Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your blogs? your flashes of merriment…

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday (July 14th, 2022), and so it’s time for my normal, usual, regular weekly blog post—as opposed to the semi-daily posts I wrote last Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so far, in case anyone reading here today didn’t know I was doing them.  If you read my weekly blog posts, and if you find my writing either entertaining or morbidly fascinating or some other adjective that makes you want to read more, do feel free to check those out.

Heck, while you’re at it, if you like my writing, why not consider buying and reading some of my actual novels or short stories or collections?  You can find all of them on Amazon, and a few of them are also available through Wal-Mart’s website and Books-A-Million as well, I think.  If you do happen to read something of mine, please at least rate it afterwards (if through Amazon, anyway), even if you don’t feel like leaving a review.  Be brutal, be frank, that’s fine, but please rate if you can.

Okay, that’s got that bit of self-promotion out of the way.  Trust me, it’s not an easy thing for me to do.  As I think I’ve said before, I’m not very keen on myself as a person—I don’t like to spend time in my own company, but I don’t have much choice about doing so, though there are choices of sorts—and so I feel rather awkward trying to promote my works.  But I think I’m a decent author.  At least, I like my stories for the most part, and believe me, I’m not prone to be kind to myself.

I like some of my works more than others, but that’s almost inevitable.  If I liked them all equally and unconditionally, it would be hard for me to think I could recommend any of them.  Unconditional love, as I’m fond of saying, is worth what you have to do to earn it.  Or, to paraphrase Dash from The Incredibles, reflexively saying “Everyone’s special” is just another way of saying that no one is.

Of course, it’s possible for everyone to be special but in different ways and to differing degrees among the many ways it’s possible to be special, and this is almost certainly the case in reality.  By genes alone there are many more ways to be human (or whatever species I am) than there have been people who have ever lived, and then there are all the other variables raised by environment and the astonishingly plastic and adaptable and versatile nervous system humans have*, meaning there are many more orders of magnitude of ways for a mind to form even beyond genetic variability.  Frankly, I’m amazed it doesn’t go worse than it does more often.

Despite my own endorsement of my stories, I’m not able to rouse myself to write any fiction for now, so I’ll continue to write daily blog posts for the nonce**.  For all I know, I may never write any more fiction again.  In fact, based on my self-assessment, I would give fairly high odds that I won’t, just as I don’t think these daily blog posts will go on that much longer.  There seems little point in continuing to try to do much of anything in the long run, at least for me.

But who knows?  Maybe I’m wrong.  Prediction is a tricky business, especially about the future***.

I am thinking (very vaguely, to be fair) about reading aloud some more of the chapters of The Chasm and the Collision and sharing them here and on YouTube as “videos” as I’ve done for the first (I think) nine chapters so far, and as I’ve done for some of my short stories.  It always feels a little weird putting up a “video” that’s really just an audio recording accompanied by a single graphic image, but it would feel even weirder to make an actual video of me just reading my story.  Looking at my face while trying to listen to a novel isn’t going to help anyone’s enjoyment.

With that, I think I’ll begin drawing to a close for the day on this, my usual weekly blog post.  There’s nothing much going on other than these blog posts.  I haven’t played guitar in weeks, nor written any fiction, and I don’t see that turning around.  Similarly, I don’t really do anything for fun in the evenings after work, nor on weekends…nor during work hours for that matter.  I have a hard time even finding books that I want to read—when even The Lord of the Rings gets boring to me, I know I’m reaching the end of my resources.  I certainly don’t hang out with anyone; I’m not so cruel a sadist as to inflict my company on other people more than is absolutely necessary.  I’m basically just spending most of my time dilly-dallying near the edge of a bottomless precipice and doing a lot of glancing over and thinking that it doesn’t really look too bad down there.  It’s certainly less dull and dreary than it is up here.

TTFN

skull drawing


*Yes, I know, sometimes it doesn’t seem that the human nervous system is very adaptable and versatile, to say nothing of being very bright, but on this planet, at least, it’s definitely an outlier with respect to high complexity.  It’s not its fault that most humans make poor use of it.

**Why doesn’t the nonce write its own blog posts, you ask?  Well, the nonce is notoriously lazy but nevertheless noisily demanding.  It’s easier just to write its blog posts so it’ll shut up.

***That’s a quote—or at least a paraphrase.

Crowns in my purse I have and blogs at home, and so am come abroad to see the world.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again—the last Thursday in March of 2022, and indeed, the last day of March in 2022.  Given those things, it must be time for my weekly blog post.  Actually, those latter two facts are irrelevant to it being time for my blog post; they are merely trivia.  But they give me something to say, at least, and “trivia” is not always trivial*.

I’ve not gotten much done on Outlaw’s Mind this week—none at all, in fact—partly because the story is making me feel kind of glum**.  I like Timothy Outlaw, as a person, and I feel bad about things that are happening and are going to happen to him, so it gives me a rather unpleasant feeling, since after all I am the one doing it.

