For grief is proud, and makes his blogger stoop.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the second Thursday in May of 2022, and it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Tomorrow will be Friday the 13th! Unlike many people, I like Friday the 13th both because I like being a bit contrary and because I like prime numbers.  I used to always put thirteen gallons of gas in my car when I filled it up, just because I like prime numbers, and I particularly like thirteen because so many people dislike it.  Maybe I thought it deserved to get some positive attention for a change.

I haven’t been quite as productive this week as last week, but I did write a good five thousand words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  I’ve been a little worn out because my recent travails have exacerbated my chronic back and leg pain, and yet I’m walking about two and half miles a day as part of my commute.  So, my concentration—nay, even my very will to live*—has been detrimentally affected.  Nevertheless, I have continued to write; being on the train is nice for doing that, at the very least.

I posted the next section of Outlaw’s Mind this Tuesday, but it was a short one.  I didn’t want to add the subsequent section to beef it up any, because that section is already rather long, and adding them together would have made it too much, I think.  I don’t know if anyone is actually reading the story—I don’t know if anyone is actually reading this, for that matter—and if they are, I don’t know whether they like it.  I suppose it’s possible that some masochist might hate the whole thing but read it for that very reason.  That seems unlikely, though.

I mentioned last week, with my tongue in my cheek, that I tend to play guitar and sing as a way to punish the world.  Well, I’ve done a bit of such punishing recently; I’ve embedded below two videos of me amateurishly playing guitar and singing, for anyone who feels the need to scold themselves, perhaps for falling off a diet, or not getting enough exercise, or committing adultery…stuff like that.  In all seriousness, however, I like both of these songs a lot, and so I did my amateurish best to play and sing them.

The first is If You Could Read My Mind, by Gordon Lightfoot, a song I’ve known and liked since I was a little boy.  I’ve always loved the melody, and Gordon Lightfoot was a very good singer.

The second is No Surprises, by Radiohead, which I only came to be aware of perhaps fifteen years ago, but which very quickly became one of my favorite songs (and bands).  It’s harder to play than IYCRMM, as you can probably tell, but I really love it.  In many ways, it is the song of my soul, if there is such a thing.

As for anything else…well, there really isn’t much else.  There was a death in my family late last week, about which I’m quite sad.  This was my uncle, whom I hadn’t seen in quite a while, but who had been, along with his son—my cousin—one of the only people in my family to attend my wedding.  That’s part of a long and dreary story that I won’t go into, but it is a shame that I hadn’t seen him in so long, and now I won’t be able to do so.  Such is the story of life, unfortunately.  I wish I could have told him how much that meant at the time, and even though that marriage has since failed, that gesture still means a great deal to me.  At least I can hereby tell my cousin the same for his part!

I fear quite honestly that I am on the verge of a real and serious mental (and physical) breakdown, and I don’t know what to do about it.  I also fear that, even if I did know what to do about it, I would not have the will to do it.  I wish I did.  I would like to be optimistic and upbeat; I have been so in the past.  No one who suffers from chronic depression and/or other, related difficulties would wish to suffer from it/them. They might well believe, however, that they richly deserve their own suffering for being the awful, evil, rotten person that they see, that they “know”, themselves to be.  I don’t know how to escape that trap.  I have tried, many times and in many ways, but I don’t think I have the strength or the resources to do it on my own.  And on my own is what I am.

I hope, nevertheless, that all of you reading are feeling and doing as well as you possibly can, and that you are with those you love, or at least in communication with them, and that you find a great deal of joy in that.  Please take care of yourselves, and of each other.

TTFN

wallpapersden.com_dark-sky-tree-purple-sky-nature_1920x1200


*It’s an interesting notion, this concept of “will to live”.  It’s misguided and misleading, because it’s not as though one can simply stop having some “will to live” and consequently just die.  Trust me, I know.  The body and brain have been shaped by millions upon millions of years of evolution to try to stay alive, and one’s will, at the human level, has almost nothing to do with it.  Ditto with eating and drinking and breathing.  Just try not doing those things.  The machine keeps cranking along until it falls apart, or until something breaks it.  Believe me, if not having the “will to live” mattered at all, there are many times—several in any given week, I’d say—in which I would already have died.  Alas, it’s the will to die that’s more a real kind of will, and it is set against gargantuan, Lovecraftian powers of nature that force living beings to stay alive whether they really want to or not.  I’m working on it, though.

