The satirical rogue says here that old men have grey blogs

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time once again for my traditional Thursday blog post, which always starts with some variation of “Hello and good morning”, as you have just seen.  It’s the second Thursday of 2023, and it is the 12th of January, meaning that tomorrow‒as I’ve noted before‒is Friday the 13th.

I apologize for the tone and content of yesterday’s blog post, which feels to me as though it was unusually dank and dismal.  I’m not apologizing because I didn’t mean what I wrote; I did mean it.  If anything, I tend to understate things.  But I’m sorry to have foisted all that on you lot.

What I wrote yesterday is true, though.  I have a difficult to terrible time seeking out help, so when I get even the slightest urge to do so, I have to try to get it out there.  Because the fact is that I could really use it.  But my mental resources‒and my physical ones, let’s be honest‒for seeking help are stunted or crippled or maimed or whatever you would want to call it.  This blog, at least now that I’ve made it “daily”, is to a large extent my attempt at a proverbial cry for help.  But it’s not doing very well at that.  Not even close.

Maybe I always suspected that would be the case?  Well, no, I think it’s more accurate to say that I feared it might be the case.  If I had truly expected there to be no benefit, I wouldn’t have bothered.  I don’t have quite the kind of mental twistiness that leads one deliberately to do things one doesn’t think have any chance of working.  I really do (and did) wish that somehow this daily blog writing would help me gain some form of mental improvement and possibly even entice someone or something somewhere to help me…somehow.

It’s vague and nebulous, I know, and rather laughably optimistic.  I might as well just play a random Powerball ticket.  Getting millions upon millions of dollars would certainly at least give me greater freedom and resources to seek out help than just about anything else that’s physically possible to have happen to me.

And if wishes were horses, we’d all be hip deep in horse shit.  In which case, climate change would be much worse than it is, because all that horse shit gives off a lot of methane.  And even if you burn the methane, that just gives you a molecule of CO2 and four molecules of water for each molecule of methane burned (in oxygen, anyway), and each of those new molecules is another greenhouse gas*.

Anyway, that’s my mea culpa for yesterday, sort of.  Not that I think I did anything truly wrong, mind you.  I mean, it’s my blog.  It is whatever I want to make of it, and no one is forced to read it**.  If they choose to do so, well then caveat lector, or whatever the appropriate Latin would be.  Let the reader beware.

But the reader doesn’t have to beware all that much, because, in the end, these are words, words, words, as Hamlet said to Polonius when asked what he was reading.  I love words, and written language, obviously, but it is nevertheless true, as we used to say in grade school, that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And by hurt, I mean literally, physically.

Of course, words do have power.  Language can affect the world, and is the means by which we exchange, record, and pass down knowledge and other information.  Written language is the lifeblood of civilization.  But it is only the blood.  It is not the muscle or sinew or bone.  Words cannot conjure magical beings or events, as they can in stories, other than in the sense that they can be used to make such stories.  Perception is not identical with reality, speech is not violence, and as DMX said, “Talk is cheap, motherfucker.”

I don’t know how I arrived at that point in this blog, but it is a message I try very hard to get across.  We can be glad indeed that words cannot literally hurt people, because if they could, it would make the picture of a world in which wishes were horses, complete with their copious excrement, seem almost paradisiacal by comparison.  I know that my wake would probably be littered with corpses.

Hey, maybe that would be a good idea for a horror story (probably a short one): someone discovers that their words literally have the power to hurt people or make other things happen.  It could be called Sticks and Stones.  Actually, I’ve already written a story that has some of that aspect, in The Death Sentence, and I think H. G. Wells wrote a story about a guy who could make things happen by speaking, quite a long time ago.  Not that the concept is exhausted, of course.  There are many things, potentially, one could do with such a story idea.

I don’t think I’m going to be the one to do it, though.  I don’t think I’m likely to write any fiction again, or even live all that much longer.  Not without some kind of help, which does not seem likely to come.

Oh, well, whataya gonna do?  I hope you all have a good day today, and look forward to tomorrow, which is a Friday the 13th, but has nothing to do with the overworked movie franchise.  That’s got to be worth celebrating, right?


words words words

*The “m” is right above the “period” on this phone keyboard, so I briefly made a typo, which the autocorrect showed no sign of changing, that read “another greenhouse gasm”. This sounds like something that might happen to a truly passionate plant lover upon entering a lush, indoor botanical garden when it was deep winter outside.

**Not by me, anyway.  And I don’t think there are any sadists out there cruel enough to make someone read my blog when they have no interest in it.

A story I forgot to mention yesterday…and a poll!

Whew, I’m a bit more tired than I was yesterday morning.  It was a long and somewhat frustrating day at the office yesterday, and then I had trouble getting to sleep and subsequently a bit of that really early awakening with which I sometimes have trouble.  Whatever else you may say about being sick, I have been getting slightly better sleep since my recent illness started, and that is nice.  Hopefully last night was a minor fluke*, and I’ll revert back to my slightly improved sleep pattern at least.  I have reason to suspect it may be so, but it’s not guaranteed.

Oh, by the way, yesterday when I mentioned the possibility of starting writing again, and using solely the cell phone to do so, I neglected to mention the option of starting a new story that would be written entirely on the phone.  If I did start such a novel, it would almost certainly be Changeling in a Shadow World, a story I’ve mentioned here before.  It’s an old story idea; I even wrote the beginning of a prologue to it once, back in the day.  It has ties to other stories of mine, including Outlaw’s Mind itself and The Chasm and the Collision.  It even has bits that hearken back to my lost, first sci-fi/fantasy novel, Ends of the Maelstrom.  So I have some affection for it.

So, please throw that into your voting machines.  Come to think of it, maybe I’ll try to insert a readers’ poll here, if I can easily figure out how to do it.  I know it can be done, because I’ve seen other people do it, but I don’t feel like trying too hard about it.  I’d rather just get some feedback in the comments below.  There’s more flexibility that way, and it feels more like an interaction.  I know that, in some situations, a poll is simply efficient, but I think I still have a contained (shall we say “elite”? Yes, I think we shall) enough readership that we don’t have to resort to crude measures.  That doesn’t mean you can’t curse in your comments, by the way, as long as it’s cursing that serves a grammatical and/or rhetorical purpose!

