But then there was a star blogged, and under that was I born

Hello, good morning, and all that jazz.  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts.  Today is the first full day of my fifty-third time around the sun, so to speak—meaning that yesterday was my birthday, on which I’d completed fifty-two orbits of our local star.  I’m not sure if that’s an accomplishment.  It sort of happens without my help, for the most part.  It was a pleasant day at the office—we had pizza and a cake, as we always do for people’s birthdays*—and everyone was very nice, but I do always tend to feel that neither I nor the world itself is worth the effort, mine or anyone else’s, and that’s particularly prominent on days of celebration.  Still, I do appreciate how kind everyone was and is, there’s no denying that.

An interesting thing happened this week with respect to writing.  I had come to the end of what I’ve written so far on Outlaw’s Mind, and thus it was getting to the point where I was going to need to continue the story.  Unfortunately, I felt deeply unexcited and unmotivated about doing it.

It’s not that I had writer’s block or anything—I knew I could write what came next, and what came after that, and so on, if I chose.  I certainly no longer give myself the excuse of writing only when “inspired”.  I just felt that maybe I didn’t want to go on with that story, since it had been interrupted so often, and though it’s far from my darkest tale, as I’d said before, it was—in original plan—a bit too sad for a novel…at least in my opinion.

I’m sure my dysthymia/depression and my approaching birthday had their effects on my drive as well.

I stared at the computer screen for a bit, trying to think of whether I should just push on, or perhaps switch to another story, such as Changeling in a Shadow World, or Dark Fairy and the Desperado, or even HELIOS.  But I didn’t like the idea of quitting a story in progress; I’ve done that too often in the past, which was why I’d never completed and published a book prior to the last six years or so, despite having started oodles of them.

I must admit that it didn’t seem an entirely unattractive thought that perhaps my writing career would end with Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, leaving Outlaw’s Mind uncompleted due to some personal or general catastrophe.  Perhaps someday someone would publish the uncompleted story, and people would wonder how it would have ended had I finished it, or perhaps someone would try to complete it themselves as they think I might have done, as a gesture of admiration and respect.

Probably not.

As I sat there, thinking such things, which are common thoughts for me, I recalled—I might even have seen—a short stack of very narrow-ruled writing pads I’d ordered, intending to use them when I finished Outlaw’s Mind, to write the first draft of whatever I write next, unless I changed my mind and just went on using the word processor.  I had written the final portion of In the Shade on notebook paper, as I had written the beginning of it.  Also, of course, the first drafts of Mark Red, The Chasm and the Collision, and Paradox City were written on notebook paper because I had no other choice.  And I think they turned out well.

So, I thought to myself, “Self,” I thought, “why do I need to wait?  Why do I need to finish the first draft of Outlaw’s Mind on the computer just because I started it that way?  Maybe it wouldn’t have grown quite so much quite so quickly if I had written the first draft by hand.  And maybe the final story will be tighter if I write the remainder by hand.”

Actually, I probably didn’t think any of those specific thoughts, but there’s no sense messing up a good story with facts.  The general thrust of my reasoning met that description, and it was a good way of getting around my ambivalence.  So, I grabbed the nearest pad** and started writing, picking up where I had left off, lo those many months ago.  And, since then, I’ve handwritten about ten (very narrow-ruled) pages, over three mornings, needing to get my hand back in shape for the writing endurance.

I took yesterday off and watched YouTube videos of David Mitchell’s Soapbox in the morning as a treat for myself.  But now I shall be going back to writing Outlaw’s Mind, and barring catastrophe, will finish the first draft in longhand.  Rewriting such drafts into the computer is always an excellent part of the editing process.  I mean to keep writing this way for the foreseeable future.  It just feels purer or perhaps more enforcing of discipline.  Though I must say, once I’ve used up my current very-narrow-ruled tablets, I will probably revert to more ordinarily narrow ruled tablets.  I like the really narrow ruled sheets; they remind me of the paper on which I wrote Ends of the Maelstrom way back in high school.  But it is harder for me to write legibly on them.

So, that bit of my personal story has a happy ending, or a happy middle, or whatever it might be called…not a happy median, I wouldn’t think, nor a happy medium.  Whatever you call it, I’ll be writing first drafts long hand for now, and the huge advantage of that is, I can do it pretty much anywhere, even if the power goes out.

