Give me to drink mandragora…that I might sleep out this great blog of time

Goodo and hell morning.  It’s not Thursday—it’s Friday, November 19th, 2021—but this is an edition of my weekly blog post.  I did not write anything at all yesterday, neither blog post nor new fiction nor letters nor emails nor notes to self nor any other kind of writing.  I was lying in bed pretty much all day (getting up to obtain meals and to use the bathroom—which, interestingly, doesn’t have a bathtub, just a shower, a sink, and a euphemism, yet we call it a bathroom).  Despite having gotten nicely into a walking routine over the last several weeks—which seemed to be doing good for my back and other joints—somehow, at the beginning of this week, or the end of the last, something triggered a significant exacerbation.  I’ve had pain and stiffness not just in my back but markedly so in my hips and shoulders, wrists and hands, ankles, knees, and so on.  I wondered if I’d started to develop polymyalgia rheumatica, frankly, given the symptoms.

It’s interesting to note that something called polymyalgia* entails such prominent arthralgia**.  But nomenclature isn’t always accurate, even in medicine; it’s often riddled with historical artifacts.  Take the source of the word “vaccination”, for instance.  How many people know that its origin comes from exposing people to Vaccinia (related to smallpox and formerly thought to be cowpox but apparently more like horsepox***) to engender immunologic protection against Variola, aka Smallpox?

So, anyway, I didn’t write my usual weekly blog post on Thursday this week, and I suppose I could’ve just given the whole thing a miss, but I figured I’d try to be better late than never if I could.  I’m more motivated to write this blog than I am to write my new fiction, anyway, which is a bit sad to me, though I doubt I shall hear any wailing and gnashing of teeth from the general public.  Also, it’s just barely possible that I won’t be writing a blog post next week (though I think I usually do) on Thanksgiving.  It will probably be shorter than usual, anyway.  So, it would be a shame to leave this space blank, intentionally or otherwise.

This is not to say that I haven’t been working on Outlaw’s Mind.  I have.  Even when I’ve had trouble getting going in the morning, and I putter around rereading and—this week at least—spending about twenty minutes each morning lying on the floor to try to ease my back a bit, I still have written eight hundred to fourteen hundred words each on the days I’ve written, which is to say Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  I’m just not feeling the same drive and motivation for writing that I normally feel.

I wonder if that ambivalence is because this story has been interrupted more than once.  Part of me wants to put it back on the back burner and just start to write something new that I haven’t started before.  But then, of course, that would mean that there would be yet another interruption in Outlaw’s Mind, and it might never get written.  This is not exactly an epic tragedy, obviously—there are many stories waiting in my head that have not yet been, and may never be, written.  But it would be a minor shame.  Had I but world enough and time—or particularly, had I but a time unmarred by chronic pain with exacerbations and free from chronic depression, or at least with all those things under reasonable control—I could write more and faster even than I already do.

And if wishes were horses, we’d all be neck deep in horseshit.

Anyway, that’s nearly it for this week, I’m afraid.  I apologize for the lateness and for the less-than-optimal post that this is.  It’s a day late and, though not a dollar short, I feel it’s not up to my usual standards.  I’m back at the office, but I am still far from physically comfortable, and that takes its toll.  I hope you’ll all understand.

In the meantime, though, in America we have Thanksgiving coming up next week, and I hope most of you are looking forward to a nice meal with family if you’re able.  Though, of course, be careful if you travel, and do your best not to contribute to a new wave of Covid-19, as well as flu and other respiratory viruses—they all tend to have significant upticks here in the US after Thanksgiving, since it’s the biggest travel holiday of the year.

Please, everyone, have a good time with those you love.  And do something, if you’re able, for people who are alone.  Even if it seems that’s the way they want to be, it’s worth checking if they need anything.

But for goodness’ sake, don’t tell them that they ought to be thankful and appreciative and not feel too bad, perhaps because other people have it “worse”.  That doesn’t help anybody; it’s just self-serving crap designed to absolve the speaker of any need to be compassionate.  There’s presumably only one person on Earth at any given time about whom it couldn’t be said that there are those who have it worse****.  What good does it do anyone to be told that, at this moment, they aren’t that person, by someone else who also isn’t that person and isn’t doing anything to make a difference for that person or for anyone else?  If you can’t say anything useful and/or nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.  Silence is preferable to insulting, counterproductive stupidity.

TTFN

desert


*Which refers to muscle pain.

