Be not disturbed with my infirmity.  If you be pleased, retire into my blog.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, April 7th of 2022, the first Thursday in April this year unless I’m terribly confused and mistaken, and—of course—it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I haven’t been feeling well this last week, or at least for the past several days.  I’m not sure why.  I don’t have any obvious signs or symptoms of any acute respiratory or otherwise localized infection, but my body aches quite a lot.  That generalized soreness, as well as fatigue, is consistent with the experience of fighting some illness or other.  I described it to a coworker yesterday as feeling as if I’d spent the previous day playing tackle football with some of my friends from high school…but they were still high school aged, while I was my present self.

I stayed home from work Tuesday, which is why I didn’t post the next portion of Outlaw’s Mind until yesterday.  I just didn’t feel up to doing much.  I didn’t feel much better yesterday, nor do I today, but I know that staying away from work makes everything all that much more stressful when I come back to the office, since there is so much catching up to do after even one day.  When I have Saturday off—which is every other Saturday—I come in the following Monday and find that there is an inordinate amount of catching up to do.  It’s frustrating.

I’ve likewise done very little guitar playing; whole braces of days at a time have passed in which I didn’t so much as touch or pluck or pick a string.  That’s a fair indicator of how “low-energy” I’ve been.

Given that I haven’t been feeling well, I’ve gotten almost no new writing done, neither on Outlaw’s Mind nor on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  Hopefully none of you find that too disappointing.  In any case, this physical process shouldn’t last too much longer—either I’m going to feel better rather soon, or it will kill me, presumably.  I’m pretty much fine with either outcome, when it comes right down to it.  What I definitely don’t want is to continue to feel so rotten.

My walking and other exercise has suffered nearly as much as has my writing.  This may be useful for consolidating the healing of my old blisters, but I don’t want to lose the calluses that may have formed, because then I’ll just blister again when I go back to walking.

I was going to say “Sisyphus, eat your heart out,” after that last thought, but I realize that would be a gross and melodramatic exaggeration of my current situation.  It’s also more appropriate to say “Prometheus, eat your heart out…or your liver, anyway.”  That, unfortunately, would be an even greater hyperbole* regarding my current challenges, and rather pathetic, though at least the imagery is good.

That last little thought makes me stop to wonder, and to wonder what you all might think, about who had it worse in mythology, Sisyphus or Prometheus.  The former, of course, had to do a lot more work, always only to find that his work led to nothing, so he always had to start over rolling his boulder, supposedly forever.  Prometheus didn’t have to take active part in his punishment, but his was surely more painful, at least in the acute moments when he was being fed upon by Zeus’s eagle.

I’ve occasionally wondered why Sisyphus bothered with his task.  There must have been some force or drive operating that led him to need to push his boulder up the hill, lest he face some pain or stress or anxiety worse than the boulder-pushing itself.  If his body just moved on its own, then it could hardly be considered his effort, and then his punishment would be “just” the muscle aches and pains and the knowledge of the endlessness of his task.  Which would make it similar to Prometheus’s punishment.

All of this is pointless mental meandering, but I would be interested to know if any of you have thoughts about which fate you might prefer, remembering that Prometheus at least would have a form of respite, and of course, he was eventually freed.  Not that either figure actually existed, but you know what I mean, I think.

That’s pretty much all I have to say for today.  I don’t really have the energy to write much more for the moment.  I hope you’re all doing well, and hopefully next week I’ll have more productivity to report to you.  If you have any requests or suggestions for topics of my random, walk-in writing, please feel free to share them.  I can’t promise that I would follow any possible suggestion, but I well certainly read and consider any serious thoughts, and it would be pleasant to hear from…well, someone in the world.

I hope you’re all as well as it’s possible for you to be**, and that you are treating yourselves and your families and your friends and any other loved ones as well as you can possibly treat them***.

TTFN

sisy


*I’ve long found it at least mildly interesting that the word “hyperbolic” can mean “of or relating to hyperbole(s)” or “of or relating to hyperbolas”.

**That’s not as straightforward a notion as it might seem at first glance.

***Again, not in some simple-minded fashion like giving them all your money or something stupid like that.  Short-term and long-term outcomes and inputs must be weighed and continuously reassessed.  That’s life.  I can’t unreservedly recommend it.

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.

