Methought I read a blog cry, “Sleep no more!”

It’s Thursday again, and we’re in the middle of the first week of Autumn (in the Northern hemisphere).  For the next six months, the nights will be longer than the days.  As someone who tends to write about the darker side of possibility, I don’t think that’s so terrible…or it’s terrible in all the best ways.

My writing has been steady but rather slow this week, mainly because I’m struggling badly with insomnia.  I’m not referring here to the Stephen King book by that name (though coincidentally I’m in the middle of rereading it at this very time), but to the chronic, and occasionally incapacitating, sleep disorder.  Over the previous two nights (before last night) I slept for a rough total of three hours; this is, obviously, not adequate, and it has a noticeable impact on my ability to concentrate and to think clearly.

Nevertheless, the writing continues.  Hopefully, when I go back to rewrite and edit, I won’t be dismayed by how horrible my work product from these past few days is; I don’t honestly expect it to stand out as either better or worse than average.  As I’ve said previously, the way I feel when writing something is poorly correlated with how good the writing turns out to be.  Sometimes when I feel lofty and inspired and superhumanly gifted, I produce nothing but great, steaming piles of oozy excrement.  The converse is also occasionally true.  It’s unpredictable.  Thus, we will always need to edit and rewrite.

Today, for the first time in quite a while, I’m riding the train in to work, due to certain vehicles being in the shop and matters of that sort.  It’s nothing to worry about, just routine maintenance, despite an event I obliquely mention below.

It’s curiously nostalgic to be taking the train, and not entirely unpleasant, though it’s far less efficient—time-wise, anyway—than driving.   I’ve been inspired to write at least one story (Prometheus and Chiron) while waiting for a train, and I see many interesting people when using mass transit.  Little of note happens on the Interstate, especially when one rides a vehicle that is fundamentally solo.  One can have occasional exciting, even life-threatening moments on the road, such as one I had three days ago, but they don’t make very good stories.  Not to me, anyway.  I suppose I could throw some details of such an occurrence into the midst of an action scene to add to the realism, drawing from my personal experience of feeling my right leg squeezed against the passenger door of some idiot’s car, which is changing lanes without the driver looking, but it happens quickly and—thanks to the fact that I don’t tend to rattle easily—is rapidly over, with no harm done.

I’m having a peculiarly good time working on three stories at once, as I mentioned in my previous post.  Of course, my primary work right now is still Unanimity, which is grudgingly proceeding toward its conclusion, but I’m enjoying both the writing of my new short story and the rewriting of the older, uncompleted story, In the Shade.  I remember when I wrote it originally, and more or less why I stopped—I just lost steam, I wasn’t inspired by what was happening, and I had other projects awaiting my attention, to which I turned (with good results, I think).  But rewriting it now, I have to say that I’m pleased with what I made then.  I think it could turn out to be quite good, even if it is just a gonzo horror story.  We shall see.

Skipping to a non-sequitur:  I must say, I’ve so far been consistently disappointed by the lack of response and feedback to the “My heroes have always been villains” episodes.  From my point of view—admittedly biased—I would think people would find such posts particularly interesting.  I wonder if my title for the series throws people off, making them wonder just what kind of horrible person I am, but it’s honestly just an ironic play on the title of an old Willie Nelson song, “My heroes have always been cowboys.”  I don’t actually idolize villains, in the sense of wanting to be like them, though they tend to have character traits that, in the right place, in the right amount, would be quite admirable.  That’s just the nature of the tragic character with the tragic flaw:  Much of what makes a villain a villain would, in proper measure and in the proper circumstances, make them admirable and even heroic.

Likewise, many attributes we admire in our heroes, real and imaginary, can be terrible drawbacks in the wrong circumstances or in different proportions.  Harry Potter, for instance, is one of the most admirable, inspiring, and pure-hearted heroes in modern literature.  Nevertheless, Professor Snape does occasionally have a point when he decries Harry’s reckless disregard for rules and his difficulty controlling his emotions (though I think he’s completely wrong when he calls Harry arrogant).