**Which refers to joint pain.

***So many farm animal poxes!  Chicken pox, by the way, is Varicella.  Imagine if our inoculation process had started with chicken pox.  We might refer to the process as varicellation.

****I think we can safely assume that the title changes hands rapidly and often, since such a person probably has a foreshortened lifespan.

I will blog them all, even to roaring.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and time for my weekly blog post.  It’s the second Thursday of the month, and in that brief golden age of the past, this post would have been an entry into “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains”.  But that age came to an end long ago.  I’m obviously not completely over it, but I think everyone else is…if anyone else was ever “under it”.

I’ve been working at a halfway decent pace on my writing this week*, though for a few days late last week and so far in this one it has been hard going—not because of the writing, but because my back (and in radiating fashion, my legs, sides, and *ahem* groin, mainly on the right) has been acting up severely.  This has interfered with my sleep and my energy and has worn away at my never-too-impressive will to live.  It’s very annoying, and I’m continually trying to take steps to mitigate and improve it.  My aforementioned will to live may not terribly strong, but I dislike pain as much as most people do.  That’s the nature of pain.  That’s what it does.  It’s arranged so as not to be easily ignored, since it nominally exists to warn a person (or any other animal) to avoid or correct danger and/or damage.

Alas, there is damage that we are not capable of avoiding or correcting (yet), and since we live longer now than we ever have in the past, and we engage in pursuits our ancestors were never built to manage, we accumulate and survive damage that can persist for decades, with pain that does likewise.  That which does not kill you does not always make you stronger, and some things just kill you very slowly.  I talked a little bit about this in an impromptu, poor-sound-quality video that I shared on YouTube and through Iterations of Zero, but obviously it’s a subject that still weighs on my mind.  No surprises there.

I encountered a very nice quote recently—in a Doctor Who episode, actually (though I heard/saw it on one of those YouTube compilation videos)—and it struck a chord in me that relates to why I wrote my late, lamented run of “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains”.  In the scene, The Doctor is in a stand-off with a group of enemies, and one antagonist says to him that the anger of a good man is not a problem, because good men have so many rules.  The Doctor slowly turns and walks up to her, quietly saying, “Good men don’t need rules.  Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.”

This really moved me—it moved the antagonist of the piece as well, who quickly stood down—because I have never been a good person by nature or inclination, but I have always tried to do and be good things, so I’ve created many, many rules for myself**.  I don’t think I’m rare, let alone unique, in this.  I have very dark thoughts and ideas, which I put to good use in stories, but they make me dislike myself quite a bit a lot of the time.  And, interestingly, because I curtail my own evil impulses, and have done so all my life, I get particularly angry at people who do thoughtlessly negative, petty, harmful, selfish things.  If I can’t do it, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be okay with other people doing it!

Again, I don’t think this is at all unusual, though I may tend to think and imagine more extreme things than many or most people.  But Steven Moffat, the writer of that Doctor Who episode seemed to understand.  And, based on other things he’s written, I think he understands it rather deeply.  Maybe everyone does, at some level.  After all, not many of the stories we love are peaceful and positive and beautiful throughout.  In the real world and in fiction, only a minority of our heroes are not violent at any level.  It is an often dark, often dangerous world out there—everywhere—and true pacifists tend to be little more than excellent sources of protein.  It’s not fair, of course, but fairness is a human conceit, or an aspiration, if you prefer.  Fairness—in the human sense—is not found in the laws of physics, except to the extent that everything is.

On to other matters.  I’m going to be posting one more video for Iterations of Zero, I think, and then I’m probably not going to be making many, or any, more.  I don’t get very many “likes” from them, and I prefer writing for many reasons.  Also, I just can’t really enjoy the process of editing videos, because I really don’t like looking at my face.  It’s cruel to force me to do it, and I can only allow myself to be cruel up to a point, even to myself.

But, anyway, In the Shade is coming along nicely.  I’m thinking of writing the first draft of its final section longhand, just to see if it affects my speed of writing and my tendency to wordiness, as well as the quality.  I’m not certain of that decision yet.  I’ll let you know.  In whatever format, the story’s first draft ought to be done soon—by the end of the month I should think—and then I will set to rewriting/editing it and then putting together Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  That should be out this summer sometime, I would guess…something to chill your blood during the dog days.

TTFN

3700361-440565 doc

“Doc” is what everyone at work calls me.


*Yesterday was my best day this week, at just over 2000 words.  Last Friday I didn’t even break a thousand.

**These are implicit rules, not literally codified even in my head, but I know them when I come up against situations in which they are applicable.