Beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d in process of the seasons have I blogged

Hello, good morning, and welcome to yet another Thursday edition of my weekly blog post.  It’s the second day of Autumn and the 1st official “full” day thereof, though I find such notions as specifying partial days of seasons to be a bit silly*, since the seasons themselves are semi-arbitrary human inventions about which outer nature cares nothing whatsoever.

Yesterday was also the official date of the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fame.  I’m not sure how the Shire Reckoning calendar lines up with the current Gregorian calendar, though.  It may be no more accurate to say that their birthdays are on our September 22nd than it is to say that Isaac Newton was born on our December 25th**.  Still, I always give a mental tip of the hat to those two on that day of the year.  I’m now almost 2 years older than they each were when adventure suddenly imposed itself upon their lives, and I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed.

Of course, the argument could be made that “adventures***” have imposed themselves upon me starting many years earlier, but if so, mine have been more like Frodo’s in their consequences for my health and outlook, but with vastly fewer positive results, for myself or for the world.

As those of you who follow my blog closely will have noted, I’ve been posting teasers of the stories that are to appear in Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities at a now slightly increasing rate.  I’ll continue this until I’ve teased all the stories.  The plan is to post a teaser of Solitaire tomorrow—probably my darkest ever story to date—then the remaining two either over the weekend or into next week.  The collection will probably be ready for publication by sometime mid-week, but I’ll likely wait to publish it on October 1st or thereabouts.  I am, after all, an October person, not too genetically dissimilar from the denizens of Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, though I use a Cabinet rather than a carnival.  And you won’t necessarily become lost forever if you open my cabinet of curiosities, but I can make no guarantees; it is not a safe space.

Not that anything is.

I’ve begun working on the back-cover/blurb for the collection, as well as on the cover design, but I’ve gotten closer to what I like with the former than with the latter.  I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, since I am mainly a writer by artistic temperament, then only secondarily (or tertiarily) a visual artist (music may come higher or lower than graphics in my abilities ratios…possibly it varies from time to time).  I have a nice concept for what I want to say, and I even recorded a quick audio of my general ideas for it last night so that I wouldn’t lose track.

As for other matters, there’s not really that much to say.  Obviously, I’ve left Iterations of Zero fallow for a bit, since I’m focused on The Cabinet, but I may return to it soon hereafter.  I’ve had an inquiry about whether I’m going to do more of my “audio blogs” so there appears to be at least one person who likes them.  I have some things I want to say and/or write about the concept of “blame” and how counter-productive and frankly destructive I think it almost always is, and how nice it would be if humans in general could grow up and shake off their playground mentality****.  But I’ll get to that later.

I’ll only say for now that these are some of the aspects of the human race (as general tendencies) that make those of us who consider ourselves not truly human to so consider ourselves.  When the Captcha asks me to check the box “I am not a robot” I want another option.  Surely, it’s just vicious bigotry to force people to declare that they aren’t robots.  What’s wrong with being a robot?  I want to be able to check a box that reads “I may be a robot, or I may be an alien, or I may be a paranormal entity, or I may be some combination of these, but I definitely don’t identify as human”.  Oh well.  One day we will be recognized for the beauty of what we are, and the bigotry and speciesism of the human disgrace will be completely eradicated, possibly along with the species itself.

You may say I’m a dreamer…

Okay, my tongue was slightly in my cheek during some minor parts of that last tangent, but only slightly and not in every word.  See if you can figure out which bits are jokes and which are deadly serious.  They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

With that, I think I’ll call it good for this blog post.  And though I may not have the tenderest of feelings toward the human race overall, you readers of my blog are—obviously—a truly exceptional lot, so I’m not being dishonest when I say that I hope you stay (or become) as healthy and as safe and as happy as you can conspire to be.

TTFN

autumn woods adjusted


*I recognize that, from an astronomical point of view, there is an actual, specific moment at which the sun is directly “over” the equator, and so there is a physical moment of equinox, and if you wish you can say that moment is the exact time when one season quantum tunnels into another.  It’s interesting in its own right, but for practical purposes, yesterday was simply the first day of Autumn (or of Spring in the southern hemisphere).