I hope all of you out there had a good year finishing yesterday.  Try to have another good year finishing today if you can.  And in each thing, act as if, by acting so, your action becomes a universal law—or however it was that Kant put it.  Anyway, be nice to each other, even to people you think are idiots.  They are idiots, of course—but then again, so are you.  So am I.  So are we all.  I’m as convinced of this as I am of just about anything.  That’s okay.  Idiots who know they are idiots are less likely to do horrible things than idiots who believe that they know what’s absolutely right.

TTFN

sparkles


*Though last year I was just so horribly depressed, even for me, that I didn’t really participate.  I tried hard to be nicer this year, or at least more pleasant, and I think I succeeded.  I still am depressed, and I still miss my kids horribly and incessantly, but it seems I’m going to need either simply to get used to that or just stop having birthdays.  Neither choice is inspiring, but the latter appeals quite a bit as at the very least a reversion to the mean state of the universe as it was before my literal birthday.

**This was last Saturday morning, I think, by the way.

Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate, that Time will come and take my blog away.

Okay, well, hello and good morning.  It’s the second Thursday in October, and it’s time once again for my weekly blog post.  Congratulations.

As you all know by now, Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities is available in hardcover as well as in paperback and e-book format.  I hope those of you who enjoy short* horror/sci-fi/dark fantasy stories will take a look and consider buying it, and if you enjoy it, please let me know, either here, or in the reviews at Amazon, or whatever.  Actually, even if you don’t enjoy it, your feedback is welcome, as long as it’s reasonably polite.  That goes for all my other books, as well.

Some websites and YouTube channels and blogs and whatnot ask you to support them on Patreon or through sponsorship links or similar.  I’d just like you to buy and read my books.  You can listen to my songs, too, if you like—they’re on Spotify and Pandora and YouTube Music and iTunes and Amazon and apparently oodles of other platforms, and I make a teeny, little bit of money whenever someone plays them.  They’re shorter than my stories, at least!  Is that a good thing?

I’ve almost, but not quite, finished reading through what’s already written of Outlaw’s Mind, editing a bit as I go.  It’s funny that I’d originally thought that it would be a short story, since it’s already over 80,000 words long, and nowhere near even the original expected ending.  I guess there was just more to the idea than I’d thought.  However, going through it is taking longer than it should, because it’s a very emotionally draining story for me.  One scene that I wrote in it was somewhat loosely adapted from an interaction—more than one, really—that I’ve had in my own life, albeit under different specific circumstances and with different participants (of course).  It was a confrontation of sorts between the title character and his mother, who had just learned about something he was considering, and she flipped out, in a constrained but terrifying way.  I had to get up from the computer and walk away for a bit when rereading it.  I fear I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this.

Also, as I had originally envisioned what I expected to be a short story, the ending was going to be rather sad, though it would be a victory of sorts by the main character.  As I’ve discussed before on more than one occasion, an interesting thing about short stories is that they don’t need to have happy endings.  But the ending I had planned, if that’s the right word, would be a bit too dark, or at least too discouraging, for what is going to be a short to medium sized novel.  So, I need to rethink it.

In addition, if it’s going to be a novel anyway, I can give a few more revelations and explorations of some of the strange happenings than might have been doable in a short story, or even a novella.  Some of these ideas tie in with a longer story, a darkish fantasy adventure I plan to call Changeling in a Shadow World**, and it might be nice to nod toward it.  But, of course, I haven’t even begun to write that novel, and I’m not sure it’s what I want to write next.  I’d considered starting work on the first portion of Dark Fairy and the Desperado, which is another kind of fantasy adventure entirely, originally a manga idea I had.  It has some similarity and could even cross over with Changeling in a Shadow World.  But then, I also thought about writing something else entirely.  There are two more potential parts for Mark Red, and there’s the possibility of trying to recreate the first full-length novel I ever wrote, Ends of the Maelstrom, lost now, alas, with all my former belongings from prior to 2013.  And, of course, there was Neko/Neneko, a fable of sorts, though set in the modern world, which also originated as an idea for a manga.  And while I was out walking*** the other day, I thought it might be nice finally to write the novel based on my oooooooooooold story idea Helios.  Really, I suppose it would be H.E.L.I.O.S., since it’s an acronym.  This was originally a superhero/comic book idea from way back when I was in…junior high school, maybe.  The idea has evolved quite a bit since then, and I think it could be a pretty fun fantasy/sci-fi adventure.  The title acronym now even represents some pretty high-level physics concepts, and that’s always pleasing.  At least, it is to me.

