I told Brian that I’d write a somber piece for him to read aloud.
And so I did.
And so he did.
I told Brian that I’d write a somber piece for him to read aloud.
And so I did.
And so he did.
I despise these vapid Webby type contrivances designed to stroke the poles of bloggers and web developers since the late ’90s. My walls are lined with ribbons and placards of all the awards I’ve won. To add another is more nuisance than accolade.
(Mole dear, your wall is covered with posters of the Partridge Family, not web awards.)
Oh, right. Damn, that was the life I was GOING to have having dedicated my thirty’s to learning web languages and becoming a published web author. Alas, none of that panned out. I ended up working for failed startup after failed startup. (Geeze, maybe I’m the accursed one…)
OK, OK, here we go: Thanks TomBeingTom for, you know, calling me a female fox and obligating me to reply else I feel the heel and potentially miss the opportunity to flash my programming prowess, albeit, 20 years too late.
That, my friends, is some of the first C# I wrote back in late 2002 when .NET first came out. And what did I apply myself to building with that great new language? A blog of course, or rather: Web Log, as no one called it a blog back then.
I managed to post more than 500 entries into my custom made blog over the next 10 years until my server’s harddrive failed and I quit trying to fool myself that I would ever win any praise as a developer. A living career, yes. Awards, never. (I did make copies of everything, I’m not entirely daft.)
My first ever “blog” post in January 2003: (I used XML as a storage format — pretty prophetic, no?)
Blogging became more of a personal diary. But after things fell apart, I pishposhed about until I thought I’d better get back in and WordPress was a platform that seemed easy (free) and open (and free) and so I joined up (because it was free) in 2009; or so it says on my account page, I can’t believe it’s been that long.
Anonymole came a few years later in 2012.
The rest is all documented here in the pages of a subterranean gadriosopher (gatherer of knowledge). When it comes to life histories, brief is best. So, in short, I learned to code, made a blog, wrote some shit, the end.
But, hey, thanks AGAIN TomBeingTom for being the first to shine a bright light onto my failure as a web developer. (Kidding) [No, not kidding.] (No, seriously, I’m kidding.) [No, I’m not kidding at all, this is heavy shit. I think I may have to write another letter to Mudge begging to be consoled, placated at least, uncomfortably petted? Ya see, it’s all about bloggers getting stroked!]
So, I just ran across this Baby Yoda meme, and it didn’t register until my son, up for the holidays, started talking about the Mandalorian. “Wait a minute, I wrote a cheap-ass story about a baby Yoda.” Not a baby really, but Yoda’s grandkid: Toko. This was nearly three years ago… But here’s the tongue-in-cheek post…
“Shouldn’t there be twelve?”
Terndill shut the lid on the cooler. “This is not some supermarket checkout, Bo.”
The warm spring breeze filtered past the chainlink and razorwire bringing the smell of rich earth and white pine pollen. The forest and glades surrounding the compound glowed beneath a full July moon.
Bojine, ‘Bo’ Durnoc said, “I was just… Eggs always come in dozens.”
“Don’t handle them until you get back to your place.” Gerry Terndill set the red plastic cooler on the passenger-side floor of Bo’s pickup. “I’ll come by next week to check on them. But in case I’m delayed, or…” Gerry responded to a beep from his phone, tapped a few words and slipped it back into his pocket. “Yeah. Things are moving fast. If I don’t see you before they hatch, separate the males from each other. You’ll know which ones are which.”
Phil Huston says, “Let your characters speak. Let them tell the story. Tune into the Cosmic Radio and dictate their words.”
Many authors admit, that to write a story, a full and complete story, you must write swiftly, get it out and down on the page before you move on to other endeavors. Why?
Because, how many characters can you hold in your head? Could you possibly tell three or five tales, simultaneously, every one exposing fantastical entities speaking to you in tongues? No. To tell a tale, you must tell only one at a time. Verisimilitude can only be applied One-Story-At-A-Time, at-a-time, at-a-time…
So, that’s the trick. I’m no Sybil, and so, as I write, I can only maintain the authenticity of a few fabricated folks within my mind.
To honor both Phil’s Philosophy and the general advice of writers everywhere I must keep to my structure, maintain discipline to detail, pick one and only one story and apply myself.
I wish it were that simple.
It must be a curse. I know it’s a curse. These virtual people, who cry out at the wall that I’ve built around the connective node that winds down from my imagination to these fingers, they plead with me, “Tell my story,” they shout.
Ah, but if only I could. Alas, I’m transfixed to the cork board of existence by a pin named mortality. I have only so much time and energy to be released upon any of you. Therefore, only a few will make it. I’m sorry.