This tempest will not give me leave to ponder on blogs would hurt me more

Okay, well, hello and good morning, everyone—everyone who’s reading this, anyway.  It’s Thursday again, and so it’s time for my weekly blog post.  It’s March, also, but I don’t think there’s any such thing as “Marchly” blog posts.  March is the month in which Spring begins (in the northern hemisphere), so that’s nice.  It is if you like Spring, anyway, and most people do…for good, sound, biological reasons.

I’ve been slightly less productive on Outlaw’s Mind this week than I was last week, having written only a little over 4000 words this week…4153, to be exact.  This is mainly because I didn’t work last Saturday, so I didn’t write anything in the morning that day.  It turns out I’ve been writing about a thousand words a day, lately (plus some additional fractional number on average, which can’t apply to real words per se, so I won’t figure it exactly…readers can feel free to do the division for themselves if they like).

The story is progressing nicely.  Or, rather, it’s progressing well.  It’s not very “nice” right now; in fact, Timothy is going through what will probably end up being the worst thing to happen to him so far.  That’s the way it goes with stories; you have to torment the protagonist.  Ease and comfort don’t exactly make for gripping reading, unfortunately.

It’s probably a universal fact of life—again, for good, sound, biological reasons—that fear and suffering and discomfort are much more engaging than any achieved joy or experienced satisfaction.  The Buddhists are probably right, that life is fundamentally characterized by suffering, and it’s not unreasonable just to want to get off the ride—by meditation or by other means.

Though, of course, there is in most creatures most of the time a terribly strong drive not to get off the ride—yet again, for good, sound, biological reasons.  That’s even without Hamlet’s lamented dread of what dreams may come.  Even if you’re convinced that the reason no traveler ever returns from the bourne of that undiscovered country is that there’s no place from which to return and there’s no one to do the returning once you go there—and certainly no suffering—nevertheless the dread of it remains, as does the addictive clinging to the maladaptive habit that is life.  It’s terribly frustrating.

I’m being slightly melodramatic here.  I apologize.  I’m frustrated by a great many things—stupidity (my own and that of others), events in the outside world, events in my life, events in my inside world, the nature of my inside world, and so on—and this blog is pretty much my only venue for expressing those frustrations.  It’s not like I can talk to anyone about them.

I mean, it’s physically possible to talk about them, don’t get me wrong, but physical possibility is not a dispositive fact.  After all, it’s physically possible for a person to run full tilt at a brick wall and quantum tunnel through it.  But that’s so improbable that you’re probably waaaaay more likely to win every lottery in the world on the same day…without even playing any of them deliberately*.  But, in principle, it could happen the next time you don’t look where you’re going.

If such tunneling became, somehow, much more likely, perhaps because some omnipotent being had tweaked the nature of quantum interactions, I suspect that the universe as we know it would fall apart.  For one thing, fusion reactions would happen way too easily (I think) if tunneling were so much more likely, and maybe every form of “ordinary” matter would accumulate locally into massive atomic nuclei—little bits of neutron-star matter everywhere, accompanied by all the local equivalents of supernova explosions that would happen as protons converted into neutrons, and positrons and neutrinos went flying everywhere…dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!  But, again, this is just speculation and silliness.  The point is, there are easier ways to get through walls.

Actually, I don’t think that was the point.  Oh, well.

Anyway—as you could probably guess—I have a very difficult time having normal conversations.  I have a pretty difficult time having even abnormal conversations.  So please forgive me if I express myself here, at least a little bit.  You’re the one reading it.  No one’s forcing you to do so**.

I did post the third part of Outlaw’s Mind here earlier this week, and if you’re reading it, I hope you’re enjoying it.  I guess I’ll probably continue to post it for now.  It astonishes me that I ever thought this was going to be a short story, or even just a novella.

