Writers like me suffer from a very strange impairment.  We tend to trust what our character tells us.  This is possibly a form of insanity, because my characters tend to be the epitome of “unreliable narrators.”

I’ve been struggling with Darkship Revenge since I lost the second half since the move.  I’ve been doing the equivalent of adding a new layer of paint, then removing it all with solvent, then again and again.

This is an unhappy state of affairs and it usually betokens a huge issue in what I HAVE written.  If the months since this summer hadn’t been fraught with moves and cat illnesses, with kids moving out and their own issues, I would have, long since, figured out what the problem was.

The thing is, I’d finished the book once, d*mn it, so it must be finishable.  Also, my outline (why do I do these, they lead me into trouble) showed exactly where the story was going, so why couldn’t I lay it down?

When Speaker to Lab Animals visited he illuminated the mechanism of a biological attack in the book and I thought “That’s it, now I can go on.”

Instead I continued to add layer, then remove, add then remove.

It wasn’t until I isolated myself in a hotel room (yes, there is a reason for this.  If I’m not isolated and forced to think about what is wrong, I tend to find other things to do, like clean bathrooms, groom cats, and other things I convince myself are very urgent.) and forced myself to lay down wordage, that I realized what the knot at the middle of the plot was.

Bear with me, these are not so much spoilers as teases, and heck, the clue is on the cover.

Yes, sure, I know exactly what Athena is supposed to do.  I know what she does in this book.  I can sort of watch her and see that.  BUT the why loses punch from about half way on.  I mean, up till then she’s doing things for her survival and Kit’s.  There is no thought.  But from that point on and when things get rough, she has no reason to stay on Earth.  She and Kit could leave to go to Eden with their daughter, end of story.

Oh, sure, she would be carrying the deadly plague back, but here’s the thing: from the moment they figure out the plague and what caused it, her actions make perfect sense.  Only not even advanced medical establishments can figure something as tricky as what Speaker came up with that easily.  So there are a few weeks in which she could easily just pack up and leave with Kit.  Actually now I think about it, she wouldn’t even risk Eden, because the trip is six months.

So what makes her stay on Earth through some very unpleasant stuff?  I can’t do it simply as “author says so.”  Particularly because I’m not forcing the character in the least.  I know when I am, and what that feels like, and sometimes we all have to do it, at least for minor things.  But you can’t do it for what will hold the plot together for the last half of the book.  And here’s the thing: I’m not.  Staying is the natural thing for her to do. But WHY?  Until I know why I can’t sell it to the readers.  My idea of why someone would do something might be wrong or at least unbelievable to other people.  I have got that mostly about why Kit puts up with Athena in Darkship thieves.  “Why would a sensible man?” But I can believe that, because young men are stupid when they like a woman.  And men of all ages often like the worst possible woman for them.

However, Athena is not a young man, and reckless though she is, there’s not an ounce in her of “selfless service to the needs of others” which is what she does, mostly, in this middle part.  Sure, she’s grown up a lot, and sure, I can smooth some of it by having her think of what would have become of her if Kit’s family hadn’t taken to her and looked after her.  But there has to be more, because until she can be her normal irresponsible self, find a way to leave her daughter secure and go kick butt, she’s going to be pushed into a very uncomfortable and indeed demanding position, which simply isn’t her style.

I went to bed disturbed by this, and slept very badly.  And then this morning, lying in bed taking stock of my various appendages (sure, you don’t do that.  Don’t come crying to me when you wake up minus an arm and don’t realize it till the evening,)  I realized that the problem is I tend to take Athena at face value.  You do, you know.  And Athena is the LEAST emotionally unselfaware person in the world, except me in certain moods. I mean, it took thinking she’d lost Kit to realize she loved him.

I now know why she stays and why she does what she does.  The good news is that I can probably go back and finesse it, without losing the wordage I did this weekend.  The bad news is that it IS finessing.  I need to work it in in such a way that the reader knows why, but Athena doesn’t know why exactly.  Being exasperated with herself is part of her issues in this one.  Hint, she never wanted to be a mother, and feeling maternal is the last thing she expects.

On the other hand, KIT needs to raise this before the second part of the adventure starts.  He needs to say “We have powerpods to deliver.  Why would  we even DO this.”  It needs to stick.  Because it needs to be there for people like me, who must have a reason.

And beyond the writer nattering… How often do we do that, and lie to ourselves about our own motives?  I will confess I didn’t realize how depressed I was leading up to the election, nor why.  I thought I was in one of my episodic downturns, but not that the cause of it was that some part of my brain had decided we couldn’t survive Hillary.

Can we survive Trump?  Who the heck knows?  But there is a chance.  A chance is needed so that I don’t feel like I’m fighting through the darkness without end.

