Flights of Fancy

My health has its ups and downs, but my mind is usually given over to dreaming, even when I can’t muster up the energy to write.

I daydream about aliens attacking the Earth, and humanity rising to fight as one. I see giant ships floating through the skies on curtains of light. I have visions of Hollywood movies, playing out the stories I have spun.

For what is our imagination, if not to be used for strange and wondrous things? Why not bend it to dream of glory for ourselves? It is a great and sometimes strange gift, to conjure the world as it can never be or may never be. The depths of an imagination, properly cultivated, is a truly fantastic power.

The cold that is currently assaulting my sinuses will not stop me dreaming… even if my nose drips like a leaking tap.

//shay

Storytelling as art

It’s a funny thing, but I wonder just how much people think of the artistry of narrative.

My mood has been brought on by the re-release of Planescape Torment on PC and various tablet devices. For those of you too young to know, Planescape is probably the greatest narrative role playing game ever committed to a digital medium; it has a rich setting, deep and interesting characters, an enthralling plot, and it holds everything secondary to the service of the experience. Gameplay is less important than merely playing the game and finding the stories within stories scattered all over it.

I hold it up as a work of art; the narrative equivalent of a Picasso, or a Dali. It has hidden depths and meanings, and the only way to truly absorb it all is to get lost in it.

I care little for the great works of literature, whose accolades come from highbrow academia. Art demands that we feel something by experiencing it. The masterpieces of narrative are not the perfectly written novels chosen by professors. They’re stories from the heart and in the bone, that grip our minds and lead our dreams.

As artists, we should never ask for perfection. Let us ask instead for soul.

//shay

Control the spice, control the universe

If you’ll forgive the somewhat nerdy Dune reference, I’ve managed to accumulate at least fifteen different herbs and spices for cooking purposes. (I will not be using them to travel without moving.) In my pursuit of dietary perfection, I’ve taken to cooking vegetables and meat without sauces, which means they need to be well seasoned. For that, I need my own spice mix.

I had to resist the urge to sing Scarborough Fair as I went through them today and stacked them all in the cupboard.

The problem I’m facing is that I’ve no idea which combinations of spices work well. I’ll have to experiment, and risk my tastebuds, or start following recipes I find online. Only time will tell whether I gain a mastery of the culinary spice arts, or if I will slowly ruin my sense of taste outright.

The thing that has happened, continues to happen. I am in control.

Watch this space…

//shay

A thing has happened

This thing, this enormous thing. I feel it in the back of my mind. I’m afraid.

My health now must improve. There are demands of me approaching, and I must be strong enough for them. I keep telling myself that I went into this with my eyes open, with the expectation that this could happen, and still I am frightened.

I need steel in my veins, and thunder in my heart.

Mostly, though, I need to stop any kind of fad diet and stick to what I know is good enough. Vegetables, lean protein, that sort of thing. Light exercise. More water.

There are changes coming, and I must prepare.

//shay

Change isn’t always good

I didn’t post yesterday. I feel so guilty. I had been doing so well too!

But change isn’t always better, my friends. A change in my diet has proven to be a disaster. I made the mistake of trying a low carb diet, and although it could probably help me lose weight, it has side-effects, in my case, that make it impossible.

I don’t mind cutting out carbohydrates. There was a lot I didn’t eat anyway. If there were going to be side-effects, there was no way to know how my body would react unless I tried it. And it reacted with three days of crippling insomnia.

There is a biochemical reaction where carbohydrates are used to convert the amino-acid tryptophan into serotonin (if I understand it correctly).  A low carb diet that you don’t ease into, like I did, obviously caused this to slow down, and I could not feel drowsy or fall asleep.

This is not to say that this happens to everyone on a low carb diet. Apparently you can slowly adjust… in a couple of weeks.

I feel so sick today. My hands shake, my balance is shot, and I’m ravenously hungry and nauseous at the same time. I should not have done this to myself.

//shay

Unfinished Stories

They weigh on my mind, lurking ever in the background, beckoning me to return and give them the closure they need.

I have a few unfinished stories. I need to get to them, and get them out of my head, but sometimes the effort to do so is just… weirdly beyond me. They require a level of brain power that I can’t muster when I think of them.

The worst, by far, is the last book in a fantasy trilogy that really does need to be finished and published.

The problem with this book is that I should never have written it as a trilogy in the first place. The first in the series was initially a standalone, and it didn’t need a sequel. But I foolishly thought that I should bow to market pressures and simply write it as a series, because series sell better than single novels.

I should never have done it.

Somehow I wrote a second book, and now I have to write a third and let it be done, forever. But I just can’t metabolize the story in my mind! There’s some level of processing required for a novel, and times where you do nothing but think about it for a while without actually writing it, and I can’t seem to get there because I’ve come to dislike it. All of it.

The characters are insipid. The world-building is poor. The plot is nebulous. This is not even in the top ten of my best work, and I worry that it will affect my career in future. But write it I must, somehow, because the story has to end and be thrown unceremoniously out of my mind.

I know, I know. I need to push myself. I’m becoming neurotic again. I can almost grasp the ending, when I think about it too closely, but gods above, I need more time.

//shay