I’m trying to force myself to read fiction again, so I’ve again gotten the Kindle versions of a few “light novels”, such as are popular—so I gather—with young people in Japan.  They tend to be short books, which helps, but they’re often too short…they’re almost always serial stories, and that gets frustrating, because there’s no resolution in any given volume.  It’s also somewhat dispiriting to get to the end of a story, or the end of a volume, anyway, and have to face the fact that, no, I’m not some Japanese high school student who has friends and romances and interactions and peculiar occurrences in his or her life.  I’m just still me, which is surely not something for which anyone would wish.

Oh, well, whataya gonna do?  I hope you’re all doing well, and feeling well, and minimizing your suffering and all that stuff.  If so, keep it up.

TTFN

stormy road


*I haven’t worked the numbers at all—I’m not sure how one would even determine the odds of accidentally winning lotteries without having deliberately played them, and I don’t have the necessary skills to calculate the rough rates of macroscopic quantum tunneling, though that, at least, can be done—so I may be wrong about the comparison.  But I don’t think I am.

**I hope.  Please, if someone is threatening you or otherwise coercing you to read my blog, try to find a way to alert the “authorities”, or leave a message in the comments below.  It doesn’t have to be an obvious message, in case you’re being monitored.  Goodness knows I’ve sent coded messages in blog posts, apparently ones that are so obscure that no one even notices that they exist, like last week.

What a wounded blog, things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!

HELlo and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the 24th of February, and so it’s time for my weekly blog Post.  This will be the last post for the Month of February in 2022.  At lEaSt, it will be the last Of My usual, wEekly February 2022 blOg posts.  I suppose it’s possible that I might write somethiNg Else and post It or post some more of outlAw’s Mind if anyone’s interested.  But otherwise, probably not.

There’s not really much more to report than there was last week.  I’ve continueD to write on a near-dailY basIs, haviNG completed just a little over five-thousand words again this week.  I don’t have any new vIdeos of me singing to inflict upon you, so that’s probably a good thing.  Sorry about doing all that self-indulgent nonsense.  In fact, yesterday, I came very close just to giving away the guitar I have at the office because its presence was galling, and I felt franKly avErsE to the notion of even trying to make anything Pleasant, let alone beautiful.

Speaking of beauty, or its opposite, or WhAtever, I’ve reached a poiNT IN Outlaw’s Mind where some quite bad thinGs are happening for our main characTer, TimOthy Outlaw.  People in my universes don’t get a very good shaKe from me, It seems, but then, neither do people in my reaL, actuaL life, so that’s not too contradictory.

I’ve continued to have great difficulty finding books that I want to read.  I’ve tried to locate new fiction that looks interesting, but even coMics and manga are hard to concentrate on…or, rather, are things on which I find it hard to concentrate, if I want to trY to avoid ending SEntences with prepositions.  I know, it’s probabLy silly to bother with anything like that—almost nobody does anymore, even writers for Formerly prestigious newspApers, magazines, and jourNals.  I finD It frustrating anD even galling, but I recOgNize—when I’m able To be objective—THat at least some of the rules of grammar are arbItrary, though some are also borN of inherent logic, and the violation of these rules can lead to unclear communication and, I thinK, promote unclear thought.  My emotions mIght be as erratiC ANd troublesome as predicting the motion of a doubLe-pendulum, but my thoughts At leaST seeM coherent.  Maybe that’s why CBT* has never really worked very well for me.  Maybe my neUrology is just fuCked.  For all I know, maybe my tHoughts aren’t actuaLly cOhereNt, and everythinG I writE comes across as gibbeRish to everyone else.  Goodness knows, much of what most everyone else says and does feels lIke gibberish to me.

Of course, even non-fiction—even books about physics or neuroscience or rationality or biology or cosmology, whether I’ve loveD them in the past Or they’re new oNes by authors known or unknown To me—has been providing rapidly diminishing returns of latE.  And it’s not as though I do much of anything else for enjoyment.  eVEN the YouTube algorithm is letting me down, but of course, there was never any reason to thinK that it would do otherwise.