Oh, well.  I’ll continue to write those episodes roughly once a month, even if they find no readers other than myself, at least until I work my way through most of my most prominently beloved malefactors.  Hopefully there’s someone else out there who enjoys them, but since I think a writer must write primarily for him or herself, and only secondarily for the outer audience, it will only be a moderately devastating heartbreak if there isn’t.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ll continue to write my weekly postings in both of my blogs, and more importantly, I’ll keep writing my fiction.

TTFN

Life is as tedious as twice-told tale, vexing the dull ear of a drowsy blog.*

Good day, all.  It’s Thursday again, and time for another incarnation of my weekly blog post.  Rejoice!

It’s been a relatively eventful few weeks with respect to my writing.  As stated before, I’ve put the production of the audio chapters of CatC on indefinite hiatus.**  This is partly due to an apparent lack of public interest (if you are a counterexample to that, please let me know).  Mainly, however, it’s due to a combination of factors within me and my life.  Specifically, the production of the audio takes a lot of my spare time and mental energy, and without any obvious feedback, I’d rather put those resources into doing what I love most:  writing new things. Continue reading

I’ll blog to thee in silence.

It’s Thursday again, and time for another of my weekly blog posts about my writing.

There’s not much new to discuss today, but there are a few updates for the imaginary reader who cares about such things.  First, I think I’m going to take at least a temporary break from doing the audio for The Chasm and the Collision.  I had been toying with that possibility for a while but had decided (yesterday) just to go ahead and do the next chapter.  When I had finished the initial recording of the first portion of Chapter 10, though, I discovered that some technical problem had occurred during the recording.  I don’t know exactly what caused it, but the playback sounded echoey and tinny, with uneven volume.  I didn’t deviate in any obvious way from what I’ve done for the past two or three chapters (which were recorded by a different method from preceding chapters and audio stories), and I don’t see any way to salvage the recording and make it pleasant for the listener.

I’m not someone who thinks that the universe sends messages or omens to people in the real world, even though I write stories about the fantastical and the “supernatural,” but I nevertheless took this as a cue—accidental though it was—to take a break.

It’s not as though I think a lot of people have been listening to those stories or chapters, in any case.  I haven’t received a single comment or any other feedback, either here on the blog or on any of the YouTube versions of the audio stories, so I doubt that a hiatus is going to bring heartbreak to any human.  And I sincerely doubt that any non-human is listening to the stories or is capable of responding to them, so leaving the audio aside should obey the dictates of the Hippocratic Oath and do no harm.

I took two days off from writing this weekend, not for any deliberate reason, but the holiday here in America (Labor Day) contributed.  The occurrence of a tropical storm (mild for South Florida, but still rainy and dreary for a long stretch of time), also dampened my enthusiasm.  I guess, technically, I took three days off, now that I think about it, because I wrote the first draft of my latest post on Iterations of Zero last week, in response to something that I had seen.  I just did the editing and rewriting on Tuesday morning, after which I carried out the recording debacle described above.

Then, yesterday, I wrote again on Unanimity, which was productive.  I’m lucky enough to enter easily into a state of “flow” when I’m writing, especially when writing fiction, so even when I’m gloomy or tired, I’m at least able to produce something.  Whether that product is good or not is probably highly debatable, but the audience of one that consists of me at least always finds it tolerable so far.  So that’s good.

On a tangentially related matter, I recently started a trial of “promote mode” on Twitter, but I think I’m going to discontinue it.  The idea was to try to get word about my books and audio and podcasts out to a greater number of people through that venue, but unfortunately promote mode is not discriminating.  It “promotes” every tweet one twits, so one encounters such bizarre phenomena as when a tweet expressing a feeling of profound depression and discouragement becomes my most “liked” and “retweeted” post since I’ve been on the site.  That’s not the boost I’m looking for.  Also, to my surprise and disappointment, my number of followers on Twitter has dropped since I began the trial; I’m getting a net negative return on a not-insignificant investment.  It may be that I should give the experiment more time, but it’s not as though I have money and Twitter followers to burn.  I think I should probably just let things proceed and grow—if they in fact do—organically.