One thing I will say, though, is that if I do this, and start writing fiction again, I want to stick to whichever story I pick until it’s done.  One of the things that kept me from ever having finished and published anything prior to going to prison was that I would have a new idea for a story, or something similar, and let myself divert from one to the other, and so I had a relatively wide selection of beginnings of books, but only two that I’d finished in even first draft form**.  I also had a handful of completed short stories, and the cheapo, low-quality screenplay I wrote in high school, with the notion of trying actually to make it, starring my friends and classmates.

I even filmed, or attempted to film, one scene, using a home VHS video camera one of them had, but it and the sound were really quite limited, and I had no personal experience with movie-making, and it was high school so we had a lot going on.  Anyway, it didn’t get made, which is not a tragedy.  My friend Joe said that the title*** was too good for the story, anyway, and he was right.

I did write some decent musical themes for it, though, including a bad guy’s theme that drew inspiration from the carousel in Something Wicked This Way Comes, and a main title theme that I can still play pretty much by heart on the piano, and which is probably the prettiest music I’ve written.  That may not be saying much, but it is what it is.

Okay, well, sorry about those various tangents.  I’ll do my best to stick with sines and cosines**** hereinafter.

Anyway, I really would appreciate your input about how I should go about doing a story and the blog posts‒using the phone should make it easier to work writing in, anyway‒and which story to write if I write anything.  Or are things in the world better in general without my writing any more new fiction?  It’s certainly possible that such is the case.  Although, if someone convincingly told me that my continued writing of new fiction would literally and significantly put the whole human race in jeopardy, that might very well give me an added impetus to write.  I am a would-be supervillain at heart, after all.

Well, let me know, please.  Also, have a good day, if you can, and if you are so inclined.

Oh, and I did put a poll in at the bottom, below the footnotes, so if you’re so inclined, would you weigh in with your choice?

*Which sounds like some part of the anatomy of a whale or a seal or some other, similar marine mammal.

**That’s Ends of the Maelstrom that I mentioned earlier, and The Vagabond, which at the time I called simply Vagabond.

***Night Vision.

****This is an example of that truly rarefied entity, trigonometry related humor.  Pythagoras would probably not approve, but he was a putz who repressed knowledge of irrational numbers and the dodecahedron (or his followers did) and who (as I’ve heard it) died when he refused to run away from would be murderers across a field of beans, because he hated beans.  Now that’s what I call a food intolerance!

Some of my thoughts, and a request for some of yours

It’s Tuesday, even though it’s the third day of the year, not the second.  I’ve put in a complaint to the Department of Wordplay Regarding Days and Numbers, but I haven’t heard back from them, and now I think it’s too late to expect that I will.  Sorry.  I did what I could.

Speaking of doing what I could:  boy, yesterday was really pretty tough going.  It was a very busy day at the office, and I was still not at 100% capacity‒far from it.  I’m not really close to 100% today, frankly, though I feel a bit better than yesterday.  Hopefully, my voice will improve some.  I ended up having to do phone stuff a lot yesterday, and by the end I was pretty hoarse, which is (I tentatively conclude) nothing at all like being a pretty horse*.  I would like to do my “podcast” about sugar sometime soon, but I need to wait until my voice is more or less back to normal.

In other news, yesterday I uploaded the whole files of Outlaw’s Mind and The Dark Fairy and the Desperado to Google Drive.  I foresee a day soon when, perhaps, I’m going to adjust my commuting schedule to make it perforce include a bit more walking, and this would also make the commute last a bit longer (including the parts of it that happen on bus and train).  Now, since I’ve come to the provisional conclusion that I write reasonably well using my smartphone‒I’m writing this on my phone‒I thought maybe, just maybe, I might take up one or the other of those stories during a prolonged commute, and doing that with my phone would be easier than with the laptop.

I’m conflicted about this, because I think it might take away from this daily blog posting, to which I’ve become accustomed.  I think, if the commute is long enough, I might be able to do both‒write a first draft of the blog post then jump over to fiction right after that‒but I’m far from sure, and I would definitely want to eat my cake and have it, too.

If I were to start back working on one of those stories, I’d be delighted to get input from any of you out there about which one you think I should continue.  I’ve asked about that before, and as I recall, I didn’t get any replies whatsoever‒certainly not here on the site**.  Please, correct me if I’m wrong.  I would definitely be interested in knowing if any of you have any preference, and even to know that you don’t have a specific preference, but at least have seen and recognized the question.

I’ve posted the full text (so far) of Outlaw’s Mind here on this site, in case you want to run through it and see if you think it should continue.  I have not posted the text of any of DFandD here, but it’s basically a more lighthearted (for me) story about a very deadly outlaw in the old west who gets abducted by a wizard (who is trapped within his own pocket universe) and sent to find a magical being called the Dark Fairy.  Together, they are persuaded to go off on a poly-versal quest to gather some magical things that will allow the wizard to escape his accidentally self-imposed confinement.

It’s a more lighthearted tale, as I said, but this is me we’re talking about, so it will have its share of dark places.  I mean, one of the two main characters (the Desperado) is a gunman so dangerous that every bullet he fires is a kill.  And, of course, the other main character is the Dark Fairy.

Anyway, these are tentative thoughts regarding taking up the metaphorical quill again, but I’d be interested in any of your thoughts on the matter.  If I do it, I want to figure out how not to let it completely derail this blog.

And, of course, I do want to get on with doing “podcasts” or “audio blogs” or whatever I’m going to call them.  I don’t mean to make the entries very long, generally, since it’s asking a lot to have people sit and listen to me blabbering about a subject of my choice for too very long.  Still, presumably, in this large population of organisms on Earth, there is probably an audience for almost anything that’s done in a reasonably coherent fashion, so if you know someone you think might like such a “podcast”, when it comes out, please do consider sharing it with them.  Heck, while you’re at it, if you know anyone you think might like this blog, please let them know about it.

And, of course, if you know fans of fairly dark sci-fi, fantasy, and/or horror, please let them know about my books.  I would dearly love and appreciate it if more people could read them, because I think there are many who would enjoy them.  But perhaps I’m biased and this is my one (willing) indulgence in self-deception.

In any case, thanks for reading.  I hope you have a good Tuesday, and a good year, by and large.  Don’t rely on my good wishes to make it so, though; I optimistically*** called 2020 the “year of seeing clearly”, and we all saw‒ha ha‒how that developed.

Well, most of it wasn’t really my fault.  Was it?

*It’s probably because of things like that that the Wordplay Departments won’t respond to my inquiries.  I give them a bad name‒like “Fauntleroy” or “Ignatius” or something similar.

