It is the bright day that brings forth the blogger, and that craves wary walking.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, as you probably know, and‒as you probably also know‒because it is Thursday, it’s time for my weekly blog post.

This may be a somewhat unusual post, not so much in content as in style, because I’m writing it on my cellphone/smartphone/mobile phone using the Google Docs app*.  Why am I doing that, you may ask? Well, it’s been a helluva week…

Through various misadventures, some due to my own failings, others due to the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune, I’ve been stuck commuting via various combinations of buses and trains (and a lot of walking), and though I do own a mini laptop, if I’m going to be walking around a lot, then having that little rectangle poking me right in my back surgery scar is just too much.  Maybe when I’ve gotten as fit for walking as I intend to become it won’t be a problem, but during a week in which I’m already quite stressed out, I prefer to avoid the amplification of my baseline back pain that such poking entails.

So, I’ve decided to try writing on my smartphone, and for creative writing at least, it’s been working fairly well.  The first day I did it, I wrote about 1700 words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado even as I went through three bus transfers.  The next day I wrote 1400 words, on bus and train**, but I think the decrease was partly due to the fact that I was particularly stressed out that day.  As I said, it’s been a helluva week.

There is precedent for me writing books at least partially on my smartphone, of course.  I wrote a good chunk of the first draft of Son of Man on a much tinier and less advanced phone than I’m using now (while still on work release!), and I think that’s one of my best-written novels.  It’s one of the few for which I’ve received personal praise from a coworker who actually read the whole thing and enjoyed the twists and surprises in it.  So, I’m okay with writing first drafts on the smartphone.  It’s a lot easier to carry than a laptop, and I would have it with me anyway, whether I’m using it to write books or not.

In all this personal chaos, such as it has been and continues to be, I’m afraid I neglected*** to post the latest part of Outlaw’s Mind this week.  My sincere apologies to any and all of you who were looking forward to it.  I will return to sharing that story next week.  In the meantime, if you want to reread last week’s part, you can go here, and if you want to see all that I have posted of it so far, you can go here.  It will be listed there in reverse order I’m afraid, and for that I apologize.  I need to go back and at least add a “click here to read more” tag in those posts to save on scrolling.

There is a potential extra benefit to writing on my smartphone, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction:  I cannot write as quickly on my phone as I can on any normal keyboard, since I’ve been using those at least since I was eleven, and so it may force me to be more concise.  Maybe it doesn’t; perhaps there’s no appreciable difference whatsoever in my writing length and style from phone to laptop.  It feels that there is from the inside, of course, but as I had one of my characters say once, “The inside view is always the blurriest.”  I don’t unreservedly agree with that character’s statement‒it’s too absolute in two places for my taste‒but I think it’s a good reminder of how difficult it is to be objective about oneself.  In any case, I don’t think my stories will suffer.  I may even decide to keep writing this way when I don’t need to do so.

And…that’s about all that I think I have for right now.  I hope you all had/are having a good holiday, and that you got to spend time with your families and/or the (other) people you love.  The world continues to be unsane, but who could expect otherwise from a place absolutely riddled‒nay, infested‒with naked house apes?  Some of those apes are at least tolerable, though, and hopefully, being in the presence of those ones will make putting up with the rest of them likewise tolerable.  Maybe.

TTFN

hollywood train


*Which seems appropriate for me, since my nickname is Doc, and that’s the only name I go by at the office.

**I have been working to find the best route for me.  The three buses are not the ideal choice, though I enjoy being able to look at shops and stuff while on the bus.  I experienced a curious visual illusion while we were going north on 441 just before the Hard Rock casino the other day.  Up ahead I saw a lit store sign.  When we reached it, I think it was the quite ordinary display for a vape shop, but as we approached I could have sworn it read “Sliced Cod Live”.  I don’t know how my brain produced that illusion, but it sounds like the name of an indie band.  “Performing for one night only:  Sliced Cod, Live!”

***i.e., I forgot.

If all the year were playing holidays; To blog would be as tedious as to work.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and so, to your delight or your chagrin (or your apathy) it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  We’re roughly midway through April already, which feels pretty remarkable, but as time goes by, every day is getting shorter, to quote and/or paraphrase two songs in one sentence.

I’m back on the train (yeah) today, but—thankfully—I am not back on the chain gang*.  For various reasons, I’m now more or less committed to taking either the train or the bus to work (and back) every day.  In some ways, I prefer it.  For one thing, I can do at least part of my daily writing while commuting when I’m on public transport.  It would be incredibly reckless, and likely wreckful, for me to try to write while taking some form of transportation that was under my direct control.  It’s better to sit back and let someone else take me where I’m going.

I’ve been writing a decent amount on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado this week, though not as much as I will probably write in future weeks, since I was in transition, and that makes things go a bit slowly sometimes.  Still, on Tuesday, especially, I wrote quite a bit:  over sixteen-hundred words in one morning.  Just think, if I did that five days out of every seven, it would come to eight thousand words a week!  At that rate, I could write a novel as long as Unanimity in just over a year, though I hope not to write a story that long again if I can help it.  My current tale is beginning reasonably well, though we’ve only met one of the title characters yet.  So far, it’s definitely more fun to write this than to write Outlaw’s Mind.  We’ll see if that lasts.

