Horrifying Rough Draft Feedback.

I am posting this into the ether since I have no blog subscribers.

I have sent out an incredibly rough and very unedited draft of some select parts of my current novel for help, since they trouble me to no end.

The feedback has been peppered with language like: “Unreadable,” “Nonsense,” “You have wasted 20 minutes of my day.” “Your voice is cloudy, your metaphors absurd.”

So I am taking a different approach and I will spin this “abortion,” as it was called by a very honest, I would say too honest reviewer, into a completely different direction.

I will continue writing my novel with even more fervor and give it more importance, hopefully staying true to my voice, since it is the only one I have.  I do not seek any glory or fame, and I should never have shared such a rough section, but I take this responsibility of writing the best I can only for myself.

I consider it an act of filial piety for humanity to write the worst novel ever written so nobody has to ever again.

Cheers and Warm Regards,


JPH Vargas

Horrifying Rough Draft Feedback.


I am not American, I have grown up a Connecticut Yankee, educated mostly in liberal Vermont, I was lucky enough to have parents of little means to work three jobs and place me at an exceptional Prep High School in my younger years, besides coursing various classes at a graduate level that interest me.  I pursue knowledge.  As a generation 1.5 I do not belong to either Argentina, or the United States, and I do not write that American bark, “writing to the bone” like Twain, Abraham Lincoln, and other American writers.

I do however have a very studied knowledge of the classics and a unique voice that has been shaped by my experience.  Current feedback from 4 sample paragraphs suggests that most readers would be turned off from the deictic language in my manuscript.  I must say however as a linguist and adjunct professor at a small CT college, that I will stay true to my unique way of thought, which may seem un translatable or dense, only because it is all I know and who I am.  I must hold myself to honesty when it comes to what I do.

I hope to finish soon, I am halfway through a very rough draft, only getting words onto a page.  I hope that the work will offer some people who may enjoy it something to chat about, I also hope that one person finds it beautiful.  Even one human enjoying it would satisfy my meager ego.

Cheers and Warm Regards

JPH Vargas


Thursday March 30th 2017

To whomever finds themselves accidentally at this page, I have not posted in months because I find myself writing a uniquely voiced novel.  It will be the type of manuscript that is either loved or held in disdain.  In all reality I do not expect any marvel or fortune, or fame or glory from this book, personally I find writers and artists who chase paper without considering others a cruelty.  I care everyday less and less what others may think or say about my talents, gifts and even myself.  I write simply because it satisfies the lack of available conversations that I wish to have with others.  I do not consider myself a writer, or an artist, or anything but a human being who wishes the best for others.  The only dream I hold for my manuscript is that hopefully it would add weight to my resume and allow me to have conversations regarding human welfare, peace building, and equality.  One more thing I wish would be a contract, humble of course since I am a man of very little wants and needs, but a contract none the less to write a book a year.

When I settle the work that I am currently engaged in, I will add a page to this blog showcasing hand developed color and black and white film photography.  I have engaged myself as a photographer seriously for many years.

I would like to self publish a short book showing the photographs including short narratives in a large format and dedicate those earnings to charities and causes that matter to me.

Please be kind to each other, and do incredible things.

Your Internet Friend,

JPH Vargas

Thursday March 30th 2017

Abstract 10 minute Memoir Exercise

People, Piazza san Marco, Venice Italy.jpg
The Alley into Piazza San Marco. Ilford 400, 18mm wide-angle lens, aperture of f/11, Minolta SRT-202 (field notes say I metered off the overcast sky, recomposed and took the exposure)  (All images have been hand developed in my bathtub)

Nobody really knows, or most rarely care to ask, about the peculiar circumstances of my being or coming into existence, or my history for that matter.  Birth was the simplest part.  I didn’t become a real person until much later in life

In all honesty, with strangers and friends alike, I choose to keep most of my life a private matter, and most of my conversations border on the trivial, absurd and perfunctory. Every post on social media to me means nothing, the novelty has worn thin, and the less serious my contributions to the internet zeitgeist the better.  I actually have learned how to say nothing by saying a lot.  It is an art form to master, the full engagement of a dialog while uttering replies that perplex and make uncomfortable the common person, that is.

