But when the blast of war blogs in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger

Hello and good morning, everyone.  It’s raining here in south Florida; I got more soaking wet on the way to work today than I have at times when swimming in the ocean.

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but at least when you’re swimming in the ocean, you plan on getting wet, you expect to get wet, and your clothes—such as they are—are made for getting wet and for drying off quickly.  This is not the case for work clothes, even when one works in a fairly casual office.  This weather almost makes me wish that there were a 24-hour curfew in place that restricted people even from going to work, but no such luck.  I was allowed to go to work even at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, which has apparently passed, and I’m certainly allowed to work now.

In America at least, news of the pandemic has been all but superseded by news of various protests, some of which have turned violent, over the murder of George Floyd.  Both topics seem particularly good at bringing out human stupidity, which is never a tall order, but there is more unified sentiment—where I work, anyway—about the latter story.  Everyone here thinks the cops involved need to go to prison, but that violent protests and especially looting are idiotic, counterproductive, and are probably (mostly) not being done by legitimate protestors.  As for me, I can at least sympathize with occasional, directed violence in such matters.  Peaceful protest is ideal when it works, when you’re dealing with people of conscience and appealing to their better natures, but it wouldn’t have worked against the Nazis, or against Genghis Khan, or against the Roman Empire, and it wouldn’t work in North Korea.  Random violence, however, that hurts one’s own neighbors or other innocent people, seems thoughtless and pointless at best, and looting seems simply opportunistic and despicable.

All right, enough politics, if that’s what that was.  On to more auspicious matters.

This week, I have finally begun the last edit, layout, preparation, etc. of Unanimity.  I expect that, with the finish line in sight, I’ll probably accelerate work on it somewhat, perhaps pushing back my music…though I did make a post on Iterations of Zero this week with embedded videos of my five original songs that are on YouTube, as well as a few comments about them. Check out that post if you’re interested; I’d love to know what people think of the songs.  I’ve also recorded another audio blog for IoZ, but that’s still being edited—those take longer to polish than do written blog entries, though they’re certainly easier to initiate.

As you may know, I’m chronically conflicted about the whole podcast/audio versus writing of thoughts and commentary.  Writing is more efficient for storage and dissemination of information—compare the size of a word-processor document with even a compressed audio file—but there is a certain nuance of expression as well as a greater spontaneity that can be achieved in audio.  As I admit right at the beginning of the new recording, this audio blog post is not intended to be uplifting.  Neither is it meant to be down-pushing (if that’s a term).  It’s instead meant to be a rebellion of sorts against the notion that we all must try always to be positive and optimistic and upbeat and inspirational.

If you need to be inspired—if you need to be “motivated”—to get your work done, I think you’ve already failed.  Motivation—in the modern, self-help sense, not in the basic, fundamental meaning of the word (which is fine)—is a bit like the notions of heroism and leadership.  These are concepts that come into play only when you’re already far from optimal circumstances.  We should all aspire to achieve a world in which there is no need for leaders or for heroes, and to strive to reach a state in our own character in which “motivation” is irrelevant.

No one feels “motivated” every day, but if you want to earn a living, you need to go to work whether you feel “motivated” or not.  The tiger that won’t hunt until and unless it’s “inspired” by something is a tiger that’s got a good chance of dying.  Or perhaps a better animal for that analogy would be the squirrel.  Squirrels keep gathering nuts (and maybe other foods, I’m no expert on squirrel diets) even when they have enough for their immediate needs—even when they don’t feel particularly hungry—because, as they apparently say in Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming.”*

To quote Christian Mihai, “The work that you do when you don’t want to is the work that most defines you.” Maybe this is just a different kind of motivation, a more long-term motivation that evaluates the area under the curve of one’s success and happiness, and not merely its moment to moment y-value.  That kind of motivation—or drive, perhaps, would be the better term—seems perfectly fine to me.  But if you have to get jazzed up to get out of bed and get moving, then you’re careening toward failure, because no one can feel jazzed up every day, not even someone in the upside of a bipolar cycle.

I’m not sure how I got onto that subject, but anyway, I’m happy at least to know that my own personal commitment to working on my fiction five to six mornings every week continues to deliver results.  It’s a lesson I learned fromthe King himself, and it’s paid off already in all my published books and stories.  And soon, I’ll release my own megalithic horror novel that matches in size even Stephen King’s longest work.

I would be delighted if Unanimity is read and enjoyed by even a fraction of as many people as have enjoyed any of King’s works, of course.  But if even one person reads it and likes it, that’s a huge reward.  And even if no one does, well—I still know that I’ve written it, and I like it.  If I didn’t like it, it really wouldn’t matter all that much if everyone else in the world loved it.  I can only be inside my own head.

