Hello, good morning, and welcome to Thursday and to a new iteration of my weekly blog post. I say, “weekly”, but of course, last week I didn’t post, nor did I make any announcement about not posting. I doubt that anyone was worried about me, which is just as well since there was little about which to worry, but I do apologize for the unexplained absence. You can withhold a week’s worth of whatever you’re paying me if you want.
I was “under the weather” last week (not in a viral way, but in a bad sleep/migraine sort of way, which is preferable, but which has the disadvantage of being a gift that recurs at unpredictable intervals throughout life), so I stayed in bed with the light off for most of the day, reminding myself that, though it didn’t feel like the medicine was working, I didn’t know how I would feel if I hadn’t taken any.
Which brings me, in a weird way, to a thought that occurred to me—and has done so more than once—since this whole pandemic began. Many people are bemoaning the ordeal of social distancing, of not being able to go out and shop and go to malls and to movies and to night clubs, to spend time with friends and family in ways that they normally do, and in response I’ve been thinking to myself, “What the hell are you talking about?”
I realized that, for me, not socially interacting, not going out, not shaking hands, not going to restaurants or to the movies or to the mall or to the grocery store or wherever is my regular routine. I mean, I have a housemate*, with whom I share rent, and I have people at the office with whom I work (though mine is the only desk separated from the main room, since I do records and payroll and whatnot), but that’s pretty much it. I don’t really have any real friends to speak of, certainly not locally.
I cannot abide things like WhatsApp or FaceTime or whatever. I can barely stomach Facebook and Twitter, both of which usually just make me feel more depressed about my fellow human beings and myself. I also have a very difficult (or at least unpleasant) time talking on the phone because of highly asymmetrical hearing loss and rather severe tinnitus in my right ear. Thank goodness for WordPress and for YouTube channels like Numberphile, Sixty Symbols, and PBS Space Time, and for uploaded videos of British comedy panel shows. Without them, I’d only have books.
Come to think of it, that last part wouldn’t be so horrible, would it? Books are good. Hell, books are great.
Anyway, my point is, if you’re feeling bereft by “social distancing” and feel hard done by because you can’t go out to the movies or the mall or the night club or whatever, you’d be well served not to complain to me. I consider your complaints very much “first world problems”, and I’m liable to respond to you by saying things that will make you feel much, much worse.
Do you remember in The Silence of the Lambs how Hannibal Lecter got mad at his cell neighbor “multiple Miggs” for treating Clarice Starling rudely, so Hannibal just spoke to Miggs quietly for several hours, after which Miggs wept for a while and then killed himself by swallowing his tongue? It would be something along those lines. If you don’t believe me, you should read some of my posts about depression on Iterations of Zero and remind yourself that those are some of the thoughts I’m willing to share publicly.
(Insert diabolical laugh)
Seriously, though, it is a little disconcerting for me to realize that I’m barely, if at all, disrupted by current social changes, because I’m more or less socially isolated at baseline. This is far from the worst way life could be, of course, but I can’t resist a bit of schadenfreude. I’m not a nice person, I guess.
Anyway, on to far more important things. I’m more than halfway through the penultimate edit/readthrough/rewrite of Unanimity, still whittling away the unnecessary (and hopefully not too much that will turn out to have been necessary). Soon it’ll be time to do final layouts and cover design (though the cover’s general form was decided long ago), and then by this summer the book should be ready for publication!
I’m rather excited, not least because I’ll finally be able to do some new writing. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love Unanimity, but I seem to be particularly vulnerable to depression when I’m not writing new fiction—or perhaps it’s more precise to say that writing fiction is my strongest weapon against depression—and I’ve committed myself**** to abstaining from starting any new writing projects until I’ve completed the previous one. I do this because, in the past, giving in to the temptation to start a new story has frequently prevented me from finishing numerous books that I’ve begun. “Know thyself and act accordingly.”
So, I’m not going to change that policy, which has served me very well since I started it, but I do look forward to completing a new novella (working title, Escape Valve) and putting it together with previously published works into a collection of short stories, then moving on from there to a new novel.
And whither then? I cannot say.
With that, I think I’ve written all that needed to be written for this blog post, along with much that probably did not need to be written. I hope you all experience ever-growing levels of happiness, health, and satisfaction, as well as reasonable safety (but not too much…that would be boring).
*He’s a good guy, and to be fair, he is a friend. He also both plays and makes a mighty mean guitar! He made two of mine—a Strat and a Les Paul (the latter of which is the finest sounding instrument of any kind that I’ve ever played)—and found and bought my SG for me as well. Who would ever have thought that I would have so many guitars**?
**I have six—two acoustics and four electrics. That’s enough, I think***.
***This has been my first use, if memory serves, of nested footnotes. Any thoughts?