Now, my fair’st friend, I would I had some blogs o’ the spring that might become your time of day.

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday, so of course it’s time for my weekly blog post.  This is the first blog of spring, not counting my uploading of the next part of Outlaw’s Mind earlier this week.  Although, it’s autumn in the southern hemisphere now.  I tend to prefer autumn to spring, generally, but that’s largely due to Halloween coming and the changing of the leaves.  Of course, the leaves don’t change in south Florida, so that’s annually disappointing.  I assume there are some changing autumn leaves in the southern hemisphere, at least in some places, though they may be rather different than the ones in the northern.  Are there oaks and maples and the like in the southern hemisphere?  I would guess not, but I could be quite wrong.  I don’t think I’ve ever thought about it before.

I’ve been continuing my walking, though I’ve dealt with significant foot blisters that have slowed my progress, and I’ve gone through, I think, at least three new pairs of shoes—none very expensive, thankfully—trying to find ones that minimize my trouble.  Yesterday, at least, I was able to walk five and a half miles, and at the end, my blisters felt no worse than they had before I started, so that pair of shoes gets a good grade from me.  If this keeps up, it shouldn’t be too long before I can undertake my dreamed-of epic quest.

I’ve written just over four thousand words on Outlaw’s Mind this week, after basically slacking off the rest of last week and restarting on Monday.  It’s getting harder and harder to bother with anything at all lately.  But I’m rather stubborn, and most things I do in life I do not because I feel enthusiastic but because I had decided that I was going to do them, and so go through with it.  Enthusiasm is not one of my noteworthy attributes, I fear.  Anyway, the story is progressing, and the shocking event due to happen to Timothy has now begun, and it’s only developing and worsening from here.

It’s interesting that, no matter how clearly imagined and expected the course of a plot is, there are almost always little diversions or variations due to the actions of certain characters, who do things that were not necessarily planned by the author*.  Characters have their own personalities—they almost have a kind of free will, in a way—and they must behave the way they behave, since they are people, and sometimes people do things that I wouldn’t have thought about in advance.

It’s not that it’s truly surprising, not in any profound sense; it’s just that I sometimes come to the point where I realize certain characters in a story are going to do or say things that may affect the plot, because that’s who they are.  This is not to say that the story arc has changed, just that some specifics get adjusted.  Chaos theory being what it is, of course, it is possible for characters’ actions to change the course of a story profoundly, and in ways that were not readily predictable.  This is because they are, in a sense, real people, and with a flap of their (usually figurative)** wings, they can change the weather on the other side of the world, whether it’s spring there or autumn or anything in between—or they can change the specific outcome of a story.

I don’t really have much else to write about today, I fear.  Or maybe that’s a relief.  I don’t know.  I occasionally try to express deeper, more personal concerns, here and elsewhere, but I get the impression that these are of no interest to anyone (in the blogosphere or in real life), and I don’t seem very good at expressing or conveying them, anyway.  Alexithymia, I guess, or just general awkwardness and cluelessness on my part, is or are to blame.  Eventually, I guess I’ll run out of things even to try to say—sometimes I think that has already happened, at least ten years ago—and the rest will be silence.  This will probably be a welcome happenstance for most of those who even notice it.

Be that as it may, I hope you all have a good springtime—or a lovely autumn to the people in the southern hemisphere—and that you treat well the people you love and the people who love you…and even yourselves.

TTFN

robin 3


*I’m speaking hypothetically, of course.

**I have at least one prospective story in which a main character does have literal wings, and she is rather chaotic as well.

They were red-hot with drinking; so full of valor that they smote the air, for blogging in their faces

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, so it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts.  It’s also Saint Patrick’s Day, which is probably celebrated in the US as energetically as anywhere in the world, including Ireland—though perhaps I’m wrong; I’ve never been to Ireland.  I haven’t worn anything green today, except maybe a tag or label somewhere, but I doubt anyone is going to try to pinch me.  Do people still do that on Saint Patrick’s Day?  They used to do it when I was in school, but that was decades ago, and it’s not as though I keep in the loop of popular culture much.

I’m also not likely to have any corned beef and cabbage for dinner, regrettably.

