Lately I’ve been rambling about how the AI takeover has already happened, and we totally failed to notice as a species. My husband, through his enigmatic ways, subsequently produced a screen cap from 2017 about how everyone is expecting The Terminator, but reality is playing out more like The Shining.
Seriously, why else would you need a smart soap dispenser?
For the benefit of our AI overlords, naturally.
It also handily explains the brilliantly concocted eugenics program currently sweeping through society. Not that I actually believe that’s happening … lmao.
This is all wishful thinking, anyway. Nothing is going to step in and save us from ourselves.
One of my big pet peeves is when people assume that all creative sorts are Feelers.
This, of course, comes on the heels of everyone assuming that all women are Feelers, and the bullying that’s levied against those that don’t fit the stereotypes. Ugh. (And don’t get me started on the attitude that Thinkers are actually repressed Feelers)
I’m a Thinker, and a writer.
I don’t use writing as a means to emotionally bleed out on paper. I also don’t get so emotionally attached to my characters that I have to shield them from bad things or hard decisions. I’m very capable of writing whether I’m happy or depressed.
I enjoy watching the stories unfold and exploring “what if” scenarios. Heck, I enjoy the entertainment value as well, and frequently indulge in “brain candy”.
While my approach and underlying reasons are different from Feelers, I’m still very much a Creative.
Of course, another one of my pet peeves is when people assume that all creative sorts follow certain political ideologies. Oh, so you’re calling for me to rise up and speak out? Well … you aren’t going to like what I have to say. 😛
These days, creative sorts are essentially told that they cannot “succeed” without promoting themselves on social media. However, the crux is that the very nature of social media is toxic to creative minds, and is far more likely to kill artistic endeavors.
IE the comment section on that video.
I’m the sort that decided that my personal growth and expression through storytelling is more important than money or popularity. This blog is as close as I get to social media, and I personally don’t count it as such, because it’s mostly just me rambling at no one in particular. What can I say? I like the sound of crickets.
Not to mention, I’m rather limited on time, and I’d much rather spend it writing than on reading and replying to a boatload of comments. I’m introverted like that.
I caught a sore throat. As in the, “wake up at 5am unable to speak or swallow because of the agonizing pain” variety.
And, at 5am, my husband made me a potent cup of honey and lemon tea, which helped quite a bit. He’s told me in the past that cussing really does help numb pain, so the first thing I said after regaining my voice was an expletive. 😀
I’ve been listlessly wallowing for about three days now. It’s not strep — just very swollen and raw — so all I can do is wait it out with ibuprofen.
Which led me to browsing through the old pictures I had uploaded to my blog, when I came across the quote above.
My opinion hasn’t changed, but I figure that I can elaborate some more.
The advice to “write from experience,” doesn’t mean to tell about the time you accidentally shoplifted Road Warrior at the mall. It means to write about the broader themes that you are familiar with. Like friendship, loneliness, romance, betrayal, etc.
For example, I have six kids irl, and I write a lot about pregnancy and motherhood in my stories. None of my fiction is autobiographical, but the themes are reflective of my real world experiences.
A few years back I read an article written by a woman who began her career as a midwife before she had her first baby, and how experiencing natural childbirth firsthand changed the way she interacted with her clients. As I recall, she hadn’t expected it to be so different on the other side, and personally understanding what other women were going through helped her be a better midwife.
You can’t simply empathize with natural childbirth to know what its like; you have to experience it.
You can’t empathize your way through writing about things like love, betrayal, fear, hope, etc, and produce a story that’s relatable to people who have experienced it. You need to know what the heck you’re talking about.
And if your experiences are so limited that you can only produce one book from them, then maybe you should put down the electronic devices and go live a little.
Writing a dark story is turning out to be more of a challenge than I expected.
I have an idealist inside of me that tries to insert insights and epiphanies that would prevent the Traumatic Climax from happening, so I have to pull back and rewrite. The result is that the characters keep coming oh-so-close to redeeming themselves, then turning away and clinging to their dysfunctions.
It’s realistic enough; I’ve watched plenty of people do that in real life.
I’m not the sort of writer than deliberately sets out to manipulate the emotions of readers. The only reason why I’m writing this story at all is because it’s stuck in my head too badly to be ignored, and the only person intended to ride this roller coaster is me. There is no sadistic glee happening behind the scenes.
Perhaps this is a concept that’s difficult to grasp in our society, but I don’t write for money or popularity. I write for me. I write because I gained knowledge too heavy for me to bear, and my childhood hobby became my vessel of expression. I need it to remain artistically pure for the sake of my sanity. That’s why I always pull away from online groups and self-advertising — anything that could influence my writing away from what I need it to be.
Is there anyone out there capable of understanding?
So here I sit, feeling bad that Hartmann is too caught up in self-pity to realize what he’s doing, that Carol’s personality is too weak to resist, and that Lambert’s too checked out to notice. All it takes is one sentence to turn everything around, but I can’t let myself write it until it’s too late.