**He was born on December 25th of the Julian calendar, which preceded the Gregorian and did not adequately account for the “overshoot” of the correction for leap years, and so over time about once a century there was a day too much and the calendar crept ahead of itself.  Thus, if memory serves (I may have this backwards), Newton was born earlier in December based on our calendar, and on the position of the Earth in its orbit relative to the distant stars.  And, of course, we have no way to know what the comparable orbital position would be for September 22nd, Shire Reckoning.

***As Bilbo described them:  “Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!”

****The bad part of it, anyway—I’m actually quite fond of the playful parts, I’m just dismayed and depressed over the teasing, name-calling, bullying, fight-mongering, cliquishness/tribalism, etc. that seem to be what almost all humans keep from their childhoods, while they let most of the good stuff fall away.

FREE RANGE MEAT teaser

Note: This story will appear in my upcoming collection Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and that’s why I’m posting this teaser.  However, it has already been published in “Kindle” format, and there is a link to that below, in case you cannot wait for The Cabinet to be published.

Free Range Meat cover

FREE RANGE MEAT

            It was unusually hot and bright that day, and as Brian approached the parking lot, he almost regretted his decision to walk to the shopping plaza where his nearest Whole Foods was located.  Though his backpack was currently empty, he was already sweating heavily beneath it, his tee-shirt sticking to his back.  The front of his shirt also, though less sopped than the rear, bore visible sweat marks.  Brian had decided already that, as soon as he got home, he was going to take another shower.  He hated to waste the water, but even his conservational idealism had its limits; many hours remained before bedtime, and he really didn’t want to spend the rest of the afternoon stinking of stale sweat.

            The sky was barely dotted with occasional small clouds, but the air was noticeably humid, and the temperature was well into the upper eighties even though it was only early May.  Brian shook his head, tossing his mid-length, straight hair—also damp with sweat—from side to side as he went.  He wondered, given such unusual warmth, how anyone could possibly doubt that climate change was real, that the world was getting warmer thanks to the unrestrained use of fossil fuels and the ridiculous output of all the cattle humans raised just so they could eat steak and burgers, wasting countless acres of land that could have grown food for people to eat directly, without nearly so much impact on the environment.

            He had to remind himself that one unseasonably hot day was no more proof of global warming than a particularly cold winter day was evidence against it.  Still, the emotional weight was hard to resist.  He didn’t think he was mistaken in believing that his childhood summers had not been as severe, nor as early, as they were now.  That was memory, though, surely colored by the fact that a child’s body was more resilient than an adult’s—though Brian was lean and muscular from regular workouts, a regimen he’d undertaken more to fight against his moderate scoliosis than for trying to look good.  Indeed, at forty-four, Brian had often been assured that he looked easily ten years younger.  The tee-shirts and shorts he habitually wore helped this impression, but even in a suit and tie, which he wore when meeting with certain clients, Brian could easily pass for a young, upwardly mobile professional rather than a man approaching middle age.  Even his simple, wire-framed glasses made him look young and intelligent.

            Brian took no special pride in the fact that he looked good for his age, except to think to himself that this was what clean living did for a person.  And though, just as with the weather on any given day, he knew that his individual attributes couldn’t honestly be used as evidence of a general trend, he was nonetheless convinced that his health and appearance were due more to lifestyle than to genetics.  Perhaps his genes could be credited with the fact that he was smart enough to recognize better ways to live and had the will to act on that recognition. Continue reading

PROMETHEUS AND CHIRON teaser

Note: This story will appear in my upcoming collection Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and that’s why I’m posting this teaser.  However, it has already been published in “Kindle” format, and there is a link to that below, in case you cannot wait for The Cabinet to be published.

prometheuscover

PROMETHEUS AND CHIRON

          Tommy first saw the woman at the station in the evening as he waited to catch the train home. He had done some drywalling in a friend of a friend’s house that day and was tired and sore as he waited.  The job had been off the books, so as not to endanger his disability benefits, and it was good to have the extra money; quite apart from eking out basic living expenses, the supplemental cash helped pay for his medical needs.

          Tommy had injured himself some years before, during a construction job on a three-story building.  The fall had not been as serious as it might have been, but three fractured lumbar vertebrae, with the addition of disc herniations and joint injuries to his right knee had left him in chronic pain.  He’d begun taking prescription opiates at first solely to relieve his agony; the extent of his MRI-revealed injuries had at least ensured that he never had to fight much to convince doctors that his pain was real.  After a while, though, he’d found that the meds also made other aspects of life easier, and his dose had slowly but steadily increased.

