WriteTip: When You Get Stuck, You Just Keep Going

last-tomorrowWriting -any creative endeavor, really – is all about giving yourself permission to fail.

Now, in one sense, that’s idiotic and ridiculous. The purpose of art is not to make something that’s bad. It’s not to allow something that’s bad to enter the market. The purpose of art is to make something that people respond to in some way, either by giving you money for it or by offering criticism on it. Creating something that will do neither is a waste of time and energy.

So I don’t mean that. What I mean is, when you’re working on something, and you’re not sure if you have a way forward, and you start looking at it like it’s some wriggling obscene bastard creation of hubris and wishful thinking, you may be tempted to scrap the thing and move on.

This is what you should not do. You should finish it. You should keep going. You should say to yourself the magic words:

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I Don’t Know If This Means Anything…

…but I have been collecting followers on Tablo at a fairly rapid clip. Without too much promotion on social media, either. I’m going to chalk that up to the work appealing on some level.

The last chapter of The Devil Left Him is started. I can still finish if I sit down and make it happen. I’ve also started the next chapter of Last Tomorrow and outlined the next chapter of Void.

Somebody on Tablo liked Void. I feel like good news is breaking out all over.

Time in Space

One of the sci-fi novellas I’m working on right now, Void, has a theme about space travel and the hell it plays with time. When I wrote Solar System Blues, I avoided this by making the ship in question travel at below-light velocity, and deliberately making the voyage a long one. Even then, the fact that Burton had been in space for 30 years straight had consequences for his character.

But ever since Einstein, the idea has been that faster-than-light travel would warp time around a vessel, so someone would seem to travel to Alpha Centauri quickly would discover upon his return that many years had transpired on Earth.

In such a system, people who traveled in space professionally would be a breed apart from the rest of humanity, quickly cut off from their familial roots. They’d have to develop their own culture merely to have any sense of themselves. That’s part of what is animating the ennui that Lang, my protagonist in Void, suffers.

I’m not hitting this too hard, because I’m not well-versed enough in space-time physics. It’s just there in the background, humanity cut off by the cold empty distances from its home.

Why it’s called Void should be clear. Read the first two chapters for free on Tablo.



Somebody Translated Descartes’ Meditations into Bro-Speak

That someone calls himself Philosophy Bro, and the book: Descartes Meditations, Bro.

It features a side-by-side translate, so you have the 1901 English Translation, and the Bro-Speak on the facing page. You know, like the Seamus Heaney Beowulf or Pinsky’s translation of The Inferno (both of which you should read, because they’re awesome).

I just wanted it noted for the record that we are translating early 20th-century academic English into early 21st-century Vulgate English. Just in case anyone should try to tell you that the classics are dead.

Donuts are Awesome. Meth is Not.

SciBabe makes five arguments why Donuts won’t kill you, but meth totally will.

Best part, she knocks down the whole “sugar is addictive” tripe.

Sugar is sweet. It tastes good. You can crave it, sure. I’m craving some fruit right now, in no doubt partially because it’s sweet. But it does not trigger your brain the same way that drugs do. It does not cause the same withdrawal symptoms that drugs do. And it certainly does not cause the same physical conditions that drugs do. And if I don’t get my hands on an apple in the next few hours, I’m not going to start sweating, shaking, and hunting for a dealer somewhere on the corner.

Yes, someone can consume too much sugar. That’s absolutely true. But that can be said of the other two macronutrients as well. At this point in history, we’re demonizing sugar because the market has been flooded with bullshit books telling us this is the macronutrient du jour to cut out of our diets to make us skinny.

And now I want a donut. Heyyyy….



Birther Trump is Not a Birther

So, I was at the gym this morning, and in between sets I tend to gaze up at the TV. The one closest to me always has MSNBC on, which is fine, as it’s good to absorb the framing of the other side (for the record, I’m a declared Gary Johnson supporter, but I’m not very happy about it, which is sort of defeating the purpose. But some rictus in my soul wants not to vote for Trump, and every time I consider doing that, he says or does something that makes me realize that he’s a Democrat in GOP clothing, and I don’t want to vote for the more-tolerable Democrat in the race). And the crew on Morning Joe were discussing Birtherism, and seizing upon it as the way to upend the narrative of the last few weeks. The gist I got from Joe et. al was that The Donald had refused to admit that President Obama was born in the United States, that he was still a birther.

So I get on twitter, and I check on things, and I find this link to the Trump Campaign’s press statment on the issue.

Now, when you read it, you will likely be a) rolling your eyes, b) laughing in admiration, or c) both. Basically, he puts Birtherism on Hillary (which is true, her gang started it in 2008), and credits himself with bringing the issue to a close by forcing Obama to release is birth certificate.


But that’s not what’s important to me. What’s important to me is that the statement, released yesterday, contains these words:

Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States.

Now, either the derps at Morning Joe don’t know this, in which case they suck at their jobs, or they do know this and are ignoring it, in which they know what their real jobs are: soulless Outer Party flacks in the business of denying reality for the sake of their Inner Party masters.

I mean, I know they’re a prog network, but this is the willful contradiction of evidence right under their noses relevant to the topic under discussion. How the hell do you even do that?

Of course, I didn’t watch the whole thing, so their may have been one of those “he said it, but he didn’t say it in such a way that satisfies our fine sensibilities” dodges. So I am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt as regards the sophistication of their sophistry.

This election…