Okay, well…good day, everyone.
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving, at least those of you who live in America, and who celebrate the holiday. As for everyone else, I hope you just had a happy day, and a happy week.
But you can stop all that now. Being happy, I mean. Too much happiness is probably not good for you. Certainly, many religious people seem to think that way, as do those who are against even fundamentally safe, minor, occasional, recreational use of drugs or alcohol. Self-abasement and penitence seem to be the preferred modes of thinking of many a human, but they don’t want to pursue those modes all by themselves; they want to take you along with them. For your own good, supposedly.
Anyway, as anyone who’s been paying attention will have noticed, I took the week off from writing my blog last week, because Thursday—the day I usually write it—was Thanksgiving, and my only day off work that week. I have, however, continued to write “Unanimity,” and I’ve been working on the re-editing and fine-tuning of “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” in preparation for its release as an e-book*. Both endeavors are proceeding well, and I feel good about them. It’s always nice when you’re re-editing a story that you come back to after a while, (e.g. IFOWONCO), and even though you find things that need improving, you like the story a lot. I’m lucky that way; I almost always enjoy my stories when I reread them. Thus, I know that, even if everyone else in the world hates my writing completely, it has at least one satisfied reader.
I haven’t written anything for Iterations of Zero in a while…or, rather, I haven’t posted anything there for a while. I have written some things—three or four essays to post there eventually—but I just haven’t felt that they’re ready to put before the public. I’m probably overthinking it a little. When I write the posts for this blog, I just sit down and go for it, and whatever comes out comes out, and that’s that. Not to say that I don’t have some general subject in mind before I start—I almost always do. But I don’t overthink it. I just let fly on the keyboard, and let the metaphors fall where they may. I’m especially lucky in that I’m able to express myself better and more spontaneously in writing than I am in conversation with others.
Actually, that may not seem to be so lucky, depending on your point of view. In fact, it can be quite unpleasant at times. I’m often terribly uncomfortable when interacting with others in person, especially in purely social situations. But I do find it easy and fast to write, and once I get started, I tend to keep going for a while.
There are probably those who lament this last fact, but I don’t care about them. Indeed, I laugh at their agony. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaa!
On the days when I don’t feel like writing—especially on my fiction—I just play a little trick with myself (I might have written about this before): I tell myself, “Okay, well, I’m tired. So today, I’ll just write a page. Just get to the end of the first paragraph that finishes on the page after the one on which I’m starting. If I get there, then that’s fine, I can call it good.” This is easy enough for me to talk myself into because, as I’ve said before, I tend to write very quickly. Just to give you an idea of how quickly, I wrote everything up to this point on this post (first draft, obviously) in just over fifteen minutes. So, I’m almost always prepared to accept the undertaking of writing a single page, even if I’m mildly ill. And what almost always happens is that I end up writing far more than just that one page. Yesterday, for instance, I wrote five pages after committing to write one, and I almost always write at least three, as long as I’m not interrupted.
As I say, I’m very lucky, but I would be quite surprised if this trick didn’t work for a lot of writers who have trouble getting themselves started. If committing to a page is too daunting, how about just a paragraph? Or even a sentence? Don’t be too picky about that sentence or paragraph—you’re going to edit it later, anyway, so even if it feels like (as Stephen King put it) you’re just shoveling shit sitting down, that’s okay. It’s a bit like vomiting: Just get it out, and you’ll find that you feel better.
Speaking of writing versus speaking (remember when I did that a few paragraphs back?): I’m still vacillating about the video, and even the audio, postings on this and my other blog, as well as on YouTube. Maybe I should take a similar approach to them as I take to writing: Just record myself saying something, anything, and get it down on tape (metaphorically). I can give myself an out on video for the moment; that requires much more effort and preparation, and I sound better than I look, anyway. But I can do an audio recording at almost any moment, using the voice recorder on my smartphone, and with excellent quality.
Or maybe I should just say screw it, and commit just to writing an article or post or whatever every week on Iterations of Zero, recognizing that writing is my strong suit. I can approach it as I do my fiction writing, and my writing for this blog: Sit down, write something, at least a paragraph, and see what comes out. Let not the perfect be the enemy of the good.
We’ll see what happens. I don’t know much more about those specifics than you all do. “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Meanwhile, “Unanimity,” as I said, is speeding along. I’m presently creating some very sweet, positive, wonderful, and romantic moments in the lives of the main characters. This will make things even more poignant when it all goes to shit. Which it will.
I repeat: Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaa!
In closing, I hereby withdraw my earlier recommendation that you curtail your happiness. By all means, be as happy as you can, but remember: Happiness is best judged not by the highest point on your life’s graph, but by the area under the curve. Play the long game.
*“Prometheus and Chiron” and “Hole for a Heart” will follow.