Hello and good morning, everyone. It’s Thursday again, and thus it’s time for my weekly blog post. I have no idea what I’m going to write about today—I have no agenda in mind other than to carry out the weekly ritual, which is a good thing in and of itself, I guess—so I’m just going to start writing and see what happens.
I suppose this is what we all do whenever we’re in a situation in which we converse with other people; we just say whatever we say, without thinking very much about it ahead of time. Indeed, it may be that most of our real thinking, most of our logical, linear, rational thought, happens in the form of conversation, either between people or in our heads. We often don’t seem to know what’s going to come out of our own mouths—or out of our minds, so to speak—until it comes out. Of course, we could probably make some broad predictions about what sorts of things are likely to come out, based on our own experience with ourselves. I, for instance, am unlikely to start discussing the latest events in the lives of the hottest new pop stars, or the surprising happenings on some reality TV show. But what exactly is going to come out, I discover in much the same way that someone reading my writing or hearing my speech will. I just may be less surprised.
It’s not too difficult to predict, of course, that I’m going to write about how The Vagabond is going. It’s going well. I’m almost halfway through my latest iteration of editing/rewriting, and I’m happy to say that—in my opinion, at least—it’s improving as I go along, and I still like the story, and very much like the characters.
These latter facts are more reassuring to me than might be obvious because it means that I can enjoy at least some fiction still—at least my own, up to a point. I emphasize this because of an ongoing problem that I think I’ve mentioned before. For some time, now, I’ve had increasing trouble getting interested in any new fiction of any kind, even in rereading (or rewatching) stories and authors (or directors or actors or subjects) to which I’ve always been able to turn in the past. I’m even getting lassitudinous* about much of the music that I usually enjoy, including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and so on. If I go to my Spotify “Main Playlist”, into which I’ve stuffed almost all the songs I can find that I would have been happy to hear if they came on the radio (back in the old days), and I hit “shuffle play”, I can skip through entry after entry that comes up, saying, “Nah. Nah. Not right now. Nah. Meh. Never mind.” Off goes Spotify.
Hitherto, I’ve been able to maintain interest in the various nonfiction books (and YouTube channels) that engage me, often ones about science or math, but even that is beginning to peter out. I have to scroll madly through my Kindle library to find a book that will catch my slightest interest**, and even the various science books mostly seem banal. Yes, even Brian Greene and David Deutsch, Sean Carroll and Max Tegmark, even Richard Dawkins and Richard Feynman and Carl Sagan for crying out loud can’t draw my attention. Jonathan Haidt has at least been able to provide some engagement for the moment, but his stuff is pretty quick reading. This is a compliment to him, but unfortunately, I’ve only got three books of his, and am on the second reading of the second of the three already.
Despite the oodles of quality shows being made by the likes of Netflix and Disney and Amazon and the various more traditional sources, I can’t seem to find any will to watch any of them. I ought to be thrilled by the prospect of watching The Mandalorian, but I haven’t even started the first episode. I cannot conjure any desire to do so. Ditto for various animes and dark sci-fi programs that have come out, as well as movies, and so on.
It feels as if I’ve somehow been stranded in the south Pacific, where I’m just treading water in the middle of a very large expanse of ocean. The water’s warm enough, so I’m not in danger of hypothermia, and there don’t seem to be any sharks about to add a bit of excitement. The weather is basically calm. And I know that I can keep treading water indefinitely, and I even seem to have enough food and water with me, somehow, to last a lifetime if need be***. But man, it’s so boring. The biological organism, the deeper, older parts of my behaviors and drives—what Haidt would call the elephant—is built to keep treading water, and it seems to want to keep doing that, whether or not there’s any good reason, so I have to keep doing it. But even it seems to be getting bored. There’s no land in sight, and in fact, I know there’s none for hundreds or thousands of miles. And the only ships known to frequent these waters are pirate vessels and smugglers.
Okay, I’m getting carried away with the metaphor. Sorry about that. But I did say that I didn’t know what I was going to write about, so whatever came out came out.
I hope you all have a wonderful week, anyway. Seriously, I do. And I hope you stay healthy and safe, and that you enjoy the various holidays as best you can.
*Is that a word? It should be. If not, I’ll make it up.
**Not pausing even for a moment on The Lord of the Rings, or anything by Terry Pratchett, or the Harry Potter books, or the works of David Eddings, or Isaac Asimov, or Orson Scott Card, or any others of their previously ever-thrilling ilk.
***It’s an analogy, so I guess I don’t have to be too particular about such things, but darn it, I can’t help thinking to myself, “How would that even work? Where would I keep such food and water? Is it in some floating pack of some kind? Do I have a distillation apparatus in the pack, or a reverse osmosis system? If the pack floats, why am I treading water? Wouldn’t it make more sense just to hold onto the pack, or to ride on top of it?”