I choose to keep my histories, as cathartic and beautiful as they are, completely to myself.  These are little beautiful gifts that I allow myself: those small thoughts and memories that flicker in and out of ones mind; an old friend; a woman I cared for; a walk on the beach combing for sea shells; the glint in the eye of someone who laughed at my joke; a brief and momentary glimpse of wisdom that may have crossed my complex mind–that complicated anima that at sometimes seems to be illuminated by fire.  Those are all things that I choose not to share.  I would rather not speak any truth on any matter given the vacuous expanse that the words would be throttled into, like a tumbling washing-machine rattling away on full blast, unbalanced and rickety.  It seems as if my words always come too late or lack potency in a world where others seek a sense of instant gratification in the minutia of their day-to-day.

I come from a large Argentine town, born at the cusp of the ’82 war–an ugly, and gorgeous town (or so it was and is to me now), it meandered along the banks el rio Mendoza, slumping and stretching along its banks from the pre cordillera to the grape vines, children and old men taunting each other over bocce games on its parks and streets, boys collecting old bleached and burnt rib bones from ancient asados to bring home to the family dog, streets interlaced with odds and ends; spices from Peru, feathers from Ecuador, wool from Bolivia, songs and chants; magic being spoken from the pulpit of the fierce political leaders during la vendimia, to the enchantment being sung from the cockatoo in the bamboo birdcage hung in the shop window of the cobbler who would fix my alpargatas made from canvas and old tire treads.  The town will exist in me, the color of Rivadavia, a sandy loamy brown, immune to time, earthquake, unrest, upheaval, disaster, until my bell chimes and passes the world over, every hour upon every hour as I part company with my frenzies, pleasures, and miseries.

However I came to be in the United States, among the odd and unconventional details of that arrangement that I still cannot grasp, I ended up having been raised in two places.  In being torn, in duality, I found peace.  I am generation 1.5.  I learned English before my parents.  I translated their documents, read legal papers at 10 years old, wrote their correspondence, read to them, signed their leases, taught them English by reading the bible side by side with the Larrousse Spanish Dictionary.  My friends were the Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia, National Geographic Magazine, Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence, and a blazing imagination that does not understand or apply logic. To me logic is simply the answer of point A to point B, but in imagination one can find the call of the deep universe and be brave enough to pick up the handset and answer.

I cut my teeth bitterly on the streets of Rivadavia half the year, and came back each and every semester to utter solitude and a sanitized system of pedagogy that taught submissiveness to the school bully, fed us soggy tater-tots and boxed pizzas, while scoring my future on a culturally biased series of exams catering only to the whiteness in me, each year gaining momentum, finally culminating in the big prize that would set us up for success or drunken freshman failure at a fine and expensive University.  I chose to read on my own, to devour books, to fall for Madame Bovary before any other, and learn the intricacies of human interaction from the cold, stout, and stern world of Hemingway, and to fall in love with the crazy in me alongside Thompson and Robbins.  However much I loathed the educational system I found power in language.  Language has the ability to destroy walls, to build up puzzling, knotty and ornate works of humanity, and to level more than any man-made weapon.

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”-George Orwell, (Politics and the English Language)

In these formative years of auto didactic education and an almost monastic seclusion and dedication to study and writing, I began to become aware of certain inequities troubling our shared space and I began to think.  In reality I was born a person at round 18 years old.  I began to care deeply for others on a level of an almost unendurable sensitivity.  However acutely one may feel engrossed in the understanding and pneuma of another person it is difficult for people of a highly empathetic nature to not want the safety of a thousand meters distance between a loved one.  Especially an empathetic person as odd in my passions as I seem to be.  However odd, I managed to find myself surrounded by a drôle and extraordinarily whimsical group of friends that always had a dangerous taste for adventure and always smirked at me with a wicked and impish disposition.  I found no company in them for a dialog on the classics, or movements in music, art, or anything that mattered, however if there was a matter to resolve over a girl at bar, and a pair of thrown fists were needed, then I had a solid and sordid crew.  I have the broken teeth, scars, and cracked ribs to prove it.  In a way, I find order and clarity in the most convoluted of circumstances.