I did post the latest section of Outlaw’s Mind here this week—on Tuesday this time.  It’s a bit longer than most of the other parts have been, since I included two sections with a break in between.  The first one was just so short that I thought people might feel they weren’t getting their money’s worth, so to speak, if I only posted that section.  That surely wouldn’t do.  Even when you’re not paying, you’re spending your time reading my stuff when you might be reading something else, and I want you to get as good a return on your investment as I’m able to provide.

Given that, I’m going to have to wrestle a bit with whether or not to keep working on Outlaw’s Mind.  Your feedback, if you have any to offer, would provide me some useful input regarding that decision.  We’re not getting very close yet, but every week we draw nearer to the place in Outlaw’s Mind that I’ve reached so far, and eventually, we will catch up.  By then, I’m going to need either simply to suspend those posts—maybe I’ll start sharing some of my other stories—or resume writing the story so that there will be stuff for you guys to read.

Probably I’m worrying over nothing.  I’m not sure that anyone, except perhaps immediate family, truly reads the sections of Outlaw’s Mind that I post here.  Page views and even “likes” are hard to interpret unambiguously.  I’m probably overthinking everything right from the start.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll get hit by a truck (or a bus or a train?) in the meantime and I won’t have to worry about any of it, or anything else, after that.  A guy can dream, can’t he?

I don’t mean to imply that I don’t like writing, or that I don’t like sharing some of my stories here.  I’m just chronically tired and depressed, with very little in my life other than my writing.  With respect to my stories (and blog posts), I often just feel as if they are messages in bottles, cast out into some stormy sea from the extremely remote, peculiar, and rocky desert island that is my personality.  They are unlikely ever to reach anyone at all, let alone to entice someone to want to visit such a forbidding and unpleasant place.  I don’t even want to be here, myself.

I’m not very good at promoting tourism, am I?

Anyway, I think that’s just about all I have for this week.  It’s nice to keep it “short” once in a while.  That way I can write an entire first draft during a single half-an-hour-ish train ride.  I hope you’re all doing well, or at least that you’re doing as well as you possibly can, and that you’re being good to those you love and to those who love you and being polite at least to everyone else (unless they make that impossible, which can happen).  Oh, and Happy Passover and Happy Easter to those of you who will be celebrating those holidays!  I hope you get to be with your families and that you can enjoy your time together.  Don’t underestimate the value of such things.

TTFN

Passover mosaic with words

I think it’s particularly appropriate to share a Passover “mosaic”**

happy easter night


*That’s three songs in two sentences.

**Get it?  Get 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.

avatarofdeath

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.

As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have; but, in their stead, blogs…

Hello and good morning, as I’m prone to say.  It’s Thursday, and so it must follow, as the knight the questing beast, that it’s time for my weekly blog post.

Work on Outlaw’s Mind has gone decently this week; I’ve written just over four thousand words since last week’s post, which is a bit on the slow side for me for four days’ work, but at least I’ve been keeping to my “at least one full page a day” rule.  As I think I mentioned last week, I’ve gone back to using the laptop, but I keep wrestling with myself about it.  I don’t know how (or if) I’m going to resolve that conflict, but so far, the feedback is that it doesn’t seem to make much difference whether I write my first draft of a work in longhand or type it into a computer.

Typing is probably just more natural for me for when writing stories; I got my first typewriter (my maternal grandmother’s former one) when I was quite young*, and very soon started writing a fantasy adventure novel on it, which was to be the first book in a series called The Land Ruled by Thunder.  I was pretty influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia at the time, I think, and other epic fantasies.

In any case, for now I’m writing Outlaw’s Mind on the word processor again, but if the urge strikes me, I may write a bit of some upcoming, future possible works on my notebook paper**.  Such efforts usually come to naught, even when I make them, unfortunately.  Then again, all things come to naught eventually.  Supposedly, quantum information is never lost, but that’s not of much practical use in most situations.  At least there’s some hope that the black hole information paradox may have been resolved or may be on its way to being resolved.  Such things matter to me far more than the Oscar nominations, or the idiocy of politicians and celebrities, or any trends in fashion or electronics, or whatever.  The only trend that ultimately matters—the one that will dominate and make irrelevant all others—is the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Still, in the meantime, some stories and music can be pleasant ways to while away the fleeting eons before the heat death of the universe.

As many of you already know, I posted the “cold opening” of Outlaw’s Mind, in draft, on my blog earlier this week.  So far, the response has been good, and is much appreciated (by me, in case you were wondering).  The subsequent part of the story shifts time, setting, and tone quite a bit, so I may soon post at least some of that, just so people can get the idea.  This may also be the only way to get more than a handful of people to read any bits of my stories—it’s so hard to capture people’s interest enough to get them to want to buy and read a book or short story you’ve written, even if they would enjoy it very much.  And I’m not good at self-promotion.

