. I want to know the steps I need to take to get there. Even if it’s somewhere ridiculous (and like I said, I dream big). The point is, if I am doing now the things I should be doing for the future then things will work themselves out.

There’s this other fear inside me that says I should give myself more time. My life post-Navy has only just started. My life in New York City has only just started. Why should I be so worried that it’s off on the wrong path so quickly? Give it time and see where destiny takes me!

The problem is I don’t believe in luck or destiny. I do believe there is a known future and I believe God has a plan ironed out. I don’t believe my choices are beyond my control because that “Master Plan” is unknown to me. As for luck, that’s just something people use to sound modest or make excuses.

I am not afraid to dream big. I am ambitious enough to see myself writing a national bestseller or landing the ultimate dream job. I know I am capable of it. I’m not just saying that the way a mother tells her child “You can do anything you set your mind to!” I say that like someone who means it. I do not want to be mediocre, and I will never be satisfied with a static life.

When I look at my life and see the steps I’m taking I realize certain things just don’t add up. Joining the Navy was a right step. At the time it was a step toward turning my life around. Staying in, even re-enlisting, was also the right step. Even if I was unhappy, and even if I complained about it on Facebook quite often, it was the right step. Going to college is also important, and that’s a step I’m living out right now. However, these are big things. The big things are always easy. They’re obvious and they tend to scream at me. And until now, the big steps were the most important. Now I need to focus on the little things.

Maybe calling them “little things” is unjust, but that is how we see them. Maybe it is pretentious and more than a little presumptuous of me to think of these little things as catastrophic to my future. After all, my life is taking a positive turn, and I can see myself on a positive track. But I can see my dreams. I can see where I want to be, and I can analyze where my current activities are taking me. The two paths aren’t aligned.

That’s the key. That’s what frustrates me. I know who I should be. I know the person I want to be. And I know what I need to get there, but I’m not doing it! Why am I not being the person I want to be? Why do I spend so much time thinking about these things before I act on them?

I don’t know the whole answer, but part of that answer is the steps I need to take don’t feel natural. They aren’t easy, certainly, but more than that I feel a wall of resistance against doing them. My mind boils over with anger and frustration when I try to come to grips with this thought. Not only is it hard to say but it’s hard to write about this because my thoughts become jumbled in the emotions, but I think I’ve been pretty clear here.

And I’ve kept it short. That’s a plus. Sometimes when I’m writing these things I think about the length. I think there’s no way I could’ve properly expressed myself in under 1,000 words. I have at least that many words flowing through my mind at any given second. Still, the simplest writing is usually the best, and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

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