Good morning and hello*! It’s Thursday, June 17, 2021, and it’s time for another of my weekly blog posts.
Not much new is happening. I’m steadily editing In the Shade, being quite assertive about cutting down words, including trimming back something of my tendency to be digressive with characters’ thoughts. I don’t necessarily think that such digressions are bad. People do tend to be pretty tangential, with one idea randomly triggering another, often only superficially related, thought. However, I think that in times of stress and danger such meanderings may be more curtailed than usual, and since much of what happens to the protagonist of this story is stressful, I’m trying to keep him from thinking too many random thoughts.
They’re realistic in their way, but I don’t want them to distract from what’s happening and slow the story down. After all, it’s a supernatural horror story. I like having people in such stories behave as much as possible like people in real life would, since the whole idea is that these are ordinary people in what seems to be the ordinary world, to whom unexpected and inexplicable things happen. But I don’t want the story to be dull. That would be a shame in something that’s supposed to be at least a little bit scary.
As for other matters, well, I still haven’t gotten myself moving on Iterations of Zero. I keep thinking that I should make it just a stream-of-consciousness blog, a sort of online free association but with no Freud sitting behind my sofa. But it’s been difficult to commit to a time and situation in which to do it. Weirdly enough, my schedule is remarkably full, what with writing every morning before work, then practicing guitar a little bit, doing this blog on Thursdays, and during the day, of course, managing the logistics of the office**. There is a fair amount of down time during my workdays, but it’s haphazard, and it would be difficult to carve out a long enough period to make any kind of cohesive posts, even if I were to commit to two or so short ones during the week. I think doing it might be good for me, but I have a hard time doing things that meet that description. I’m not my biggest fan***.
I’ve been trying, as I constantly do, to find lifestyle modifications that improve my chronic pain and make my mental health better (and my physical health as well, since that is likely to help my pain in more than one sense), but it’s a difficult problem, and progress is slow and erratic, with regression happening nearly as often as improvement. Earlier this week I experienced an episode (not for the first time) of inexplicably abrupt and severe worsening of my baseline mood, so strong that I felt it should be blatantly visible to everyone around me, perhaps as a dark gray cloud of acidic fog seeping from my body and poisoning the air. Apparently, that wasn’t the case****. But internally, it felt perilously close to one of the horrifying scenes from the M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Happening, and I had to do something quietly desperate to mortify the terribly strong urge I felt to do something much more extreme.
No one noticed. I guess I’m better at hiding things than I might have thought; it becomes so habitual that even when you’d prefer not to hide, you can’t help it. And all the while, the band you were in continues to play different tunes, apparently not even noticing that you’re no longer there.
Sorry. It’s a bad time of year for me, I’m afraid, what with Father’s Day coming, followed nine days later by what would have been my thirtieth wedding anniversary. I don’t like to complain, since it’s rarely useful and usually is just annoying to everyone else, but if I can’t do it here on my not-for-profit blog, where can I do it? I probably shouldn’t do it at all.
Still, I’ve got my latest story and the story collection to finish, and all that whatnot. It would be nice to find some answers, or at least partial answers, or something that might help me, but I’m not optimistic. I hope you’re all feeling much better than I am. It’s not a high bar, but see if you can keep raising it for yourselves. Why not? You all might as well be as happy and as healthy as you’re able to be; that would certainly please me.
*See what I did there? I switched up the order of my usual salutation.
**On weekends, which are only one day long at least half the time, I can barely find the desire even to leave my bed, and there’s not much reason to do so. I don’t see myself writing blog posts on the weekend.
***As a person, that is. As far as my writing goes (and my music, as well), I’m almost certainly my own biggest fan. I’m not sure how many other people even read my books and stories. I have recently had the pleasure of having a coworker read both Son of Man and The Vagabond, both of which I gave her as gifts (I give out copies of all my books to my coworkers when they are published, both to spread the stories and to encourage people to read). She seemed to enjoy them, particularly Son of Man, and she asked me the famous, eternal question about The Vagabond, which was, “Where did you get the idea for that story?”
****These types of situations often remind me of the lines from the Pink Floyd song, Brain Damage: “And if the cloudbursts thunder in your ear / you shout and no one seems to hear”. That last line is what captures things. When things are truly bad, it feels like you’re screaming like a banshee, and that surely anyone and everyone can tell that something is wrong. Yet, weirdly, no one seems to notice or say anything at all. I’m pretty sure I have only myself to blame.