          Tommy stood at the far end of the station, smoking a cigarette in the designated area.  He had swallowed two extra blues on his way from the job, trying to take the edge off his soreness, to assuage his own jitters, and to relieve his psychic distress over when his next paying job might be coming.  He had just achieved a bit of equanimity when he looked across the track and saw, in the electric light that locally banished the already-thick nighttime, a woman seated on one of the benches.

          Something didn’t seem right about her.  She was extremely pale, Tommy could see that even from across the tracks in the artificial light, and she was visibly trembling and squirming.  She didn’t look healthy. Continue reading

PENAL COLONY teaser

Note: This story will appear in my upcoming collection Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and that’s why I’m posting this teaser.  However, it has already been published in “Kindle” format, and there is a link to that below, in case you cannot wait for The Cabinet to be published.

penal colony cover

            It was chilly bordering on truly cold that Thursday night, which had now become Friday morning.  Paul Taylor stumbled through the rear exit of a popular bar, not too much the worse for wear, and headed toward the twenty-four-hour, self-pay lot in which his car was parked, a few blocks away.

            When he’d left the car for the evening, to continue a group celebration of the closing of a major contract at the small ad agency where he worked, the whole area had been surprisingly crowded.  In some circles, it seemed, Thursday was the new Friday when it came to partying.  For Paul, however, this was a departure from the norm, as was having more than a few drinks in an evening.  He’d stayed at the bar later than the rest of the team, both because he’d been surprised to find himself enjoying karaoke night—he’d happily and repeatedly punished all those present with his crooning—and because he’d wanted to wait out the effects of a frankly irresponsible binge of mixed drinks.

            He’d used the occasion as an excuse to sample several cocktails he’d never tried before, including—but not limited to—a mojito, a fuzzy navel, a tequila sunrise, and a Manhattan.  By ten o’clock, he’d been positively reeling, comically unsteady on his feet, and quite a bit more extroverted than usual.  It was just as well that the team had gone out for a large meal before hitting the bar, or Paul surely would have been both barely conscious and violently ill.  As it was, he’d apparently just become a charming buffoon; no one had seemed offended.

            Finally, as others had begun to leave, a few had offered Paul a ride.  When he’d declined, stating that he was still enjoying himself too much to go home yet, he’d been strongly urged to get an Uber or to call a cab when he did, but definitely not to drive in the state he was in.  He had promised to comply.

            The more he’d thought about it, though, the more he’d been reluctant to leave his car in the parking lot overnight.  It was unattended—payment was by credit card, swiped first when one entered the lot, then swiped again when one left—and it was not cheap.  If a car stayed overnight, or if a driver left without remembering to swipe a second time, the daily maximum charge of fifty dollars automatically applied.

            Paul could afford it—his drinks alone had cost well beyond that amount—but he bristled at the notion.  Also, he worried about what might happen to his car.  This was not a terrible part of town, and his Nissan was not particularly tempting, but still…

            Reluctantly, at about eleven, he’d started ordering alternating Coke and orange juice instead of alcohol, waiting for his intoxication to fade enough for him to make the trip.  Now, at nearly closing time, he felt sober enough that he could drive without endangering the few other travelers still on the road.  He supposed he might be wrong—advertising people were, he knew, at least as good at beguiling themselves as they were at convincing others—but he felt that his coordination was at least tolerable.  His stumbling bar exit had been an honest case of tripping over an uneven spot in the doorway, and he had easily righted himself.  That had to count for something. Continue reading

They are the blogs, the arts, the academes, that show, contain and nourish all the world.

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another edition of my weekly blog post, this being a Thursday—the third Thursday in September of 2021 if I’m not mistaken.

I’ve finished editing In the Shade and am now in the process of laying out and finalizing Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  Those of you who follow this blog “automatically” will likely have seen that I’ve posted “teasers” of the two stories from that collection that have not been published before, specifically House Guest and In the Shade.  If you were intrigued by those teasers and think you might like to read the rest of the stories, then you will soon have that opportunity, probably within the next week or two.

