Out running this past week I noticed that some of the leaves have started to turn and that the apples are getting ripe on some of the trees. Holy boats, where did summer go already? I realize that ‘wow where did the time go’ is a fairly banal observation but it really is amazing to think that we’ve already blazed through spring, summer is basically toast and fall is rapidly approaching.
As per usual (as you will, by this point, have noticed, if you are a regular reader of this blog) this got me thinking that a) I’m off on a brief vacation this week and b) about how rapidly the calendar pages can flip over, when you’re not watching. I wonder if this phenomenon is yet another artifact of becoming an Old Dude; I remember getting bored as hell during summer when I was a kid and wondering exactly how long the thing was. Not so much now. Anyway, whatever the reason (although a changing perception of time as we age sounds kind of quantum-entangly, doesn’t it?) for this perception, it’s here now.
As is usual, there are loads of things that I assumed there would be tons of time for this summer that will probably not get done, or at least not done to the degree that I hoped. I have an alarmingly short amount of time remaining to finish getting ready for my marathon in September. I’ve written a lot, but not as much as I had planned to. At least The King in Darkness stayed on schedule.
I’m not sure if everyone is this way or if I am particularly prone to having an optimistic idea of how much will get done in certain amounts of time and then having it not work out that way, but it has been going on for a while. I remember when I was in Grade 2 and ignoring an entire year’s worth of math instruction (thank the briefly-fashionable ‘pod’ system of education) in order to write stories, I was usually the main character (because of course) and almost invariably aged 21 while in command of the Earth Defence Forces or whatever else it happened to be. Because, and I remember thinking through this process, once you got past that you were getting close to dead.
I was a little unclear on how I was going to get to Earth Defence Commander by age 21, but never mind. I also remember shocking my friends once by writing a story in which I actually died and Earth Defence had to carry on without me. Naturally, I came back in the sequel. (Bear in mind that most of these stories were about 3 pages long so it was not a long wait) I was also some sort of motorcycle champion involving giant ramps and rings of fire and a constructor of time machines to go visit the dinosaurs. I’m not clear on whether that technology was available to Earth Defence Command.
Anyway, the point is that I suspect that if I asked Grade 2 me to evaluate where I am in life compared to the imagined generalship of the world’s military forces, Grade 2 me would probably say something like “THAT’S IT?!?!?” fairly loudly. I suppose it’s fairly standard to wonder about what might have been, and what with it having been a reasonably tough year, I suppose I may have been doing that more than usual. It’s kind of a drag to think that I might be a disappointment to Grade 2 me.
I don’t know. I’ve tried to do the best I can with the decisions I’ve made getting to where I am. Some of them have worked out pretty well. Others I would go back and do over (I think?), which I guess is natural enough. Some seemed solid at the time, and it’s hard to imagine doing things differently than I did, even if the long-term shake-out hasn’t been fantastic. I may not have gotten to run Earth Defence Command, but I haven’t starved to death in a ditch either.
I guess one of the fun parts of being a writer is that you can arrange things for your characters to make the right decisions, or at least the interesting ones, so that the story goes where you need it to, the plot unfurls the way you need it to, and the right person ends up running Earth Defence Command. I have, however, had times when writing and I know what a character needs to do in terms of the plot but, in terms of the established character, there’s just no way that they would. Or at least, not without some rejigging of things to make whatever decisions a thing that that character would choose to do. (I’m pretty sure I wrote about this a while back) Sometimes we can’t get the fictional world worked out exactly according to our wishes any more than we can get the real one that way.
Wow, that went to a fairly melancholy place. I guess maybe I need this vacation to the wilderness, huh? Once I’m back I believe it isn’t too long until I will have some promotional activity for The King in Darkness to tell you about, which will be a) exciting and b) will hopefully give my mind-gears something more productive to grind over.
Meanwhile, I guess I’ll turn over Earth Defence Command to my deputy and get the heck out of here.