I want to thank the people who said kind things about my video of me playing Help.  I’ve been trying to work on and record some other videos, practicing the songs I like to play with that in mind, but sometimes it feels to me that the more I practice a song, the less I like how it sounds.  However, I have also been fiddling with my guitar(s)’ tone knobs and trying different picks, so it may be just that I’ve moved away from what was working before.  We’ll see how everything goes, but if I do something that’s worth sharing, I’ll share it here (via YouTube)***.  I’m working on Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word; And I Love Her; Here, There, and Everywhere; Desperado; Yesterday; Lucky; Here Comes the Sun; and Karma Police for the moment.

I could probably do Creep easily enough already.  It only has three main chords, not counting sus-4s and minor drops, but as Jonny Greenwood apparently said about the song, when just played with one guitar and chords, it lacks a bit of punch, which is a shame given the emotional intensity of the song.  He added serious punch to it with his violent guitar surprises before (which sound at first like some particularly aggressive percussion instrument) and during the chorus.  Fake Plastic Trees is nice even with just guitar and voice, though, so maybe I’ll do that.  It’s also not very complicated or difficult.  We’ll see.  No matter what, it all will probably sound exceptionally mediocre when I do it, anyway, so maybe I shouldn’t worry.

That’s about all I have that’s worth sharing, if even that is worth it.  I have nothing to report in my “personal” life because I have no personal life, so that makes things easy.  And this blog is by far the most social thing I’ve done in years.

I hope you’re all feeling and doing and being well.  You certainly deserve it, for having the endurance and good will to read my blog!

TTFN

knight 2 questing beast


*I think I was around eleven years old, but I’m not certain.  It was around that time, anyway.

**Maybe I’ll play around with Dark Fairy and the Desperado.

***If I do any Eagles songs, I’ll probably just have to share them here.  The Eagles tend to block such things on YouTube, even if one’s channel isn’t monetized, which mine certainly isn’t.  Other groups, including the Beatles, will simply “run ads” on the video and collect the money thus generated, which to me is a bonus.  I love the idea of making even a tiny bit of money for people like Radiohead and the Beatles.  That may seem weird, but then again, I’m weird.  You might even say, “I’m a creep.  I’m a weirdo.  What the hell am I doing here?  I don’t belong here.”

Heaven give you many, many merry blogs.

tardis with wreathHello, good morning, and welcome to Thursday, and to another edition of my weekly blog post.  It seems I’m still here so far, for better or for worse, and I’m writing a blog post this week.  I expect it to be relatively short, at least for me, though I’ve been wrong in that expectation before.

I haven’t written anything new still this week on Outlaw’s Mind, but I thought I would try to get myself more inspired to write it by rereading what I’ve written it so far, which I hadn’t done before restarting it after finishing Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  So, I saved it as a PDF file* and sent it to myself both at home and at work.  I’ve begun rereading it, and I think this will help, because I’m enjoying the story so far and kind of refamiliarizing myself with the events therein.  Hopefully it will make a difference.  If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I’m really having difficulty summoning the will to do much, and I don’t know how to counter it—I’m already taking the best dose of the combination of depression treatments that’s worked best for me in the past, and I’ve tried most at one time or another.

I did write a little impromptu blog post on Iterations of Zero about the Solstice, which you can read if you’re interested, though it will be a few days late.

It’s a tad late for them to arrive before Christmas, I suppose—except for Kindle editions—but if there are any avid readers in your list of present-recipients, I’d like to offer or suggest that you might want to give or send them a copy of one or more of my books.  If they like fantasy/sci-fi/horror, they might enjoy at least some of my stuff.  Here’s my blog page, “My Books”, and here’s the blog search of My Books, if you’d rather look at something like that.  And below is a screenshot, with link, to my Amazon author’s page, if you’d rather just look there.

authors page capture

The picture of me associated with that page is basically the same photo that’s here on this blog.  It’s ten years old, roughly, but I don’t think I’m going to update it.  I’ve “aged” (in appearance, anyway) far more than ten years’ worth in the interregnum.

I guess that shouldn’t be surprising.  In that time, I spent a few years in Florida State Prison, and this is a place that even Stephen King has referenced in at least one of his stories**.  That’s not the only thing that’s worn me down, obviously, but it was not minor, nor have been the consequences on my subsequent life of having been there, and of the fact of having been sent there.  I don’t recommend it.  The Florida DOC prides itself on not being any kinder than they are required to be by law; they boast*** on their website about their lack of air conditioning, for instance.  Their philosophy, and the entire attitude of Florida criminal law, is explicitly not about rehabilitation but about retribution.

This is not to indict every person who works in the organization.  There are many whose motivations are honorable, who want to do the best they can both for society and for those in the system, and this includes administrators, correction officers, educators, healthcare personnel, and so on.  Of course, there are also plenty of assholes, but that probably is no surprise.

Enough of that subject.  It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow and Christmas on Saturday.  I hope all of you who celebrate, either directly or indirectly, have a wonderful time.  If you’re able, spend time with the people you love the most, and with those who love you.  Be forgiving, and patient, and give them all the benefit of every doubt, even if they don’t return the favor.  Don’t take them for granted.  Remember, “Every Christmas is the last Christmas for somebody.”  Why be anything but kind in the meantime?