But I didn’t want to stop writing, so I decided, more or less on a whim, at the beginning of the week, to start work on a project that’s been “waiting” even longer than Outlaw’s Mind:  My “light-hearted” fantasy adventure Dark Fairy and the Desperado.

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This is a story that took its earliest origin in two doodles I drew—well, okay, they weren’t doodles, they became legitimate cartoon drawings, really, and they were based on two real people.  One was based on a picture of me, dressed up as a western gunslinger type from when I had gone to visit Universal Studios (the one in California).  The other was based on the Halloween costume of a friend of mine that I had met and spoken to online.  Once I had the drawings, eventually I decided I wanted to think of a story involving the characters.

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This is the first drawing of the Dark Fairy, looking pure and happy as she contemplates the fiery destruction of a human city. She has her reasons.

I had thought of making a manga about them, much as I had meant to do for Mark Red.  However, though I drew many pictures of them—some of which I will have included in this post—and of other characters they met in their travels, and I even drew and colored the first page of a potential manga, I eventually realized that I don’t have enough enthusiasm for making manga to get me to keep working on one.

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This is NOT the first picture of the Desperado, which I haven’t been able to locate, but I like it.

As with Mark Red, I’ve long planned to write the story of the DFandD as a book, and so I took that as my distraction from Outlaw’s Mind for now.  I did, of course, post the next part of the latter story here on Tuesday, and will continue to do so until I reach the latest point so far, but I may otherwise take another hiatus from Timothy Outlaw.  I think I’ve done too much horror over and over for a while, and I need to write something that doesn’t involve quite as much fear and despair for the characters.

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The first meeting of the Dark Fairy and the Desperado. It turns out better than it seems.

It being me who is writing, there will, of course, still be violent and even sometimes “horrific” elements—even the main characters are dangerous people, to say the least—but it will have a much more tongue-in-cheek attitude.  For instance, one of the people our protagonists encounter will be an extra-dimensional demi-god who calls herself Lucy; she is a huge fan of the Beatles, and she models herself and her universe on their songs.  I like her, and I’ve drawn some fun pictures of her, as well, with hints of kaleidoscope eyes and all.

In other news, I’ve been trying to get into shape for my planned, or hoped-for, “epic” quest, and I’ve come a long way, baby.  I’ve increased my walking time to over two hours nonstop, and I walked over six miles two days ago.  I’m taking the train today (as I did yesterday), which forces extra walking on me and gives me extra time to write while commuting.  I’m writing this on the train right now (though I’m unlikely to be on the train when you read it).  I’m also getting a bike, and I may end up using that at times to get to and from the station, giving me even more of a workout.

Partly this is all an attempt to fight my depression, which is supposed to be improved by regular exercise.  I’m sorry to say that it hasn’t been helping much so far; every day I have severe bouts of self-hatred and despair, when I literally wish for death.  But maybe after enough time it will make a difference.  If not, I can always try to exercise until it kills me.  And in the meantime, I’ll get into better shape.  Either way, it’s good.

Also in the meantime, I’ll be working on DFandD, which I may end up starting with the definite article, thus making it The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Let me know what you think, if you have any opinion about which would be better.  I don’t promise that I’ll be persuaded by your arguments, but I do promise to pay attention to them.  I’d also actually like to hear what you think about my present diversion from Outlaw’s Mind to Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I don’t know if anyone out there has actually been reading the sections of Outlaw’s Mind as I’ve been posting them and might be devastated, or at least disappointed, if I leave another long hiatus before finishing it.  If that’s the case for anyone, please do let me know.

In the meantime, I hope you all are as well as you can possibly be, living in a world dominated by humans.  Honestly, I don’t know what most of you see in them.  I guess, every once in a while, among seven or eight billion, there are a few of them that are pretty good, and who may even make it worth putting up with the rest, as the 12th Doctor said.  I’m not convinced, but I’m willing to consider it.

TTFN

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My favorite picture of the Dark Fairy

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A very early scene which is in fact about to be written! Even if you’re dying of thirst in the desert, you don’t want water doing that.


*Though in this case, it probably is.

**I know, right?  It’s unheard-of.

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the blog

Goodo and hell morning!  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time for the latest edition of my weekly blog post.  I haven’t posted any teasers this week because, as you’ll know if you follow my blog, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities is now published, and is available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover formats.  That latter fact is rather exciting, in a silly sort of way, though I’ve yet to see a copy of the hardcover in person, so I’m not sure how good it will be.  If it’s comparable to the paperback, it will be quite nice.