And with that, there’s not much else to say today.  My wittiness, limited at the best of times, is in the lower reaches of its curve, so I’ll wait for an upward swerve before trying to put out anything more entertaining.  I do hope you’re all well, and continue to be so, and if anything, that you get ever better over time.

TTFN

So is my blog, Octavius, and for that I do appoint it store of provender.

Guten tag!  Today is the last Thursday of August in 2018, a day that will never come again (unless it turns out that time is recurrent and the universe is closed in the fourth dimension, which I suppose is possible).

I hope you’re all well.  I myself am in a better mental state than I have been for the past few weeks, something for which I’m intensely grateful.  I imagine that anyone reading my blogs with the hope of enjoyment is probably also at least mildly grateful.  Reading something written by a person in a gloomy mood can occasionally be powerful, but it’s rarely much fun.

Speaking of fun, I got an amusing email from Amazon this week.  It’s something that’s happened to me once or twice before, and I might even have written about it here; apologies if I’m being redundant.  Anyway, the message came because, a month or two ago, I ordered a copy of my book Welcome to Paradox City to give to a friend of mine at work.  Of course, Amazon has the very nice feature that, if you buy a product from them, especially a book, they encourage you to rate it and, if you’re so inclined, to review it.  I thus received a request to give feedback about a book that I had written. Continue reading

Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal bloggings in me.

It’s Thursday again, the third Thursday of the month, and as you may know, I did not write an episode of “My heroes have always been villains” last week.  I considered writing an episode this week, but I think I’ll just push that off until next month; I’m just not in the mood to do it.  Writing those posts is something I do for fun.  It may seem perverse to take pleasure in writing about and celebrating my favorite villains; perhaps it is perverse.  But I really do enjoy it, and I want to do it when I have a mind-frame of playfulness.  If I write about villains when feeling negative, I’m liable to enjoy the villain more for the villainy, rather than on terms of the character as it contributes to a work of fiction.  That’s not a state in which I want to encourage myself, so I’m going to write a more ordinary blog post; indeed, as you can see, I’ve already begun.

As you can also see—if you’re looking—I posted the audio for Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the CollisionThe Chasm and the Collision yesterday on my blog, here.  Within the next day or so, I expect to post the “video” of that audio on YouTube as well, so for those of you who prefer that venue, it will be available soon.

I’m pleased to note that my new regimen for writing Iterations of Zero is working well.  I’ve produced two IoZ posts in the last two weeks (on Tuesdays), and though this is too small a grouping to be considered a pattern, I expect that I’ll continue to follow that schedule.  Similarly, despite that commitment, I haven’t lost ground on my primary task, which is fiction writing, since I find it easier to write fiction on the weekend than to write nonfiction.  When I write a blog post, I expect to produce a final, more or less polished, work, and to publish it that day, whereas with fiction I know I’m writing a first draft, so I don’t have to think of the whole process from beginning to end on each day of the writing.  This is a quite freeing, and it encourages me and makes the process easier.

Of course, I could give myself that freedom with my blog posts as well, but I find that if I write a draft for a blog post and then plan to come back to it and edit it later, I tend simply not to return to it.  Other things steal my attention, and enterprises of great pitch and merit lose the name of action.  That habit would probably be surmountable, but the way I’m doing it now seems to be the most straightforward one available, given the constraints on my schedule.

Unanimity continues to proceed well under my slightly modified writing regimen.  In fact, it’s probably going a little faster than it was before.  Terrible events are occurring or are about to occur in it, but that’s only to be expected as a horror story draws to its climax.  I can’t believe how long it is, though.  Seriously, it’s a bit mind-boggling.  It’s not Proustian by any means, but it’s certainly the longest book I’ve ever written.  In its current form, it’s already longer than most Stephen King novels.

I expect to hone it down quite a bit, of course, before it’s ready to be published, but wow.  I sometimes wonder if the book will ever reach its end.

One thing I’m enjoying about it is that a character who did not seem very promising—he’s socially awkward and lacks a certain amount of imagination and motivation—is going to be the one who will rise to the occasion and “save the day.”  This was not what I expected, and it certainly wasn’t what he expected, but that’s the way stories go.