That’s a rhetorical question; I’m not inviting any suggested reasons.  I have a hard enough time being positive as it is.

Anyway, again, have fun, eat well, laugh hard, play games, sing songs, watch TV and movies, love your friends and family****, and above all, be kind.

TTFN

santa who


*To avoid the urge to edit it while I reread it.

**The one that comes to mind is in his excellent, chilling, pseudo-sci-fi short story The Jaunt, which I first read in the collection Skeleton Crew.  I recommend both the story and the collection.  Actually, it’s hard to go too wrong with any of King’s short story collections!

***They used to, anyway.  I haven’t checked lately.

****“Because love, it’s not an emotion; love is a promise.”

YouTube is >>CELEBRATING<< a trillion views of Minecraft content. Something please kill me now.

Yes, when I inadvertently got on YouTube very early this morning* after my computer restarted itself to install updates so that Microsoft could try to push me to “upgrade” to Windows 11, I saw that there was a big “1000000000000” where the YouTube logo normally goes, along with a some spewed digital confetti:

trillion

I looked more closely a bit later and encountered a little pop-up square that read that YouTube was celebrating one trillion views of Minecraft content.

Think about that.  It’s not celebrating the game, or the number of times people have played that game…which may be more than a trillion, though I suppose it is mathematically possible that it could be fewer, since, after all, YouTube says there have been a trillion views, and the same video can be viewed many, many times.  So, it’s not a trillion times people have played a game that’s being celebrated.  It’s a trillion instances of people watching uploaded videos of OTHER PEOPLE playing the game.

There are about 7.7 billion people in the world, so that makes an average of about 130 views of Minecraft content per living human.  But I haven’t watched a single such video, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only such person.  I’m probably not even in a minority in that, though perhaps I’m being optimistic–which is out of character for me, I know.  So there must be quite a number of people out there who have watched Minecraft content far more often than 130 times each.  That’s assuming that YouTube is correct in its tally, which I see no reason to doubt.

Surely this is not something to celebrate.  Surely this is something worthy of the most profound shame and of exceedingly doleful lamentation.  Surely this is an event that belongs in the book of Revelations, in the prophecies of Nostradamus, in the Necronomicon, in any and every apocalyptic, eschatological writing in every faith or myth or belief system ever devised.  Surely this signals the release of Fenrir and the waking of the Midgard Serpent!  Surely this is a harbinger of the end of days!

At the very least, it’s a convincing argument that it really is time for another mountain-sized asteroid to hit the Earth.  It’s time for “Chicxulub II:  This Time It’s Personal!

The human race has had its time, it’s had its chance, and it’s demonstrated unequivocally that it’s just a great big whopping mistake.  It’s time to wipe the slate clean and start again.  It’s a shame that so many other species would have to go as well just to get rid of the human race, but that’s what happened with all the large species of dinosaurs and the majority of other lifeforms at the end of the Cretaceous, and even more devastating losses happened in the Permian extinction.  And none of those lifeforms even had Minecraft or YouTube, let alone the unholy statistic of there being a trillion times in which people played videos so they could watch other people play a video game, probably somewhere far away from them, probably someone they didn’t know, and usually not even in real time.

Educational videos and music videos can be a joy.  Videos of cats are tolerable.  Videos of people falling down while trying to do stupid things are at least mildly comical in a sophomoric sense.

But this is too much.  I can’t stand it any longer.  The world is insane…or more accurately, it’s unsane.  Sanity doesn’t even apply; there’s no evidence that logic or sense has anything to do with anything in the world.

I can’t take it anymore.  I need to get out.  Where is my asteroid?

It’s intolerable.  Hamlet said, “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world,” and he was just responding to the death of his father and to his mother having married his uncle almost immediately after.  Imagine how he would feel faced with this.  The undiscovered country and what dreams might come when one has shuffled off to it would surely be no impediment to his bare bodkin if he were to see this**.

Where indeed is thy sting, O death?  I’ve laid my ankle bare.  It’s waiting; it’s unprotected.  I’m daring you.  I’m begging you!  I’m begging you a trillion times, then a trillion trillion more.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the insolence of office, the law’s delay, the pangs of despis’d love, and the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes?  And who–I ask you most sincerely–would bear the fact that there have been a trillion VIEWS of “Minecraft content” and that it is being celebrated?

“Fie on’t!  Ah, fie!”

asteroid hit


*I don’t sleep well at the best of times, and at this time of year with the seasons throwing things off kilter, my early awakening, related to and contributing to other problems, is worse than usual.

**If he were a real person and not merely a character in a play, of course.

Bear with my weakness. My old blog is troubled.

Okay, well…hello and good morning and all that usual stuff.  It’s Thursday morning, the second day of September in 2021, and of course it’s time for my weekly blog post.

I don’t have much new to report, frankly.  I wrote an impromptu blog post on Iterations of Zero yesterday morning*, the title of which is a truncated version of the title of a Stephen King story that I thought was very moving.  Writing the post was pretty much a waste of time, which I guessed it would be as I wrote it.  I don’t know if anyone has read it; it certainly hasn’t received any “likes” as of the time of this writing, let alone responses in the comments or whatever.