TTFN


*I’ve neither watched nor read any of the GoT stories.  This fact surprises even me.  It’s not a matter of stubborn contrarianism or protest; I see nothing wrong with people loving the stories or the series.  I simply haven’t been interested.  These are the types of entertainment that I tend to want to enjoy with someone—not just anyone, to paraphrase John Lennon—and I simply have no one with whom I’m interested in sharing such entertainment.  More’s the pity, but there it is, and other such long-in-the-tooth clichés.

But when they should endure the bloggy spur, they fall their crests, and like deceitful jades sink in the trial.

Wyoming-Quintet-Opus-1 (2)

Hello, good morning, and welcome to yet another Thursday.  I don’t know that I have much to write about today, but that’s never stopped me from writing before, and I see no need to let it do so now.  I’ll just start writing and see what happens.  If worse comes to worst, I suppose I’ll just have a short blog post.*

The editing of Unanimity is going reasonably well, as usual.  There’s not much new to say about it.  I’m more than halfway through the latest pass, but I still have quite a few run-throughs to go.  Well, okay, the actual integer number of run-throughs isn’t large, but when those numbers refer to the editing of a huge novel, they can still take quite a long time.  I wish I were independently wealthy, or at least able to make my living solely by writing.  Then I’d probably have been done with Unanimity by now, and on to some subsequent project, if there is to be any subsequent project.  Unfortunately, wishing for the counter-factual is an exercise in futility.  As the old saying goes, “If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.”  I think the situation is actually far more extreme than that, with respect to the number of wishes in the world, so my personal version of the saying is, “If wishes were horses, then we’d all be hip-deep in horse-shit.”

Which, in a certain sense, we already are.  So maybe it wouldn’t make much of a figurative difference.  Are horses as big a producer of greenhouse gasses per capita as cows are?  Maybe if wishes were horses, we could replace beef in our diets with “chevval” or something along those lines, and the world would be slightly better.  Or maybe it wouldn’t be.  Our gardens at least would have plenty of fertilizer.

I’ve written a new article for Iterations of Zero for this week, but I haven’t posted it yet, because I haven’t finished editing it.  It’s not that this has been a particularly busy week—though it has been busy—it’s just that I’ve had a hard time finding the energy and time to apply to IoZ in the midst of other things.  I just know that I put all that time and energy somewhere, but I think it might have gotten thrown away by accident the last time I moved.  In any case, I can’t seem to locate it no matter where I look.  I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Time can be a curse as well as a blessing, depending on the circumstances (while too much energy can be explosive, and in the extreme limit, can create a black hole).

As for everything else, well, there’s not much new in the world.  Of course, as always, there are specific “new” things, specific iterations of more generic types of events that keep occurring, but it’s important to recognize that such details are trivia, with little to no lasting consequence as compared to any other possible set of details.  At least, it’s important to me to recognize this, as much as something trivial can be important, and as much as something important can be trivial.

The weather in most of the United States has gotten quite cold over the past few days.  It’s even cooled down here in south Florida a bit, though not to an uncomfortable degree.  This has brought a bit of rain, and that’s mildly annoying, but it’s hardly unusual for a subtropical wetland—which is what this area is when left to its own devices.  In any case, the arrival of the “cold” months down here tends to entail a significant reduction in daily rainfall…and it’s more or less unheard-of for there to be snow in my neighborhood.  As the end of the year approaches, one really should hear in our local malls the carol, “I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas,” since the more traditional version is surely just a pipe dream.

To be honest, it’s been years, probably almost a decade, since I’ve even been in a mall (except when passing through on the way to see a movie, which has happened on three occasions).  Some of you may think that sounds enviable, and I’m sure you have your reasons, but I like malls, at least when they’re not too crowded.  They make me feel almost as if I’m in a slightly gaudy museum—a museum where I can, if I really like something that’s on display, buy it.  Malls were always truly fun and often exciting places to go with family…which is one of the main reasons I haven’t gone to one in so long.

Anyway, I’ve now said more than was merited by anything about which I had to speak (or to write, if you prefer to be pedantic, which is an urge I find it hard to criticize), so I should probably draw all of this to a close.**  To all of those reading—and to the vastly larger number of people who aren’t—I wish you well; indeed, I wish you all the best possible moments and outcomes in all areas of your lives and in all their intertwinings with all the other lives out there.

But we know what wishes are worth, don’t we?

TTFN


*I suspect there are many who think this is far from worse, let alone worst, but we’ll ignore them, since they must be masochists if they’re reading this despite their displeasure.  Okay, well, it’s too late to ignore them now, but we’ll at least give them no further attention.

**I’m sure there are those out there who think I should do so on a much more global level, top to bottom, side to side, in all possible senses.  As with the urge to be pedantic, I find it difficulty argue against such a point of view.