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?

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

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

I can only apologize.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Theoden king

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

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

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

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

But when they should endure the bloggy spur, they fall their crests, and like deceitful jades sink in the trial.

Wyoming-Quintet-Opus-1 (2)

Hello, good morning, and welcome to yet another Thursday.  I don’t know that I have much to write about today, but that’s never stopped me from writing before, and I see no need to let it do so now.  I’ll just start writing and see what happens.  If worse comes to worst, I suppose I’ll just have a short blog post.*

The editing of Unanimity is going reasonably well, as usual.  There’s not much new to say about it.  I’m more than halfway through the latest pass, but I still have quite a few run-throughs to go.  Well, okay, the actual integer number of run-throughs isn’t large, but when those numbers refer to the editing of a huge novel, they can still take quite a long time.  I wish I were independently wealthy, or at least able to make my living solely by writing.  Then I’d probably have been done with Unanimity by now, and on to some subsequent project, if there is to be any subsequent project.  Unfortunately, wishing for the counter-factual is an exercise in futility.  As the old saying goes, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.”  I think the situation is actually far more extreme than that, with respect to the number of wishes in the world, so my personal version of the saying is, “If wishes were horses, then we’d all be hip-deep in horse-shit.”

Which, in a certain sense, we already are.  So maybe it wouldn’t make much of a figurative difference.  Are horses as big a producer of greenhouse gasses per capita as cows are?  Maybe if wishes were horses, we could replace beef in our diets with “chevval” or something along those lines, and the world would be slightly better.  Or maybe it wouldn’t be.  Our gardens at least would have plenty of fertilizer.

I’ve written a new article for Iterations of Zero for this week, but I haven’t posted it yet, because I haven’t finished editing it.  It’s not that this has been a particularly busy week—though it has been busy—it’s just that I’ve had a hard time finding the energy and time to apply to IoZ in the midst of other things.  I just know that I put all that time and energy somewhere, but I think it might have gotten thrown away by accident the last time I moved.  In any case, I can’t seem to locate it no matter where I look.  I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Time can be a curse as well as a blessing, depending on the circumstances (while too much energy can be explosive, and in the extreme limit, can create a black hole).

As for everything else, well, there’s not much new in the world.  Of course, as always, there are specific “new” things, specific iterations of more generic types of events that keep occurring, but it’s important to recognize that such details are trivia, with little to no lasting consequence as compared to any other possible set of details.  At least, it’s important to me to recognize this, as much as something trivial can be important, and as much as something important can be trivial.

The weather in most of the United States has gotten quite cold over the past few days.  It’s even cooled down here in south Florida a bit, though not to an uncomfortable degree.  This has brought a bit of rain, and that’s mildly annoying, but it’s hardly unusual for a subtropical wetland—which is what this area is when left to its own devices.  In any case, the arrival of the “cold” months down here tends to entail a significant reduction in daily rainfall…and it’s more or less unheard-of for there to be snow in my neighborhood.  As the end of the year approaches, one really should hear in our local malls the carol, “I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas,” since the more traditional version is surely just a pipe dream.

To be honest, it’s been years, probably almost a decade, since I’ve even been in a mall (except when passing through on the way to see a movie, which has happened on three occasions).  Some of you may think that sounds enviable, and I’m sure you have your reasons, but I like malls, at least when they’re not too crowded.  They make me feel almost as if I’m in a slightly gaudy museum—a museum where I can, if I really like something that’s on display, buy it.  Malls were always truly fun and often exciting places to go with family…which is one of the main reasons I haven’t gone to one in so long.

Anyway, I’ve now said more than was merited by anything about which I had to speak (or to write, if you prefer to be pedantic, which is an urge I find it hard to criticize), so I should probably draw all of this to a close.**  To all of those reading—and to the vastly larger number of people who aren’t—I wish you well; indeed, I wish you all the best possible moments and outcomes in all areas of your lives and in all their intertwinings with all the other lives out there.

But we know what wishes are worth, don’t we?


*I suspect there are many who think this is far from worse, let alone worst, but we’ll ignore them, since they must be masochists if they’re reading this despite their displeasure.  Okay, well, it’s too late to ignore them now, but we’ll at least give them no further attention.

**I’m sure there are those out there who think I should do so on a much more global level, top to bottom, side to side, in all possible senses.  As with the urge to be pedantic, I find it difficulty argue against such a point of view.