**And, as I’ve said before, if you want me to see a comment or a reply, you need to put it here, on this site.  I can’t promise I’ll look at Facebook or Twitter more often than I must.  Both venues are far too full of the stench of primate dominance hierarchy games and would-be mating displays for me to stay too long or too often.  An overcrowded monkey cage at a zoo would frankly feel more wholesome; at least the monkeys would have no delusions or pretensions of grandeur.

***Does that count as a play on words?

In the year of the wildebeest, I wish you a “Happy Gnu Year”

Well, first things first (or perhaps first things second, or second things first), since the actual first was a Sunday, I would like now to wish you all a Happy New Year.  I know there won’t be any major holidays for a while, because the Tri-rail announcement has switched over to letting everyone know that it will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Memorial Day, which is in May.  To be fair to them, that’s a holiday in the US that always falls on a Monday, so it does bear announcing that they will be operating on a Sunday schedule that day.

I can’t say I’m unhappy to see the tail end of the holidays, because the single biggest thing they entail for me now is trying not to think about past times when I celebrated them with family and friends, and thinking about such times makes me very sad.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.

So, as you all know, I was already getting sick last week by Wednesday, and then on Thursday, I posted a little blurb that I wrote directly on my phone to the WordPress site, just to let you know that I wouldn’t be doing my usual Thursday post.  By the time I wrote that, I think‒in retrospect‒that I was borderline delirious, and I probably had a fever, though I hadn’t checked my temperature (even as I was feeling better I still had a low grade fever, so it had probably been higher earlier).  I kept seeing weird streaks of movement across the floors and walls (never the ceiling, oddly enough) that looked almost like impossibly fast insects (or small mice?) zipping along straight gridline paths, like light-cycles in Tron, and of course, time was strange, and everything around me was slightly off and disconnected.  It was interesting, and I recognized right away that it wasn’t anything real.  I’ve been delirious before.  I wasn’t bothered by it, other than the fact that I felt like crap.

What had started as a purely respiratory illness, including sneezing and very violent coughing, strangely had spread into my lower GI tract (thankfully there was no throwing up, at least), and by the time I wrote my little Thursday tidbit, I was on the border of recommending to myself that I go to the emergency room to get some IV fluids or summat.  That didn’t really appeal, though, so I did my best rehydrating by mouth and just mostly being asleep/unconscious, between urgent and occasionally semi-catastrophic trips to the bathroom.

It occurred to me during the early hours of Thursday, that if I were to take a turn for the worst, and didn’t have the mental wherewithal to call 911, I might not even have made it to 2023 (which I have done, in case you were wondering).  I doubt I would have been stuck rotting in my room until the people in the other part of the house started to smell me‒people from the office probably would have called the police soon enough before then, since I’ve never been both absent and incommunicado before‒though I’m not sure if any of them know my address off the top of their heads (it’s not as though I ever have any visitors).

I’m frankly pretty okay with that possibility, though as I have said, it would be a shame to die “before my prime”.  Ha ha.  I’m with Dr. House (in the pilot episode of the show) in being of the opinion that there’s simply no such thing as dying with dignity, not really.  There are worse and better deaths, of course; I’m convinced about that.  But as for the rather nebulous term “dignity”, that applies to the way one lives, not to the way one dies.  That’s my point of view on it, anyway.  At least if I just died in my room it wouldn’t inconvenience other people too badly.

Anyway, that’s all by the by, since as far as I can tell, I did not die from my recent illness.  If I’m mistaken about that fact, I do hope someone will let me know.

That makes me think of an idea for a short story.  Imagine a man who has what seems to him to be a harrowing brush with what could have been a fatal accident, leaving him shaken but otherwise fine.  But the next day, when he goes to work or whatever, there are signs of his desk and everything being cleared out, and pretty soon he talks to a coworker or someone, who seems surprised and even puzzled that he is there.  That coworker‒and soon, everyone else‒tells him that, no, he didn’t survive his brush with death, he was killed, and he really needs to stop being in denial about it.

The key element here is that they aren’t freaked out or frightened or even stunned and disbelieving about the fact that he’s trying to go to work and so on despite the fact that‒according to them‒he’s dead.  They’re simply puzzled, in a “why are you doing this?” kind of way, and some are inconvenienced and annoyed, a few telling him that he’s making it very difficult for them to mourn and then get past his loss and to move on with their lives.

There is another layer of explanation behind all this, but I’m not going to tell you what it is, just in case I ever end up writing the story.  It’s not likely, but stranger things have happened‒four whole seasons of them, if I understand correctly.  I had a hard time sticking with that show…couldn’t get past the 4th episode or so, I’m not sure why.  It should have been right up my alley.  Though watching it led me to wonder, were my friends and I the only people who played Dungeons and Dragons (and many other role playing games) without using little figurines?

Well, enough of all that.  I’ll finish up by saying that, yes, I do still intend to do a “podcast” about sugar, and then maybe other subjects depending on how that goes, but I’m going to have to wait a little, because my voice is one of the things affected by my recent/current illness, and I’m going to be talking a lot today because the other verifier is going to be out sick.  In the meantime, I again wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope you have a good first work week of 2023.  Also, given that he’s now back as the 14th Doctor, I thought the following GIF with the 10th Doctor was particularly appropriate for this year.

New Year

Sour grapes may sometimes become fine wine

I’m writing this on my phone again today, because I just didn’t feel like carrying my laptop when I left the office yesterday.  There wasn’t anything particularly onerous about carrying it, but there wasn’t anything particularly beneficial, either, so I figured “just leave it”.  Life is irritating enough already without literally shouldering burdens that don’t seem to offer much benefit.

I think, maybe, if I do ever write any new fiction, I might do it on my phone, as opposed to even just with pen on paper.  The great advantage of writing on the phone is that I can readily do so pretty much anywhere with relative ease.  Even riding a bus would not be particularly troubling for writing on the phone, as I know from personal experience, whereas writing with a mini-laptop, though doable, is far less convenient, as I also know from personal experience.

One difficulty with fiction on a phone as opposed to the laptop is that there tend to be fewer functions available when using the phone, but that is improving all the time.  Already, the Google Docs app has bold and italics and underlining and text color changing available right on the main screen.  They are quickly catching up with MS Word, though Word also has a pretty good phone version of their app.  Of course, for writing on Google Docs, one does seem to need connectivity, whereas with MS Word on the laptop, one can write and save and upload later.

