I’ve been thinking about my blog, what I post, and what I'm interested in posting going forward. In my mind, a blog shouldn’t be limited: a blog is in sense is a journal or record of an individuals thoughts, feelings, and search for meaning in an ever expanding digital universe. When I conceived The Soulless Machine Review, I set out to join the passionate few dedicated to highlighting new and emerging Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories, novellas, journals, and novels; but what I’ve found in that last two years is that reviewing is not my passion. Whereas writing and critical approaches to writing and literature consume my very being as if I were a bloody corpse in a shark tank.
It seems that I put up roadblocks at every turn because I inadequacy issues with language. Every six weeks, each new school term, I confess to my students that even I struggle with the English Language: I have difficulty spelling. I am a child of spell check, but when I was in elementary school, my teachers ridiculed my ability to spell. One teacher told me that I would never amount to anything unless I could spell. My elementary English class experiences still haunt me, but I took that prophetic statement about my worth as a challenge: Two Bachelors degrees in English (Creative Writing, & Rhetoric and Discourse) and a Master Degree in Fine Arts in Writing later, I still struggle with spelling, but I now teach English Composition, 20th Century Literature, and Environmental Science. The irony does not escape my students as I write on the whiteboard.
My feelings of inadequacy send me in every direction but the one I want most. Instead of pursuing my own writing (fiction and critical), I endeavored to promote other writer’s published works, believing that their appreciation would fill the void, and it did for a while. I enjoyed reading and reviewing, but the act of “reviewing” is too akin to “marketing” for me. Instead, going forward, when I post, I would like to think that I’m engaging in the critical application of theory in order to extract (to interpret) meaning from a text.
Whereas “reviewing” implies a judging, a suggestion to buy or not to buy a text, hermeneutics is the study of critical approaches and how they are used to extract meanings from texts and position those meanings within cultural biases. I wish to be clear here: I do not intend to suggest that there is more value in “criticism” than in “reviewing.” I’m merely suggesting that my reviewing days are over because my heart is not in that particular, yet important endeavor.
With my heart in mind, The Soulless Machine Review will slowly evolve into The Soulless Hermeneutics Machine. The focus will shift from reviewing short stories and novels to criticism intent on writing produces meaning, how meaning is constructed using language, and how literary texts dually produce and absorb meaning for a given culture.
The look of this blog with alter in the coming days, as will the title, but rest assured that all previous content will remain intact (with the same URLs) as I am only changing the title and not the core URL http://www.soullessmachine.com/. However, sidebar links will eventually change, eliminating many if not all review sites and advertisements for journals and websites that are not inline with my new focus. For this reason, I apologize to my many good reviewing friends. (You may, and should most likely remove me from your link lists.)
As I write this announcement, I realize that my musing here sounds self-important and self-indulgent, and I must admit that I am being very self-indulgent and possibly (most likely) a pompous self-important elitist; however, this is a blog, a journal chronicling my literary adventures (be they reviewing or hermeneutics), and…
I am the Soulless Machine.
Aaron M. Wilson