And then this ‘blog’ is like a spendthrift sigh, that hurts by easing.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again—this time the last Thursday in May of 2022—and so, of course, you know the drill.  Obviously*.

I’m back to writing on my laptop again.  Not carrying it around with me did absolutely nothing to relieve or improve my back pain; in fact, last week was, if anything, above average in terms of round-the-clock, low-grade** agony.  Given that, it seemed pointless to restrict myself to the phone, since it’s simply much easier to type using the laptop, and it doesn’t make my thumbs sore.  Also, it lets me write a bit faster.  Whether I write better or not is a question to which I have difficulty finding an answer.

It’s been an interesting week, with interesting not quite being used in the sense of the supposed Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” but not entirely separate from it as well.  On Tuesday evening, for instance, some disaster struck the signaling and dispatching system of the Tri-rail and other parts of the commuter rail and Amtrack system in south Florida, and all the signals and comms went down at once, apparently.  Anyway, there was no train to get home on Tuesday evening, the bus would’ve taken at least two hours, and I’m far too socially awkward to want to use Uber or the like.  Also, there’s really nothing at “home” that gives it an advantage over work, so I slept at the office.

It’s a strange moment when you realize that your existence is so empty that the only reason you would bother going to the house you live in to sleep is because it has a shower and a change of clothes.  I don’t even sleep on a bed at home because of my back—I sleep on a yoga mat now, which is much better for my back than any mattress (except the ones they use in jail/prison, ironically).  But the carpet at work is just as good.  It’s all kind of pathetic.

I was also a bit discombobulated on Tuesday morning—Tuesday was a heck of a day—because I was having real trouble with pain, even for me.  I forgot to post the latest section of Outlaw’s Mind until a bit later in the day than usual.  It was a loooong section, one that started well enough, but that ended in one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the story.  At least, it was heart-wrenching to write.  I have no idea what it was like for anyone to read, or if anyone actually has read it or ever will.  Anyway, it’s a moment where Timothy finds himself trapped between his mother’s fears for him and his own fear of himself.  For him, at least—and for me, writing it, since it was not entirely a fictional thing—it was a dreadful, dreadful event.

Of course, I’ve been writing steadily on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, which is coming along nicely.  Sometimes it’s good to do something that’s rather non-serious for a change, especially since I’ve written so much horror in recent times.  I even cranked out a decent amount yesterday morning—almost two thousand words—after I’d slept in the office.  Of course, I used my laptop then, since there would be no reason to use the phone unless I thought I wrote better with it, which I now suspect isn’t the case.

And if you’re wondering if there’s anything else going on in my life—there isn’t.  You’ve now read about pretty much everything of note that’s happened to me since my last blog post, and it’s debatable how noteworthy it is.  I haven’t done any new videos of me doing any music, for which I’m sure you’re all quite thankful.  I haven’t watched any new shows or movies, and I haven’t really read any new books that are worth talking about, though I do read something pretty much every day.  There’s really nothing in my life worth talking about, let alone living.

As Morpheus said, “Welcome to the desert of the real.”  Too bad one couldn’t be welcomed to the dessert of the real, right?  But desserts aren’t really very good for one, anyway, and are best kept in significant moderation or else they will become more detrimental than beneficial—a bad habit rather than a treat or a reward.

I hope all of you are doing at least a little better, or have lives at least a little more interesting—in the good sense, not the “Chinese curse” sense—than I.  Please take care of yourselves and of those around you, if you are fortunate enough to have people you love around you.  Try to be optimistic if you can, and please accept my apologies for making it that much more difficult by being such a downer all the time.  Hopefully, something will kill me soon, and you all won’t have to deal with me anymore.  I know it’ll be a relief to me.

TTFN

rocky desert


*i.e., it’s time for my weekly blog post.

**But high quality, if that could be the correct term.  It’s good at what it does, anyway, though what it does well is certainly not very nice.

Outlaw’s Mind – Part 14

[Minor Warning:  The latter part of this section gets a little emotionally tense, at least to me]

Timothy discovered that he was a reasonably good meditation subject…he had at least a modicum of what Mr. Maclean referred to as “talent”.  He found it easy enough to sit still and not fidget, and to listen to the sound of his breathing—which he discovered he felt most sharply in his nasal passages, just beneath and behind his eyes, something he’d never noticed before.