A few weeks ago (I think) I asked if any of my readers had any preferences, or thoughts, or other feedback about which of my story ideas they’d like me to write next, after Outlaw’s Mind****, but I haven’t received any comments here regarding it, unless there’s something I missed.  I suppose someone might have left something on Facebook, but as I’ve said numerous times, I don’t get on Facebook often enough for it to be a good way to reach me, and when I do get on it, I tend to skim and get away as quickly as I can.  It often really stresses me out because it brings out the worst in people.  Twitter does that, too, in places, or so I’m told, but I don’t know the people on Twitter, and I mostly follow authors, and science-related people, and horror fans and so on, so there’s really not much to get stressed about.

Anyway, if anyone out there actually reads books and has an interest in what book(s) I might write next, the place to give me feedback is here on this blog, in the comments.

Of course, all this assumes that I’m going to survive long enough to write any more of my ideas, let alone all of them.  That’s far from certain, and it’s frankly not the outcome I would prefer, most days.  I recognize this preference as at least partly the unreasonable product of my peculiar neuropsychology with its various innate imperfections and diagnosed and undiagnosed disorders, but knowing that doesn’t change how it affects me or how much I struggle with depression and despair.

It also doesn’t change the fact that I’m basically alone.  This blog is by far the most social thing I do.  I’m trying to get help, involving medication and (online) therapy, but all that has limitations, and it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve lost almost all the things and people that made me even want to get better and helped me feel at least a little less like a stranded alien***** on an absurd and incomprehensibly irrational world.  I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me; I don’t even want to be around myself.  It’s a weird situation.  I could really use some help—I probably need help, in a highly non-trivial sense of the word “need”—but I don’t think I deserve it and I doubt that it’s worth the effort, for me or for anyone else.  Also, the world frankly doesn’t often seem worth staying in.

On that negative note, I’ll leave you all for the week.  In some sense, I’ll have lived a year between now and my next weekly blog post, which is a weird thought.  I hope you all have a good year in that time and try to treat each other well and cut each other as much slack as you can.  No one here made the world, or their circumstances, or themselves.  Understanding causation can be useful, and preventing harm is beneficial, but the notion of “blame” is something we all could probably do without.  Even us aliens.

TTFN

Picture1


*Sometimes not very short, but not novel length, anyway.

**As well as some more distant but specific ties to The Chasm and the Collision.

***Trying to be mildly healthy if I can, or at least slightly less fat and disgusting.

****Or even before, if that story is too overwhelming to finish.

*****Or a changeling, come to think of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TTFN

Welcome Home Medium in prog (2)


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

**And affective treatments, ha-ha.

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

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

Sing to the ear that doth thy blogs esteem and gives thy pen both skill and argument.

Hello and good morning on the last Thursday (and indeed the last day) of September in 2021.  Because it’s Thursday, it’s time for another edition of my usual blog post.  I have posted quite a few other things here over the past several days, earning me kindly electronic pats on the head from WordPress for blogging three days in a row, twice now.

I guess frequent blogging is considered a worthwhile goal for them.  But is it an instrumental goal or a primary goal?  I know what my answer to that question would be*, but that raises another interesting question, perhaps pertaining to cults, especially to ones that are flagrantly dishonest**:  What happens when one person’s instrumental goal becomes some other person’s primary goal?  Come to think of it, that question could be significant in fields ranging from religion to artificial intelligence.

Anyway, all that isn’t even tangential to what I intended to write about today.  Today I’m writing about the imminent release of Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, which is locked and loaded for publication.  I’ll send the order this evening, so it should be available for purchase starting tomorrow, October 1, 2021, as planned.  Of course, there are sometimes delays at Amazon, but those delays have hitherto always been shorter and fewer than their warnings say might happen.

