For this reason and several others I considered changing the names of all the characters and changing a few other details of the characters’ origins so that the new story would not be connected to Nathaniel in any way. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t working. I wrote and rewrote several pages to test out the new character in first person, third person, past tense, and present tense. I got feedback from several different people on how to resolve the problems.
Finally I gave up. I realized that it doesn’t matter if the summary list is publishable or not. I have to finish it for me. Once it is finished, there is nothing stopping me from plucking individual episodes out and developing them into full novels, perhaps with different characters. There is also nothing stopping me from continuing to have new ideas not on the list. In the meantime, I have to finish it just for myself. I expect this project to take two years and I won’t be able to write much else in the meantime – with two possible exceptions: exobiology art and non-fiction. This brings me to the other projects I’ve been working on in the past two months.
I have organized all my animal, plant, and microbe ideas into 23 worlds. For each world, I want to make a book divided into chapters by habitat and describe the creatures that live there and how they interact with each other. Most creatures would have a drawing to go with their description. I have already finished the text for one world of five habitats but have yet to make the 75 drawings that must go with it. It is rare that I have a clean table and a chair I can sit in for very long (they are either too hard or too floppy). Also storage is a problem. In the meantime, I have been talking with somebody about the possibility of using some of my creatures in a game and graphic novel. This will slow me down even further.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about non-fiction. I have ideas for two quasi-memoirs that explain why I think the way I do. I call them quasi-memoirs because the best way to explain the principles I want to get across is to use fake examples that are actually pasted together from several real events in my life. Also, I no longer remember perfectly how things went down, but I remember the lessons learned. The main points in both of these books I have never heard anyone else say and they are important to get out. Part of my brain tells me that no one will listen to someone without credentials, but another part of my brain tells me that Ann Coulter and Michael Moore have no credentials and that never slowed them down, but another part of my brain tells me that they are followed primarily by those that already agree with them. Since I am writing something new and trying to change minds, I have no built-in audience. I don’t have quite the same drive to finish them as I do my science fiction, but the thoughts I have do keep bubbling back up. I’d like to write them eventually anyway.
The first non-fiction book is about labeling. Some people have legitimate concerns about things (social, artistic, workplace-related, political, etc) but they are ignored because others have come to think of them as arrogant, argumentative, indecisive, introverted, extroverted, asexual, homosexual, or as having Aspberger’s. It becomes a way of conveniently dismissing everything they say. For much of my life, I have been considered odd. Usually, this is because of a difference of philosophy. I see more than most, but because they do not understand me, they assume that I see less and have failed to understand them. I see when they are trapped by walls of prejudice while I am able to get inside the mind of the “enemy” and understand where they are coming from. I am aware that society sends mixed signals about acceptable behavior while others are only aware of one set of signals. I understand the true relationships of things to each other while others mindlessly repeat slogans that at best only apply to very limited circumstances. I fail to convince others not because I am poor at explaining, but because they are poor at listening. Because others perceive me as not understanding them or as not picking up on the norms, they try to classify me as having one condition or another. The thing is, I don’t fit their list of “symptoms” well. To the extent that I do, this is easily explained away by larger social phenomena that have nothing to do with my psychology. To the extent that I still do, these categories are highly arbitrary, gerrymandered designations anyways that include many people who are normal except that they have been slightly more successful at achieving what everyone strives to achieve. It is especially ironic when those measuring whether others are normal aren’t anywhere near normal themselves.
The second non-fiction book is about political philosophy. I attempt to bring together moral relativism and moral absolutism and to bring together atheism and every form of spirituality all while giving people hope in better lives in spite of any past mistakes and our continued inability to settle any issue with science. Essentially, I go through the list of every paradigm that has ever been tried and why it failed before finally showing that no future paradigm will ever work before finally showing how things will still all work out anyways in spite of us.
I’m having a terribly hard time gathering my thoughts for these two books. Every bit of writing I do pulls me down so many tangents that it becomes totally incoherent. Even my two paragraphs above took me hours to whittle down and I’m no longer sure they are quite right. I still need to think more about what precisely my messages are.
I’ve also been thinking lately about incivility. In politics, people make broad accusations against whole groups of people all the time, but rarely does this harm anyone in a direct, measurable way. Now people are actually getting hurt. A college professor opines that Muslims and Christians worship the same God, which is a semantics argument with no objective truth or falsehood, and the college fires her. Now I see thousands of people saying she deserves it. I hear that a county clerk in Kentucky who has harmed nobody is thrown in jail simply for following Kentucky law. Now thousands of people say she deserved it and have spread lies about her. I hear that cops and blacks aren’t getting along. Both feel threatened by the other. Now a black restaurant manager can’t even make a joke to a policewoman without getting fired and a white cop can’t even defend his own life against a black attacker without being accused of murder and getting death threats. Countless people on both sides spout the most hateful rhetoric I have ever heard, but the content of their comments makes it clear they have absolutely no idea what they’re ranting about! Hardly anyone takes the time to understand an issue before taking sides. This is entertaining (though also sad and frustrating) when debating abstract economic policy. It becomes scary when involving the fates of real people. Who’s next? I might write a book about that.
I also have a lot of holiday stuff going on now. This slows me down further. I'll pick up again in January.