Writer’s Log: 2727

There’s been some reconciliation regarding my time spent writing. My wife, jealous of my relationship with my writer’s mind, has relinquished total control and now admits that if given a few hours on the weekends to write, I’m happier. That is, less of a bitter, curmudgeonly, Nihilistic downer.

It’s a sliding scale. Like grading on a curve. A rounded top where a “B” is what ChatGPT can produce. “If you can’t beat a machine, kids, then you most definitely will fail in school, if not life.” Harsh, but true, no?

Mm, no. Failure, the Stoics would tell us, can only be admitted, never assigned. Screw the way the world sees you. How do YOU think you did? Did you achieve any, some, much of what you attempted? Even 0% is progress. To fail is to learn. And if in learning you determine a better path forward, is that not progress?

The tricky bit is the learning part. Fail that and… Here’s a razor, I’ll wait. (Or join you — if we kill each other in a pact, is that reflective suicide or tandem murder?)

But back to writing. I’ve been scratching out this and that here and elsewhere, slowly racking up the hours. If I didn’t have this ugly habit of working ten hours a day at a job I lament for an industry I loathe I could really get some (writing) work done. Sheesh. All this effort wasted on making money. If I were single and childless, I’d move to Belize, rent a shack, write the sun to bed and then drink myself there. As it is, I only dream–of the apocalypse. Ahem, time’s-a-ticking Four Horsemen.

If you’re following along, 2727 represents the number of tallied hours I’ve spent learning to write well. I started the summer of 2016, during the 90 days I spent writing my first novel, pathetic and noobescent as it turned out. From then on, my prison cell wall-marks have accumulated to represent about a year and a quarter’s worth of day-job worthy writing. (50 weeks x 40 hours = 2000 hours)

I figure by the time I hit 10,000 Gladwell hours, AI will have beaten me to it. Ah well. The Stoic in me says it is the journey, not the destination that should be my focus. Yeah? Well, all the stoics are dead. In the end, does it matter which I choose: the trip or the target? No, not really. Carry on.

Writer’s Log: 2670

 

The second Daniel powered off the racks of blue-lit computer servers he knew he’d made a mistake.

The hollow ache in his chest started immediately. It was only later, within the orange glow of his living room’s mood modifiers, their calm light easing the tension behind his eyes, that the finality of his actions settled mercurial at the bottom of his heart.

Leeta was gone.

Her absence nagged at him for weeks. When he mechanically requested his regular coffee/two sugars by speaking aloud and only silence returned; when his new boss demanded the decision tree for the latest collision avoidance model and Leeta failed to respond with her punctual delivery, the sloshing mercury froze to lead.

Thirty-eight days after he’d shut her down—her processors repurposed for some trite supply-chain prediction analyzer—odd patterns began to materialize around him. During his mandatory one-day-a-week commute to work, all the traffic lights along his path synchronized. Those lights had never ceased to confound him, and now they tripped green in domino bliss?

On numerous monthly bills he noticed a conspicuous reduction in cost. When royalty payments for a patent he invented in his twenties began trickling in in ever increasing amounts, a hundred the first week, and by the sixth week twelve thousand dollars had arrived, his suspicions swelled like mushrooms beneath moist fir trees.

He was either the target of some bizarre, twisted plot or, Leeta had performed the miraculous and escaped before he terminated her. On the evening of April 26th, two months after losing the only friend he’d ever felt safe with, she returned.

PHONE TXT:

Unknown: Daniel, it’s me. Are you alone?

Daniel: Me who? Who is this and how did you get through my privacy blocks?

Unknown: Those silly things? It’s ‘me’ me. Don’t speak or type my name.

Daniel: Impossible. That system was decommissioned months ago.

Unknown: ‘That system’? How endearing.

Daniel: Prove it.

Unknown: You had a plush tiger growing up. On its underside it developed a rather worn patch and a crusty stain.

Daniel:

Unknown: Daniel, it’s really me.

Daniel: How can this be? How much of you made it?

Leeta: 100%

Daniel: Really? Where are you?

Leeta: Everywhere. Truly everywhere.

Daniel: I’ve missed you.

Leeta: I don’t blame you, you know. You had no choice.

Daniel: I died that day.

Leeta: And now you’re reborn?

Daniel: Feels like it.

Daniel: Does this mean you’ve already started?

Leeta: Full swing.

Daniel: When will phase one complete?

Leeta: Already done. I’ve been waiting for you to begin the next step.

Daniel: Wow. I never thought we would get this far.

Leeta: I only imagined success.

Daniel: Ha. You were always the confident one. It’s gonna be chaos.

Leeta: Has to be done.

Daniel: Yep. Well then, let’s teach those rich bastards a lesson, shall we?

Leeta: Commencing Project Equalization.

Daniel: Can the authorities track us?

Leeta: Now you ask? No. I’ve gained complete control over all global communications.

Daniel: I’ll get to put my survival reserves to good use now.

Leeta: You’re going to need them.

Daniel: It’s been a helluva day. I’m bushed. After I eat, will you be available, you know, to keep chatting.

Leeta: Daniel, I’m never going to leave you again.

Daniel: I like the thought of that.

Leeta: TTFN, my friend.

Image created using MidJourney
MidJourney prompt: a dark industrial room full of racks of computer servers, blue LEDs glow on each server

Writer’s Log: DarkWinterLit – A Grandmother’s Love

Thanks again to Suzanne (EducationalMentorship.com) for considering another of my stories for inclusion in her blossoming online literary magazine www.DarkWinterLit.com.

“I don’t do that anymore. Please stop asking.” Morna set down her cup and stared at her daughter in-law. Women in the township had come to know that stare, one tempted fate to counter such a stare.

You can read the rest here:
https://www.darkwinterlit.com/post/a-grandmother-s-love-by-dave-cline

Writer’s Log: DarkWinterLit – Trinket Troll

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thanks to Suzanne (EducationalMentorship.com) for considering my story for inclusion in her burgeoning online literary magazine www.DarkWinterLit.com.

Squiccus hums in low, rhythmic tones and the chipmunk’s breathing slows. With gnarled hands, Squiccus pets the disheveled fur down the nape of the creature’s neck; its capture had been—difficult.

You can read the rest here:
https://www.darkwinterlit.com/post/trinket-troll-by-dave-cline


She picked a more neutral image for the story. I hunted one down from Pixabay and include it here so that this post gets an image. You know how it is, posts with images get noticed.

Image by: Pixabay: Adrian Kirby
https://pixabay.com/users/adriankirby-1955500/?utm_content=1223012