I’m doing a last read-through of all the stories in the collection, mainly looking for any missed typos that snuck past in the published versions.  It happens from time to time, in my stories as well as books from major publishing houses, and everywhere in between.  In fact, with the possible exception of Mark Red, I think I generally have a lower rate of such things than most big publishers, at least based on recent experience.  This is surprising.  When growing up, I read a daunting amount, and reread the books I liked far more often than pretty much anyone else I’ve ever known*.  During that time, I don’t remember coming upon very many such minor, typographical errors, of which I find a surprising number nowadays.  This may reflect the declining state of the publishing industry, but on the other hand, it may simply be a matter of focus and attention.  Nowadays, since I write and layout and edit stories all the time, I’m more keyed in to notice such errors.  When I was in my teens and twenties, I just wasn’t looking for such things as much.

I may continue to post teasers of some of the other stories in The Cabinet, just to try to keep generating interest.  With those stories at least, if you become impatient, you’ll be able to get the Kindle editions for ninety-nine cents—or for no extra charge if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited (I believe that I enrolled them all in that program).

Actually, since I have you here, I’d like to ask a question.  As I’m laying out Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities (aka The Cabinet for the purposes of brevity), I see two options, and I’d like to know what you all think you might prefer.  For a collection of stories, would you rather have a six inch by nine inch “trade paperback” book that’s about 360-ish pages long, or a five by eight, more ordinary size paperback, that’s about 500 pages long?  I can do it either way, and the font size and order wouldn’t change**.

I’m seriously asking, so I’d love to get your feedback***, on this and on anything else upon which you might wish to comment.  I suspect, though I don’t promise, that I’ll be posting teasers of the various stories on a similar schedule to the previous two, i.e., Friday and Tuesday.  I’d be happy to see/read your comments on those or on any of my other posts, for that matter.

And, of course, if you buy and read my books, a rating and review on Amazon would be tremendously useful, please.  It’s hard to overemphasize this point.

It’s interesting to see that, given the fact that my word/page count for The Cabinet isn’t as bad as I thought it might be, it’s just possible that I could have fit Outlaw’s Mind into it and not made it too bulky.  But I think it would have been a bit much, at least, and it certainly would have delayed its release.  Also, I’m glad to release Outlaw’s Mind as a stand-alone novel, and one of comparatively manageable length, since I had originally seen it as a short story.  After that, I still mean to take a bit of a break or a detour from the mainly horror writing I’ve been doing for the past few years and go back to more general sci-fi/fantasy/adventure stuff.  There will probably always be at least some horror elements to most of my stories; that seems just to be the way I’m built.  But it won’t be the main thrust.  Short stories, of course, are another matter.

Look forward to more teasers and to the upcoming collection, and then to Outlaw’s Mind, which probably won’t be out this year.  The Cabinet will be a little early for Halloween, but it might just make it for Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday.  We shall see.

TTFN

lovely study (2)


*Christopher Lee had me beat on total number of times reading The Lord of the Rings, but he started before I was born.  I maintained a faster pace of reading it in my first ten years after encountering it, during which I read it more than twenty times.  Also, I didn’t really know Christopher Lee…but then again, did anybody?

**It’s not in the smallish print I had to use for Unanimity Book 1 and Book 2, because even with all the stories thrown together, it’s only about a third as many words as that whole book.  I don’t know whether Unanimity will ever be considered my best book, though there are aspects of it that I think represent me at my “best”, but it is certainly by far my longest…at least for now.

***A note regarding this requested feedback.  You should know, if you get notifications of my blog posts on, for instance, Facebook or LinkedIn, etc., that I don’t go to those sites myself very often, whereas I get notified quickly of comments posted here on my WordPress-based blog.  So, if you want to give me feedback that I’m likely to see in a short period, you should leave a comment here on the main site rather than in the associated Facebook post, for instance.

IN THE SHADE teaser

Hand version 1

IN THE SHADE

 

            When Gary Sawyer first heard the screams, he thought they were just the noises of boys playing.  His son, Kyle, had been out most of the morning with his friend, Sean Corcoran, from two “blocks” up, and they were rarely the quietest of companions.  Upon noticing the sharp, high-pitched noises from one of the boys, overlaid with shouted but unintelligible words from the other, Gary assumed that the two were involved in some strange adventure game, or that one of them might be angry at the other.  Such things happened from time to time, even between boys who were as good friends as Kyle and Sean were.