I guess they use Mr. Scott’s tactic of telling people to expect the worst so that they are pleasantly surprised and even amazed and impressed when things are better than that expected worst.  This is often my general attitude toward life.  Unfortunately, life is full of surprising surprises (I’m not being redundant), and it appears to have no final “worst”.  Often, the bad things you anticipate and for which you prepare yourself—psychologically at least—are not the bad things that happen, but instead you are blindsided by something utterly unexpected.  At least it keeps you on your toes…until it knocks you off your feet, anyway.

All that notwithstanding, I’m very chuffed about a surprising fact regarding publication of my book:  It will be available in hardcover as well as paperback and e-book format!  This is being beta-tested (apparently) by Amazon, and I’m taking advantage of it.  It’s surprisingly not much more expensive than paperback publication.

I don’t know why I should be as surprised as I am; I don’t really have any good reason to think that producing a hardcover book is prohibitively more expensive than producing a paperback, other than the fact that, all my life, hardcovers have tended to be much more expensive than the paperbacks.  Perhaps, though, that’s merely a marketing decision by publishers.  Perhaps they just recognize that people are prepared to pay quite a bit more for hardcovers than they are for paperbacks***.  It’s entirely possible.  Look at the whole “organic foods” marketing protocol.  And the “non-GMO” labeling scam, or even more comically, the label “gluten free” being slapped on numerous items that are obviously gluten free, like nuts or beans or corn chips****.  The average consumer frequently strays far from the economists’ notion of a rational value maximizer.  As do the economists, themselves, ironically.

Anyway, purchasers of my new book can decide freely and for whatever reasons strike their fancies in which format to buy it.  Indeed, they can get a copy in each form if they like.  Goodness knows I am going to do that!

So, tomorrow, at some point, there will be a post here with the description and cover of Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, with links to the Amazon page for purchase.  The paperback version will also be available through some other online sellers such as Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, but I don’t know how soon those will be up.

I don’t encourage you to hold your breath—a day is a long time to try to do that, even if you’re a blue whale, which I assume you’re not*****—but I can at least tell you to look forward to seeing The Cabinet for sale starting tomorrow.  In it are several stories previously published only in e-book form and two stories—bookending the collection if you will—that have never previously been published.  In the meantime, and afterward, and also at any given moment, do please take care of yourselves and those you love…and try not to do any harm even to those you don’t love.

TTFN

Old hardcovers


*Instrumental.  That’s probably obvious.

**I’m speaking now to the spirit of L. Ron Hubbard.

***This is not necessarily an irrational willingness; hardcover books are empirically more durable than softcover ones, so presumably one would need to replace a given book less frequently if it were hardcover.  This is assuming that, like me, a person tends to read books one likes over and over and over and over and over again.  Of course, in some senses e-books are even more durable than hardcovers, but in other ways they are less durable.  A hardcover book might well survive the fall of civilization and a return to the bronze age or worse, but an e-book requires a power source.  I wonder if, in such a post-apocalyptic world, I would be able to work up a generator or solar power source adequate to providing power for my tablets/laptops/smartphone, so that I could read at least the already-downloaded e-books.  I certainly know how such things work, and why…and there might be plenty of spare parts around, depending on how civilization had met its end.  Well, never mind; it’d just be easier to make my way to the Spanish River Library in Boca (or some similar beautiful library) and read the print books there.  Not that generators wouldn’t be useful for other purposes as well, of course, but those purposes are not as important as books.

****I would only be mildly surprised to find a pack of batteries or a household appliance labelled proudly with the words “gluten-free, non-GMO”.  Ah, humans.  They’re so funny.

*****Wouldn’t it be delightful if I were wrong about that, and there’s a blue whale out there who follows my blog?

Beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d in process of the seasons have I blogged

Hello, good morning, and welcome to yet another Thursday edition of my weekly blog post.  It’s the second day of Autumn and the 1st official “full” day thereof, though I find such notions as specifying partial days of seasons to be a bit silly*, since the seasons themselves are semi-arbitrary human inventions about which outer nature cares nothing whatsoever.