I doN’t think I have that much mOre to say today on this blog or ever at all, for that matter.  I don’t think I’ll be sharing any more of OutlaW’s MInd, but I guess I could change my mind at some point in the Future.  I can’t change It in the paSt, after all, alas.  And, of course, even if I could, we would be subject to the seeming paradoxes of time travel fiction in which a person cHanges things abOUt the past that change the fact that they wouLD change someThing in the past, and so on.  Of couRse, Everettian quantum mechanics allows for waYs around thIs—possibly, though it’s probAbly MAinly irrelevanT to reALity—and even the MCU glimpsed at least a bit Of that in AvengerS: Endgame, when the Hulk pointS out that, if your travel into tHE past, that past now becomes your “future”, and you cannot change your reaL Past by changing your future.

Anyway, that’s just stuff and fluff.  I can’t find even a Modicum of intErest in any of the ongoing MCU Projects, nor any of the Star Wars shows or anything eLsE, reAlly.  I’m juSt wandEring farther and farther into the wasteland now.  I doubt that there is a far side to it.

TTFN

tennant hamlet


*Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  I don’t have the energy to describe or explain it, but feel free to Google it or look on Wikipedia, or whatever.

Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, a blog without a heart?

Hello.  Good morning.  Thursday.  Blog post.  You can fill in the rest of the verbs, articles, prepositions, adjectives, adverbs, and pronouns for yourselves.

It’s been a moderately productive week; I’ve made more progress than I did the previous week on Outlaw’s Mind—I’ve written just shy of five thousand words since last time.  Things are getting exciting and strange and frightening, and that’s all good in a story, though probably not good in life.

I’ve posted the second portion of Outlaw’s Mind—in draft form, anyway—on my blog, here.  It’s a bit of a lurch from the “cold opening”, because it suddenly shifts backward in time, to Timothy Outlaw’s younger, early adolescent days, gradually setting the stage for the events that happen in the opening, and which will then carry on after.  I haven’t yet reached that opening time again in the story, but I’m getting closer.  There will be a payoff, and hopefully the things that happen in between will be reasonably interesting.  They certainly are strange, and—hopefully—sometimes frightening.

I’ve also been mucking about with my guitar and singing, and I did a new video of me playing and singing Yesterday (of course by the Beatles).  I’ll embed it here, below this paragraph, so if you’re inclined, you can listen.  It’s decent, I think, but of course, you should feel free to judge for yourself.

I may inflict more songs upon you, assuming nothing cuts all my endeavors short—if they could even be truly considered short at this stage in my life.  Sometimes it feels as if it’s been eternal already…and not one of those great, “promised land” style eternals usually.  At this point, both my “experienced happiness” and my “life satisfaction”* are below the mean, I think, and most times they are in the fucking sewer.  I guess that’s what happens when you have an apparently defective brain and a bad personality.  No one is to blame, except possibly me…which would mean that I deserve it, in a sense, so I guess that’s fine.

I’ve considered just posting all the rest of Outlaw’s Mind at once, as it currently stands (up to yesterday, or up until whatever other day follows) so that even if I don’t end up living to finish it, someone else can if they’re interested.  I really doubt that would happen; it would probably just vanish into even greater obscurity than that in which it exists now, despite the supposedly eternal internet (where, contrary to popular sayings of the “what’s on the web is forever” type, the vast majority of things are in practice as ephemeral as the path of a single drop of rain).

But, hey, even Van Gogh only sold one of his paintings in his lifetime and look at him now!  Well, don’t look at him.  He’s dead—he killed himself when he was thirty-seven**.  But his paintings are still great, and his work is loved by countless millions of people.  Not that it does him much good, unless you believe in some afterlife that’s influenced by the esteem someone receives after their death by the world at large.  It seems unlikely.

