It’s Thursday again, and we’re in the middle of the first week of Autumn (in the Northern hemisphere). For the next six months, the nights will be longer than the days. As someone who tends to write about the darker side of possibility, I don’t think that’s so terrible…or it’s terrible in all the best ways.
My writing has been steady but rather slow this week, mainly because I’m struggling badly with insomnia. I’m not referring here to the Stephen King book by that name (though coincidentally I’m in the middle of rereading it at this very time), but to the chronic, and occasionally incapacitating, sleep disorder. Over the previous two nights (before last night) I slept for a rough total of three hours; this is, obviously, not adequate, and it has a noticeable impact on my ability to concentrate and to think clearly.
Nevertheless, the writing continues. Hopefully, when I go back to rewrite and edit, I won’t be dismayed by how horrible my work product from these past few days is; I don’t honestly expect it to stand out as either better or worse than average. As I’ve said previously, the way I feel when writing something is poorly correlated with how good the writing turns out to be. Sometimes when I feel lofty and inspired and superhumanly gifted, I produce nothing but great, steaming piles of oozy excrement. The converse is also occasionally true. It’s unpredictable. Thus, we will always need to edit and rewrite.
Today, for the first time in quite a while, I’m riding the train in to work, due to certain vehicles being in the shop and matters of that sort. It’s nothing to worry about, just routine maintenance, despite an event I obliquely mention below.
It’s curiously nostalgic to be taking the train, and not entirely unpleasant, though it’s far less efficient—time-wise, anyway—than driving. I’ve been inspired to write at least one story (Prometheus and Chiron) while waiting for a train, and I see many interesting people when using mass transit. Little of note happens on the Interstate, especially when one rides a vehicle that is fundamentally solo. One can have occasional exciting, even life-threatening moments on the road, such as one I had three days ago, but they don’t make very good stories. Not to me, anyway. I suppose I could throw some details of such an occurrence into the midst of an action scene to add to the realism, drawing from my personal experience of feeling my right leg squeezed against the passenger door of some idiot’s car, which is changing lanes without the driver looking, but it happens quickly and—thanks to the fact that I don’t tend to rattle easily—is rapidly over, with no harm done.
I’m having a peculiarly good time working on three stories at once, as I mentioned in my previous post. Of course, my primary work right now is still Unanimity, which is grudgingly proceeding toward its conclusion, but I’m enjoying both the writing of my new short story and the rewriting of the older, uncompleted story, In the Shade. I remember when I wrote it originally, and more or less why I stopped—I just lost steam, I wasn’t inspired by what was happening, and I had other projects awaiting my attention, to which I turned (with good results, I think). But rewriting it now, I have to say that I’m pleased with what I made then. I think it could turn out to be quite good, even if it is just a gonzo horror story. We shall see.
Skipping to a non-sequitur: I must say, I’ve so far been consistently disappointed by the lack of response and feedback to the “My heroes have always been villains” episodes. From my point of view—admittedly biased—I would think people would find such posts particularly interesting. I wonder if my title for the series throws people off, making them wonder just what kind of horrible person I am, but it’s honestly just an ironic play on the title of an old Willie Nelson song, “My heroes have always been cowboys.” I don’t actually idolize villains, in the sense of wanting to be like them, though they tend to have character traits that, in the right place, in the right amount, would be quite admirable. That’s just the nature of the tragic character with the tragic flaw: Much of what makes a villain a villain would, in proper measure and in the proper circumstances, make them admirable and even heroic.
Likewise, many attributes we admire in our heroes, real and imaginary, can be terrible drawbacks in the wrong circumstances or in different proportions. Harry Potter, for instance, is one of the most admirable, inspiring, and pure-hearted heroes in modern literature. Nevertheless, Professor Snape does occasionally have a point when he decries Harry’s reckless disregard for rules and his difficulty controlling his emotions (though I think he’s completely wrong when he calls Harry arrogant).
Oh, well. I’ll continue to write those episodes roughly once a month, even if they find no readers other than myself, at least until I work my way through most of my most prominently beloved malefactors. Hopefully there’s someone else out there who enjoys them, but since I think a writer must write primarily for him or herself, and only secondarily for the outer audience, it will only be a moderately devastating heartbreak if there isn’t.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ll continue to write my weekly postings in both of my blogs, and more importantly, I’ll keep writing my fiction.