I haven’t written much on Outlaw’s Mind this week—only a little over 2000 words, because I’ve really only done two days of writing.  I did post the next section of the story earlier this week, here.  I don’t know if perhaps I should start inserting those “read more” lines in such postings or not.  The story sections make for long blog posts, and if one were trying to scroll down to the previous entry, it would be quite a scroll.  Not quite a full Torah, maybe, but possibly a Dead Sea.

I’m slightly frustrated that the entries come up in reverse order when one clicks on the subject heading Outlaw’s Mind*, with the most recent one first.  There may be a way via WordPress to adjust that, but if so, I’m not sure what it is, and I haven’t had the gumption to seek it out.  Apologies.  My motivation is not the highest it’s ever been, and I’ve never been great at such executive functions at the best of times, at least on my own behalf.  I do better when I’m working for others, which is probably not unusual.

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been so reticent about writing my story this week.  A small part of it is that something very bad is about to happen that will throw Timothy’s life into a severe tailspin, right after things had just begun looking up from a threatening event that had appeared to resolve or begin to resolve well.  I wonder if it’s typical for authors to feel guilty when they make heartrending things happen to their characters.  It’s not like I won’t do it, since it’s part of the story.  It just makes me feel bad.  But I feel bad anyway most of the time, so at least I’m used to it.

That’s probably the biggest part of the decreased writing this week—my mental energy just hasn’t been good.  Physically, I guess my energy has been tolerable.  I’ve been walking a fair amount, and even jogged a tiny bit during my 4.5 mile walk on Tuesday, to try to get my feet prepared for a potential “epic” quest I’m tentatively planning to undertake, but even that notion isn’t as exciting as it was at first.

I get up in the morning, I do a tiny bit of exercise, I shower, I go to the office, I write a bit, then I putter around on the guitar a bit, then I do work stuff (reading a bit during breaks), then in the afternoon (for the past few weeks, anyway) I walk, and then I go home and watch some videos and go to sleep.  Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.  There’s eating in there, too, of course.  Always eating.  It’s my version of “stimming”, I suppose, though I do other forms of that, too, I guess.

I’m really tired.  Not physically, unfortunately.  I am able to walk pretty long distances without much difficulty other than some blistering that’s resolving steadily, and it’s not as if I’m able to sleep all that well, as I would expect would happen if I were merely physically tired.  That’s one thing I’d like to be able to look forward to about an epic-level undertaking:  being physically exhausted enough just to fall asleep and stay asleep.  It would be so nice simply to sleep until I feel rested and to wake up refreshed, rather than waking up over-alert and tense, like a deep-cover spy embedded in a foreign world that, if not frankly hostile, is at least thoroughly alien.  Or maybe I’m more like a hobbit stuck in Mordor trying to pass himself off as an orc, who’s not even sure that the Shire still exists, let alone that there are any allies anywhere.  Mordor sucks, whether or not you’ve got anywhere else to go, and so does having to try to pass as an orc.

Anyway, enough melodrama for now.  I hope you all have a lovely Saint Patrick’s Day, if you’re celebrating it, and that you have a nice meal and not too much beer, if beer is your thing.  Spend time with people who love you, if you have them.

TTFN

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*There are two such entries, because I made an error on the first one.  The second one should be the “correct” one to click on if you’re looking for subject headings.  Eventually, I’ll get around to figuring out how to remove the first one.  Or maybe I won’t ever get around to it.  If I do, I will.

Full fathom five thy blogger lies; of his bones are coral made

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, March 10th, 2022, the second Thursday in March, and it’s time again for my weekly blog post.

As those who follow this blog know, I posted the 4th part of Outlaw’s Mind earlier this week.  If you haven’t seen it, you can feel free to go and read it here.  If you haven’t read any of it, and you’re interested, the first part is here, and you can see the listing of all the “parts” here.

I call them “parts” because they really aren’t chapters.  As I break them up, chapters tend to be longer in most cases, but I haven’t assigned chapters yet in this story.  I often don’t do that until the story is finished, after I’ve trimmed and adjusted things.  This story is being posted in very raw form, and if it’s rough and not as good as it might be because of that, I apologize.  I do appreciate those of you who read it, and I hope you enjoy it.

I’ve done a decent amount of writing on it this week—about 6500 words—the single biggest chunk last Saturday morning, when I cranked out a ridiculous two thousand words in under an hour.  I have no idea how to explain that.  It may very well be crap because of it, I’m not sure.