Writing by hand on paper is limited only by the amount of paper one has, but to “upload” those writings is a rather laborious process.  Of course, when I’ve written books by hand, there’s always not only the editing one does when reviewing the previous day’s writing, but also that which one does when typing it in.  That can be quite useful, because the change in format tends to make one look at things differently.  When editing drafts on Word, I often change the font of the whole file each time through, which makes me look at the writing in subtly different ways.  I’m not sure how much actual difference it makes, but I think it at least does something.

Of course, all this may well be moot.  I don’t know if I’m going to write any new fiction, ever.  I don’t think many people will be too disappointed by that.  How many people read books anymore, anyway?  Let’s have a show of hands.

As I thought:  I don’t see anyone but me holding up a hand.  My sister is too far away to see clearly, but I think, or rather I suspect that she’s raising her hand.  I know that she reads.  But who else does anymore?  Maybe I’m fooling myself‒because I was brought up in a home with readers, and then attended an Ivy League university and all that, and married someone I had met there who was also a reader‒but it seems that very few people read actual books anymore.

I was terribly disappointed when Sam Harris, in response to people who think like I do, said that he was not going to be mainly writing books (or even blog posts) much anymore, because his podcast reached more people in 24 hours than one of his books would reach in years.

Of course, my inclination is to respond with the question, “But how many people does your podcast actually, truly reach?”  Podcasts are nice and can be interesting, of course.  But even if they last for hours at a time, their treatment of any subject can only be superficial.  Now, it was thanks to Sam Harris’s podcast that I went out and bought books by people like Eliezer Yudkowsky, Max Tegmark, Paul Bloom, David Deutsch, Yuval Harari, Anne Applebaum, David Frum, Anil Seth, Geoffrey West, and so on.  But it was reading those books that was the real educational experience.  No podcast, even one by as intelligent and skilled an interlocutor as Sam Harris, can really be much more than a superficial skimming.  Sam is better at that kind of thing than anyone else I’ve encountered; he clearly thinks carefully about and deeply understands the subjects he’s addressing.  But even his interactions with his “guests” are just the beginning of interest in their work.

I tend to like his solo podcasts more, when he talks about his own thoughts and reflections on given topics, often in response to questions from his listeners.  His speech is careful and lucid, and he doesn’t seem to approach subjects frivolously.  From him, a solo podcast really is almost like a written article.  But I still wish more people would read, though clearly I’m preaching to the choir here.

Even WordPress, in the main page of the blog when I get on the site, has recently promoted the service of podcast production, with the enticing offer that one can increase one’s reach with a podcast.  Now, I’ve done some of what are, effectively, podcasts, posted here and on Iterations of Zero and on YouTube.  They can be fun to do, and they’re easier on the thumbs than phone-written blog posts, but one cannot do a podcast on a train or a bus…unless one’s podcast is something like “The Sounds of Public Transportation” or similar.  That might be intriguing for an hour, I guess, but after that, I think people would tune out.

Actually, I think people probably tune out a lot of the time on even the best podcasts.  If you’re listening to a podcast while working out, how much can you really think about the subject under discussion?  Not that it’s a waste of time to do it; surely any exposure to interesting ideas is better than none, or to listening to low-quality background music.

Maybe my complaints are just sour grapes born of the fact that my hearing is unilaterally quite poor and accompanied by tinnitus, and that Sam Harris isn’t talking to as many people I find interesting anymore.  I have enjoyed it when I’ve done what I call my “audio blogs”.  They’re more trouble to edit than a blog post, but they are way easier than a video post (and easier on the poor consumers’ eyes than any video that includes me).

Perhaps I’ll do this:  I’ve taken far too long to address the question of sugar that my sister asked me to address, and I haven’t said much about Parkinson’s disease.  Also, I received a fairly recent suggestion about cybernetics/robotic parts and the like.  Maybe I’ll try to record some relatively brief audio files about those.  I’ve learned some new things about audio recording recently, mainly by trial and error after pondering just how close Thom York in particular gets to the mic when he’s singing.  I’m always trying to learn more, I’ll say that for me without too much fear of being narcissistic.

In the meantime, I won’t be writing a post tomorrow, unless something very unexpected happens, and of course I won’t be doing one on Sunday.  For those who celebrate it, Sunday night is the first evening of Hanukkah.  I hope you enjoy it!

Do you Mind?

Well, it’s Monday again, the start of another work week, with only a lucky thirteen shopping days left until Christmas (and fewer until the beginning of Hanukkah or the Winter Solstice).  As is the usual case, I don’t especially know what I’m going to write about today, and though you might think that would mean this post would be brief, it may mean that it will get too long, since I tend to meander when I’m not focused on any destination.

I guess that makes sense, now that I stop and think about it.

I’ve been rereading a bit of Unanimity: Book 2 on and off over the last few days, mainly because some other things I’d been reading and videos I’d been watching had made me realize again something that I’d sort of realized before:  that inadvertently, I’d written in Michael Green a character who probably has Asperger’s.  Maybe other characters I’ve written would fit that mold as well.

Characters often reflect facts about the author, though they also often are very different from their authors.  Otherwise, how could a nice person ever write a bad guy?  Not that I’m saying that I’m a nice person.  I don’t really think I am, though I guess I’m not the most objective judge.  But there are plenty of authors of terrible characters, and of at least morally questionable characters, who are clearly quite nice and positive people.

An author can’t really make a character the nature of whom they cannot even comprehend or grasp.  Of course, Lovecraft could use various forms of hinting and misdirection to make his creatures and beings and gods and whatnots feel real, but only from the outside.  We cannot really get a sense of, for instance, Cthulhu as a character.  Which is fine when you’re literally trying to convey inscrutable, “outside”, alien evil.

Anyway, that’s all just a tangent.  I merely thought it was interesting that I was writing such a character before I’d even begun to be directed to videos about such matters or started to really learn about them more deeply*.  There’s even a point in the book where Michael wonders (as I have) if sometimes the apparent inability of autistic people to process other people’s emotion isn’t because they don’t sense it—which would make them more like psychopaths, which they are not—but that they are over-sensitive to emotion, and that it arrives as a chaotic and overwhelming cacophony whenever they are around other people; that it’s another form of sensory processing disorder, like sensitivity to sounds and to bright and glaring lights, and to over-strong odors and flavors and textures.  This may be part of why eye contact is so difficult for people on the autism spectrum.

