So is my blog, Octavius, and for that I do appoint it store of provender.

Guten tag!  Today is the last Thursday of August in 2018, a day that will never come again (unless it turns out that time is recurrent and the universe is closed in the fourth dimension, which I suppose is possible).

I hope you’re all well.  I myself am in a better mental state than I have been for the past few weeks, something for which I’m intensely grateful.  I imagine that anyone reading my blogs with the hope of enjoyment is probably also at least mildly grateful.  Reading something written by a person in a gloomy mood can occasionally be powerful, but it’s rarely much fun.

Speaking of fun, I got an amusing email from Amazon this week.  It’s something that’s happened to me once or twice before, and I might even have written about it here; apologies if I’m being redundant.  Anyway, the message came because, a month or two ago, I ordered a copy of my book Welcome to Paradox City to give to a friend of mine at work.  Of course, Amazon has the very nice feature that, if you buy a product from them, especially a book, they encourage you to rate it and, if you’re so inclined, to review it.  I thus received a request to give feedback about a book that I had written. Continue reading

How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this blog!

Hello, good day, and welcome to yet another Thursday.  Next week will be the last Thursday of this month, so three weeks remain (if my calculations are correct) until the next planned episode of “My heroes have always been villains.”  Hopefully, I’ll be in an appropriate state to write that when the time comes.

I’ve been troubled by a certain issue for some time now, and I think I’ve mentioned part of it here before:  I’m having a hard time reading new fiction.  I’ve also, probably as part of the same problem, had trouble getting into and enjoying the rereading of fiction that I’ve always enjoyed reading previously.  This includes the single most reliable work, The Lord of the Rings, to which I’ve always been able to turn hitherto.  Ever since the first time I read it, I have, like Christopher Lee, read LoTR pretty much at least once a year every year.  This isn’t atypical behavior for me; when I like a work of fiction, or even non-fiction, including everything from books to movies to comic books to television series, I tend to consume them repetitively.  I’m not the sort of person to be thrown off by spoilers, obviously, because on the second reading of a book, there aren’t going to be any significant surprises.  My memory and recall seem somewhat above average; I’m certainly not going to forget major plot developments in stories I’ve encountered previously.  Nevertheless, as far as I can recall, each rereading of The Lord of the Rings, for instance, has always brought me nearly as much joy as it ever did before.

No longer.  In recent months to years, I cannot seem to take pleasure in books that have always been reliable in the past.  I’ve tried to reread the Harry Potter series recently, and even to re-listen to them on Audible, but I can’t seem to do it.  I lose interest quickly, and find the attempt unpleasant.  The same thing happens with The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, The Shining, The Stand, The Dark Tower, Floating Dragon, the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, of Terry Pratchett, Isaac Asimov, Anne Rice, Robert E. Howard…even my beloved Shakespeare.  As Pink Floyd said in the song, One of My Turns, “Nothing is very much fun anymore.” Continue reading

Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal bloggings in me.

It’s Thursday again, the third Thursday of the month, and as you may know, I did not write an episode of “My heroes have always been villains” last week.  I considered writing an episode this week, but I think I’ll just push that off until next month; I’m just not in the mood to do it.  Writing those posts is something I do for fun.  It may seem perverse to take pleasure in writing about and celebrating my favorite villains; perhaps it is perverse.  But I really do enjoy it, and I want to do it when I have a mind-frame of playfulness.  If I write about villains when feeling negative, I’m liable to enjoy the villain more for the villainy, rather than on terms of the character as it contributes to a work of fiction.  That’s not a state in which I want to encourage myself, so I’m going to write a more ordinary blog post; indeed, as you can see, I’ve already begun.

As you can also see—if you’re looking—I posted the audio for Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the CollisionThe Chasm and the Collision yesterday on my blog, here.  Within the next day or so, I expect to post the “video” of that audio on YouTube as well, so for those of you who prefer that venue, it will be available soon.

I’m pleased to note that my new regimen for writing Iterations of Zero is working well.  I’ve produced two IoZ posts in the last two weeks (on Tuesdays), and though this is too small a grouping to be considered a pattern, I expect that I’ll continue to follow that schedule.  Similarly, despite that commitment, I haven’t lost ground on my primary task, which is fiction writing, since I find it easier to write fiction on the weekend than to write nonfiction.  When I write a blog post, I expect to produce a final, more or less polished, work, and to publish it that day, whereas with fiction I know I’m writing a first draft, so I don’t have to think of the whole process from beginning to end on each day of the writing.  This is a quite freeing, and it encourages me and makes the process easier.

Of course, I could give myself that freedom with my blog posts as well, but I find that if I write a draft for a blog post and then plan to come back to it and edit it later, I tend simply not to return to it.  Other things steal my attention, and enterprises of great pitch and merit lose the name of action.  That habit would probably be surmountable, but the way I’m doing it now seems to be the most straightforward one available, given the constraints on my schedule.

Unanimity continues to proceed well under my slightly modified writing regimen.  In fact, it’s probably going a little faster than it was before.  Terrible events are occurring or are about to occur in it, but that’s only to be expected as a horror story draws to its climax.  I can’t believe how long it is, though.  Seriously, it’s a bit mind-boggling.  It’s not Proustian by any means, but it’s certainly the longest book I’ve ever written.  In its current form, it’s already longer than most Stephen King novels.

I expect to hone it down quite a bit, of course, before it’s ready to be published, but wow.  I sometimes wonder if the book will ever reach its end.