I don’t honestly know whether any of my writing is anything other than crap from anyone’s point of view but mine.  I’m not fishing for compliments; nor am I fishing for insults*.  I just honestly don’t know.  I don’t know very well how people react to anything I do, frankly.  People in general are confusing to me, sometimes even people I’ve known my whole life.  I do know that, for the most part, they don’t like having me around much.  Can’t blame them; I feel the same way about myself.

I haven’t done anything new, musically, but I did re-figure out the chords and specific melodies of my song Come Back Again (which is available to listen on YouTube if anyone is interested).  I hadn’t written down the chords except the basic opening ones originally, and when I happened upon a sheet with a few of those the other day, I figured I’d write out the melodies as they are and refigure those chords—maybe even change them some from the original, though I don’t think I did.  I’ve never been completely happy with how the song turned out as I arranged and “mixed” it before, but there are things about it that I like**.  It’s maybe too slow, and it’s certainly a bit gloomy, but then again, I’m a bit gloomy…in the same sense that the Pacific Ocean is a bit damp.

I’ve been trying to get into somewhat better walking condition, trying to work through calluses and blisters to get ready for a near-epic undertaking that I have tentatively planned.  I’ve been going slightly farther each day (with a few days off to let blisters settle out), and last night I walked about three and a half miles after work.  Once I’ve gotten up to about six miles at a pop without new blisters (no pun intended) or soreness, I think I’ll be pretty much physically ready for my undertaking, though there will be other preparations needed beyond that.

I’ll be saying/writing more about it as time goes on, and when it happens, I mean to make YouTube videos and will of course share them here and via my few anti-social media channels.  I don’t know whether anyone will even notice, but I hope to make it a useful process, perhaps calling attention to some charities or other.  My favorite one so far, and the one linked to my Amazon Smile account, is Reading Is Fundamental.  I remember their public service messages from when I was kid, and I agree entirely with their title.

I’ve said it over and over again, in various places and times:  I think written language is the lifeblood of civilization.  Almost everything good that we’ve done on any kind of scale, and any durable progress we’ve made, has depended on written language in one form or another.  As Carl Sagan put it, “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs.  Books break the shackles of time.  A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”

We watch videos of people all over the internet and web, and see stories told in movies and TV shows, but with a book, we can hear the words and thoughts of other people speaking directly in our minds, even ones who lived a very long time ago, in a galaxy that was then far, far away…certainly on any human scale***.  Through writing we can store memory and experience and understanding that can endure and build over the course of millennia.  We can step outside our parochial concerns—and all of our daily concerns are, finally, parochial, as is all politics, and social movements, and fashion trends, and all else that seems to grab people’s attention so very strongly.

That’s about all I have for this week, I suppose.  It’s probably actually more than I have, frankly, since I haven’t really said anything of substance, and I’ve probably wasted your time.  Apologies for that.  I hope you’re doing well otherwise, though.

TTFN

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*Hopefully that’s obvious, at least.

**I’m fond of the lines, “Only meeting strangers; always losing friends.  Every new beginning always ends”, because it is self-evidently and logically true when you think about it.

***After all, the Earth orbits the sun, the sun orbits the center of our galaxy, and our galaxy is moving even relative to the cosmic microwave background, towards the Andromeda galaxy, and of course, the universe itself is expanding.  The Galaxy Song, by Eric Idle/Monty Python gives a nice rundown of just how much motion that is, over how great a scale.  The last bit about the expansion of the universe being limited by the speed of light isn’t quite correct, but it’s not a substantive error as far as the song goes.

For thy part, I do wish thou wert a blog, that I might love thee something.

[Just a quick reminder:  Anyone who wants to leave me a comment—I know, it’s not likely to be many people—should not waste time doing so on Facebook or Twitter.  I check Twitter intermittently at best, to try to minimize unnecessary despair, and though I share many things to Facebook, I rarely go there directly, as being there is far too prone to stress me out at an even more extreme level and make me even more depressed than usual (if that’s possible).  Comment here, on my blog, or on Iterations of Zero if you read that.  I’m on WordPress all the time, since I follow quite a few other people’s blogs, and I get frequent notifications about “likes” and comments.  This is probably an exercise in futility, since I doubt anyone really wants to communicate with me more than is absolutely necessary—goodness knows I don’t want to communicate with me—but just in case.)