Maybe it’s the filter that’s the problem.  Michael wonders this, obviously, because it is how he experiences things, and he’s a neuroscientist and recognizes that he might be on “the very near end of the spectrum” as he says.  But this is not really the point.  The point is, I was writing from my own experience, that being around other people, at least in too great numbers, tends to be overwhelming, because their voices, their noises, their feelings and whatnot, all come flooding in, and I can’t seem to do the metaphorical Fourier analysis of their inputs to make sense of them.

I was always good with patients one on one, partly because I can almost literally feel their emotions, though I can’t and don’t try necessarily to understand them, and I’m not much good at deciphering other people’s motivations or purposes.  In that, however, I don’t feel too bad, because as far as I can see, other people are shit at that, too.

Maybe I’m just projecting, but I think the vaunted human “theory of mind” sense is not quite all it’s cracked up to be.  Mostly, people seem to be terrible at understanding why other people do what they do, and their assumptions, which they rarely seem to question once they make them, tend to be thoroughly narcissistic and hubristic.  Not to say they’re not better at it than the typical person with Asperger’s or similar, but that’s not saying much.

This is why my policy in general is not to try to guess people’s motivations or goals or whatever at anything beyond a coarse level—people aren’t even very good at understanding themselves about such things, as far as I can see—but to take them at their word except when proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt, and, as part of that, to carry the presumption of innocence about other people’s actions.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think (and feel) that many things people do are intolerably stupid, but I presume** that they don’t mean to be stupid and that they have no specific malice behind their actions, at least until the evidence otherwise is overwhelming.  I try to take advantage of my existence as a true stranger relative to other people to be at least as objective and disinterested as I can be.

For the most part, I don’t care much, anyway.  What each person does is generally about the person’s self, not really about other people specifically.  At least, that’s the way it looks to this outside observer.  Most people seem to think that the things that happen in the world are happening specifically to them, which is probably why so many of them feel so sensitive and easily injured and “unsafe”.

When one feels that something an author wrote two hundred years ago was an attack on them personally—they may not think this consciously, but it is the apparent attitude—of course they will find it more stressful and saddening than one would feel simply reading something written in and about and influenced by the happenings and people of an era two centuries ago, people whose children’s children were already dead before most living people’s parents were born.

I guess this is related to the apparent tendency for most people to be in denial about their own personal death, or about the fact that the world existed before they were born—and it’s understandable, though not excusable, because for them, the world did not exist before they were born.  And for them, the world will cease to exist when they die.  And by “them” of course, I refer to every individual.  But it is possible to learn better, and it’s not even all that difficult, which is why I say it’s understandable but not excusable.

Of course, it’s difficult truly to feel it “in your bones” that the world will go on without you once you’re dead, and it’s only a little bit easier thus to feel it about the fact that the world has existed not only for hundreds of millennia (the timespan of humans) but for eons prior to the existence of anyone or even any species alive today.  Again, though, it’s not all that hard to grasp intellectually, and it’s worth doing, because it can give one a bit of perspective sometimes, though not always.

One is still trapped in the body and nature that the world has crafted one to be, and that nature is insular and small on many scales.  But the mind has landscapes of its own, and these can encompass, and even in some cases and senses be larger than, the universe outside.

Speaking of minds:  I wonder if anyone out there has actually read all of Outlaw’s Mind as far as I’ve written and posted it here on my blog.  If anyone has, do you think it would be worth it for me to try to force myself to start writing on it yet again, but—this is my thought—using pen and paper for the first draft, however inconvenient it might be, so that it doesn’t grow quite so large quite so easily as, for instance, Unanimity did?

Mark Red, The Chasm and the Collision, and the story Paradox City were all written by hand in first draft, using BIC® Round Stic® pens on notebook paper.  I think they came out okay, though maybe others would disagree.  I don’t know.  It’s probably a pipe dream to think that I’d be able to force myself to get back to writing, but maybe I could.

If you have an opinion, please leave it in the comments below (NOT on Facebook or Twitter or whatever).  Thanks.

[Oh, and P.S.  to WordPress, regarding their stupid little automatic writing “prompt” for today:  It should read “Whom do you envy?” not “Who do you envy?”  The question calls for the objective form of the pronoun.  I know that I’m being uptight (and I’ll probably fall victim to Muphry’s Law), but a venue called WordPress, all about communicating through the written word, might consider it worthwhile to try to bolster some aspects of traditional grammar.  Perhaps I’m tilting at windmills in this.]

*Though, to be fair, as an MD, I’d learned at least something about such things in the past, but it was very superficial.

**I know, I know—when you presume, you make a Pres out of u and me.  But not all Preses are horrible.

But if you blog it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and it’s time to resume my traditional, weekly blog posting day after a brief hiatus last week due to a rather lackluster tropical storm.  I expect there will be another hiatus next Thursday, since it will be Thanksgiving here in the USA, and that’s probably a more universally observed holiday here than anything but New Year’s Day (the latter being mainly observed because many people tend to be much the worse for wear after New Year’s Eve).

I’m not going to pick up the discussion of Alzheimer’s and/or Parkinson’s disease today, largely because I’m writing this post on my phone*.  Also, Thursday has traditionally been a day for blog posts about writing, especially fiction.  This makes it a good opportunity to address something raised by the same reader, StephenB, in a comment after yesterday’s blog, in which he asked what my thoughts or approaches were to writing good dialogue.

It’s an interesting topic, not least because I’ve never really thought about trying to write good, let alone great, dialogue.  I have, however, always (as long as I can remember, anyway) enjoyed reading both good/great dialogue and good/great narration.  But the greatness of such writing was always measured by how much I enjoyed it or the story in which it took place, and was from my point of view, never in deference to what anyone else said was good or great.

I’ve always tended to notice passages of writing that I find moving or eloquent, and I read and reread them, and often involuntarily memorize them.  In high school, almost every day, I would write some quote or other on the little-used blackboard of the orchestra room**.  I’ve also always loved characters who used words well‒they’re usually villains for some unclear reason‒in various books and movies and comic books and whatnot.  A big part of the reason Lord Foul is one of my favorite villains is because of his way with words (as well as the fact that, despite being a Sauron-style “big bad”, he actually speaks in the stories)***.

I’ve also always watched people around me and listened to them, mostly to try to discern how ordinary people talk and interact and communicate, which has often been far from intuitive for me.  If someone has peculiar habits of speech or sayings, especially funny ones, I’ll tend to remember them, and sometimes these will appear in my characters’ speech.