Do your stories transpire in hours, days, weeks, months and years? Do your characters say, “give me a minute,” or “just a second?” Are your characters old if they have reached the “age” of 80 or more?
Your answers might vary if you’ve every tried to write a science fiction or fantasy tale.
Humanity’s time and calendar are entwined as one. 3600 seconds makes up an hour. Twenty-four hours makes up the day. A day is the smallest celestial unit which we tally together in blocks that make cultural sense. The month was based on the revolution of the Moon about the Earth. And the year, the Earth’s trip around the Sun as documented by our calendar.
When we write, we seldom consider such things. Only rarely do we stop to think that our protagonist might use some other measurement of time to mark the passing of their life. To this theoretical challenge, most would say, “Why bother confound the story? It’s the concept of time that is contained within our minutes and seconds, our days and weeks.”
True. A day on Tatooine may take an Earthly 41.82 hours to rotate about its axis, but so what? An hour is an hour, doesn’t matter how long it “really” is.
“What time is it, C3PO?”
“Sir, I am versed in six-thousand measurements of time, to which…”
“Shut-the-fuck-up, you sanctimonious Oscarian-statue wanna-be.”
“Well, I never…”
Hero’s journey protagonist gives the robot a threatening look.
“It is ten-ten pre-noon, local Tatooine time.”
But what if we wanted to create a Universal measurement of time? One that would be exact no matter what planet or moon or star-bound journey one found oneself upon.
Turns out the concept is moot. And it’s due to the fact that time is relative.
For what purpose do we use time and the associated calendar? Planning. When the time zones were laid out across the United States, it was the railroads that set the clocks. They did so for efficient scheduling. When sundials, and stone henges were created, it was to plan for meals and plantings—many of which had religious foundations—when do we know to do a thing?
What would we do with a Universal time constant? Perhaps plan our conversations with extra-planetary colonies? Or use Le Guin’s ansible to speak across the vacuum of space using Quantum Entanglement? Well, we have to recall that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity included this concept: that time, itself, is relative. To us, here on earth, a second is 9,192,631,770 radioactive oscillations of Cesium 133. But, to anyone traveling at some distance from us, to or away, at some fraction of the speed of light, their actual measurement of time would be different; their oscillation count would change—relative to ours.
Their “second” would be different from our “second” and although we could probably calculate how those two seconds might differ, why bother? The work involved would not provide any meaningful payoff.
In the past, I’ve taken issue with the use of English-word time measurement in stories. What does an Orc know of the “hour”? The Thranx the minute? An Arrakis second? But it turns out, such a controversy existed only in my mind. It IS the story that transcends all mundane human assumptions. Tell a good tale and such frivolous details dwindle away in the telling.
Writing is caring.
Writing is, above all, work. But in order to write you have to care, care enough to put pen to paper. Care enough about your characters, your story to do them justice—to write them real.
But if you don’t care, about anything, that’s a problem.
Recently, in a comment to TomBeingTom, I exposed a thought I’ve held for some time: of the concept of contextual layers of personal belief, (or disbelief).
Currently, myself and our Desertcurmudgeon appear to be psychologically dwelling in the outer-most context of the Absurd Universe where all things are meaningless. This setting represents the absolute and final stage of the philosophical interpretation of existence: All Is For Nought.
Recent correspondence between he and I have briefly explored this theory with an underlying current that attempts to retreat from this the Existential Edge. And that’s the crux of this thought. Somehow, if we’re to exist at all, we must forgo the beating of death’s drum, pull back into the light of some meaning, any meaning, to which we can grasp.
If I want to write, that is, learn to write well and practice the art, I need to find some means to divert my eyes from the constant nihilistic allure of the Absurd Universe.
I just read a Smithsonian article about Jack London. The man lived like a champion and died at forty years of age. 40! And accomplished a dozen life-times of adventure and writing. Wow, what a remarkable man. I wonder what he believed in? Deep in the Klondike winter of 1898, did he contemplate the Absurd Universe? What meaningful ideology did he adopt that drove him to seize life as he did? (Thumos?)
Clearly, residing here in the outer valence shell of the atom that is the Universe is no way to live. Contracting one’s belief system back a level, perhaps two, is a deed that must be done to allow any kind of fulfillment or enjoyment in this life. However, divesting too many philosophical layers would lower one into the throes of theology, surely not a level any rational human would accept.
But a layer or two would be nice. Back to some practical stratum where I can ignore the nagging Absurdity and focus on caring about the characters I’d like to write about.