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, the last Thursday in October of 2021, and so it’s time for the ordeal* known as my weekly blog post.  In three days, it will be Halloween, my favorite holiday, though I suspect that many if not most will be celebrating it on Friday or Saturday night rather than Sunday.  I have a costume to wear, which I’ll probably only put on at work; it’s a sort of steam-punk version of The Master from Doctor Who (it’s my own original interpretation of the character, but Doctor Who does have a sort of steam-punk quality to it), complete with chameleon arch fob watch, Harold Saxon’s signet ring, and The Master’s laser screwdriver**.  I also have a cool cane with an extendable telescope that really works (though it’s not terribly powerful).  Other than the hardware, it’s all black, of course.

Beyond that, not much new is happening.  I’ve been writing the first draft of Outlaw’s Mind by hand, and that seems to be going nicely.  I don’t know whether the story will be better for it, but I don’t think it will be worse, and anyway, it feels a bit like going back to basics, which is nice.  It also feels like it will help avoid me getting too carried away and writing more than I should.  As you all may have noticed, when I have a keyboard, the words come very quickly, and I often go off on tangents.

I’ve been getting in some regular walking recently, as much as six miles a day, both to get a bit healthier and, if possible, to lose some weight (the less of me there is, the better, I say).  It also ties in nicely with a recent impromptu post I did for Iterations of Zero, which I think about three or four people may have read—probably not all the way through.  One of the nice things about walking is, it lets me think about the notion or idea or whatever you want to call it that I discuss in that blog post, particularly in the penultimate paragraph (really, the last full paragraph), which involves going for a very long walk.

It really is a pleasing and beguiling course of action to contemplate, and it’s particularly useful in that it minimizes inconvenience for most other people.  Also, there’s frankly nothing anyone can do to stop it, legally, since it doesn’t involve doing anything that is definitively a danger to oneself or to others.  It’s really diabolically simple.  It just requires commitment***, and that’s something with which I tend to be overflowing.

In addition to that encouraging consideration, the other day, while taking a slightly new route, I thought of a story idea related to walking, which I immediately “wrote” down—actually, I used voice to text because I was still walking—in my “story ideas” entry in my note taking smartphone app.  It’s always fun when ideas like that come, even if the story never gets written.

Speaking of stories, here’s a reminder to you all that Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats, and many of the tales in it might make for excellent Halloween reading.  While you’re at it, The Vagabond is certainly, without doubt, an excellent Halloween story.  And, technically, Unanimity Book 1 and Book 2 are pretty good for Halloween, and the three stories in Welcome to Paradox City are quite strongly so.  Of course, one could hardly say that a teenage demi-vampire was entirely out of place on Halloween, so Mark Red is also good reading for this holiday.

I do tend to lean in that direction when I write, don’t I?

With that, rather unusually, I think I’ll call this blog post to a close after only a relatively short amount of writing.  I do hope you all enjoy the holiday.  Spend some time, if you can, having fun with family and friends (as long as you take appropriate precautions regarding infectious diseases), eat some candy, watch some scary movies, read some scary stories, maybe dress up in fun outfits, and generally have a laugh at the darkness of the world.

You might as well; it certainly laughs at us.

TTFN

The_Doctor_Falls_Master_Kill_it bigger


*At least, I assume it is for all of you—some form of penance, perhaps, through which you wash away sins with a relatively minor bit of suffering.  It’s the only plausible explanation I can think of for the fact that you’re reading it.

**Who’d have sonic?

***So to speak.

You blog an infinite deal of nothing

Hollywood_Amtrak_Tri-Rail

Hello, good morning, and welcome, as always, to another Thursday edition of my weekly blog post.  I’m riding the train today—as I have all this week and from the end of last week—because my poor vehicle is in the shop.  It’s a bit frustrating, but also weirdly nostalgic, and the extra walking I must do has forced me to realize just how little walking I’ve been doing lately.  I’ve gotten terribly out of shape.  As testament to that fact, though I can’t be certain it’s related, at the beginning of this week, I slipped while getting out of the shower—nothing severe, don’t worry; I didn’t fall down or even have to grab anything to right myself—and my back has consequently suffered a severe exacerbation of its already chronic “failed back surgery syndrome” pain.  This makes riding the train more of an adventure than it might be otherwise, to say nothing of simply going to work, but such is the way of things.  In the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts, “Like is pain…anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Speaking of pain, I was very disappointed by the reception to my blog post last week.  This is really a euphemistic way of saying I’m disappointed in the post itself, since there’s surely no one to blame but me if it didn’t do well.  For the first time in a very long while, my Thursday blog post didn’t get even one single “like”.  And I’m just not capable of “liking” my own post.