I’ve considered doing some other teasers now and then—perhaps once a week—of portions of some of my other books, to try to stimulate interest in them.  Obviously, I couldn’t do all that much at once; I’m not sure that it would make sense, for instance, to post an entire chapter at a time from one of my novels, since the chapters are generally at least ten pages long, and often quite a bit longer.  Still, I’d love your feedback regarding whether you would be interested in such a thing, and if so, if you have any requests.  In other words, is there some book of mine that you think might be interesting, but you’re not sure, and so would welcome a taste of what the book might be like?

Of course, it’s like pulling teeth to get most anyone to read even a short story nowadays.  Perhaps it has ever been thus.  I may be biased by the influence of my immediate family, who were and are more avid readers than most, even accounting for the fact that when I was young cable TV hadn’t come out, let alone VCRs or DVDs, etc.  We had only black and white TVs until Cosmos arrived on public television, and I don’t remember feeling deprived.  There were always books around, plenty of them; they were prominent in the room I shared with my brother, and in my sister’s room, and in the living room.

I often lament (privately) the fact that a generation is growing up that will get almost all of its information from video of one kind or another.  But when I think about it, I guess reading has rarely been something most people spend much time doing, even in the days before television or movies but after the invention of movable type printing.  Newspapers, of course, were long the only sources of popular news, but I suspect only a minority of people seriously partook of them.  What’s more, I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite the ubiquity of video, the various online editions of newspapers and magazines now accumulate a far greater regular combined circulation and true readership now than they ever have before.

Unfortunately, many people seem not to have patience for reading anything that’s longer than 280 characters, and conversely—or obversely, or inversely, or perhaps just perversely—some “journalists” produce their news “reports” by sifting through the drek of such 280-character postings.  It’s a sad state of affairs, but maybe this is as high a level of information exchange as most of us have always reached most of the time—the level of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram—but no one had any way to hear about practically any of it, and much nonsense tended to be locally confined, and didn’t interact and reproduce with other nonsense.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t good things and quite intelligent things going on via the above-mentioned social media*; there certainly are, and YouTube has some truly excellent educational videos of various kinds.  But how I would love to imagine that, when most people are staring at their smartphones, they are avidly enjoying some e-book—fiction or otherwise, on whatever subject or in whatever genre they enjoy—or an intelligent blog or magazine article or written news from reputable sources.  If I thought that were the case, I think I might feel much less depressed than I generally do.  Maybe I wouldn’t.  After all, my depression is mainly endogenous, and it’s been very difficult to treat.  Maybe I’d hate the world and my life and myself even if I lived in some near-Utopia…though one could at least hope that such a world would have developed more effective** treatments than we currently have here.

Oh, well.  If wishes were horses, we’d all be shoulder deep in horseshit.

Back to writing:  now that The Cabinet*** is out, I’ve returned to Outlaw’s Mind, which I hadn’t realized had not been added to in about a year—not since September 10th of 2020, I think.  I’m still going through what I’d previously written, but I’ve almost reached the point where I’m going to add new material, unless something kills me first—which, to be honest, doesn’t seem like it would be such a bad thing.  I’m tired.  I’m so very tired.  The last time I can remember having a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling at all rested was back in the mid-nineties.  Literally.  I’m very tired, and I’m very much alone, but I guess this is just the general condition of life, or at least it is for people like me.  It’s October now—this being the first Thursday in October—and that’s a good month to be thinking about such things.

With that in mind, I’m sharing below a picture I’ve been working on, which is appropriate for the Halloween season.  I did the base drawing quite some time ago—a few years, I think.  I even posted it on Facebook**** at the time, if memory serves.  But I’ve decided to do a bit of playing around with smoothing the lines and coloring it in layers and so on, using the computer program GIMP, which is a wonderful freeware (if that’s still the term) program that does most of what Adobe Photoshop did and does but without requiring ridiculous monthly fees.  Look into it and give them a donation if you get a chance; it’s a great thing.  And please, let me know what you think of the current version of my drawing.  And of my books, if you get the chance.

Oh, and while you’re at it, please take good care of yourselves, your families, and your friends.  Readers and writers are the guardians of the lifeblood of all that’s good in human civilization.  You are necessary; you are essential.  And while you’re at that, do your best to take care of and/or at least be kind and polite to everyone else.  None of us created our own genes or environment, we’re all just muddling through as best we can.  And kindness, I’m led to understand, is just as contagious as cruelty, and is far more productive, and thus much stronger, in the long run.

TTFN

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*And it goes without saying that WordPress is a haven for far higher-than-average quality information sharing.

**And affective treatments, ha-ha.

***I prefer to shorten it to The Cabinet rather than to use its initials, which would spell out DECoC.  I think you can see why.

****See, I even use it myself, though I haven’t gotten on it for more than two minutes at a time in ages; it stresses me out beyond endurance.

