Everything I say makes sense. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m right about everything, but it does mean that I almost always have a point. It’s a good starting point, because it keeps me moving forward.
I’m almost done with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Apparently, King considers the series his magnum opus, but let me tell you, if it doesn’t jump shark around book five, my name isn’t Robot King. (Okay, so it isn’t, but you get the idea.) The first four volumes are extraordinary–wholly unique, twisted, complex, and rich in themes and character development. The fifth is, I would argue, underrated, but at its best, it’s still no more than an amusing distraction. Six and seven are, frankly, just not very good. The material is the same, but the momentum is lacking. Maybe King just ran out of ideas? I have not heard pleasant things about the conclusion. After such a long journey, could any finale measure up to such lofty expectations?
Actually, I think it could. Sometimes, the ending really does justify the time it took the get there. His Dark Materials is a good example, starting out as a simple steampunk fantasy quest and morphing into a potent allegory about the perils of fanaticism and the wonders that can await us if we are willing to explore the mysteries of science. It’s one of my favorite fantasy epics, right up there with Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels (one of the only fantasy stories I know of in which the culture is not modeled off of medieval Europe).
Somewhat random: Some people say “You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone.” I say you don’t know how bad you missed it until you get it back. I set up WiFi in my apartment after being without it for over a month (with the exception of one or two places I stayed while homeless that had it) and let me tell you, it feels great. I’d been having to commute to campus every time I’ve wanted to use the Internet, and now that I can do it without leaving my apartment, it feels kind of weird. Like the two weeks when I stayed with a friend at the medical college during which I ate out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When I moved into my cousin’s apartment (a temporary arrangement, but at least he had a kitchen), I bought a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly, and made my own fucking meal. Christ, you have no idea what a relief that was. Anyways, back to talking about sci-fi/fantasy…
Generally, I’m not one to pick something up just because everyone else is, but last winter, I read A Game of Thrones and liked it a lot, and now that I’ve just ordered a lovely Song of Ice and Fire shirt from Teefury, I suppose I should start catching up. I haven’t watched the TV show yet, but I figure that if it’s as good as everyone says it is, I’ll at least enjoy watching Sean Bean die onscreen for the 400th time. I just hope George R.R. Martin manages to wrap things up satisfactorily over the next two books. There’s nothing more annoying than a fantasy series that just won’t end. Part of the reason why I adore LOTR so much is that Tolkien didn’t get lost in his extended universe. Even though he spent decades developing Middle Earth and going to the lengths of creating his own languages for the sake of fleshing out the world, the series that he wrote about it is relatively concise. Three volumes, each about 400 pages long. That’s it.
I keep trying to smooth out the wrinkles in my life, but it just won’t happen, no matter how hard I try to force it. Maybe I need to take a step back. As of right now, I have more assignments due over the next week than I can even count, along with a presentation that I just missed a deadline for last night. I’m hoping people have faith in me. There are times when it’s a struggle just to get out of bed and show my face to the world. I won’t stop doing that, though. I don’t care how much else I fail at.
Neil Gaiman said that in a freelance environment, one is judged on three criteria:
1) Is your work good?
2) Do you meet deadlines?
3) Do people like you?
My insecurity makes it difficult for me to judge this objectively, but I’m pretty sure I qualify on that last count. But at this point, my work isn’t good, and I’m not meeting deadlines. Ideally, I’d like to meet all three, and there was a time when I met zero, but maybe I’m moving forward. Maybe.
I’m not sure why I started writing my own trilogy, so to speak. I’m not even sure who is reading them. I guess I just wanted to try something different. There is so much that is up in the air for me right now that I’m not sure where I’ll be seven days from now, let alone a couple months. I’m just tired of being jerked around, tired of forming an attachment to something only to have it ripped away once I start to depend upon it. Generally, I don’t go for inspirational quotes, but some pastor named Steve Furtick once said, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” That’s true, from what I can tell.
I am very tired. I have said over and over again that I have one goal in life and one goal only: to wake up in the morning not feeling like shit. That still doesn’t happen very often, but over the past few weeks, I’ve found that whatever else is going on in my life, I tend to get to bed at a reasonable hour far more consistently than I used to. Perhaps that’s worth something.
More conventional blogging to return soon. In fact, I’ve got one in the works right now. Enjoy yourselves, stay safe, and don’t let the fanatics and bigots get you down.