I’m honestly not sure what it was about that post that was so unappealing.  I didn’t feel that the writing was particularly bad, but maybe it was.  I had, just a few days earlier and after a four month “course”, come off Saint John’s Wort, and maybe that affected my writing style or quality.  Maybe it was just that I used a bad collection of “tags” to highlight the post.*  If there’s anyone out there who had the courage to force their way through it and has an objective (or not) assessment to give me, I’d appreciate it.

As I said, it’s a bit nostalgic for me to be riding the train again, not least because it was at the train station in Hollywood, Florida that I received the inspiration for my story Prometheus and Chiron, which I like a lot, even if no one else does.  (I have no reason to think that no one else likes it, but I similarly have no way to know if anyone does…there are no reviews on Amazon for it, though maybe there’s something on “Goodreads”, and I just didn’t look closely enough.)  It is, however, just a bit frustrating to ride the train when one’s back pain makes one feel, and move, as though one were ninety years old…and not a particularly healthy ninety, at that.

Still, I’ve done some good, or at least extensive, writing on trains and/or buses throughout the years.  Thanks to the existence of very small laptop computers (and even smartphones!), I can write on the train without subsequently having to decipher and transcribe my own atrocious handwriting afterwards**.  I’ve had to do such transcription before, with both Mark Red and with The Chasm and the Collision (neither of which was written on a train or bus, however; they were written at Florida State Prison, which is less bumpy but which has its own drawbacks), and I can assure you, as a fun thing to do to pass the time, it’s highly overrated.

Speaking of such things, the editing and rewriting of Unanimity continues as always; and it does feel like forever, sometimes. It’s still enjoyable to read as I edit, which I guess is a good thing.  I always aspire to the mental state of being someone who generally likes the story, but who is fed up with it just enough to be critical about its flaws so that I can correct them with a ruthless but well-meaning attitude.  That’s the ideal, but as Run DMC said, it’s tricky.  Anyway, it’s coming along, slowly but surely, and hopefully it will be finished sometime before I die, or before the world ends, whichever comes first***.

In other news…well, there’s not much other news, come to think of it.  Of course, I’m sure there’s “news” out there in the world; there always is, if you’re looking.  Some of it might even just possibly be relatively important, even on a long-term scale (though the majority, I’d guess, is indistinguishable from random gossip around a water cooler—and though biologists and anthropologists say that gossip served and continues to serve important social functions regarding reputation and trustworthiness, etc., I can’t help but find it appalling, embarrassing, and worthy of contempt; say of me what you will).  My own life, however, tends to be repetitive and tedious, and would make very poor viewing, even ignoring the deeply unattractive protagonist.

My imagination, however, is thankfully and sometimes joyfully fertile.  Einstein is quoted as having said that imagination is more important than knowledge.  I’m very fond of both, but I do think that without imagination it’s hard even to arrive at knowledge of any but the simplest of subjects.  How, after all, are you to construct a mental model of a concept if you can’t imagine such a model?

Well, to quote the immortal (and, perforce, imaginary) Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”  This is not quite true, of course.  I could probably go on and on ad infinitum, and I’m sure some of you feel that I already have.  But, anyway, I’ll hold off any further mental meanderings until next week, and simply wish you all the very best of all that is possible, both individually and collectively.

TTFN


*I decided to use the tags “sex”, “drugs”, and “rock ‘n’ roll” for this post to see if it makes a difference.

**Handwriting made all the worse by the bumping and jostling of a moving train or bus.  Those who know how bad my script is, in and of itself, can only imagine with dread the nightmare of such Lovecraftian output.  The horror…the horror…

***Of course, from my point of view, the two events are equivalent.

Walk Like A Caveman

There are many levels of irony about living in our modern, Western civilization.  One of the most striking, to me, is the fact that we find ourselves thinking that we have to “make time” for exercise.