If this story wasn’t pounding at my head, I wouldn’t be writing it at all.
I was comparison shopping yarn and browsing through reviews, when I came across someone complaining that 100% wool yarn smelled weird when wet.
Well, yeah … being wool and all, it does smell like it came from an animal — especially when wet.
Last year I made inquiries about different self-publishing avenues, and was warned that I needed to be careful about the sort of readership I catered to. I’m not talking about “target audience,” but rather something more specific that has popped up with the rise of social media.
For example, the general consensus was that people who wanted to read books for free, were also the most entitled, demanding, and critical. So, while it might be easier to get readers, the “fans” were abusive enough to make you regret it.
To get back to the beginning, the review complaining about the wool yarn made me think about self publishing.
On the surface, you might think that “crafty yarn people” counts as a specific group, but once you dig deeper, you discover that some of them can’t stand things like inconsistent thickness, knots in the yarn, or the smell of animals fibers. Others, like me, prefer the unique personalities of handspun yarns, don’t mind working around knots, and enjoy the characteristics of natural fibers. The two groups might fit under the same crafty umbrella, but the sort of yarn they want is completely different.
Self-publishers need to think about more than a general target audience. Metaphorically speaking, trying to sell handspun wool or acrylic yarns to the wrong subgroup is going to end miserably.
And frankly, with something like writing, authors need to be mindful about where they go searching for their readers. No one wants to get sucked into catering to an audience that kills all the joy out of writing.
It felt too much like taking all of the worst traits of these characters and amplifying them into a sordid and depressing story. I very much didn’t want to do that.
But the idea has been niggling at me for months. It won’t leave me alone.
I’ve caved. Fine. I’m writing it.
But this is a very sordid and depressing story.
Master sergeant Hartmann wasn’t certain when he had first begun to notice the cleaning lady. Two years prior, more for the sake of politics than anything else, the General had declared that they were going to improve national security by limiting the soldiers’ access to the Suit, and a civilian was picked out of the Base’s janitorial staff to be the designated caretaker of the military’s top asset. It turned out to be a plain, mousy woman, who quietly devoted herself to the job then faded into the background as another functioning cog, and business moved on as usual.
Hartmann was by far the best at piloting the Suit. Although it was obviously alien technology, he had an intuitive understanding of how to operate it, and was consequently given all of the important missions. He had already been considered something of a hero due to his ‘bravery’ and ‘leadership’ beforehand, but the Suit had skyrocketed him to the status of a superstar. He was worshiped by those below his rank, and greatly respected by those above. It was unspoken, but everyone pinned their hopes of winning the war on his abilities, and he was more than willing to accept the mantle.
Yet, somehow, the moments he had spent basking in the adulation of a job well done melted away as the cleaning lady took up more and more of his awareness.
There were moments when it was comical to watch her, a slim 5’4” woman standing on a stepladder with a soapy sponge, contrasted against the 12-foot mecha that she rigorously scrubbed. However, when she worked on detailing the interior, it stung to realize that she was more intimately familiar with the Suit than he was. He felt like the interloper, good for a wild ride before the Suit returned home to its loving family. He never had the liberty to simply touch and examine the Suit, no matter how much time he spent inside.
To make it worse, the cleaning lady was completely unaware of him. Hartmann was attractive and muscular, with sandy blonde hair and sharp eyes, and took it for granted that women would preen and flirt as they competed for his attention. The cleaning lady, however, never smiled or brushed her hair behind her ear; her eyes slid over him as if he was any other uniform in a sea of soldiers. He had even bumped into her deliberately to see her reaction, but she had tersely apologized then skirted around him, never quite managing to raise her eyes to his face during the entire exchange. The other soldiers had snickered, and someone had said, “I guess you aren’t her type,” as Hartmann stared after her, his face hard.
That was two strikes against her.
In between missions, he kept an apartment off Base, and he liked to amuse himself by taking out a few of his buddies to pick up women at bars and clubs. The thrill of simply bedding them had vanished years ago, but he still got his kicks out of playing with them. He had developed a good eye for finding the ones that were attractive enough to be worthwhile, but still had the shadow of desperation that spoke of a willingness to do anything. That night, he imagined that he had the cleaning lady in his clutches, and pushed the woman to a level of filthy that he had never gone to before. Unsatisfied with how easy it had been to control and degrade her, he sent her away from his apartment with one of his friends, and from the way she giggled he knew that she was up for another round of debauchery.
Alone, he knew the folly of his fantasy. The cleaning lady was the sort who spent her evenings curled up with a book and a glass of wine – she would never be under his power.
So he watched her. He watched her clean his Suit, watched her love what should have been his, all the while knowing that she was untouchable. The cleaning lady was ranked above him, the master sergeant.