            Gary sometimes thought of the stretch of road on which he lived—and from the end of which he heard the noises—as a “block,” but it really wasn’t.  It was a cul-de-sac, a little, knobby protuberance sticking off the main street, with three houses along each side and four circled around the bulb at its end.  Well…there were three completed houses at the end, and one that was still under construction.

            Gary was not a fan of the way streets were laid out in Florida developments.  He had grown up in the Midwest and the northeast, and one thing you could say about northern suburbia—at least where he had lived—blocks there were blocks.  Streets crossed each other at right angles—more or less—and they split neighborhoods into rectangular agglomerations of dwellings, with backyards abutting other backyards, usually with fences in between, as God clearly intended.

            In Florida, however, things rarely followed any sane deity’s design.  The roads along which people lived tended to meander and twist like big, sightless worms working their way through the soil of neighborhoods, with no clear geometric path.  Occasionally they would close into a single, huge loop, but there was rarely anything one could honestly call a block.  Also, there were all those little protruding bits of rapidly terminating street, such as the one on which the Sawyers lived—strange polyps of roadway.  They were called cul-de-sacs, and residents often referred to them as “sacks.”  Gary supposed the French term sounded fancier than “dead end”, but where he had grown up that was what they would have been called. Continue reading

HOUSE GUEST teaser

The following is an excerpt from the beginning of my short story House Guest, the oldest active story in my opus, so to speak.  It will be the first entry in my upcoming collection Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  Enjoy!

knocker

HOUSE GUEST

            William Harrison sat up in bed, awakened by a particularly frightening nightmare.

            This was all too common an event for him, though he’d thought it was becoming less so.  His pajamas were slightly damp with sweat, but that was as much because he was using too many covers as that he was frightened by his dream.  He’d had far too many, sometimes far more terrible and vivid, dreams in his life to let himself be bothered all that much by this last one.  In fact, as was usual, he couldn’t even remember what the dream had been about now that he was awake.

            He blinked sleep from his eyes and looked around the dark room, first noting that, according to his bedside clock, it was just after three in the morning.  Surely that was the loneliest time of night…the soul’s midnight, he had heard someone call it once, though he didn’t know why.

            He sighed.

            His bed was too big.  He noticed this acutely in the near blackness of his room, the pale rectangle showing vividly against the surrounding dark.  For the past several months, he’d slept in a bed that was little more than a cot, and the king-sized mattress he lay on now was far, far larger than that.  To add to—and to worsen—its relative size, his wife, Melissa, wasn’t there with him.  And, of course, neither was Tammy, their four-year-old daughter, who would sometimes crawl into bed with her parents during the night, when her own nightmares, or just her darkened room, became too frightening. Continue reading

Bell, book and candle shall not drive me back, when gold and silver becks me to blog on

Hello, good morning, and all that jazz.  It’s Thursday again, and so it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Sound drums and trumpets; farewell sour annoy!  For here, I hope, begins our lasting joy.  And so on.

It’s the second Thursday of the month, but there will be no new entry for “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains,” a loss which I’ve clearly not gotten over, a loss for which I shall wreak a bloody and terrible vengeance upon those responsible!  And since, as far as I can tell, I am the only one responsible for it, I shall be taking my vengeance upon me, it would seem.  This is nothing new.

I’m all but finished with the last run-through of In the Shade.  In fact, barring the unforeseen, it should be complete by tomorrow morning.  I spoke last week of considering just publishing the story here, on this blog, probably serially, since it’s a bit long for a single post*.  I think I will instead publish it in my collection of short stories, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, as planned.  I haven’t yet truly begun working on the cover design for the collection.  The basic concept is clear in my head, but the execution will probably involve some fiddling**, as it almost always does.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but since I haven’t really gotten started on it yet, that may mean the book itself won’t come out for a bit.

I also need to decide on the order of the book, which I’m sure I mentioned before.  It’s long since been determined that House Guest will be the first story, and In the Shade will be the final one, but the specific order of the others is a bit up in the air.  I do plan to put Solitaire somewhere in the middle, surrounded immediately by comparatively light fare, since that story is extremely dark.

I don’t know where I’m going to find this “comparatively light” fare, though.