But when I’m writing dialogue, whether in a story or a play or whatever (it’s been a long time since I’ve written a play or a screenplay, but I did write them, once upon a time), I’m not really trying to make the dialogue good.  I’m not even really thinking about it as “dialogue”.  To me, the characters in my stories are just people‒real people in a sense.  I don’t do any formal process of, for instance, deciding someone’s background or motivations or nature, partly because, as far as I can see, no real people have such clearly defined backgrounds or motivations‒real people are messy and fuzzy‒and partly because it seems boring.

So, when my characters are speaking, they’re just talking to each other, as people talk to each other, and the subjects and words depend on the situations and the vague tendencies of the person talking.  I will have people try to be funny, when the character wants to try to be funny, but I can’t always tell if they’ve succeeded (and it’s often, ironically, funnier when they haven’t).  Sometimes characters get the right words out and make what they’re trying to say clear on the first attempt, and other times the other characters don’t quite get what they were saying, and they’ll have to clarify their point, sometimes with exasperation.

But real people, as far as I can see, don’t do “dialogue”.  They just talk to each other, and it’s very free-form and impromptu and usually quite messy, but sometimes fun.  And, as I said, the people in my stories aren’t anything but people to me, even the “bad guys”, and so they are prone to say whatever they say in any given situation, and succeed or fail at communicating depending on their luck, skill, or circumstances.

Of course, I do a lot of editing as I finalize stories, but I suspect that I edit dialogue far less than I do narration.  I certainly don’t bother trying to be grammatically correct when people are speaking, unless that character is someone who likes to try to do that, because most people‒even I‒don’t speak in grammatically correct sentences.  Occasionally I’ll tweak something if it’s said in an awkward way that’s not a natural kind of awkwardness, or I’ll add something if it occurs to me that this character really wants to say a bit more about a particular subject than was written originally.

And, of course, in The Chasm and the Collision, the characters sometimes deliberately choose not to swear when they definitely wanted to swear, and would have done so, if not for my decision, on my father’s recommendation, not to have any swearing in the book (since it was “kid” oriented).

So I fear I have little advice to give about writing “good dialogue”, but personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to do that.  I doubt Shakespeare ever tried to write good dialogue specifically; he probably just had his characters say what he thought they would say, both to have fun and to advance the plot (and often tweaked into iambic pentameter).  He ended up making some truly great dialogue, but I think his goal was just to write an enjoyable, moving play that people would be willing to pay to go and see.  The man had to make a living.

I’m no Shakespeare (clearly), but I basically just read what I enjoy and try to write what I enjoy, and my characters aren’t Characters, they’re just people.  They don’t do dialogue, they just talk, like people do, often saying stupid things, and interrupting each other, talking way too much, too loudly, and in singularly unflattering ways.  I don’t know if that counts as any kind of advice or insight; these are just my thoughts on the subject.

That’s my own “dialogue” for the day.  I hope you got some fun out of it, and that you have a good day, and a good week, and have whatever conversations you have with your friends/loved ones that seem to fit.  And, of course, please comment here with suggestions for subjects and topics or inquiries regarding matters about which you’d like me to write.


socrates dialogue bubble

*I didn’t bring my laptop when I left work early yesterday, exhausted beyond belief by Monday and Tuesday nights.  I wish I could say I’d gone on some kind of binge on those evenings, but alas, I can’t even usually finish a single glass of wine, and apart from caffeine, allergy medicine, and OTC analgesics, I don’t use any drugs.

**The orchestra teachers were pretty easy-going about this, presumably because I was a good student and the process was nominally educational and occasionally interesting or amusing.  They did give me the “dusty cello award” in my senior year, near graduation, for my idiosyncratic habit, and that very much caught me off guard.  I never really realized it was odd or funny.

***He’s the second person we “meet” from the Land, in the chapter “Invitation to a Betrayal”, and I doubt I will ever forget the final paragraph of his warning to Thomas Covenant:  “One more word.  A final caution.  Do not forget whom to fear at the last.  I have had to be content with killing and torment, but now my plans are laid, and I have begun.  I shall not rest until I have eradicated hope from the Earth.  Think on that, and be dismayed.”

The time is out of joint : O cursed spite, that ever I was blogg’d to set it right!

Hello and good morning, everyone reading this.  It’s Thursday again, and time for my more traditional, weekly blog post, that I’ve maintained for some years, unlike the daily one I’ve been doing in recent months.  I’m not sure how long I’ve been doing the daily one, now, to be honest.  It feels both like a short time—in that I can sort of remember the sense of when I started doing it and stopped writing fiction and stopped playing guitar—but also a long time in the sense that it’s difficult to feel the memory of it ever having been otherwise than it is right now.

All things can feel eternal sometimes.

Speaking of writing fiction, last Saturday I wrote a post in which I reminded people of the YouTube “videos” of me reading the first nine chapters of The Chasm and the Collision, as well as three, I think, of my short stories.  I don’t know if anyone has listened at all, but if you have, I would greatly appreciate any feedback you might have to offer, and if you’re interested in having me read any more.

Anyway, because I posted about it, I decided to reread that book, and I’m not quite halfway through the reread—I’ve been interspersing it with reading the latest Richard Dawkins book, Flights of Fancy, and then I’m reading Emmy Noether’s Wonderful Theorem, which I got after mentioning her earlier this week.  I think CatC has stood the test of time, at least for me.  I don’t feel too uncomfortable recommending it as a family-friendly book, a “fantasy” adventure for the young and the not-so-young alike.  I don’t know if it’s my favorite of my books or not, but I like it.

I like most of my stories, really, which is good, because it’s hard to tell if many other people even read them.  If anyone has read any of my books, having bought them from Amazon, I’d really appreciate if you’d rate them.  I’m not asking you to write a review—I know that can be a pain—but you can give it a star rating with only the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger.

I try to remember at least to rate every book that I read, but only once I’ve finished them.  That probably biases my ratings toward the higher end of the scale, since if I dislike a book enough, I’m not going to finish it.  But, really, I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that I’d give one star, not even Swan Song, which I did not finish.  Somebody worked for a long time writing each and every one of those books, and the mental effort is not small.

Also, if there was a book so bad (to me) that it would be likely to give it one star, I think I’d recognize ahead of time that it wasn’t something I was going to like, and just wouldn’t buy it.  But, if you have read any of my books and think they only are worth one star, then by crikey, rate them one star.

I kind of wish I felt like writing, because both Outlaw’s Mind and The Dark Fairy and the Desperado are well begun, and I like both stories.  I’m a bit more attached to the former, partly because I’ve been working on it longer (though DFandD as a story idea is quite a bit older).  If anyone would be interested, I could post at least the beginning bits of the latter story here, like I did with Outlaw’s Mind, so you can see how it is, but I haven’t edited it at all (except the quick reread of the previous day’s work before writing on any given day), so it may be quite raw.