That’s about it for my report this week; there’s little else to say.  I don’t socialize at all, and don’t really do much for fun, not counting what I’ve mentioned above and watching some videos on YouTube, most of which I’ve seen already.  I still can’t seem to get into any new fiction (or old fiction for the most part, even my favorite books), though there are occasional, brief exceptions.  And I’m running out of interesting non-fiction books to read, too.  I’ve read most of the ones that appeal to me at all.

I honestly don’t know what to do about any of this.  I mean, I have ideas, but they are generally frowned upon, and I don’t like making a nuisance of myself.  For now, I’ll keep doing the Nazgul thing and will merely continue, though often it already seems that every minute is a weariness.  I don’t know how much longer I can do it.

I hope you’re all doing better than I am, and that I haven’t bummed you out too much.  Stay as safe and healthy and happy as you can.

TTFN

Vincent's doctor


*As described in research that I think was done by Daniel Kahneman and others.

**I’ve already outlived him by fifteen years, but I’m far from sure that it was the right choice.  At least I’ve written and published some stories and a few songs since that age.  I don’t paint as well as Vincent did, of course, but then again, not many in history do or did, so I can’t feel disappointed about that!  Anyway, as far as either happiness or life satisfaction goes, my life since I was 43 has been a poor investment.  At least before then point I saw my kids.

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.”

OK…

OK…

Imagine a story about someone who is trapped in some infernal prison.  It’s not a prison with walls, necessarily, but is instead a prison of the mind, perhaps, and that person is trying to get messages out, calling—begging—for help to get free.  But the messages are “coded”.  The person is allowed to communicate with the outside world, but the jailer is watching and reading all outgoing correspondence and doesn’t want the person to receive any help, even if there is anyone out there who might help him—which is not at all clear.

So, the prisoner is forced to send out these coded messages, without a code key, in hopes that people will recognize them as what they are—as attempts to beg for help.  But every response the resident gets simply makes clear that the others outside don’t get it.  They just see the messages as stories, as hypotheticals, as songs…whatever.  They’re not getting the message.  He’s had to be too subtle, and the message is not getting across because he’s had to be too subtle.

Now, take a step back—or perhaps take a step forward, or a step inward—and we realize this story is not actually a story of a person imprisoned by someone else, but that the person who imprisons him is himself.  He hates himself too much to think that he deserves help, and he hates the prospect of openly asking for help, feeling that he has no right to help from anyone—and so it is he himself who is keeping himself in prison—he himself who is forcing himself to send out only coded messages in a subtle way, and he himself who is responsible for just how much people don’t get the point of his requests for help.  Or perhaps they simply agree that he does not deserve to receive help, the prisoner and the one who imprisons him, both of whom are the same person.

People grow more and more resigned—or gleeful or whatever—knowing that the prisoner will never escape, that no one will ever come to help, that there is only one way out, and in the long run, that will be the way he must take, to the horror or perhaps to the glee of those in the outside world.

Now, imagine that this isn’t the story at all, but is something happening in the real world, at this time, in the present moment, as we speak, as we write, as we read.  Is such a thing possible?

Will the prisoner ever receive the help that he needs to escape?  Because it is not possible for him to escape on his own.

And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill, and simple blog miscalled simplicity

Hey, everybody.  I’m really feeling tired and worn out today, so I’m not going to say very much in this post.  This time, I think I really mean it.  There’s not much to report, anyway.  I’m not sure there ever is.

I’ve written about 3000 words on Outlaw’s Mind this week so far, but I had to go back to the computer to do it; the longhand project was encountering some problems.  I’m afraid my handwriting has degenerated beyond even its former, maddeningly messy form, hard though that may be to believe for those who have seen my curse-ive before.  Also, it’s become more difficult and slower for me to do.  Some of this may just be due to lack of recent practice, but it was very frustrating, and so I abandoned that noble idea.

I did some recording (on video) of myself playing some songs on guitar, and singing along, for practice and self-evaluation purposes, and one of them—the Beatles song Help—turned out reasonably well, so I decided to share it on YouTube.  I’ve embedded it here:

I also am taking a break from my antidepressant.  It doesn’t seem to be doing much good, and it’s been having some irritating side-effects.  I know it’s not usually a good idea to change one’s medical regimen without consulting one’s doctor, but since I am the one who “prescribed” it, and since I am the only doctor I’m seeing anymore, I guess that criterion is met.  We’ll see how it goes.

