It occurs to me that literary academia is a religious cult, and a singularly joyless cult at that. In its quest for deeper truth, it has completely failed to recognize that the first and highest purpose of all fiction is ESCAPE, to provide an opportunity to rest and recover from the stress (and often horror) of daily life. There is nothing wrong with fiction that ALSO manages to teach or enlighten along the way, but fiction MUST entertain first. "Difficult" fiction is FAILED fiction.
Made our way up to Bristol this afternoon in the rain, under the motivation of free tickets that came with an admonition to not waste them. It was a pretty routine visit, if you discount the quicksand.
I brought along a mockup of the cover of "Fiddler's Rose", because the minutiae of the self-publication process are eating my soul. I showed it around to various strangers.
There's a moment in every con when you just KNOW that the mark has bought the gaff, when you just need to pick up your score and run. In this case, that moment consisted of a realization that the cover had gotten past the polite, "nod and smile and maybe he'll go away," and actually gotten them INTERESTED. I didn't get it every time, but I got it a LOT.
It was a good day.
Took Suchia up to Silver Lake, WI, this afternoon. I have driven all around it, but have never actually laid eyes on it before today.
"You are functioning with invalid assumptions, and or a fatally flawed argument, and or bad facts, but, while I am fond of you and wish to maintain contact, I do not have sufficient faith in your fundamental rationality and honesty to risk objecting to what you have said, because I fear that you are more interested in defending your current position than in helping me discover the truth."
Started working on the "content edit" of "Fiddler's Rose" today. I think it's a pretty good sign when I come back to a scene after six months, and it makes me cry...
So yesterday (September 11), on short notice and with no real commitment to the project, I repeated my feat from 2016 and rowed the perimeter of Geneva Lake. Elapsed time was almost exactly the same; I started about fifteen minutes later (in spite of a desire for an EARLY start), and had about fifteen fewer minutes of daylight to work with, so I spent an extra half hour in darkness. Given that the conditions were PERFECT by that time, this was not a bad thing.
A couple of years ago, my friend Nikki asked me what it was that I got out of rowing, and I didn't have an answer that I liked. As of a few days ago, I do.
I was reading an article about a summer camp for FTM transexuals, an event where everyone could just be MALE and not have to worry about level of transition or labels, and have a good time. There was a consensus that it was wonderful to actually BELONG somewhere, even if it was transitory.
I have heard similar sentiments about other gatherings over the years, statements of joy about the sensation of belonging and being accepted. It's a sensation I have chased, unsuccessfully, all of my life.
Something in the way the sensation was described in that article led me to an epiphany. I HAVE had that sensation, the feeling of being exactly where I was supposed to be in the universe, of belonging intensely for at least the next little while. But I had not, until that night, recognized it for being the same thing that other people were describing. For one thing, when I have had the experience, I have always been in motion, either on a bicycle, or in a boat. And for another thing, I have always been alone.
I love people, individually, and I love conversation. Crowds put me on edge, and crowds that develop the sort of group awareness that makes people feel loved and accepted make me head for the nearest exit. It has taken me far too long to realize that I am, always and forever, a creature of the solitary places. And having realized it, I am, at last, at peace with it.
After six weeks on the critical list, the Rav4 is back from the edge of destruction. We're pretty happy about that.
I have tentatively scheduled a private tour of the viking ship in Geneva, IL, for the evening of October 12. (We won the tour at a pub quiz in February.) If you are interested in seeing the ONLY longship to ever sail from Europe to North America in a single hop, this will be a great opportunity. The details are still fuzzy, and pushing the event to Saturday, October 13 if there is interest, is possible. I'm sort of expecting that this will turn out to be me, Dementia, Sam the Docent, and the ship, but I'm OK with that.