I can’t blame people for that.  It’s quite a depressing blog post, though I’m reasonably proud of some of the writing in it, including my tongue-in-cheek statement, “There is true equity only in death.”  Of course, it’s not surprising—to me at least—that it’s a depressing blog post, since I was depressed when I wrote it, and my life has been dominated more and more by my already chronic depression in recent weeks to months.

Earlier this week, I did something I’ve often been known to do when particularly angry and depressed, which was to tear up and throw away a lot of drawings and the like, and other meaningful-turned-meaningless belongings at work in the office in the morning, while straightening out my area and generally getting rid of things that make it a personal space.  When I’m feeling very depressed and stressed, and angry both outwardly and inwardly, I have to harm myself in some figurative or literal way—often both—and so I did.

I’m honestly feeling very pointless and discouraged, which I guess would come across quite clearly to any imaginary person who reads my IoZ post, but apparently not to anyone in my “real” life, which I guess isn’t so surprising, if there even is such a person.  It’s not as though I have any non-imaginary friends or anything.

This is no one’s fault but mine.  I think you can all tell that I’m not a pleasant person to be around for any length of time; this has been a universal review/rating that I’ve received from all manner of people.  God knows that I don’t like to be around me**, so I can hardly blame anyone else.  Having a conversation with another person, other than about some specific and useful, work-oriented matter, feels to me like I’m committing a minor, or not-so-minor, crime.

I’ve been toying with the notion of just posting House Guest here on my blog, and then once it’s done posting In the Shade here as well, rather than going to all the trouble of making a collection of my stories and publishing it for no one to read.  I’d have to post In the Shade serially, I guess, since it’s too long a story to stand as one blog post, but I think House Guest could tolerate standing alone.  After that, I don’t know, maybe just take down the shingle and stop.  It’s hard even to contemplate finishing Outlaw’s Mind and publishing it, let alone going on to write anything else.

Speaking of which, I’m not sure what else to write here for this week’s blog post.  I wish I had something useful to say, but given the incredible degree of idiocy out there, I’m not sure that any useful message would be received, even if I could find something useful to write, which seems unlikely.  Were humans always this stupid, and the existence of the internet and the web and social media have merely let that come to light and flourish?  Or have those electronic entities, which should have allowed people overall to become smarter, instead caused stupidity to grow and spread like the most dreadful and malignant of tumors?  I feared it might be the case, right from the beginning.  Maybe I’m being unkind*** or biased, or am suffering from a delusional evaluation of human nature and society—to say nothing of the nature of the universe itself—that’s colored by my longstanding and worsening mood disorder?  How would I know?

Anyway, that’s about it for now.  If any of you have any suggestions or reactions regarding my potential change of plans for publishing my stories here on the blog, let me know.  It’s just a random thought in my head, like everything else.  I don’t know what I’ll do, or where.  I frankly don’t know how I’ll find the will to keep moving through today and on into tomorrow…except that not to do my usual stuff would raise more inconvenience than just to keep doing it, no matter how utterly without reward it feels.  It seems at least as hard to stop moving as to keep moving; there’s no course of action (or inaction) that promises anything other than continuing weariness.  Call me a nazgûl I guess.  But I’m a little less scary, maybe, and I don’t work for Sauron****.  And I don’t wear a ring.  Not anymore.

TTFN

Writer-at-work


*Instead of working on editing In the Shade, which is what I “should” have been doing.

**So many times, in literature, fiction, and religious speech, one hears of the sin or failing or danger of “self-love”.  That’s never made much visceral sense to me.  Do people really love themselves?  I mean, the way they might love their children, say—in an accepting and supportive, but disciplining way that wants what’s best for the person?  I grasp the drive to survive, annoying as it can be, and to reproduce, and to seek momentary pleasure and all that.  But I’m skeptical of the notion of self-love.  How could any human, knowing all the many flaws and faults of the species, and knowing himself or herself better than anyone else does and better than they know anyone else, ever really love herself or himself?  It’s so comical that it’s tragic.  Or perhaps it’s so tragic that it’s hilarious.

***Who, me?

****Or any other dark entity of any kind.  I have a job, so to speak, but that’s a mutual exchange to mutual benefit, not any kind of master/servant thing.

Hold hard the breath and blog up every spirit to his full height.

Hello, good morning, and welcome to the first Thursday of August in 2021.  As is self-evident, it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.

I’ll start with the writing-related material this time, which I’ve tended lately to push to near the end of my posts, since—unfortunately—during the editing process, not much of substance changes from week to week.  In the Shade is proceeding well, however.  I’ve already passed my initial goal for story compression, i.e., the reduction in total word count, which hopefully is a good proxy for tight writing and quick reading, and thus a more pleasurable, gripping story.  I hope to do significantly more trimming as I go along, but I don’t know that I’ll reach my secondary “goal” of twice as much reduction.  Since I’m more than halfway through my editing iterations, it seems unlikely.  Still, setting a lofty goal, so to speak, usually means that even if one falls somewhat short, at least one will have achieved more than if one had set a low goal.  Only those who attempt the “impossible” can achieve the unbelievable.