Other than that, there’s not much to say.  Life, as John Mellencamp said*, goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

I hope you’re all doing much better than I am, and that you’re staying warm, staying safe, and staying healthy.  Maybe next week I’ll write more.  Maybe not.  I don’t know.

TTFN

empty man


*I’ve probably even quoted the line many times before, but I don’t feel like checking.

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief. Your noble blogger is mad.

Hello again and good morning again.  It’s Thursday again, and so, once again, it’s time for my weekly blog post.  Again.

I’m pleased to be able to report that I’ve done a bit of new writing this week.  I finished rereading Outlaw’s Mind last Saturday, and then Monday morning I got my clipboard and some high-quality notebook paper, and I started to write.  One thing that helped me do it was remembering my old strategy, which was to say to myself that I was going to write at least just one page.  If I didn’t write more, that was fine.  Even when writing by hand, one page isn’t all that much—something like four hundred to six hundred words, I think, given my handwriting.

As is usual, I’ve written more than that, totaling just around six pages in the last three days.  That’s not as fast as I write when I type, which I can do almost at the speed of thought, but that may be beneficial.  I think I sometimes tend to write too much when I type.  Unanimity may be a good example—a story that became over half a million words long before I finished it.  Probably, had I written it by hand, it would have been at least slightly shorter.  But maybe not.  I tried to shorten it as I was editing, but there were no actual bits of the story that I felt willing to take out.

I’ve been thinking about maybe putting some of Outlaw’s Mind up here on my blog, in its current, quite rough draft form, just to give a teaser and possibly to get reactions from people.  I may have mentioned this notion before; I know I tend to repeat myself and run off at the keyboard.  Anyway, I was thinking of posting the “cold opening”, as it were, first (I don’t think I’ve already done that, have I?).  Of course, after that opening, the story goes very much back in time to tell of things that led up to the events in the opening.

If anyone would like me to do that, and would like to read it, please leave a comment here, on this post.  Again, I reiterate, comments on Facebook or Twitter may never be seen (by me, anyway).  I don’t often check even Twitter for reactions*, and Facebook gives me terrible stress and tension even to click in and zip through looking for comments and responses, as well as to see what people I care about are doing.  I feel that, at any time, someone is going to ambush me with an instant message, and I won’t have any idea how to reply to it, and so I’ll quickly pretend that I didn’t see it, and try to remember to come back later, all the while feeling terribly guilty about not immediately taking part in a conversation—even though, morally at least, one shouldn’t feel obligated to talk at any given time, just because someone else wants to.  But it’s hard when it’s people who matter to you.

This is one of the reasons I don’t answer my phone, and I don’t even promise to respond to voicemails (I say I will if it’s interesting enough, but that’s quite a high bar to clear).

Email is nicer.  I tend to like email.  And comments here are not too bad, because I’m always getting on WordPress for one reason or another (often to read other people’s blogs), and interactions are more measured, thoughtful, and in-depth.  Usually.  They are also not expected to take place in “real time”.

Anyway, that’s about it as far as my life goes.  I do my fiction writing in the morning.  I diddle around on the guitar for a short time after that most days, but as those of you who have seen my videos know, my playing and singing are nothing** to write home about.

I try to find fiction that I can enjoy reading, but it seems to get harder all the time—which is a truly dreadful thing, to me.  At least I can usually find non-fiction that engages me, especially about science and a bit of math and philosophy, and to some degree psychology, especially about Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum Disorder, which I’m trying to learn much more about to confirm or deny my self-suspicions.  I’m pretty well along toward the “confirm” end of the spectrum, if you’ll pardon the pun, but I am always leery of confirmation bias.  As I once wrote on an altered version of the old X-files poster from Mulder’s office, “I don’t want to believe.  I want to be convinced by evidence and argument.”

