I’m just a small little spec of a guy on the web. I’m going to post things here that are interesting to me, but hopefully they’ll be interesting to someone else out there. I am going to try to get into gear on a site for written travel guides slanted toward snorkelers, so this site is practice in writing, and also for the things don’t fit there.
The name of the site was just something I made up on the fly. I wanted to call it “Boiling the Ocean”, because I heard Merlin Mann say this old expression in describing what’s it’s like when you attempt an impossible tasks. Although everyone had probably heard this before saying before, it was new to me and I immediately identified with it, but that domain name was already registered. So then I thought about someone not being afraid to look into Medusa’s eyes and be turned to stone. Which is actually kind of foolish, but to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, that was just some cool sh*t to say. So I picked staringdownmedusa.com because I liked the sound of it.
Turns out after some research, it really has sort of a different, and kind of cool meaning altogether (Luckily! Imagine if it meant something completely horrible!). Jack London had a quote in one of his books, describing looking into Medusa’s eyes as kind of facing reality and not escaping into fantasy to avoid it:
I cannot help remembering a remark of De Casseres. It was over the wine in Mouquin’s. Said he: “The profoundest instinct in man is to war against the truth; that is, against the Real. He shuns facts from his infancy. His life is a perpetual evasion. Miracle, chimera and to-morrow keep him alive. He lives on fiction and myth. It is the Lie that makes him free. Animals alone are given the privilege of lifting the veil of Isis; men dare not. The animal, awake, has no fictional escape from the Real because he has no imagination. Man, awake, is compelled to seek a perpetual escape into Hope, Belief, Fable, Art, God, Socialism, Immortality, Alcohol, Love. From Medusa-Truth he makes an appeal to Maya-Lie.”
—Jack London, The Mutiny of the Elsinore
Now I like the Zen Master part of that quote, about avoiding distractions. I can get behind that, but ironically, I don’t really live my life so much that way and that’s really kind of the opposite of what this blog is about/for. It’s going to be filled with the distractions I have found and enjoy. So in that way, this blog is that exact opposite of Staring Down Medusa. That makes perfect sense for me, my blog title vs. the content is very confusing :-)