As the silence began, broken by Mr. Maclean’s guidance, Timothy noticed now the faint ticking of the clock on the wall, something he hadn’t even heard before.  He tried to ignore it and focus on the breath in his nose, and then he followed Mr. Maclean’s instructions in paying attention to the feeling of gravity holding his body in the chair, the pressure on his back, his legs, and so on.  This led him to notice that Mr. Maclean had neglected to mention his butt, and the thought both amused him and made him frustrated, because he was supposed to be focusing on the feeling, not on the awkward omission of a potentially embarrassing part of the body.  He turned his mind back to the breath in his nose, only peripherally even aware of the pressure of the chair.  He felt a strange, almost floaty feeling in his thoughts as he centered them on his breathing, as though the space inside his mind was far larger than the space outside, and that somehow the breath in his nose was a portal into that space.  He noticed that there were colors swirling behind his eyes in the blackness…just faint smears and clouds of it, shifting everywhere, but present. Continue reading

Trust not my reading, nor my observations, which with experimental seal do warrant the tenor of my blog.

Hello.  Good morning.  Today is Thursday, and so of course it’s time for the most recent edition of my weekly blog post.

I’m writing this post on my phone, using the Google Docs app, because unfortunately, even my petite, eleven-inch-hypotenuse laptop seems to be too much to carry around in my backpack, given how badly my back and hips and ankle have been behaving.  I don’t think it’s so much the weight of the thing that’s the issue as where it tends to rest‒right up against my lumbar spine.  It may not truly be triggering any problems, because my back and hips and my right knee and ankle are in pretty severe pain no matter what, even though I’ve lost two belt notches worth of weight recently.  However, reducing the load in that area seems to decrease my pain, or at least to cause less of an exacerbation, so for now I’m writing on my phone, so to speak.

I keep trying to find things to do that decrease my pain, but all my attempts have so far been quite unsatisfying.  Perhaps the Dread Pirate Roberts was right after all, and life is pain.  Or was that the Buddha?  Anyway, one or more of those great philosophers said something about life and pain being inextricable.

I’ve been writing The Dark Fairy and the Desperado on my phone this week as well.  The two main characters have finally met!  Of course, the Dark Fairy immediately tried to kill the Desperado, but that’s to be expected.  It’s slightly slower writing on the phone than it is with the laptop, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but as I’ve also mentioned, that may be good for keeping my writing more concise.  On the other hand, my verbosity may not be something any device known to humanity can curtail.

I posted the most recent section of Outlaw’s Mind here this week.  There’s still quite a bit to go before we reach the point where I’ve stopped writing it, and I hope those of you who read it are enjoying the story.

In other news, yesterday I recorded, overdubbed, edited, and posted a video of me playing and singing the Beatles song And I Love Her, and I’ll embed it here.  I’ve been half-heartedly working on getting it into playable shape for a while, and I decided I needed to have a rhythm track (which I had to create the new-fashioned way, beat by beat, on Audacity, since I have no drums), and that it also would be much better with the little accompanying arpeggios* during the second, third, and last verses in the background.  I wanted to be able to do those at speed when I played them.  To pat myself on the back (which doesn’t help my back pain), I only got the basic chords from a guitar book, but did the (admittedly simple) key changing and worked out the solo and stuff for myself.  I’m reasonably pleased with the results, though it’s far from perfect.  I’ve gotten pretty good at throwing these videos together at least, including sound editing and backing tracks and the like; I did these things literally in my spare time yesterday morning.

There’s no need to feel obligated to watch the video of me playing, though; I certainly take no joy in looking at myself and it’s hard to imagine anyone else would.  It’s basically there to prove that, yes, except for backup/overdubs, I really did play and sing it all at once, myself…and because the milling masses mostly only seem to respond to video** anymore‒but here it is in case you want to listen:

I’m not sure what else there is to talk about today.  Of course, there are always subjects that could be raised, but I’ve not really done any discussion or commentary, either here or on Iterations of Zero, for quite a while.  The whole process seems utterly pointless (not least because of the aforementioned predilection of the populace for video***); my energy level is steadily deteriorating, and my motivation is doing so even more.  I’m not convinced that anything I write or say or do will make any difference, even for me.  I continue this blog mainly out of stubbornness.