And their gross painting might be better used where cheeks need blogs

Okay.  Well.  Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday.  Therefore, it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts, the last one in August of 2021.  This year, this month, this day, will never exist again…unless time itself is cyclical, which I suppose is possible, in principle.  If that were learned to be the case, I guess it would be both good and bad—we’d be able to look forward[i] to reexperiencing all the positive things that have happened in our lives and in history, but then again, all the bad things in our lives, and the bad things in history, would also repeat.  I guess that suggests that, if we ever come to suspect that time is on a loop and history literally repeats itself, we should really try hard to maximize the number of good things and minimize the number (and severity) of bad things, since they are all going to happen again…and again…and again, ad infinitum.

I missed a day of editing this week on In the Shade—that was Tuesday morning—because I got distracted by some utterly trivial math(s)-based curiosity, which I described in a post yesterday on Iterations of Zero.  As of the time of this writing, not one person has “liked” that post, and I’m not sure if anyone has read it.  Part of the reason for that is surely because I post quite irregularly on IoZ, so even people who would be interested wouldn’t know when to look for it.

I also spewed out a little post at IoZ on Monday, about some “environmental” notions that came to me then, which have come to me before, that I figured I might as well share in case there was any possibility that they ever might be useful or interesting to anyone.  What are the odds?

Actually, that question might be an interesting point of departure for another Iterations of Zero post, but I’ll leave that for the future.  Or for nonexistence, since there’s every chance that I won’t ever write anything else about it.  The odds of that, at least, are likely greater than fifty percent.

Anyway, the editing is going along nicely.  I’m almost done with the penultimate run-through of In the Shade, and then I’m going to be laying out and arranging my collection, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  I intend to draw and paint the cover picture myself, if I can manage it.  It’s not anything new for me to design my covers—I’ve designed and laid out all the covers of my books and stories so far.  But the last time I actually drew, then inked, then painted, an illustration that went on the cover of a book was for Mark Red, and I didn’t create that picture with the intent of making it into the cover.  I just did it for fun, years earlier.  But I liked it and thought it captured some of the essence of the character in manga-style, which is how I had originally imagined the story, so I used it.

I also drew and colored (with colored pencils) the picture on The Chasm and the Collision, but that was specifically meant to be the drawing that Meghan rather hastily made after her dream of Burdock Tamis, and so is purposely somewhat simplistic.

For this coming collection, I want to draw (and then ink and color) a sort of prototypical cabinet of curiosities, with shelves and doors and the like, with items inside representing or referring to the various stories that will be included.  But I’m out of practice, especially with painting, so I bought some cheap (but decent) watercolors and some slightly less cheap inks of a kind that I used in the past[ii] as well as some water-color paper.  None of it is top quality, but I’m neither good enough nor picky enough for that to matter.  Still, I at least want to try to get a little practice in and reacquaint myself with such things before I go and try to do the cover art.

I may be setting myself up for embarrassment by mentioning this.  If the book comes out and the cover is not an inked and water colored picture, then people who have read this who also see the cover will know[iii] that I was not able to produce anything that satisfied me.

Again, how likely is it that such a person exists, other than I?  I have a hard time estimating the odds on that one.

At least I’m being somewhat productive, both here and on Iterations of Zero.  I even have another “audio blog”/video that I did last week—I think—that I haven’t even posted yet.  I may put it up this weekend.  In the meantime, if you are interested in pointless math or in odd ideas about energy and the environment, do please go check out those posts on Iterations of Zero.  And definitely, definitely, buy my books, in paperback or e-book form, whether you find them interesting or not[iv].

And of course, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones and friends and try not to be unkind to everyone else while you’re at it.  Try to avoid getting sick and spreading illness to others; and do all the other ordinary things civilized people do when forced to live amongst other members of their species.

Also, try your best to be as happy as you can reasonably be.

TTFN

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[i] Not literally, of course.  In a sense that would be looking both backward and forward, but we wouldn’t really be able to anticipate anything, anymore than the hero of a movie can look forward to the point where he or she defeats the bad guy like they did the last time you watched.  For them, it’s always undecided.  For all they know, they might very well lose.

[ii] I used them to ink in the best version of my picture of the Desperado and the Dark Fairy meeting, where she looks like she’s about to throw a fireball at him, and he is prepared to shoot her, over the unconscious form of her blue-black lion/wolf friend.  The colors were so bright and vivid!  Excellent quality stuff, those water-soluble inks, by Winsor and Newton.  They have my upvote, so to speak.

[iii] When I wrote this first draft, I wrote this word as “no” instead of “know”.  What kind of bizarre typo is that?  It just goes to show that reading and writing are auditory experiences for me—in my head, at least.

[iv] I say this last bit with tongue in cheek, obviously.  Though I’m sure I’m not above begging in the proper circumstances, I don’t think I’d be inclined to beg regarding my stories.  I do think they’re good and that they’re worth reading, but you should follow your own preferences.  Life is short; read the stuff that seems interesting to you!