Returning to the notion of sharing stories on this blog:  it has occurred to me that it might be nice to share at least some “teasers” of some of my work here, possibly starting quite soon.  I wouldn’t be doing this on Thursdays, since I want to reserve this day every week for my random walk-in blog posts, as usual.  But maybe on Saturdays, or on Mondays, or something like that, I could post a section from one of my stories, perhaps starting with a bit of House Guest, and then a teaser of the opening of In the Shade.  This would, hopefully, whet my readers’ appetites, and perhaps encourage them to seek out and purchase one or more of my books.  From there, I might post teasers from older works, or perhaps even eventually serialize full stories.

Though it would, in a sense, be giving away some of my work for free, it might actually work out the other way.  I neither have advertisers on this blog, nor do I have a Patreon account, either for this or for IoZ or for my YouTube channel or whatnot.  So, as part of sharing such work, I would suggest that if people like the stories and want to support me, they can just buy a copy of the book  The e-book versions are quite cheap, and I keep most of that payment, such as it is, which cannot be said for the paperback versions (though I love those, personally, for what are probably obvious reasons to any fellow book lovers).

I guess in a pinch, if people want to support me, they can even listen to my original songs, on Spotify, or YouTube Music, or iTunes, or whatnot.  I make a tiny amount of money every time someone plays one of my songs on any of those venues, though nothing like the amount I get if someone buys even an e-book short story.  Of course, playing a song takes less time than reading a story.  A long song is maybe six minutes or so, whereas a long “short story” can be sixty pages…and a long novel might be so big it has to be broken into two or more volumes.

I would very much like to be able to make at least something of a living through my writing, whether through my books and short stories or through this blog, or both, but it’s not why I do any of it.  Staying alive has not usually been my dearest priority, even if I sometimes use the song as my ringtone***.

What I would like much more is for people to read my stories (and to a lesser extent listen to my songs), and to give me feedback, if possible, especially when they like them.  In most matters, I’m indifferent to compliments; I usually don’t agree with them, being by far my own most dedicated and spiteful critic.  But my stories are another matter.  I would really like to know if and when my stories touch people (even inappropriately), when readers like the plots or the characters or any other things about them.  I like my own stories, quite a lot, but I’m a peculiar person, so maybe no one else does or ever will.  If they do, I would very much like to hear from them.

With that in mind, I think I will post a teaser first of House Guest, possibly tomorrow or Saturday, so be on the lookout.  From then, I may continue the process as I described above, especially if it looks like it’s reasonably well-received.  Then, I may go on to serialize some of my earlier works just to try to get more people to read them.  Or who knows, maybe I’ll serialize something like The Dark Fairy and the Desperado here on my website.  I conceived of that as a manga originally, so doing it as a serial on my blog, in parallel with other writings that would be available for purchase, might be interesting.  I’ll think about it.  I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

TTFN

tardis library


*That’s quite an understatement.

**I suppose that’s the way Nero would have liked to carry out executions.

***An idea I picked up from Jim Moriarty (of Sherlock fame), whose attitude toward the song’s title subject matter is much like mine.

Bear with my weakness. My old blog is troubled.

Okay, well…hello and good morning and all that usual stuff.  It’s Thursday morning, the second day of September in 2021, and of course it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I don’t have much new to report, frankly.  I wrote an impromptu blog post on Iterations of Zero yesterday morning*, the title of which is a truncated version of the title of a Stephen King story that I thought was very moving.  Writing the post was pretty much a waste of time, which I guessed it would be as I wrote it.  I don’t know if anyone has read it; it certainly hasn’t received any “likes” as of the time of this writing, let alone responses in the comments or whatever.

I can’t blame people for that.  It’s quite a depressing blog post, though I’m reasonably proud of some of the writing in it, including my tongue-in-cheek statement, “There is true equity only in death.”  Of course, it’s not surprising—to me at least—that it’s a depressing blog post, since I was depressed when I wrote it, and my life has been dominated more and more by my already chronic depression in recent weeks to months.

Earlier this week, I did something I’ve often been known to do when particularly angry and depressed, which was to tear up and throw away a lot of drawings and the like, and other meaningful-turned-meaningless belongings at work in the office in the morning, while straightening out my area and generally getting rid of things that make it a personal space.  When I’m feeling very depressed and stressed, and angry both outwardly and inwardly, I have to harm myself in some figurative or literal way—often both—and so I did.