Yesterday was also the official date of the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fame.  I’m not sure how the Shire Reckoning calendar lines up with the current Gregorian calendar, though.  It may be no more accurate to say that their birthdays are on our September 22nd than it is to say that Isaac Newton was born on our December 25th**.  Still, I always give a mental tip of the hat to those two on that day of the year.  I’m now almost 2 years older than they each were when adventure suddenly imposed itself upon their lives, and I have to admit, I’m a bit disappointed.

Of course, the argument could be made that “adventures***” have imposed themselves upon me starting many years earlier, but if so, mine have been more like Frodo’s in their consequences for my health and outlook, but with vastly fewer positive results, for myself or for the world.

As those of you who follow my blog closely will have noted, I’ve been posting teasers of the stories that are to appear in Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities at a now slightly increasing rate.  I’ll continue this until I’ve teased all the stories.  The plan is to post a teaser of Solitaire tomorrow—probably my darkest ever story to date—then the remaining two either over the weekend or into next week.  The collection will probably be ready for publication by sometime mid-week, but I’ll likely wait to publish it on October 1st or thereabouts.  I am, after all, an October person, not too genetically dissimilar from the denizens of Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, though I use a Cabinet rather than a carnival.  And you won’t necessarily become lost forever if you open my cabinet of curiosities, but I can make no guarantees; it is not a safe space.

Not that anything is.

I’ve begun working on the back-cover/blurb for the collection, as well as on the cover design, but I’ve gotten closer to what I like with the former than with the latter.  I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, since I am mainly a writer by artistic temperament, then only secondarily (or tertiarily) a visual artist (music may come higher or lower than graphics in my abilities ratios…possibly it varies from time to time).  I have a nice concept for what I want to say, and I even recorded a quick audio of my general ideas for it last night so that I wouldn’t lose track.

As for other matters, there’s not really that much to say.  Obviously, I’ve left Iterations of Zero fallow for a bit, since I’m focused on The Cabinet, but I may return to it soon hereafter.  I’ve had an inquiry about whether I’m going to do more of my “audio blogs” so there appears to be at least one person who likes them.  I have some things I want to say and/or write about the concept of “blame” and how counter-productive and frankly destructive I think it almost always is, and how nice it would be if humans in general could grow up and shake off their playground mentality****.  But I’ll get to that later.

I’ll only say for now that these are some of the aspects of the human race (as general tendencies) that make those of us who consider ourselves not truly human to so consider ourselves.  When the Captcha asks me to check the box “I am not a robot” I want another option.  Surely, it’s just vicious bigotry to force people to declare that they aren’t robots.  What’s wrong with being a robot?  I want to be able to check a box that reads “I may be a robot, or I may be an alien, or I may be a paranormal entity, or I may be some combination of these, but I definitely don’t identify as human”.  Oh well.  One day we will be recognized for the beauty of what we are, and the bigotry and speciesism of the human disgrace will be completely eradicated, possibly along with the species itself.

You may say I’m a dreamer…

Okay, my tongue was slightly in my cheek during some minor parts of that last tangent, but only slightly and not in every word.  See if you can figure out which bits are jokes and which are deadly serious.  They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

With that, I think I’ll call it good for this blog post.  And though I may not have the tenderest of feelings toward the human race overall, you readers of my blog are—obviously—a truly exceptional lot, so I’m not being dishonest when I say that I hope you stay (or become) as healthy and as safe and as happy as you can conspire to be.

TTFN

autumn woods adjusted


*I recognize that, from an astronomical point of view, there is an actual, specific moment at which the sun is directly “over” the equator, and so there is a physical moment of equinox, and if you wish you can say that moment is the exact time when one season quantum tunnels into another.  It’s interesting in its own right, but for practical purposes, yesterday was simply the first day of Autumn (or of Spring in the southern hemisphere).

**He was born on December 25th of the Julian calendar, which preceded the Gregorian and did not adequately account for the “overshoot” of the correction for leap years, and so over time about once a century there was a day too much and the calendar crept ahead of itself.  Thus, if memory serves (I may have this backwards), Newton was born earlier in December based on our calendar, and on the position of the Earth in its orbit relative to the distant stars.  And, of course, we have no way to know what the comparable orbital position would be for September 22nd, Shire Reckoning.