I don’t know how I’ll learn whether I’ve achieved the desired overall improvement of my writing.  It’s difficult to tell from my own experience, since I always enjoy my stories when I reread them (so far, anyway).  It would be amusingly ironic if future generations of literary scientists analyzed my drafts compared to the final products and found, in some objective sense, that they were uniformly better in their longer, original forms.  I don’t know how that could possibly happen, but I can’t rule it out.  I take comfort in the fact that, should such analysis ever be done, I will likely be long since dead when it occurs.

I came within a hare’s breadth* of writing a post for Iterations of Zero this last Sunday.  I even loaded up Word for the first time on my newish laptop at home, but I unfortunately failed to clear the mental hurdle of putting the device on my lap in my bed (which is where I spend almost my entire time on weekends) and actually starting to write.

This fact is particularly frustrating because I so often come up with ideas that I would like to explore either in writing or verbally.  I often toy with the idea of keeping my phone handy—it is always handy, now that I think of it—and using it to record myself rambling about these thoughts.  They often occur in traffic, unfortunately, especially when my Bluetooth is acting up and I can’t listen to music as I go, which is my preference.  I sing along for the most part; I tend to get quite absorbed in it.  For instance, earlier this week when I just missed colliding with the very large vertical remnant of a semi-truck tire just over the top of a slight rise on I-95**, I didn’t even break the phrase of the song I was singing—even as I narrowly avoided going head over heels at nearly seventy miles an hour.

It’s weird; I tend to be stressed, confused, and sometimes almost panicky or enraged, in purely social situations, or when my daily routines or interests are interrupted.  But real, serious physical danger—to me or to others, as when I was in medical practice—just tends to focus my concentration.  I didn’t even need to stop to calm down after my recent “brush with death”, though I was very annoyed by the possibility there might be functional damage to my vehicle that I would need to address.  Thankfully, there wasn’t, so I can continue my daily routine as before without disruption.

Still, I really want to work into that routine a pattern of writing down or otherwise recording the various weird thoughts that meander through my head, on subjects from physics and mathematics to psychology, philosophy, sociology/politics/economics, technology, energy, climate, the nature of complexity, etc.  Also, I could use it as a kind of “therapy”.  I definitely “need” that, in the sense that my mental health is far from good and is probably worsening.

I have at least taken some baby steps in seeking help, using an unexpected disappointment that at least presented an opportunity:  When I clicked an offered link for help after repeatedly taking the online AQ test and getting consistently quite high results, it didn’t take me to any Asperger’s resources, but brought me instead to the “Better Help” site, which is a resource for online therapy.  After much hemming and hawing and false starting on my part, I’m trying to make arrangements for such therapy, but it’s been difficult because of my schedule, my innate aversion to doing anything to help myself***, and my discomfort interacting with new people, even over video or text.  I’ve finally got something moving, but it looks like it’s going to be only every other week or so; I work long hours, and I’m not going to do online therapy while other people are in the office, even if it’s during lunch.  It’s almost inconceivable that I could manage “in-person” therapy, though I’ve done it in the past.

Well, life is complicated.  I frequently doubt whether it’s worth the effort, but since we can’t test the alternative and then change our minds, we keep putting our shoulders to our Sisyphean boulders and hope that maybe, at the very least, this time we might get a tiny bit of rest at the top of the hill.  Though, honestly, I don’t know what I would even do with such a break.

Still, I have Outlaw’s Mind to look forward to finishing once I’m done with In the Shade and thence with Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  Writing new fiction—and usually even new nonfiction—is always a boost.  I’m not sure why, but it is.

TTFN

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*Which is larger than a hair’s breadth, of course, but hares do tend to be svelte, so it’s still pretty close.

**A smaller bit of debris to the right ripped a panel loose on the side of my bike, but I have a cool head in times of stress.  Though I wobbled back and forth for a few subsequent seconds, I never came very close to going over.  Sometimes I honestly regret such “coolness”, but a motorcycle accident on the interstate is not how I would prefer to die, especially since it might not kill but merely maim me.  That would be such a pain both literally and figuratively.

***Who among us would not have mixed feelings at the prospect of giving aid to his greatest enemy?

O God, your only blog-maker. What should a man do but be merry?

Okay, well…hello and good morning and welcome to another Thursday edition of my weekly blog post.  I don’t have anything quite as momentous as last week to talk about today, but I’m making progress on good things, nevertheless.

For instance, I’m almost done editing my short story House Guest, which is even older than The Vagabond…I wrote it when I was in high school; I think I was sixteen at the time.  Editing this story is a much faster process than editing The Vagabond was, and it’s about eighty times faster than editing Unanimity was.  House Guest is a true short story, only about six thousand words long; even going through it repeatedly doesn’t take much time.  I haven’t needed to change much, except to update some of the medical trivia based on my far more advanced present knowledge.  There’s only a little bit of it; it’s not crucial to the story, but it does enhance it a bit.