I’m honestly feeling very pointless and discouraged, which I guess would come across quite clearly to any imaginary person who reads my IoZ post, but apparently not to anyone in my “real” life, which I guess isn’t so surprising, if there even is such a person.  It’s not as though I have any non-imaginary friends or anything.

This is no one’s fault but mine.  I think you can all tell that I’m not a pleasant person to be around for any length of time; this has been a universal review/rating that I’ve received from all manner of people.  God knows that I don’t like to be around me**, so I can hardly blame anyone else.  Having a conversation with another person, other than about some specific and useful, work-oriented matter, feels to me like I’m committing a minor, or not-so-minor, crime.

I’ve been toying with the notion of just posting House Guest here on my blog, and then once it’s done posting In the Shade here as well, rather than going to all the trouble of making a collection of my stories and publishing it for no one to read.  I’d have to post In the Shade serially, I guess, since it’s too long a story to stand as one blog post, but I think House Guest could tolerate standing alone.  After that, I don’t know, maybe just take down the shingle and stop.  It’s hard even to contemplate finishing Outlaw’s Mind and publishing it, let alone going on to write anything else.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure what else to write here for this week’s blog post.  I wish I had something useful to say, but given the incredible degree of idiocy out there, I’m not sure that any useful message would be received, even if I could find something useful to write, which seems unlikely.  Were humans always this stupid, and the existence of the internet and the web and social media have merely let that come to light and flourish?  Or have those electronic entities, which should have allowed people overall to become smarter, instead caused stupidity to grow and spread like the most dreadful and malignant of tumors?  I feared it might be the case, right from the beginning.  Maybe I’m being unkind*** or biased, or am suffering from a delusional evaluation of human nature and society—to say nothing of the nature of the universe itself—that’s colored by my longstanding and worsening mood disorder?  How would I know?

Anyway, that’s about it for now.  If any of you have any suggestions or reactions regarding my potential change of plans for publishing my stories here on the blog, let me know.  It’s just a random thought in my head, like everything else.  I don’t know what I’ll do, or where.  I frankly don’t know how I’ll find the will to keep moving through today and on into tomorrow…except that not to do my usual stuff would raise more inconvenience than just to keep doing it, no matter how utterly without reward it feels.  It seems at least as hard to stop moving as to keep moving; there’s no course of action (or inaction) that promises anything other than continuing weariness.  Call me a nazgûl I guess.  But I’m a little less scary, maybe, and I don’t work for Sauron****.  And I don’t wear a ring.  Not anymore.

TTFN

Writer-at-work


*Instead of working on editing In the Shade, which is what I “should” have been doing.

**So many times, in literature, fiction, and religious speech, one hears of the sin or failing or danger of “self-love”.  That’s never made much visceral sense to me.  Do people really love themselves?  I mean, the way they might love their children, say—in an accepting and supportive, but disciplining way that wants what’s best for the person?  I grasp the drive to survive, annoying as it can be, and to reproduce, and to seek momentary pleasure and all that.  But I’m skeptical of the notion of self-love.  How could any human, knowing all the many flaws and faults of the species, and knowing himself or herself better than anyone else does and better than they know anyone else, ever really love herself or himself?  It’s so comical that it’s tragic.  Or perhaps it’s so tragic that it’s hilarious.

***Who, me?

****Or any other dark entity of any kind.  I have a job, so to speak, but that’s a mutual exchange to mutual benefit, not any kind of master/servant thing.

And their gross painting might be better used where cheeks need blogs

Okay.  Well.  Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday.  Therefore, it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts, the last one in August of 2021.  This year, this month, this day, will never exist again…unless time itself is cyclical, which I suppose is possible, in principle.  If that were learned to be the case, I guess it would be both good and bad—we’d be able to look forward[i] to reexperiencing all the positive things that have happened in our lives and in history, but then again, all the bad things in our lives, and the bad things in history, would also repeat.  I guess that suggests that, if we ever come to suspect that time is on a loop and history literally repeats itself, we should really try hard to maximize the number of good things and minimize the number (and severity) of bad things, since they are all going to happen again…and again…and again, ad infinitum.