Anyway, I know that’s all boring, so I apologize.  I never do have anything much of value to say or to do.  I’m sure the oxygen (and nutrients) I consume could better be used elsewhere, and my carbon-compound contribution and other entropic effluvia merely push the universe—and more locally, the planet—toward its endpoint slightly more quickly.

The villainous part of me likes that.  But the rest of me just feels ever-increasing self-loathing.  It’s very amusing.

I hope you’re all doing reasonably well—or better yet, as well as you possibly can—this year so far.  Take care of yourselves, and each other.  What better things do you have to do?

TTFN

venus


*I mostly just enjoy seeing amusing Tweets.  240 characters isn’t enough for anything more.  It plainly is not enough for any intelligent conversion, discussion, or debate.

**Should I have written “nothings” there since I was mentioning two subjects?  Or is “nothing” always singular, since there is only one, ultimate, nothing, which means none of each and every possible thing, as in set theory, in which there is only and exactly one “empty set”.

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the blog

Hello.  Good morning.  Thursday.  Blog post.  You know the drill.  Or at least, you get the idea.

I don’t really have much to say or report.  I did a quick, off-the-cuff post on Tuesday about a subject that has been frustrating me more and more (the relief for which I am less and less suspicious will ever arrive, for me at least), but I don’t know that I have anything to add to it.  If anything occurs to me, and I have the energy to try to convey it, then that’s what I’ll try to do.

I’ve stalled out on reading the last 14 pages of Outlaw’s Mind so far, after having read up to that point by Monday or Tuesday.  This is after having optimistically* taken paper and a clipboard home over the weekend hoping** I’d make short work of finishing the reread and then getting on with writing.  I like the story, and I know where I want it to go and, as they say, the rest is just scratching and scribbling.  Instead, I did essentially nothing at all this weekend—apart from throwing away a bunch of the things I own because I can’t see any point in having them and they were just annoying; and preparing some other things to bring in to give “to the office” so to speak.

I wish I could say that the weekend of doing nothing was at least restful, but if anything, I felt more tired after it than I did at the beginning, not that I expect I would have felt less tired if I’d worked all weekend or anything in between.  The last time I remember waking up feeling rested was sometime in the mid-nineties (which, I just realized, is half of my life ago).  If anything, I tend to feel worse early in the day, but I wake up very early whether I feel rested or not***, so it’s quite frustrating.

Basically, I’m just tired, and getting more so (or so it seems to me) as the future becomes the present and then the past.  And I’m alone.  It’s hard to see this becoming gradually more so as time passes quite in the same way tiredness does, but I feel more alone all the time—ever more like an alien or a changeling who really doesn’t belong here, nor has any purpose here, and who has no realm or planet to which to return.  No respite appears available, and more and more, the only viable escape seems like oblivion—which would not be a relief, obviously, since relief is a state of mind and oblivion is the lack of any states of mind, but it would at least mean cessation.

There’s a moving episode in the 5th season of modern Doctor Who called “Vincent and the Doctor” in which the Doctor meets Vincent Van Gogh, and after they defeat an alien together (of course), the Doctor brings poor Vincent to a future museum so he can see and learn that he would eventually become a beloved, respected, nearly worshipped artist, one of the greatest of all time.  It may sound silly, and in a sense, it is, but it’s actually very moving—well-written, superbly acted, beautifully filmed and directed, and if your eyes are dry after the scene with Vincent in the museum, I don’t know what to think of you.

But of course, the saddest part is that, on returning him home, and then coming back to the “present”, the Doctor (and Amy Pond) discover, not to the Doctor’s surprise, that Vincent still killed himself, only a few weeks or months after their meeting, just as always.  The Doctor makes a lovely, and I think insightful, little “speech” about how the good things in life can’t necessarily correct or eliminate the bad things, but that the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things.  Vincent was still ill with whatever mood disorder and possible “neuro-divergence****” he’d always had in his own time; that hadn’t changed.

