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.
*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.