Our ancestors–almost all of them–were never faced with this kind of problem, any more than are the millions of other species of animals living in the world.  Exercise is not a special task or chore for most creatures, it is part of the process of staying alive and being healthy.  Really, that’s what it should be for us as well.  We know that our bodies want to be used, they thrive with that use and become stronger and healthier, in general, the more active we are.  Yet, the progress of our civilization has, curiously, led us to alienate ourselves more and more from our natural, active natures.

Many of our modern conveniences were created to spare us from the “horrors” of physical labor.  Automobiles, escalators, elevators, tractors…these things are all, of course, truly remarkable and incredibly useful, but because we have them, we’ve gotten into the habit of relying solely upon them.  After only a little bit of time doing this, we realized that our sedentary, machine-driven lifestyles were often leading us to be terribly unhealthy.  Its not so much that our lives have been shortened…modern infection control, including vaccines, antisepsis, antibiotics and health codes have led us all to survive and even become unaware of the simple ailments that killed most of our forebears.  Our lives have instead been diminished, not in quantity but in quality.  It is wonderful to be able to drive hundreds of miles to see a distant relative at a moment’s notice.  It is NOT wonderful to have to drive to the corner store because we’re too out of shape to walk there.

In recent years we’ve learned that astronauts who spend very much time in space, without the need to fight gravity, rapidly lose bone density and muscle mass, and their hearts weaken as well.  To combat this tendency they have to use very clever means to engage their bodies and to keep those organs fit.  Yet we here on the ground, deep within Earth’s gravity well and not going through free-fall, often might as well be floating in orbit, for all the work we give our bodies.

Awareness of this issue has led to a huge industry of gyms, exercise equipment, supplements and how-to books about exercise.  We strive to fit time to go to the gym into our busy, modern schedules.  There’s nothing wrong with that, of course…I’m all for the gym.  But you don’t have to have a membership at the expensive local health club, nor even any special equipment, to keep your body as healthy as you can.  All you have to do is live just a little bit more like your ancestors did.

So, if you have to go to the store, and it’s not that far away…walk there instead of driving.  Obviously this won’t work if you have to buy a great many groceries at one time…but maybe multiple trips with smaller hauls spread throughout your week would be a better idea for your health, anyway.

If your local store isn’t QUITE local enough to walk to, well, then drive there.  Then, instead of jockeying around for the very closest spot you can find, park at the far end of the parking lot, and walk to the store from there.  It may not seem like very much, but if that’s so, then it also shouldn’t be very much trouble.

When you’re going into a building and need to go somewhere other than the first floor, why not take the stairs?  Walking up stairs is terrific, low-impact aerobic exercise and it keeps your quads nice and strong!  Okay, if you live in New York City and need to get to the 50th floor, walking ALL the way might be impractical unless you’re a marathoner with a lot of time on your hands.  Yet, even so, you can take the elevator up to two or three floors shy of your destination and walk the rest of the way.  Then you can do the same thing on the way down, which will, after all, be quite a bit easier than going up.

Also, if you live in a good enough climate, at least part of the year…ride a bike to work sometimes instead of driving.  This won’t be great if you have a sixty mile commute each way (again, unless you’re a distance athlete and have a rather flexible schedule), but if your commute is more reasonable, then biking is a great alternative.  It saves you gas money (a big deal in our current economic climate), and it produces less carbon dioxide than does an internal combustion engine…though it DOES produce some, since that’s one waste product our bodies produce just as our machines do.

All these simple measures can keep your body healthier and keep you feeling stronger.  They will probably also make you a bit thinner and shapelier, which is nice.  Still, feeling and being healthy is far more important than being thin…as any famine victim would gladly tell you if they had the chance.

In closing, the key to being physically fit and active in the modern world–and to feeling more alive and vigorous and strong–doesn’t have to involve expensive gym memberships, aerobic classes, treadmills and weight machines.  All those things are great, and I have nothing but praise for those who discipline themselves to make their bodies as healthy as possible.  Yet, even for those without the money and/or the time for the more advanced techniques, sometimes just letting go of a few modern conveniences can make you a little more like your robust ancestors…without the worrisome threat of infection and dangerous predators with which they had to contend!