It’s nice to be able to go back and see that I didn’t write much worse then than I do now.  I might have written better occasionally.  Certainly, I didn’t tend to write as long a story.  Or, well, maybe that might not actually be true, now that I think about it.  House Guest is just a short story, after all, and is simply no longer than it needs to be.  My hand-written Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel Ends of the Maelstrom from around the same time was well over five hundred hand-written, single-spaced pages long, on very narrow-ruled paper*, and was almost certainly longer than The VagabondMaybe I worry about story length too much.

Oh, by the way, happy April Fool’s Day!  I only realized the auspicious date—if that’s really the best term—when I saved this file just now.  Despite the usual form of celebration—again, if that’s the right term—associated with this day, I’m pulling no pranks and telling no lies in the writing of this post, unless my forced cheerfulness counts as a lie.  But if that’s a lie, it’s one that I, and I think most other people, tell frequently, probably many times a day.

I don’t think I’m alone in this.  I encounter a lot of upbeat, “power of positive thinking” type statements and quotes and tweets and posts and whatnot all around cyberspace, but they often give me the sense conveyed by Queen Gertrude when she says, “The lady doth protest too much methinks.”  It’s a rather desperate, almost panicky, quasi-hysterical positivity and cheerfulness…because, after all, no one will like you if you’re not cheerful, right?

And if you do admit to feeling poorly, especially emotionally, then you’ll often get responses full of platitudes and homilies and you-think-you’ve-got-it-bads, sometimes verging toward the tone of a slap in the face from Cher and a shout of, “Snap out of it!”

Of course, to be fair, you also tend to find sincere sympathy and concern.  Even the other stuff often plainly comes from a well-meaning place, so to speak.  I don’t want to impugn the motivations of those responding to things for which our culture gives us very few tools.  I think almost all such people really do mean well.

But our society is drenched in the myths of the rugged individualist and The Secret, and the power of positive thinking and “Think and Grow Rich”, and “quantum healing” nonsense.  If you find yourself tempted by the sugary, empty-calorie bait in those intellectual traps, remember, you only ever hear about the good outcomes, the lucky ones…the failures don’t publish their tales, and the marketing people certainly don’t promote them.  If ever there was an inbuilt and all-but-inescapable confirmation bias, it’s in attitudes about the power of positive thinking.

Not that being reasonably, cautiously optimistic and positive is a bad thing—it’s not, if you can do it, and if you are so constituted that it doesn’t require you to browbeat yourself when you feel down, as you will sometimes, no matter who you are.  Even the Donald gets down in the doldrums de vez en cuando, I’d stake my left kidney on it.  But there’s no evidence whatsoever that the state of the present or future universe is affected by human thoughts and attitudes other than by dint of prosaic methods:  hard work, discipline, planning, thought, careful evaluation and analysis, proverbial blood, sweat, and tears, and—almost always—many failures along the way.

I wish some people would positively think themselves able to defy gravity by the power of their minds and would hurl themselves from the nearest equivalent of the observation deck of the Empire State Building to prove it.  That would be putting their money where they mouths are.  When Deepak Chopra talks about the power of the mind to heal and to resist aging (and the like) through some kind of pseudo-quantum nonsense, make sure to compare photos of him now with photos taken twenty or thirty years ago (they are, unfortunately, readily available).  He’s aged conspicuously.  Also, remember that people like Heisenberg, Schrödinger, Dirac, Feynman, Bohr, Einstein, Wheeler, and the like—all of whom understood quantum mechanics far better than your favorite local or international or celebrity purveyor of quantum woo, to say the least—are currently and conspicuously dead.  At least in this branch of the Everettian** multiverse.

Wow.  That was a hell of a tangent, wasn’t it?  No April Fools, though.  I was speaking from the heart—which is to say, conveying my honest thoughts and feelings by means of a computer keyboard.  Nevertheless, the good things I shared at the beginning of this post are true and unsullied, and The Vagabond is out there to be read by any who enjoy horror novels.  I’m getting good feedback on it, as well as on Son of Man, which a coworker of mine recently finished.  She said she loved the twists and surprises, and really enjoyed the book, which can’t help but make even a curmudgeon like me feel happy.  Also, I recently reread The Chasm and the Collision, and the ending of my own book brought minor tears of joy to my eyes.  That’s pretty cheesy, I guess, but I’ll take my little bits of satisfaction where I can get them, and I’ll try not to be too embarrassed.

And though you might not think it, I would take great and honest satisfaction in knowing that all of those who read this, and their loved ones—and everyone else for that matter—were healthy, and comfortable, and as safe as they can be, and as happy as often and for as long as they can be without using inappropriate and/or detrimental substances***.  So, if you could do me a favor, please see if you can achieve those results.

TTFN

Some people even go


*I haven’t been able to find such narrow-ruled paper again since that time, though I’ve often looked for it.  Apparently, that super-tight ruling of notebook paper has fallen out of fashion.  It’s too bad, really, because I loved the convenience of having to use fewer pages, though it made editing a bit of a mess.  There were added sentences running into the tattered margins on almost every page, and even I had trouble reading what I had written.  Maybe there’s a good reason that paper fell out of fashion…but it did look beautiful when blank.  So many lines available to fill!