I did do a slightly curious thing this week.  There’s a horror novel that I used to read and reread a lot back when I was a teenager:  Floating Dragon, by Peter Straub.  The events of the story begin on May 17, 1980.  Indeed, there’s a line in the book that goes, “On May 17th, 1980, the Dragon came to Patchin County.”  That line is always bouncing around my head at this time of year, so on Tuesday (which was the 17th) I decided to buy the Kindle version of the book, though I haven’t started reading it yet.  I miss my old, battered paperback copy, lost now with all my other possessions from before 2013.  It had the amusing characteristic that the way the title and author were written on the spine, if one read them in ordinary left-to-right fashion, seemed to say, “Floating Peter/Dragon Straub”.  I wonder if the publishers realized that after the fact and were duly embarrassed.  Anyway, it was a good, albeit very weird horror story, and I still can recite parts of it from memory, such as:

“You were dreaming for a long time, and then you were not.  You were asleep in a place you did not know, and when you awakened you were someone else.  You had a drink in your hand, and a woman was looking at you, and Dragon, the world was yours again.”

With that, I’ll call things to a close today.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this atypically written blog post, and that you’re all as well as you can possibly be.

TTFN

dragon


*Is it supposed to be “arpeggi”?  That’s how Radiohead spelled it in the title of their song Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, and they’re Cambridge-educated, albeit probably not in linguistics.  Then again, I studied English at Cornell.  Not that such a thing matters much anyway, since the word in question is Italian…but it’s not being used as Italian, but rather as a term of musical jargon.  I should probably just look it up, but where’s the fun in that?

**Angels and ministers of grace defend us from anyone who might think to ask most people to read.

***Perhaps we should retire the term vox populi and replace it with visus populi.

Outlaw’s Mind – Part 13

The weather on Saturday morning was cool and overcast.  This suited Timothy just fine, since he wanted to guard against getting his hopes too high, and a bright, sunny, unseasonably warm day might have been hard to resist as a harbinger of blessings.  His mother seemed to share his guarded spirits as she drove them downtown in her twelve-year-old Corolla.  Gone was the amused attitude from Thursday evening.  Her mouth was set in a near-grimace, and her eyes were as intent as any hunter’s might have been who was searching for game to feed his family.  Timothy found himself more comfortable with this aspect of her, that seemed ready for anything at all, than with her lightheartedness after her conversation with Dr. Putnam.  He felt guilty about feeling that way, but he thought it was more painful to lose one’s hopes than never to have them in the first place, and so he was forced to want her not to be any more optimistic than he was.

They found a street-parking spot not too far from the address his mother had jotted down; it was an unmetered space on a semi-major road off one of the bigger thoroughfares of the heart of the city.  Though tall office buildings loomed not far away, this was a more reserved commercial zone, with various shop-front style businesses, some of which did apparent retail selling, but the majority of which seemed to offer services of one kind or another.  Most seemed not to be open on Saturday mornings, which Timothy thought was a strange business choice, since surely there were more customers available at that hour than at nearly any other time in the week.  Still, what did he know? Continue reading

For grief is proud, and makes his blogger stoop.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the second Thursday in May of 2022, and it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Tomorrow will be Friday the 13th! Unlike many people, I like Friday the 13th both because I like being a bit contrary and because I like prime numbers.  I used to always put thirteen gallons of gas in my car when I filled it up, just because I like prime numbers, and I particularly like thirteen because so many people dislike it.  Maybe I thought it deserved to get some positive attention for a change.

I haven’t been quite as productive this week as last week, but I did write a good five thousand words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I’ve been a little worn out because my recent travails have exacerbated my chronic back and leg pain, and yet I’m walking about two and half miles a day as part of my commute.  So, my concentration—nay, even my very will to live*—has been detrimentally affected.  Nevertheless, I have continued to write; being on the train is nice for doing that, at the very least.

I posted the next section of Outlaw’s Mind this Tuesday, but it was a short one.  I didn’t want to add the subsequent section to beef it up any, because that section is already rather long, and adding them together would have made it too much, I think.  I don’t know if anyone is actually reading the story—I don’t know if anyone is actually reading this, for that matter—and if they are, I don’t know whether they like it.  I suppose it’s possible that some masochist might hate the whole thing but read it for that very reason.  That seems unlikely, though.