I missed a day of editing this week on In the Shade—that was Tuesday morning—because I got distracted by some utterly trivial math(s)-based curiosity, which I described in a post yesterday on Iterations of Zero.  As of the time of this writing, not one person has “liked” that post, and I’m not sure if anyone has read it.  Part of the reason for that is surely because I post quite irregularly on IoZ, so even people who would be interested wouldn’t know when to look for it.

I also spewed out a little post at IoZ on Monday, about some “environmental” notions that came to me then, which have come to me before, that I figured I might as well share in case there was any possibility that they ever might be useful or interesting to anyone.  What are the odds?

Actually, that question might be an interesting point of departure for another Iterations of Zero post, but I’ll leave that for the future.  Or for nonexistence, since there’s every chance that I won’t ever write anything else about it.  The odds of that, at least, are likely greater than fifty percent.

Anyway, the editing is going along nicely.  I’m almost done with the penultimate run-through of In the Shade, and then I’m going to be laying out and arranging my collection, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  I intend to draw and paint the cover picture myself, if I can manage it.  It’s not anything new for me to design my covers—I’ve designed and laid out all the covers of my books and stories so far.  But the last time I actually drew, then inked, then painted, an illustration that went on the cover of a book was for Mark Red, and I didn’t create that picture with the intent of making it into the cover.  I just did it for fun, years earlier.  But I liked it and thought it captured some of the essence of the character in manga-style, which is how I had originally imagined the story, so I used it.

I also drew and colored (with colored pencils) the picture on The Chasm and the Collision, but that was specifically meant to be the drawing that Meghan rather hastily made after her dream of Burdock Tamis, and so is purposely somewhat simplistic.

For this coming collection, I want to draw (and then ink and color) a sort of prototypical cabinet of curiosities, with shelves and doors and the like, with items inside representing or referring to the various stories that will be included.  But I’m out of practice, especially with painting, so I bought some cheap (but decent) watercolors and some slightly less cheap inks of a kind that I used in the past[ii] as well as some water-color paper.  None of it is top quality, but I’m neither good enough nor picky enough for that to matter.  Still, I at least want to try to get a little practice in and reacquaint myself with such things before I go and try to do the cover art.

I may be setting myself up for embarrassment by mentioning this.  If the book comes out and the cover is not an inked and water colored picture, then people who have read this who also see the cover will know[iii] that I was not able to produce anything that satisfied me.

Again, how likely is it that such a person exists, other than I?  I have a hard time estimating the odds on that one.

At least I’m being somewhat productive, both here and on Iterations of Zero.  I even have another “audio blog”/video that I did last week—I think—that I haven’t even posted yet.  I may put it up this weekend.  In the meantime, if you are interested in pointless math or in odd ideas about energy and the environment, do please go check out those posts on Iterations of Zero.  And definitely, definitely, buy my books, in paperback or e-book form, whether you find them interesting or not[iv].

And of course, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones and friends and try not to be unkind to everyone else while you’re at it.  Try to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others; and do all the other ordinary things civilized people do when forced to live amongst other members of their species.

Also, try your best to be as happy as you can reasonably be.

TTFN

art supplies


[i] Not literally, of course.  In a sense that would be looking both backward and forward, but we wouldn’t really be able to anticipate anything, anymore than the hero of a movie can look forward to the point where he or she defeats the bad guy like they did the last time you watched.  For them, it’s always undecided.  For all they know, they might very well lose.

[ii] I used them to ink in the best version of my picture of the Desperado and the Dark Fairy meeting, where she looks like she’s about to throw a fireball at him, and he is prepared to shoot her, over the unconscious form of her blue-black lion/wolf friend.  The colors were so bright and vivid!  Excellent quality stuff, those water-soluble inks, by Winsor and Newton.  They have my upvote, so to speak.

[iii] When I wrote this first draft, I wrote this word as “no” instead of “know”.  What kind of bizarre typo is that?  It just goes to show that reading and writing are auditory experiences for me—in my head, at least.

[iv] I say this last bit with tongue in cheek, obviously.  Though I’m sure I’m not above begging in the proper circumstances, I don’t think I’d be inclined to beg regarding my stories.  I do think they’re good and that they’re worth reading, but you should follow your own preferences.  Life is short; read the stuff that seems interesting to you!