I’m sure that everybody on Earth has an issue deep in their paunched underbellies about their upbringing, regrets and remorse about past opportunities and mistakes, and maybe resentment towards a familial; but in all honesty I could honestly say that I raised myself alone.  I hold no grudge or ill will towards my parents, they are deeply in love with each other and live only for every moment together.  However, that being said, I am the product of my own design, which now that I have said that, and if you know me, can explain a multitude.  Off the beat of a metrical 5/4, an odd and heavy beat, I learned my own way of dancing through the sidewalks of cities as well as the hedges of meadows and deep dark frightening forests, singing my own strange music, wet under foreboding thunderstorms, and stifled and dry throated on the hottest of summer days.  The music has always been a strange cadence that I find alluring and elusive even though its mine.

In all reality for a man like me.  I am using the word “man” since that is the only world I have known.  I must clarify, I have only known the particular events that could affect a white South American Male, and the innate and unfair privileges that being “me” entails in all of my surreal and uncommon breadth and scope.  I would have to say that the worst part of being a man like me, of my attitudes, intellect and convictions, is not defining my life by success or failures, or wants and desires, but the nostalgia of a life I have already lived through the words on a page of another, and the past lives that I pick up every night before bed, and flip page by page into another world; and the worst part about that is not being able to share that 200 page life with someone else.  There is no sense of ownership, self-determination in a world of that does not belong to you. The only intimacy comes from a turn of anadiplosis, symploce, or polysyndenton that only you can identify with.


Abstract 10 minute Memoir Exercise

Ideas, essays, and random thoughts: An ongoing sketch.

Locked gateway, Eze France.jpg
Every Image on this website I have taken with a 35mm film 1982 Minolta SRT 202, using a Rokkor 1.14 50mm lens.  The lens is unable to work at apertures less than f/8.  They are all broken images taken from a broken camera using a broken lens.  The images were hand developed in my bathroom.

This is not a website dedicated to the self-help of anyone in any way whatsoever, let me be clear.  It is a place where I can personally dedicate a few hours of thought a day to things that endlessly pique my abounding curiosities and passions.  I wish to clarify that I am nowhere near qualified to render advice on any matter, or regurgitate positive and supportive facts to any community, persons, or person, that may fancy a read on this site, or may be able to find themselves in the innumerable and legion blogs dedicated to self betterment and improvement; each of which seemingly builds  upon each other’s material offering scant contemporary metadata to the ever-expanding internet new-age self-help canon.

This is not a disclaimer, if you so happen to find any kind of wisdom in my words, I would firstly suggest you carefully re-read, as I have never been known to impart any knowledge except in the rare contest of Trivial Pursuit, in which I may say I am almost unbeatable, since I am usually likely to take the time to memorize each and every possible solution on every card.  It’s not difficult to impress others with trivialities.

The only things that have been my compass in life are the deep self analysis of my personal, and most peculiar, disparate circumstances, which trouble me to no end, and of course the stout quality of pragmatism that I have coldly and paralytically (in some cases) developed in a solitary vacuum of introspection over a series of many spectacularly beautiful and complex failures. Peppered and sprinkled only with a few brief moments of happiness and ease from a crucible of social anxieties.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

“O phronimoz to alupon dioke e ou to aedu:” Not pleasure, but freedom from pain, is what the wise man will aim at.- Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics

I have realized over my short life of 33 years, ever short, yet never lacking in adventure or the occasional terrifying decision, that suffering in any from, is extremely relative to the disposition of each and every member of our shared humanity who may feel the stings and pangs of loss, or trouble or traumas, or any kind of debilitating few moments that always seem to last a lifetime.  Each person on earth suffers differently, and pain is a uniquely particular, idiosyncratic, numbing, and hemiplegic condition peerless to what another may encounter.  The adage that I have conceded to over again in my life and catharsized through deep talks with the very few others that I can call “friends” is: “What may be suffering to you, may not be to me.”  However, I understand that taken into a context of a conversation between two parties, that it may seem a cruel thing to say, yet I truthfully believe the phrase when I composed the quote. One could say that I care and love people in a different way than most, in my defense, that is.