I feel as though I ought to have more to write about here today, but whatever it is that I thought I needed to say isn’t springing out at me.  I think I’m just extremely tired, in a non-ordinary, non-trivial sense.  This has nothing to do with my writing, of course—although I can become fatigued when writing, I never seem to tire of the process in any fundamental way.  The same cannot be said of so many other things in life.  Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep for a year…or a century…or indefinitely.  Perchance, to dream.

Oh, well.  Life is dukkha, after all; you can’t always get what you want.  (And though the Rolling Stones respond with the rejoinder that, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need, implicit in their use of the word “sometimes” is the fact that, quite often, you get neither what you want nor what you need.)

C’est la vie.  Sometimes it’s hard to see why anyone bothers with it.

TTFN

Art thou not sorry for these heinous blog posts?

Hello everyone.  I’m sorry to report that I’m not doing a “My heroes have always been villains” episode today (as must be obvious by now).  I simply don’t feel well, and it doesn’t make sense to try to write such posts when one can’t summon enthusiasm.  An engaging discussion of a good villain (Is that a contradiction in terms?  I don’t think so.) deserves someone writing with a bit of joy about the subject, considering that the whole point is to have fun with it.  I’m not really in a fun state of mind right now.  So, I’ll just give a quick report of what’s going on, boring though that may be.  Apologies.

I’m making steady, even rapid, progress on Unanimity.  It’s still probably more than a month away from being a completed first draft, but it’s moving along.  I’m amazed by how long it’s become, and I’m going to have to be especially brutal in the rewrite and editing process (I think I’ve said this before—I tend to be repetitive, as I suspect you’ve noticed).  But, as I’ve also said before, stories must be what they want to be, so there’s only so much that I can do about it.  I don’t think it’ll be wasted time (any more than all time is) so try to be patient with me.

I finished the first draft of the audio of Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the Collision yesterday, and the sound editing process shall now begin.  I imagine it’ll be finished and released on a similar schedule to how the others have been coming out, which is roughly once every two weeks or so.  I’ll try to let you know if there are going to be delays.

I posted some thoughts on Iterations of Zero earlier this week, in a blog post titled “Never hate your interlocutors.”  I think it’s a particularly timely message, so I encourage you to read it and think about it.  We could all use a little more patience and little less vilification in our discourse than we tend to have, nowadays and always.

And, finally, I’ve decided to embed here the “video” for Chapter 7 of The Chasm and the Collision, so that those of you who come here to the blog can easily enough listen to the chapter on YouTube, in case that’s the simplest way for you to enjoy it.  If you are enjoying the chapters, I do hope you’ll consider buying the book.  I think it’s a good story…but then again, I would.  I am unavoidably biased.  That doesn’t necessarily make me wrong, but it makes it difficult for me to be an honest judge, and I haven’t received any real feedback from anyone with which to update my Bayesian credences.  We’ll see what happens, I suppose.  Or maybe we won’t, who knows?

Here’s the video:

 

That’s about all there is this week, or all that comes to mind that’s worth sharing.*  To paraphrase the typical Metta mantra:

May you dwell in safety.
May you be happy and healthy.
May you be free of afflictions.
May you be at peace.

TTFN


*Assuming, of course, that it is worth sharing.

O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a blog replete with thankfulness!

Welcome, welcome, to August of 2018, the second of those two months which push back September, October, November, and December, changing them from the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months—which they should be, based on their names—to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months.  It’s a shame.  It might have been preferable to have July and August at the end of the year, rather than the middle.  Then Christmas would be on the twenty-fifth of August, which sounds strange, of course, but only because we’re used to it being the other way.

Next week being the second Thursday of the month, I will write a new entry in “My heroes have always been villains.”  As usual, I haven’t yet decided what villain I’ll discuss, nor even from which media form I’m going to take it.  Hitherto, I’ve done one from movies and two from books, but many other sources are available.  Excellent villains can be found in comic books and manga (especially comic books), and those media have become more and more respectable over time. Continue reading