I mentioned last week, with my tongue in my cheek, that I tend to play guitar and sing as a way to punish the world.  Well, I’ve done a bit of such punishing recently; I’ve embedded below two videos of me amateurishly playing guitar and singing, for anyone who feels the need to scold themselves, perhaps for falling off a diet, or not getting enough exercise, or committing adultery…stuff like that.  In all seriousness, however, I like both of these songs a lot, and so I did my amateurish best to play and sing them.

The first is If You Could Read My Mind, by Gordon Lightfoot, a song I’ve known and liked since I was a little boy.  I’ve always loved the melody, and Gordon Lightfoot was a very good singer.

The second is No Surprises, by Radiohead, which I only came to be aware of perhaps fifteen years ago, but which very quickly became one of my favorite songs (and bands).  It’s harder to play than IYCRMM, as you can probably tell, but I really love it.  In many ways, it is the song of my soul, if there is such a thing.

As for anything else…well, there really isn’t much else.  There was a death in my family late last week, about which I’m quite sad.  This was my uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while, but who had been, along with his son—my cousin—one of the only people in my family to attend my wedding.  That’s part of a long and dreary story that I won’t go into, but it is a shame that I hadn’t seen him in so long, and now I won’t be able to do so.  Such is the story of life, unfortunately.  I wish I could have told him how much that meant at the time, and even though that marriage has since failed, that gesture still means a great deal to me.  At least I can hereby tell my cousin the same for his part!

I fear quite honestly that I am on the verge of a real and serious mental (and physical) breakdown, and I don’t know what to do about it.  I also fear that, even if I did know what to do about it, I would not have the will to do it.  I wish I did.  I would like to be optimistic and upbeat; I have been so in the past.  No one who suffers from chronic depression and/or other, related difficulties would wish to suffer from it/them. They might well believe, however, that they richly deserve their own suffering for being the awful, evil, rotten person that they see, that they “know”, themselves to be.  I don’t know how to escape that trap.  I have tried, many times and in many ways, but I don’t think I have the strength or the resources to do it on my own.  And on my own is what I am.

I hope, nevertheless, that all of you reading are feeling and doing as well as you possibly can, and that you are with those you love, or at least in communication with them, and that you find a great deal of joy in that.  Please take care of yourselves, and of each other.

TTFN

wallpapersden.com_dark-sky-tree-purple-sky-nature_1920x1200


*It’s an interesting notion, this concept of “will to live”.  It’s misguided and misleading, because it’s not as though one can simply stop having some “will to live” and consequently just die.  Trust me, I know.  The body and brain have been shaped by millions upon millions of years of evolution to try to stay alive, and one’s will, at the human level, has almost nothing to do with it.  Ditto with eating and drinking and breathing.  Just try not doing those things.  The machine keeps cranking along until it falls apart, or until something breaks it.  Believe me, if not having the “will to live” mattered at all, there are many times—several in any given week, I’d say—in which I would already have died.  Alas, it’s the will to die that’s more a real kind of will, and it is set against gargantuan, Lovecraftian powers of nature that force living beings to stay alive whether they really want to or not.  I’m working on it, though.

Outlaw’s Mind – Part 12

Over the course of Thursday evening, and into Friday evening, Timothy spent at least a bit of his time online, trying to see what he could do to eke out his understanding and knowledge about Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism, and Taoism—this last he had trouble spelling, but Google was quite helpful with such things, so he was able to correct his misunderstanding quickly.  He wondered with somewhat disgusted confusion why people had ever spelled Taoism with a “T” when they pronounced it with a “D”.  It wasn’t an English word originally, after all—it was a transliteration from what must have been a Chinese character or characters.  They could have just used a spelling that reproduced the original sound in English in as straightforward a way as possible.  Were they trying to be cryptic, or to sound impressive, or to convey the fact that it was a foreign word by not simply writing the name of the original book as “Dow Day Ching”?  All the reasons he could imagine left him feeling minor contempt.