One thing I’m enjoying about it is that a character who did not seem very promising—he’s socially awkward and lacks a certain amount of imagination and motivation—is going to be the one who will rise to the occasion and “save the day.”  This was not what I expected, and it certainly wasn’t what he expected, but that’s the way stories go.

I feel as though I ought to have more to write about here today, but whatever it is that I thought I needed to say isn’t springing out at me.  I think I’m just extremely tired, in a non-ordinary, non-trivial sense.  This has nothing to do with my writing, of course—although I can become fatigued when writing, I never seem to tire of the process in any fundamental way.  The same cannot be said of so many other things in life.  Sometimes I wish I could just go to sleep for a year…or a century…or indefinitely.  Perchance, to dream.

Oh, well.  Life is dukkha, after all; you can’t always get what you want.  (And though the Rolling Stones respond with the rejoinder that, if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need, implicit in their use of the word “sometimes” is the fact that, quite often, you get neither what you want nor what you need.)

C’est la vie.  Sometimes it’s hard to see why anyone bothers with it.

TTFN

The Chasm and the Collision, Chapter 8: “Death and Escape” – the audio

Here it is, slightly earlier than I expected:  the audio for Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the Collision, read, as always, by me.

 

My usual disclaimers, restrictions, and permissions apply:  You may feel free to listen, to download, and to share as often as you wish, by whatever means you wish, but you are not authorized to make any money by doing so.

If you’d like to listen to any other audio that I’ve done, you can just go to the categories list and select “audio.”  Alternatively, you can go to my YouTube station, here.

Enjoy!

Art thou not sorry for these heinous blog posts?

Hello everyone.  I’m sorry to report that I’m not doing a “My heroes have always been villains” episode today (as must be obvious by now).  I simply don’t feel well, and it doesn’t make sense to try to write such posts when one can’t summon enthusiasm.  An engaging discussion of a good villain (Is that a contradiction in terms?  I don’t think so.) deserves someone writing with a bit of joy about the subject, considering that the whole point is to have fun with it.  I’m not really in a fun state of mind right now.  So, I’ll just give a quick report of what’s going on, boring though that may be.  Apologies.

I’m making steady, even rapid, progress on Unanimity.  It’s still probably more than a month away from being a completed first draft, but it’s moving along.  I’m amazed by how long it’s become, and I’m going to have to be especially brutal in the rewrite and editing process (I think I’ve said this before—I tend to be repetitive, as I suspect you’ve noticed).  But, as I’ve also said before, stories must be what they want to be, so there’s only so much that I can do about it.  I don’t think it’ll be wasted time (any more than all time is) so try to be patient with me.

I finished the first draft of the audio of Chapter 8 of The Chasm and the Collision yesterday, and the sound editing process shall now begin.  I imagine it’ll be finished and released on a similar schedule to how the others have been coming out, which is roughly once every two weeks or so.  I’ll try to let you know if there are going to be delays.

I posted some thoughts on Iterations of Zero earlier this week, in a blog post titled “Never hate your interlocutors.”  I think it’s a particularly timely message, so I encourage you to read it and think about it.  We could all use a little more patience and little less vilification in our discourse than we tend to have, nowadays and always.

And, finally, I’ve decided to embed here the “video” for Chapter 7 of The Chasm and the Collision, so that those of you who come here to the blog can easily enough listen to the chapter on YouTube, in case that’s the simplest way for you to enjoy it.  If you are enjoying the chapters, I do hope you’ll consider buying the book.  I think it’s a good story…but then again, I would.  I am unavoidably biased.  That doesn’t necessarily make me wrong, but it makes it difficult for me to be an honest judge, and I haven’t received any real feedback from anyone with which to update my Bayesian credences.  We’ll see what happens, I suppose.  Or maybe we won’t, who knows?

Here’s the video:

 

That’s about all there is this week, or all that comes to mind that’s worth sharing.*  To paraphrase the typical Metta mantra:

May you dwell in safety.
May you be happy and healthy.
May you be free of afflictions.
May you be at peace.

TTFN


*Assuming, of course, that it is worth sharing.

The Chasm and the Collision, Chapter 7: “The Bunkroom” – the audio

Submitted for your approval, the audio for Chapter 7 of The Chasm and the Collision, read, predictably enough, by me (the author).

 

The usual disclaimers, restrictions, and permissions apply:  Feel free to listen, to download, and to share as often as you wish, by whatever means you wish, but you are not authorized to make any money by doing so.

If you’d like to listen to any other audio that I’ve done, you can just go to the categories list and select “audio.”  Alternatively, you can go to my YouTube station, here.

Enjoy!

O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a blog replete with thankfulness!

Welcome, welcome, to August of 2018, the second of those two months which push back September, October, November, and December, changing them from the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth months—which they should be, based on their names—to the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months.  It’s a shame.  It might have been preferable to have July and August at the end of the year, rather than the middle.  Then Christmas would be on the twenty-fifth of August, which sounds strange, of course, but only because we’re used to it being the other way.

Next week being the second Thursday of the month, I will write a new entry in “My heroes have always been villains.”  As usual, I haven’t yet decided what villain I’ll discuss, nor even from which media form I’m going to take it.  Hitherto, I’ve done one from movies and two from books, but many other sources are available.  Excellent villains can be found in comic books and manga (especially comic books), and those media have become more and more respectable over time. Continue reading