I chose the Aristotle quote for a reason.  It has not been blocked off in quotation marks to take up copy space.  I have a belief, and please comment and correct me if you think me wrong in any manner.  Well actually, firstly, I wish to say that life, that existence and being and love, those are the most incredible gifts that I have ever received.  I have a belief that my love of life is unsurpassed, incomparable, unparalleled and superlative.  I may be right now this moment suffering an abject poverty of college debt and no income, living, supported by my caring elderly parents, and counting the bank fees eating at my $12.40 cent saving account.  Yet I love the challenge of almost failing.  The prospect of an adventure on the horizon, or after I recover from my latest and most fulfilling and crystallizing failure in love, I soon hope for an adventure with an atypical woman of uncommonly questionable memory, that I hope should, no, must, again lead to a broken and this time un-mendable heart.

However many gifts I have been given, as we all have an aptness or an endowment and gifts that matter in one way or another; for as an educator of refugees and marginalized populations, I firmly believe that every human being on earth is a genius. I, personally, am most grateful for the gift of being alive. Bieng alive in this time and day and in this place.  Before I stand and reason my choice of including the Aristotle quote, I think it important to say, that as one who loves differently, albeit greatly and sensitively, I have suffered much.  However that being said, I am at the point where I would never choose to live any experience over again and wish for a different result.  Every choice, be it bad or good, or dangerous, or even at some junctures of my life leading to incredible physical injury and almost death, I would live them all over again, just to have those spare few moments with everyone who has touched my life in some way.

However much I push the fact to you, the reader of this essay, that I love being alive, it comes not from measuring my life in the moments of pure unadulterated joy that I have felt.  For instance, a recent moment where on a cold dark night, in the blackest of a New England dark, with the violent sound of a cold water stream collapsing a dirt road in the middle of a moonlit wood, where the stars poked between the naked branches of the hemlocks and maples, I walked hand in hand with a woman of singular vision.  That one moment meant more to me than any “thing” I could ever wish to collect, or any amount of money, (which is another fallacy of our times.)  An instance of happiness for me would be the pain of longing for someone you cannot have, or those odd, queer, and eminent occurrences of complete gravity, like for example, the first time you hear your lover’s heartbeat.

For me, as exemplified in the quote penned by Aristotle.  A good life, a life that was worth living, besides being a man or woman of character who chooses to, through their own personal compass, stick to what they believe in–for trueness to oneself and the embracing honestly of who one is, unapologetically, is all that matters.–is a life that can be measured in the moments where one chose not to take the path, forked on a cloudy and murky road that would lead to any pain or trauma.  Suffering is the human condition.  In our times we suffer from stress, interpersonal, or work related, or related to our disconnected lives growing ever more distant from each other, yet all of us wanting to share something, some aspect of ourselves, even though we all at some points push others away.  Yet I firmly believe that if we were to sit and record every instance of our lives, that at the end of it, when we have lived, at our ebb and demi-jour and when we view ourselves in retrospect, with age and grace,  I believe that a wise man or woman should keep those moments of joy locked away and write only the times where they moved in a direction that caused them the least amount of suffering.

If we were to view holistically, the idea of pleasurable moments in relation to painful ones and suffering.  I would have to say that during our constant struggle for survival, that the moments of drudgery outweigh, by far, the moments of happiness almost three to one, (only in a metaphorical manner, I have conducted no research into this). For instance, our lives are three parts drudgery, work, pain, learning, and heartbreak. For every 3 moments of rack and woe and soreness, we have 1 moment of happiness, for instance a hug, or a kiss, or a momentary love affair that burns a new face into your memory that will last forever, even years after you marry and have children.  If 3 moments of plainness, boring moments of life; a traffic jam on your way to work, or an office feud that cripples your productivity, are subtracted by -1, the good, the exceptional, the rare beauty of a quiet wood for instance; than the positive moments will have a negative effect on life.  3-1, positive moments are in fact negative, -1.  As Schopenhauer would put it “Pleasure is only the negation of pain, and pain the only positive element in life.”  It is quite a troubling formula.  However, we could never all enjoy our shared lives as a human family, if we did not suffer the passions and failures and meandering old waters of life.

Ideas, essays, and random thoughts: An ongoing sketch.