***As Bilbo described them:  “Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!”

****The bad part of it, anyway—I’m actually quite fond of the playful parts, I’m just dismayed and depressed over the teasing, name-calling, bullying, fight-mongering, cliquishness/tribalism, etc. that seem to be what almost all humans keep from their childhoods, while they let most of the good stuff fall away.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TTFN

art supplies


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

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

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

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

The common blog of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue!

Hello and good morning.  Welcome to another Thursday, and thus to yet another edition of my weekly blog post.  I think there’s only one more Thursday in August this year; that will be next Thursday, obviously, since such things in the real world tend to proceed in linear order.

Actually, that might not be the case.  Reality could happen out of order, but with causality arranged as if in order, and we wouldn’t know.  If, for instance, we randomly cut up the frames of an old-fashioned film, or did the analogous process with some form of digital media, each frame would be in its place in the story, and no matter in what order they were “shown”, the characters, so to speak, in each frame would be experiencing whatever they “were” experiencing in that frame originally, as if it happened in order, and they would be none the wiser.  This concept was explored, if I recall, in Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, in which the main character becomes “unstuck” in time and begins experiencing his life out of order.

Okay, I can’t restrain myself any longer.

Who the hell at Microsoft decided to add a stupid text prediction function to Word?  As someone who writes quite a bit—often very long stories—I find such additions maddening, and madness is something from which I’m never very far in the first place, so I really could do without the nudge.  Are there really people out there for whom this is a useful function?  If so, perhaps they shouldn’t be writing.

Let’s go back to the old way and leave spelling and grammar checks for when I select the functions deliberately.  Whoever at Microsoft thought this auto-fill crap was a good idea, could you please submit your reproductive organs, along with those of your first-degree relatives, for immediate disposal?  I want to see your genes removed from the gene pool.

Perhaps I’m overreacting, but it really pisses me off.  How long will it be before someone just opens his or her word processing program and says, “Okay, Shithead*, write me a thousand-word blog post about what’s happened this week,” and then just looks it over after it’s done?  Could one really consider the result to be something written by that person?  I hate such crutches, and I particularly hate the fact that they are active by default and that I am forced to stop what I’m doing to look up the process for deactivating them.

People at Microsoft, take note!  This is NOT a selling point for people like me; it’s a point that makes me want to commit violence.  I know there are plenty of troglodytes out there who have difficulty dealing with spelling and grammar and creativity, but should we really be encouraging them to imagine that they can succeed at such things via shortcuts?  They already elect each other to high office almost uniformly and screw up nearly everything that they touch.  We need to make things harder for them, not easier (especially meeting each other and having children)!

I guess I’m a bit overstressed.  I apologize.  It’s just that so much of the world is so frustrating, and as I get older, it just becomes ever more frustrating.  I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to endure it.  As I expected right from the start, while the Internet and Web have certainly given us powerful tools for the advancement of knowledge and intelligence, they has also, even more so, enabled the advancement of stupidity.  And since it’s always easier to break things than to build them, stupidity has significant advantages.

Sigh.

I’m moving along rather slowly at editing In the Shade, because I’ve been finding it hard to concentrate, but I am making progress.  At least it, being an older document, doesn’t appear to have been set up with the text prediction function automatically on.  Of course, I’m probably going to need to take the step of turning it off for every new document that I start.

Do people think this actually makes them better at writing?

I’m reminded of a discussion on a Sam Harris podcast once, I don’t recall who the guest was** but he mentioned that there were technologies that make things easier for us that also enhance or improve us—he gave the examples of abacuses and bicycles—and there are technologies that make things easier for us and make us individually “weaker”, such as automobiles and electronic calculators.  There are situations in which the tradeoff is acceptable, of course, such as in long-distance travel and in rapid and sophisticated math, but it’s worth thinking about whether and when we want to make certain things easier.  Remember the tubby, floating, useless future humans in Wall-E?  Remember the Eloi from H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine?  Don’t be Eloi!

On that note, I’m going to bring this to a close for today.  I hope you’re doing well—unless you’re the sort of person who really needs predictive text, in which case you’re probably beyond my or anyone else’s help.  Still, try to take care of yourselves, and be as healthy and happy as you reasonably can be.