Seriously, though, I doubt there’s anyone interested in any of it.  I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.

Not that there’s anything else to do with my time but waste it.  I certainly have nothing useful to do.  Every day I feel like I want to slice my own skin off, or beat myself around all my major joints with a hammer, or maybe just break and burn everything I own.  Yesterday, at a frustrating moment, I honestly came perilously close to smashing the guitar I have at work, but instead I was able to take some of my stress out by just snapping a pen in my hands.  It was a good snap; it broke into four apparent pieces, one of which I haven’t found.  I guess it went flying.

Sometimes several times a day, on web searches and on my phone browser and in my contacts, I keep looking at the site and the numbers of the suicide prevention hotline.  But I can’t bring myself to use it, not after what happened to me last time I did.  I really don’t want to be handcuffed or locked up again, not ever.  I tried very hard all my life to do and be good and to do “right”, or at least not to do “wrong”, to live a life where I wouldn’t have such things happen to me, and yet they did anyway, and I lost everything I had that I hadn’t already lost.  I don’t want a repeat of that.  It’s not fun.

Also, honestly, I feel like I don’t have any right to ask for anyone’s help or to use any public resources (or private resources) to help me, though I need it desperately.  I don’t have anything to offer in return.  I don’t really think I’m worth saving, and I don’t think anyone else really thinks I am either.  It’s certainly unlikely that anyone will pine for me when I’m gone.

Well, that’s enough of that.  At least, for what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s going to go on for much longer.  I’m barely getting through each day, frankly.  But the days do seem to last for such a long time.  That’s that subjectively confusing sense of duration I mentioned earlier.

I do hope that all of you are doing okay, and that you’re in the company of friends and loved ones, and that you enjoy doing things with them, even boring, everyday things.  Hold onto that shit.  Seriously.  Nothing else is as important.  Probably.  Though, what would I know?


[Apologies, but there is no picture today.]

A brief reminder of my “audio stories”

Well, I’m working today—as I will also be doing Monday—so, obviously, I’m writing a blog post.  Aren’t you excited?

When I arrived at the train station this morning, I thought the whole system was shut down somehow, because the “garage-door” style barriers were closed, blocking the stairs, the elevators, and the payment machines, like they do when there’s a hurricane coming (there isn’t…I check frequently).  However, it turns out that the guy who opens them just hadn’t arrived yet.  He only arrived after I had gone all the way down to the end of the station to the road to cross the tracks and had come all the way back up on the side on which I need to be.

Ah, well, it’s a little bit of extra exercise, and that can’t be too bad, can it?

I planned yesterday to mention the subject of some of my reading-aloud “videos” of my fiction, but the post got to be too long, and it would have been a very abrupt change of topic, considering I was writing about my difficulties seeking and finding and begging for help when one is circling the drain, as I am.  I haven’t gotten any useful answers, other than a commiserating one to the effect, “Whataya gonna do?  You just gotta keep on moving.”  I can respect that attitude.  It’s far better than someone pretending to have answers when they don’t.  But it doesn’t help me figure out why one should bother to keep moving.  I can’t see any reason, honestly, and the effort has long outweighed the reward for me.  I’m frankly skeptical that there is any reward at all, or that there has been one for some time.


Quite a while ago, I did some recordings of me reading some of my stories, and I turned them into videos, though the “video” portion is nothing but the cover of the story in question.  I think they came out reasonably well; I’ve always been decent at reading stories out loud.  But they didn’t and don’t get much play, even though they are a free way to listen to my (already cheap) short stories, which is why I stopped doing them.

I also recorded and uploaded onto YouTube the first nine chapters of my book The Chasm and the Collision.  This is my most family friendly story, since I wrote it with my kids—who were in fifth and fourth grades when I started it, I think—in mind.  It a story about three middle-school students who become caught up in a trans-universal “fantasy”* adventure.

Thanks to the very wise advice of my father, there’s not even a single curse word in the whole book, though there are scary bits, since there is real danger in the story.  Real danger to the characters, I mean.  I don’t mean to say that reading the story is dangerous.  It’s not.  My sister has read the book several times, now, and she says it’s her favorite of my stories.  As far as I can tell, it has nothing to do with the fact that she fell and hit her head earlier this week.

I recorded the first nine chapters, but I finally stopped doing it, because, as I said, no one seemed to be listening.  I thought it was a shame, but it was a lot of work to do the reading and then the editing of the audio (though it helped me learn Audacity, which was definitely worthwhile).  Since then, at various times, I’ve thought that maybe I would like to pick up on reading the chapters and uploading them, and then maybe even start to record and upload my other books, a bit at a time**.  I’ve also got a few more short stories and novellas that I haven’t recorded and uploaded, and they could be stand-alone “videos”.  But, again, it’s a lot of work, and it would be doubly frustrating if no one ever listens.

I’m embedding here, below, the YouTube video of the first chapter of The Chasm and the Collision, so that people can get a sample of it.  I’m also going to see if it’s possible to embed the YouTube playlist that is all the “videos” that I’ve done so far from that book, and maybe even the playlist that has the “short” stories that I’ve read aloud and posted.  Again, it’s a good way for people to get exposed to the stories*** for free.

If you listen and like them, I obviously would be delighted if you’d decide to buy them.  All my stories are available for Kindle, and my novels and collections are available in paperback as well.  My last collection, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities is even available in hardback.  Here’s a link to my Amazon author’s page, so you can peruse them:  The Link.

If there’s more than one person out there who would be interested in hearing more of me reading my stories, please let me know in the comments below.  You can also leave story-related comments on YouTube.

Nowadays one can self-publish for Audible, which is kind of neat, but I think I’m going to stick with the YouTube format, because it’s more informal, and it’s free for listeners so they can introduce themselves to the stories, as read by the author.  I’m very self-hating in general, and that hasn’t changed, but I think my stories are pretty good, and I’m especially proud of The Chasm and the Collision, because I wrote it with my kids in mind—though I don’t think either of them has ever read it, and they probably never will.

That’s about all I have for today.  Nothing has really changed since yesterday, so there’s no other real news to give.  Have a good holiday weekend, for those of you in the United States.  And everyone else, I hope you just have a good weekend.

