Hello and good morning. It’s Thursday again, and time for my weekly blog post. It’s the second Thursday of the month, and in that brief golden age of the past, this post would have been an entry into “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains”. But that age came to an end long ago. I’m obviously not completely over it, but I think everyone else is…if anyone else was ever “under it”.
I’ve been working at a halfway decent pace on my writing this week*, though for a few days late last week and so far in this one it has been hard going—not because of the writing, but because my back (and in radiating fashion, my legs, sides, and *ahem* groin, mainly on the right) has been acting up severely. This has interfered with my sleep and my energy and has worn away at my never-too-impressive will to live. It’s very annoying, and I’m continually trying to take steps to mitigate and improve it. My aforementioned will to live may not terribly strong, but I dislike pain as much as most people do. That’s the nature of pain. That’s what it does. It’s arranged so as not to be easily ignored, since it nominally exists to warn a person (or any other animal) to avoid or correct danger and/or damage.
Alas, there is damage that we are not capable of avoiding or correcting (yet), and since we live longer now than we ever have in the past, and we engage in pursuits our ancestors were never built to manage, we accumulate and survive damage that can persist for decades, with pain that does likewise. That which does not kill you does not always make you stronger, and some things just kill you very slowly. I talked a little bit about this in an impromptu, poor-sound-quality video that I shared on YouTube and through Iterations of Zero, but obviously it’s a subject that still weighs on my mind. No surprises there.
I encountered a very nice quote recently—in a Doctor Who episode, actually (though I heard/saw it on one of those YouTube compilation videos)—and it struck a chord in me that relates to why I wrote my late, lamented run of “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains”. In the scene, The Doctor is in a stand-off with a group of enemies, and one antagonist says to him that the anger of a good man is not a problem, because good men have so many rules. The Doctor slowly turns and walks up to her, quietly saying, “Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”
This really moved me—it moved the antagonist of the piece as well, who quickly stood down—because I have never been a good person by nature or inclination, but I have always tried to do and be good things, so I’ve created many, many rules for myself**. I don’t think I’m rare, let alone unique, in this. I have very dark thoughts and ideas, which I put to good use in stories, but they make me dislike myself quite a bit a lot of the time. And, interestingly, because I curtail my own evil impulses, and have done so all my life, I get particularly angry at people who do thoughtlessly negative, petty, harmful, selfish things. If I can’t do it, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be okay with other people doing it!
Again, I don’t think this is at all unusual, though I may tend to think and imagine more extreme things than many or most people. But Steven Moffat, the writer of that Doctor Who episode seemed to understand. And, based on other things he’s written, I think he understands it rather deeply. Maybe everyone does, at some level. After all, not many of the stories we love are peaceful and positive and beautiful throughout. In the real world and in fiction, only a minority of our heroes are not violent at any level. It is an often dark, often dangerous world out there—everywhere—and true pacifists tend to be little more than excellent sources of protein. It’s not fair, of course, but fairness is a human conceit, or an aspiration, if you prefer. Fairness—in the human sense—is not found in the laws of physics, except to the extent that everything is.
On to other matters. I’m going to be posting one more video for Iterations of Zero, I think, and then I’m probably not going to be making many, or any, more. I don’t get very many “likes” from them, and I prefer writing for many reasons. Also, I just can’t really enjoy the process of editing videos, because I really don’t like looking at my face. It’s cruel to force me to do it, and I can only allow myself to be cruel up to a point, even to myself.
But, anyway, In the Shade is coming along nicely. I’m thinking of writing the first draft of its final section longhand, just to see if it affects my speed of writing and my tendency to wordiness, as well as the quality. I’m not certain of that decision yet. I’ll let you know. In whatever format, the story’s first draft ought to be done soon—by the end of the month I should think—and then I will set to rewriting/editing it and then putting together Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities. That should be out this summer sometime, I would guess…something to chill your blood during the dog days.
*Yesterday was my best day this week, at just over 2000 words. Last Friday I didn’t even break a thousand.
**These are implicit rules, not literally codified even in my head, but I know them when I come up against situations in which they are applicable.