**Hugh Everett is also, lamentably, dead.  He died at age fifty-one, my current age, after having left physics at least partly because of the animosity he experienced against his “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, which may nevertheless be correct.

***I might think otherwise if such substances were reliable, or if they didn’t tend to end up causing a subsequent rapid, severe, and painfully ironic downturn in the happiness curve of life, but that’s just not the way things are.

Thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind, for thee, and for my blog no quiet find.

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another Thursday.  It’s time for my weekly blog post.  I’m still comparatively “out of it”, so I had to double-check that, yes, today really is Thursday.  I woke up yesterday feeling that it was Friday, though that might have been wishful thinking; I thought not only that it was Friday, but that I didn’t need to work on Saturday.  Both of these turn out to be wrong.  (Sigh.  Life is so tiring.)

Despite still obviously being reduced from my peak abilities by the aftereffects of Covid, I’ve had a relatively productive week.  First, I recorded and posted an “audio blog” which I guess counts as a sort of mini podcast, on Iterations of Zero.  It was triggered—weirdly enough—when I woke up the other day with the old Genesis song Land of Confusion going through my head, particularly the line about how “my generation will get it right, we’re not just making promises that we know we’ll never keep”.  I find such utterances terribly irritating, even in what could be considered poetry, and I replied in my head that, well, you might not be making promises that you know you’ll never keep, but you are making promises that you’ll never keep.  And indeed, they have not kept them.

Promising, after all, is easy.  Actually doing something takes work, usually a lot of it.

And of course, the remarks in the song about superman, men of steel, men of power, always set me off; there are no supermen, there are no “men of steel”, there are no “men of power”, and there never have been.  There are just other flesh and blood humans, just other bees in the hive or ants in the hill.

Anyway, I went off on those ideas for about seventeen minutes, since I was still fuming when I arrived at the office, and I then edited it (a bit) and posted it.

I did something a little more upbeat also, finally releasing my cover of the Radiohead song Nude, which is on IoZ and on YouTube:

I really like that song, but the process of having to correct for recording issues in the edit and mixing process finally drove me to buy a somewhat better microphone (closing the proverbial barn door after the equine had exited).  Just in playing with that microphone, I realized how much easier it makes things to have a good USB condenser mic.  I was able to record a draft of a cover of the Beatles song Julia in just one morning, which I embed here in present form.

Of course, I mixed it and did some reverb after the recording and whatnot, and it is a simpler song, but still, that’s a total of maybe an hour’s work or so (not counting learning and practicing the guitar part, of course).  And the microphone I used only cost about thirty-five dollars, so it’s definitely not a big expense.  I probably spend more than that every week on bubbly water.

Of course, I’ve continued to work on The Vagabond, but there’s not much new to say other than that I’m one week closer to being finished.  I still enjoy the story, and I look forward to seeing it published and then going on to finish Outlaw’s Mind and then putting together Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities and all that stuff.  After all that, I’m not sure what exactly I’m going to write next.  I’m going to write something, though, since it turns out the novel coronavirus hasn’t killed me*, and as long as I’m alive, I mean to keep writing.  I’ll also probably (to a lesser extent) keep doing music—especially now that I have my new microphone(s)—and I’ll probably keep doing little mini-podcasts that I’ll upload, though I don’t know if anyone likes them or wants to listen to them.  I’d actually appreciate feedback on that question, but I don’t think I’ve ever received any despite asking for it, so I’m not going to hold my breath.

With that, I guess I’m done with my weekly summary of events and thoughts, though I’m sure I could have written more**.  I hope you’re all as well as you can possibly be, and that you stay well and, if you can, even get weller.

TTFN

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*I have mixed and varying feelings about this.  In all honesty, life often does not seem worth the effort to me, which is probably part of why I love Hamlet so much.  And yet, even though people throughout the ages have noted that life is often not a net gain, particularly after a certain point, our culture allows, and even encourages, other people to hold us accountable for staying alive so that they don’t have to feel the pain of our death…even if they are not putting any effort into helping make our life worth living.  I’m not saying that other people should be responsible for making my (or anyone else’s) life pleasant or positive or whatever, but if they aren’t, they sure as fuck shouldn’t then arrogate to themselves the right to try to manipulate and coerce someone into enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune just because their deaths would cause that other person pain.  It’s logically inconsistent if nothing else.  It’s also selfishness and cruelty masquerading as humanitarianism.

Anyway, just to conclude this footnote with a request: if you are worried about someone who’s depressed or has some other disorder and you don’t want them to die, don’t wheedle or berate or manipulate or cajole them not to die just because it would make you upset if they did.  What right do you have to insist upon their continued suffering just so you don’t have to deal with their death?  If you really want them to stay alive, then make it your business to help them have good reasons to want to stay alive.  Otherwise, shut the fuck up!

**I can almost always write more.  In fact, an early pseudonym suggestion for me by my father was “Franklin L. Ritemoore”.  It took me about five minutes to get the joke, but I was only in junior high at the time, so I was less advanced at wordplay than I am now.