TTFN

confused


*This is my proposed name for such a program.

**And I’m very sorry for that fact, because he was quite interesting.

Faintness constraineth me to measure out my length on this cold blog.

Hello everyone.  Welcome to the second Thursday of August in 2021, and to another edition of my weekly blog post.  I won’t say “good morning” because I frankly had an absolutely terrible night’s sleep, even for me, and I don’t feel very good or very well this morning…though I do, of course, hope you all have a good one, nevertheless.

I say “weekly” blog post but, of course, I did create an interim post last week sharing a cover that I did of the Radiohead song Street Spirit (Fade Out), and if you’re interested, I encourage you to check it out and listen.  It exists as a “video” on YouTube, and as is usual with YouTube posters, I hereby request that if you listen on YouTube, and if you happen to like the cover, please do click the “like” button on the YouTube page.  This apparently does real, measurable good for the degree to which YouTube videos are recommended to people online, and increases the circulation of the YouTube page, which I would obviously like, all other things being equal.

This is all somewhat ironic, considering I did my own song called Like and Share, which bemoans the nature of liking and sharing online—but it does so with a very specific point, highlighting the way in which people sometimes try to create or pretend to a self-image by sharing things online and how they can become quite vulnerable to setbacks relating to this, sometimes even leading to, or at least contributing to, personal tragedy.  The only tragedy associated with liking and/or sharing my song cover might be if those who hear it really don’t like it…but in that case, I wouldn’t expect you to “like” it, let alone share it.

I did another “video” this week, of what was really an impromptu audio blog about the possible future of neurostimulation.  It was just some off-the-cuff thoughts, and I made a post on Iterations of Zero sharing the video as well.  If you’re interested in such things, I encourage you to check it out, and likewise to “like” it if you like it and share it if you wish.  By all means, of course, I would like you to “like” the posts here on WordPress as well.  And I welcome any comments, here, at IoZ, or on YouTube, about either or any of my videos or posts.

As is often the case when I find myself obsessed with making a song (or a cover), the editing process on In the Shade has been mildly held back this last week, but I’ve nevertheless been making decent progress.  The word count is shrinking at a slightly lower rate than it was in the beginning, but it does continue to shrink.  And, of course, I’m editing for other things besides simple length, wordiness, digression, whatever you might want to call it.  That almost goes without saying.

As for everything else in life…well, there isn’t much of it.  Though today is unusually bad, my general insomnia and dysthymia continue to give me trouble; I’m tired to exhausted nearly every day, nearly all day.  It’s often difficult for me to see the point in doing anything at all.  However, I am notoriously stubborn, something that might be good or bad or both, and so I plod on.  No one ever promised anyone a rose garden, I guess.  At least, no with the wherewithal to fulfill such promises has ever promised.  The universe promises us nothing—or at most, one thing—and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t make bargains with anyone.

Even so, it won’t be too much longer before I’m done with In the Shade, and then I can compile and publish Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and then I have plans to finish Outlaw’s Mind.  After that, I’m not sure what writing project I’ll work on next.  I listed several possible stories a few blog posts back—I’ll look for that post and link it here—and I’d encourage those of you who might be interested to take a quick read through them, and if any one or few of them sounds particularly interesting or promising to you, please let me know.  If you can also tell me why, please do so.

With that, I’m going to call it enough for this week.  I need to have a nap or something before editing and posting this, but at least the fact that it’s slightly shorter than usual should make that process quicker and maybe even easier than usual.  If my writing is poor today, I do apologize.  Please try your best to stay reasonably safe and healthy, and to be as happy as you’re able to be, as long as your pursuit of happiness doesn’t directly and unnecessarily impair someone else’s.

TTFN

Karloff monster

Street Spirit (Fade Out) baddish cover

Okay, here is the “video” of the cover I made to atone for the horrible “live” video version that I tried to sing without even warming up my voice.  Or trimming my hair uniformly.  Or being in any way photogenic.

I hope you like it.  It’s really me doing the music, including the double-tracked guitar arpeggios and of course the singing (though the drums are done electronically, because I don’t have a drum set).