Here’s the embedding of those videos and playlists, if I can successfully do the latter:

*I put that in “scare quotes” because if you pay attention when you read it, you’ll notice it’s actually a science fiction story.  But the character of the tale is definitely more like fantasy than sci-fi.

**Boy howdy, wouldn’t Unanimity end up taking up a looooooong time?

***That makes them sound radioactive, somehow.  As far as I know, they are not.

What else should I be?

Thank Cat it’s Friday, or words to that effect.

To be honest, I work tomorrow, so it’s not as though it’s really the end of my work week, but I’ll still try to enter somewhat into the spirit of things.  I might as well do that from time to time, right?

I hope not too many people were put off too much by my blog post yesterday.  I was not feeling well at all—physically, yes, but mainly mentally—and I didn’t feel like pretending that I was.  I’ve decided that I’m not going to try to court popularity, or whatever, with this blog, at least no more than is purely instinctual, but will just try to convey the honest thoughts and feelings that spring into my mind.  Unfortunately—perhaps—for those of you who read this, my mind works somewhat a-neuro-typically, and always has, and I also have my irritating chronic pain and a longstanding mood disorder, so sometimes my thoughts and feelings will be unpleasant.

Actually, it’s entirely possible that, at some point, you may witness a full-scale and complete mental breakdown on this blog.  Heck, you may already have witnessed part of it.  In the spirit of Descartes, I can’t be sure that I haven’t already had a full-scale and complete mental breakdown before I’ve even started writing this.

There certainly seem to be weird numbers of people and vehicles about this morning, doing things they don’t normally do, but no one is doing anything that isn’t allowed by the laws of physics (as I understand them), there just is an unusual number of them.  For instance, there are at least three people sleeping or near-sleeping on benches in the train station, and one person lying in the crosswalk bridge, but they don’t seem to be homeless people.  At least two of them are actively using cell phones.  It makes me wonder if there was an Amtrak train that was cancelled late last night or something, and all these people are waiting for one to come in the morning.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the weird number of cars out and about and seeming activity in a place that’s usually only operative on Friday nights and into the weekend.  I haven’t lost track of the days, have I?  This is Friday, isn’t it?  I was wrong about the date of one of the posts I saved earlier this week, though I did fix it the next day, and the error didn’t show up in the post.  My computer says it’s Friday, but I could, in principle, be imagining my computer.  I don’t think so—none of this feels like a dream—but who knows?

I suppose that’s always the question, and it’s a notion that has been raised all the way from Plato, through Descartes, and up to and including The Matrix.  I doubt that I’ll add any particular insights to the exploration.  I just get stressed out when new things happen that interfere with my routines, but none of what I’ve described above has actually done so; it’s all just curious.  If I were still writing fiction, I might even imagine a supernatural story that might involve these curious things happening, explaining them in a way that at first seems just banal—like the actual reality of the events that I am encountering—but turns out to be the first hint of something “unnatural” and possibly terrifying.

Meanwhile, my own mental deterioration, which is real*, is much more banal, and unfortunately, it doesn’t feel frightening.  Not to me.  I suppose the breakdown of a person with paranoid schizophrenia is probably a truly terrifying thing, from within and even sometimes on the outside.  Mine is subjectively underscored by a diminishment of any feeling of engagement or connection, except sometimes in the form of revulsion and irritation.  The irony is that I probably am in much greater physical danger—from myself—than a schizophrenic might imagine himself or herself to be in, but I don’t feel like screaming or trying to escape.  And I know already that my cries for help are ineffectual.

I’m just skimming along in a passenger jet that’s running out of fuel (and which has no apparent other passengers, which is a good thing) over the contours of a wilderness, losing altitude slowly, unable to shift the controls no matter how I try, with a radio that apparently doesn’t work.  If anyone is hearing my calls, they must be getting a lot of it mired in static, because no one seems actually to grasp what I’m trying to say.

Eventually, some bit of the landscape is going to jut up enough that the plane is going to crash—though I suppose it’s physically possible for there to be a happy accident and the aircraft will skid to a halt on a long flat stretch of prairie or something.  It’s an awful lot to expect.  All I can do, or so it seems, is buckle up and see if I survive when the crash happens.

Honestly, I’m not entirely inclined to buckle up.  I’ve been on this plane for a long time, and it’s not got much to recommend it.  The scenery outside isn’t interesting, possibly because it’s dark out.  I can’t even seem to nudge the yoke downward to speed up the crash, though I have tried, and it seems like there might be just a bit of give in that direction.  But habit, biology, and all the people who always tell you not to give up, make me think I’m supposed to wait and see if, just maybe, something will change, or a voice will come on the radio giving me new, useful instructions about how to get out of this situation and even, just maybe, get back to the place I was before, or someplace like it.

I’m not optimistic, though, either by nature or by anyone’s description.  I figure that sooner or later, as I said, this vessel is going to crash.  I don’t know for sure what shape that crash will take in the outer world.  But if, one day, I suddenly just stop writing these blog posts, that’s probably what happened.  I don’t think it’ll be tomorrow, but I can’t be certain.  Yesterday was a very bad day.

The terrain I’m flying over is not perfectly level; there are hills and trees and even the ruins of old buildings, possibly not built by any human, scattered along it.  There may be mountains jutting up at any point in my path.  It’s hard to tell how high above the ground I am—I guess the altimeter is broken—but I’m not as high as I was a week ago, or a month ago, or a year ago.  I’m losing altitude, and there is going to be a point where the air stops and a hard surface begins.

All right, sorry, I’ve pushed that metaphor more than far enough.  It would be a shame to crash it into the ground, though perhaps I’ve done so already.

I expect I’ll write another blog post tomorrow, and if you’re interested, you can read it.  I’m trying to take my masks off as much as I can, and my true face is not pleasant to look at, so I can’t guarantee it’ll be fun or funny or whatever.

But it will be me.  How could it be anything else?  I’ve never wished to be anyone else, though I’ve often wished I could be a better version of me, to quote Fiona Apple.  I can’t even comprehend what it could possibly mean to want literally to be someone else.  If I were to become someone else, then that wouldn’t be me being someone else, it would just be someone else.  And there are already plenty of other people about who aren’t me.

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now, at least.  I sincerely hope you’re all doing as well as you possibly can, which I should have said yesterday.  Do your best to enjoy the absurdity and to surf on the chaos.  I’m sure it can actually be great fun if you have the skill.

*Though today I am in a better mood than I was yesterday, I do not feel at all that I am in a normal state of mind.  It’s just relatively better.  All things are measurable relative to their local environment.