At least the spelling of Hinduism, Buddhism, and atheism made a bit more sense. Continue reading

Plenty and peace blogs cowards; hardness ever of hardiness is mother.

Hello, everyone, and good morning, everyone.  It’s Thursday—it’s quite early in the morning, since I’m having a particularly noteworthy iteration of insomnia today—and so it’s time once again for my weekly blog post.  This is the first Thursday in May of 2022, which is mildly interesting, I guess.  It’s also Cinco de Mayo, so for those of you who celebrate that holiday:  Enjoy!

As those of you who pay attention to it will have noted, I posted the most recent part of Outlaw’s Mind here on Tuesday.  I hope those who are reading along steadily—if there are any such people—are enjoying it.  It’s a fairly dark tale, which is probably why I’ve had to keep stopping and starting it as I go along.  I like my main character, Timothy Outlaw, and I keep making crappy things happen to him, or at least having him experience crappy things.  So, I have to take a step back from time to time.  It’s strange that this story has such an effect on me, considering I’m the author; I don’t know what it might say about my own psychology, if anything, but it can be a bit frustrating.

On the other hand, The Dark Fairy and the Desperado—which is not entirely a light-hearted tale, either—is at least quite fanciful, it being a supernatural adventure across multiple universes, the main characters of which are an unerringly deadly gunman from the Old West of our world (or one very much like ours) and a very angry fairy from a completely different world, whose experiences with humans have filled her with an enduring wrath that earned her her sobriquet.  And, of course, they only meet because of the machinations of a wizard from yet another world who has become trapped in a universe of his own creation and needs help getting out of it.  So, while it’s heavier in some senses than Outlaw’s Mind—Omniversally heavy, one might say—it’s lighter in tone.

I’ve gotten quite a lot of writing done on it lately.  This is at least partly because I’ve been taking the train, and so I can write while I’m traveling to work.  Even though I didn’t accomplish anything at all last Friday, I’ve still written just shy of 8500 words since this time last week.  I haven’t even introduced the Dark Fairy yet, since it takes some time to bring a desperado out of the Old West into a trans-universal setting and explain to him what the heck is going on when it happens.  It helps that, at the time he is transported from his home, he is facing nearly certain death in the desert, without a horse and without water.  He figures almost anything would be preferable to that, so he’s able to go along with things.

Anyway, it’s a fun story, and one I’ve had in my mind for roughly as long as I had Mark Red.  Like Mark Red, it was originally thought up as a manga, and it’s now meant to be a series of books; I haven’t written any more of Mark’s story yet because, frankly, no one has expressed any interest.  I still may end up doing it, though—assuming I live that long—because Morgan, the vampire who saves Mark’s life by making him into a demi-vampire, is still my favorite character that I’ve written to date.  There are at least two more books waiting to be written about her and Mark.

The adventures of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado will probably take more books, because of the structure of the adventure they’re going to be having, but I don’t expect the books to be as long individually.  There will be more action and less soul-searching, so to speak, since neither of the main characters are teenagers, and in fact are quite hardened and cynical, each in his or her own way.  Neither one needs to try to avoid becoming a killer and/or a supernatural being, since it’s already too late to avoid such things.

They inhabit the same Omniverse as do the various characters in my other stories—after all, the Omniverse is infinite in infinite dimensions, and it contains all possible universes of any nature—but they will spend more time traveling from one realm to another than pretty much any of my other characters*.

And that’s pretty much a summary of everything that’s happening in my life or is likely to happen—I don’t really do anything for fun**, I don’t have any real friends***, I have no pets, no local family (none that want to see me, anyway), and no hobbies**.  I occasionally attempt to play guitar and sing, but that’s more my way of punishing the world, à la Welcome to the MachineI don’t know that it could be considered a worthwhile endeavor.

But I continue to write, both my books and this blog.  I hope you all enjoy reading it (and them, when and if it applies), and I hope you have a good holiday, if it is one for you, and that in general you have the best possible day, week, month, year, and life you can have, along with those you love and who love you.  And try to treat all the other people well, also, if you can.

Oh, and wish your mothers Happy Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, if you’re lucky enough still to be able to do so.  And to all you mothers**** out there—Happy (early) Mother’s Day from me!