Still, it would be nice to imagine Van Gogh having been shown just how revered and admired his work would one day be, albeit not within his lifetime.  In the real world, he never had so much as a hint or probably even much of a fantasy that such a thing might happen.  It would be nice for any artist, or anyone, really, to learn that his (or her) work and life deeds had been important, and to see some of the ways in which it was so.  But it wouldn’t change much in the here and now…and it’s always now.

And sometimes “now” seems to go on forever and it can be so, so very exhausting.

I wish I could rest until I felt rested, and if that’s impossible, then just keep resting.  Making one’s quietus with a bare bodkin is an intimidating prospect with a comparatively high wall of activation energy.  But the wall is not constant, and at certain times, in certain states, in certain circumstances, the barrier becomes lower, and it may then be surmounted.

TTFN

to sleep


*I know, what the hell was going on in my head that I would be optimistic about such things?

**Hope is always foolish.

***Which I guess should go without saying, since I just said I haven’t felt rested after a night’s sleep, or anything else, since the mid-nineties.  Duh.

****He only too clearly didn’t see and experience the world quite the same way anyone else did or does.

Please don’t expect (or tell) people who really NEED help to help themselves. It’s stupid.

This is just a brief post expressing a pet peeve of mine that applies (and has done so often and at length) to me personally.

I’ve encountered this issue anew, eliciting ever-increasing tension, stress, anger, irritation, despair, etc., in my research into Asperger’s/Autism Spectrum Disorder, as people “on the spectrum” are quite often plagued by anxiety and depression, among other things, including frequent suicidal ideation…and of course, much well-intended advice is given (it being the worst and most prevalent of all vices).

The issue involves people* making suggestions such as, for instance, that those who are troubled by depression should exercise regularly, because regular exercise often seems to help depression**; or that they should talk to close friends or family members (a particular problem with “Aspies”, or so it seems to me, since communication difficulty, particularly of emotions and the like, is a major part of the condition); and that, if one is severely depressed and self-loathing and having suicidal thoughts (or intentions), one should seek help right away.

Or similar sentiments.

This all feels so condescending and simple-minded and contradictory.  It’s a bit like telling an actively drowning person that getting swimming lessons would be really good for helping them not drown, or that being helped by a friendly dolphin (or any kindly member of some other strong-swimming aquatic species unrelated to the drowner) would be quite beneficial for them, or that they should really come quickly to shore and grab a flotation device before they drown.

It’s missing the point(s) entirely.

If one could exercise regularly, one would already obviously not be THAT depressed.

If one could easily talk to people (especially if one is on “the spectrum”***) and had people to whom one felt one could talk in a relevant way about the relevant subject(s), then that would be an obvious thing, and probably already done.

And if one is feeling utter despair and profound, demonic self-loathing, then availing oneself of help of any kind–including life-saving help–seems not only impossible but frankly immoral.

You don’t do your best to give succor to or save the life of someone who is utterly reprehensible and an unadulterated malefactor who has no chance for reform or to be redeemed, right?  Would you save the likes of the next Hitler or Stalin or Charles Manson or Mark David Chapman?

If someone is lying on the ground having a heart attack or a stroke or has just been hit by a car, we don’t advise them to get up and get themselves to a hospital, do we?  It’s absurd.  It’s insulting.  It’s irritating and it’s idiotic, and it makes the world and the rest of humanity seem even less worth sticking around for****.

I wish people would stop it.  When someone really needs help, it’s means they can’t survive and/or thrive by their own actions.  Thus the metaphor “in over one’s head”.

I’ll close with an a related cartoon that captures more than one aspect of my (not quite domesticated) peeve (apologies, I do not know whom to credit for it):

drowning in depression


* Well-meaning, one must admit or at least assume.

**I have my own suspicions about the direction of causality here.

***Especially if alexithymia is one of their afflictions.  I myself score 157 out of 185 on the online test of this, such as it is.  I have a hard time even knowing what I’m feeling at any given moment, let alone communicating it clearly.

****It can even make it seem tolerable to end a sentence with a preposition, or to allow sentence fragments to stand alone on a line of type for dramatic effect.