State of the Droog: June 2011
I gave PC2012 a good shot but it’s too painful and complex for the state of my brain right now. I finally realized that working on the project was making me sick. Research into rightwing shenanigans made me angry – painful for me. I don’t like any of the characters. I write dialog by getting into character – which felt awful. I stopped blogging because writing became too painful. I tried to revive the project by collaborating with Casey Muratori and Jeff Roberts, who were a firehose of fun ideas, but I was just adding another layer of complexity to a project that was already beyond me.
I finally realized that project pain was grinding me down – which has happened over and over in my life – and that I was pretty sick. I woke up at pain level 3/10 when just months before I was waking up painfree. I had my first pre-seizure symptoms in 2 years.
Since 1997, when my brainrot hit, my cognitive abilities have fluctuated from can’t-write-a-decent-sentence to coding ChipWits. I’ve got a hard time evaluating what my brain can do so I have to try a project and either succeed (Channel Zilch) or fail (GODinabox, ChipWits, Elves, Operation American Freedom).
When my neurons are ground down I should have a red warning LED labeled “LOSS OF INSIGHT” blink a diagnostic on my forehead.
I’m still not used to failing. But when I remember those years when crafting a simple clean sentence was beyond me I’m grateful that I can attempt to write a book.
I turned to writing Castle Rising – my medieval-kids-vs.-alien-armada book – with a huge sigh of relief. CR is a delightful project. I love saying “Castle Rising” ;^) I get to research a fascinating slice of medieval history – 1147 AD – in four different cultures: pre-cliff-dwelling Mesa Verde, Colorado; post-Norman-Invasion Norfolk, England; the builders of Angkor Wat, Cambodia ; and the first castle-builders in Zimbabwe.
I dove into writing Castle Rising with a huge sense of relief and burning enthusiasm. Brook Waalen, who knows my ups and downs better than anyone, told me I was diving into CR too soon and that I should take a break to heal. I took a week off and am easing into “light” (non-obsessive ;^) research and hope to write the first pages soon. I named my four main characters and am getting to know them. They are a fun crew and I look forward to spending the next months making their lives “interesting.”
The Wisconsin library system is great. I order research books online and Brook brings them weekly from the Luck Library. As you can see from these books, I’m concentrating on Mesa Verde and 12th Century manuscript illumination tech first.
I expect to hear from Angry Robot about Channel Zilch in July. Amanda Rutter, the reader who requested the full manuscript of Zilch, set a goal of finishing reading submissions in July. If she loves my little tale she will send it to the Angry Robot editorial board who will consider it as if an agent submitted it. I started working on Channel Zilch in 1992 so I’m not sweating a couple more months of suspense.
My wacky “music career” is going great guns. Itsu jitsu just released an EP of my sonic mishaps and already 7 musicians have asked to do remixes. Since all my tracks are subminute I can knock one off in the evening using Reaper without wearing my neurons out. It feels good using nonverbal creative synapses. It’s a hoot meeting the crazy mix of people who can tolerate my caterwauling.
I had a medical checkup because of the pre-seizure symptoms. Everything but my brainium looks to be in excellent shape. We discussed my plans to go to the Mayo Clinic for a thorough neuro and pain evaluation this fall – Dr. Ankarlo is all for it.
Life at The Pad is going well. Now that I’m bouncing back from my health trough I enjoy hiking my trails again. I canoe every day unless lightning threatens. I hear Loons calling daily—always a joy.