TTFN

cinco dance


*With the possible exception of the eventual story Changeling in a Shadow World, which I’ve mentioned here previously.

**Other than writing, I guess.

***Does that surprise anyone at all?

****Rarely enough, for me, this is not intended as “half a word”.

Outlaw’s Mind – Part 11

Timothy didn’t tell his mother about what had happened, but he was all the more eager to hear word from Dr. Putnam about this mindfulness meditation person, hoping as fervently as he could allow

himself to hope that he or she would be available, affordable, and useful.  The very kindness of the police officer—and of the boy he had pulled out of traffic—was harder on Timothy’s conscience than would have been the most unfair abuse from the most hardened and cynical of lawmen.  He hardly felt that he merited the kindness; it felt to him like just one more debt that he owed to the universe.

He did not speak again to the boy he’d pulled out of the way of the errant car.  He never even learned his name.  In fact, for the next several weeks, he pointedly took a different route both to and from school and waited five extra minutes before leaving in the afternoon, just to avoid any possible encounters, any shows of gratitude, or—God help him—any wish that might be expressed by the boy to become his friend.  He felt a bit guilty about this, since he was quite sure that the boy would want to convey positive thoughts and feelings and would probably feel bad that he wasn’t able to give a formal thank-you to Timothy, but if he knew how self-hateful Timothy would feel in receiving such a thing, the boy would probably have been willing to let it go.  This avoidance might have hurt the boy’s feelings in some minor way, but that was just another bit of—relatively minor—damage that Timothy chalked up to himself.

Word from Dr. Putnam came late that Thursday evening, almost at a time that was unreasonable to call.  Timothy’s mother—home and already having finished dinner and, with Timothy’s help, having cleaned up—answered the landline in their apartment, saying the doctor’s name in greeting when she recognized who it was. Continue reading

Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust? And, blog we how we can, yet die we must.

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so, whether anyone asked for it or not—whether anyone wants it or not—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I can only apologize.

So far, this week has been marginally better than last week for me, which may not be saying very much, but at least it is better by some measures.  I got quite a bit of writing done this Monday through Wednesday on the train; I’ve been using my laptop, not my phone to do it, despite my thoughts that I just might stick with the former device.  Still, on each of those three days, I wrote roughly 2100 words in the morning, which is more than twice as many as I wrote last Friday, which was a very difficult day, continuing the pattern of the days that had preceded it.

Anyway, The Dark Fairy and the Desperado is moving along well.  Though we have not met the Dark Fairy yet, we have met the Desperado.  He is the first person we encounter, and he is soon to be sent to meet his fellow title character.  It won’t be a friendly encounter, I’m afraid, but if things all went easily, where would be the fun?  A story without the exchange of fireballs and bullets between protagonists can hardly be called a story at all.

I also remembered to post the next part of Outlaw’s Mind here this week, unlike last week, so to those of you who were pining for it, you’re welcome.  I tried to put in a “continue reading” tab, so that it wouldn’t take up as much screen space for scrolling purposes if you’re trying to go back to further entries, but I’m not sure I succeeded.  I didn’t try very hard to check, and I haven’t yet gone back to insert any in earlier posts.  Have I but world enough and time, I mean to do so.

I’ve considered perhaps interspersing some posting of parts of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado here, perhaps alternating with Outlaw’s Mind, perhaps posting them on another day of the week.  Let me know what you think, if you have any interest in the question at all.  It’s not a horror story, but is instead a trans-universal fantasy adventure, so be prepared.  I want to (and so I hereby do) remind everyone that these are stories in early draft form*, so they won’t be as polished and streamlined as something that’s been formally published would be.

In this, unfortunately, they may bear all too much resemblance to all too many of at least the online versions of publications from Scientific American to the various major newspapers, all of which seem to have fallen into the editorial hands of the pointy-haired boss from Dilbert, and many of the writers of which seem to have learned their trade via Twitter-mediated coursework.  Honestly, the state of much of the publishing industry is terribly dispiriting to note.

More than once within the last few months, in mainstream-published books about arguably serious subject matter, I’ve encountered the words “free reign” used instead of “free rein”.  That latter is an expression related to horseback riding, in which one essentially releases control of the horse to allow it to go where it will, presumably at high speed, but with outcomes that may be difficult to predict, and this is the source of the metaphor.  The former is…I don’t know, perhaps a reference to some form of particularly liberal monarchial regime**.

But, as they say, I digress.  I’m prone to do so often and grievously.  The point I meant to make was simply that I wouldn’t want you to mistake the form in which I might share parts of a story here for the way they might appear in “officially” published form, in case anyone were to consider buying one of my books.

One other thing I did at the end of last week was to record a video of me playing guitar and singing the David Bowie song, A Space Oddity.  I had downloaded the chords to the song from a site of which I am a member, and they sounded so good to me when I played them, even though they weren’t particularly difficult chords, that I couldn’t resist making a video.  I’ll embed it here, for anyone who is interested.  I make no promises regarding the quality of the playing or the singing; I just liked singing and playing the song.

And I think that’s pretty much what I have to share this week.  I hope you’ve all been feeling and doing better than I have been, and I do mean “all”.  I’ve been having a truly rough time, though at least I’ve kept on writing, and I don’t want any of you to feel like I do, no matter what Peter Frampton might say.  I would seriously like you to share (in the comments here, not on Facebook or Twitter, which I tend not to spend much time on for the sake of my already alarmingly tenuous mental health) whether you would be interested in reading sections of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and if so whether you would mind if I alternated them with Outlaw’s Mind, or if you would prefer to have me share them in another slot during the week.

Otherwise, as always, please try to be kind to each other and to yourselves, because goodness knows I’m not likely to do it.

TTFN

Theoden king


*It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that they are first drafts, because I always reread what I’ve written the previous day before starting on any new writing, and I edit as I do so.  Often, I’ll have reread a portion and edited it more than once in this process, depending on how much I wrote the preceding day.

**A regime, by the way, is related to the rule of a person or dynasty over a nation, or something analogous.  A regimen is a “prescribed course of medical treatment, way of life, or diet for the promotion or restoration of health”, and related usages.  The words are obviously related, so it’s not such a big deal to conflate them***, but it is a bit sloppy, and—of course—it irritates me far beyond its level of importance.  One follows an exercise regimen, not an exercise regime, unless one is ruled over/governed by one’s workout routine in a more or less literal sense****.

*** “Reign”, on the other hand, comes from Latin via Old French and Middle English and so on, while “rein” is apparently derived from Old Norse, so though they are homophones, they are not closely related words.

****A “diet” is more complicated, since it can refer to a legislative body, thus making things ever more confusing, though I doubt that many people confuse regime with regimen for that specific reason.  There’s even a famous historical “Diet of Worms”, which had nothing to do with the eating habits of annelids, but instead referred to a body convened to address the heresy of Martin Luther.  Though I love it dearly, English is often muddled and can be confusing.  It’s both a technically “degenerate” code and also often not a very specific one.  Maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up by people mistaking a horseback metaphor for one related to monarchy and similar governmental situations.

Outlaw’s Mind – Part 10

His mother did, in fact, want to hear how the appointment had gone.  Timothy guessed, based on her body language and tone of voice as she asked, that she’d been somewhat worried that Dr. Putnam would disparage her unilateral ban on psychopharmacology.  When Timothy told her that the doctor had been entirely on her side with respect to that issue, she seemed so relieved that Timothy felt the time was ripe for him to share the notion of meditation.  He couldn’t recall the foreign word Dr. Putnam had used, but the concept of “mindfulness” seemed, at first glance, rather straightforward.  His mother appeared not skeptical but rather more at a loss when Timothy told her, as best he could, what Dr. Putnam had shared with him about mindfulness meditation.  She had, of course—like Timothy—heard of the term “meditation” before, but she had, if anything, less real awareness of it than he had.  It was not that she had anything against it in particular.  She was not religious, and so had no spiritual objections to the notion, though she would later tell Timothy in passing that she’d had an aunt who proclaimed with all seriousness that meditation and yoga were practices designed to leave one open for literal demonic possession.  She quite frankly simply had no basis on which to evaluate the usefulness of the practice.  So, in the end, she shrugged and told Timothy that she’d wait and see what Dr. Putnam said if and when he called.

While waiting for that call to come, Timothy had an episode that produced his first—though not too severe—run-in with the police. Continue reading