And the indications — admits — that I’m seeing from friends who are politically connected are surprisingly good.  He’s too statist by half, but all of them are, and also, I’ll be honest, I don’t think either the culture or the technology are at the point we can reach the sort of freedom I would like.  We must get there, and avoiding going further down the socialist rabbit hole is all we can do right now.  And that — knocks on head — seems to be sort of working.

You need to stop the car, before you can turn around and wrestle bozo the state from the seat.

I will also confess the reaction from the left makes me very relieved with the results — and makes me realize why I was so depressed before the election — because it shows  they have interiorized politics as revelation, with the certainty that their way is not only right but inevitable.  It’s going to take a few slaps with the cold fish of reality before they realize it’s neither.  It’s going to take a few slaps for them even to THINK about whether the outcome they’re working towards is worth it.

I’ve long suspected the Marxist science fiction writers yeah, and those who are “soft socialists” and internalize the ideas without examining them, know exactly where their preferred model would lead.  Suddenly, the future went from being desirable to something rusty and full of scarcity and poverty, where all wonder and excitement was killed dead with dogma.

They know.  They just thing it’s inevitable, and as such have decided to justify it and push it.  Perhaps they hope they’ll be the last eaten.  And perhaps it’s guilt at how much they have that drives it.  (Yes, even for those of us who were never rich.  I have a post planned for this week about secondary stream wealth.)  Having been sold the finite pie as a model of economics, they’re convinced the best future for everyone outweighs their own comfort, needs and desires.

Of course, since economics doesn’t work that way, what they’re really doing is driving everyone towards a more impoverished, darker world.  And their subconscious tries to throw up flags, which are lost, because they can’t get through the “conscious dogma” that has been pounded into their brains.

So they convince themselves these rusty futures are somehow desirable, and seem determined to write 1984 as a utopia.

Because we’re human.  And humans are broken right down the middle, with our conscious thoughts going “lalalalalalalalala” in the face of what our gut knows.

Which is why I’ve come to the conclusion Trump’s election is a good thing.  Oh, I wish we’d elected a more strict constitutionalist, or a constitutionalist at all.  But just stopping what the left thinks is inevitable enough to make them pause and think is a goal in itself.

Not that they are, of course.  Right now, they’re blaming it all on “we weren’t heard.”  And “we must message better.”  Which means they need a few more smacks on the nose.

And people like them, and me, who live way too much in our heads, need to think a little less about macro movements of society and go back to doing things as much as we can.  Write and create, and build.  Because those too speak a language of their own.  And in the end, it is that language that carries the day.

Humans can convince themselves of the most stupid things and talk loudly about them.  Like Athena, being convinced she never wanted to be a mother or how much she hates being responsible for anyone.

But if the left truly believed the individual doesn’t matter, or that humanity is a blight upon the world — really believed it, at the gut level — they would all have committed mass suicide.

That they haven’t means their guts, their “below the dogma” actions and thoughts are all right.

Take that with you into Thanksgiving dinner, particularly those of you who have family of a more left political persuasion.  Remember that what they say might not be exactly what they think or are, not at gut level.

Meet them there and build upward.  This too is a political fight to the extent that politics is downstream from culture.

Be thankful for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and convey your happiness and your joy that they too have that.  Then talk of recipes and kids and pets.  They’re not ready yet, but you can reinforce their gut and let their thoughts be quiet a while.

In the end, it is not dogma that wins but works.

Go work.


158 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. So she’s not doing it for revenge?

    Dang it, I like a little vicarious bloody revenge. Not a lot, but enough so they get their comeuppance and the baddies get dead. Or most if the baddies, anyway.

      1. Darkship Defiance? Does the cover feature Athena with both hands aloft, middle fingers upraised?

        “For the first time in my life I wished, like Kali, to have ten arms — because two middle fingers were insufficient to express my contempt.”

              1. Yep.

                I used to tip for set-ups like that, but I’ve received so much faux Paypal spam that I’ve had to abandon the practice.

                In lieu of other gratuity, please print out and save this coupon, worth one set-up of your choice, redeemable in the bar of any con we both happen to attend.

            1. Not exactly arms is not quite a correct description. Let us just say that only male Centauri have those… Information from Vir later in the show.

          1. Howabout the cover shows Athena, back to the camera and staring into the cannons (missiles?) of a giant rocket ship bearing down on her, with both hands raised, palms toward the camera … with the frame cutting off the portion just above the heels of her palms?

            (Gee – if I could draw I could hold the picture up to my monitor and you still wouldn’t see it.)

  2. Oh good. I was starting to wonder if I should be more down than I have been recently, if there was something I’d missed. Besides deadlines.

    1. As far as I can tell, things are not near as bad as they can be. I haven’t heard yet that Obama has signed two million pardons. Be of good cheer.

            1. I’d first encountered that as one of the set of “Little Willy” poems or such. There are/were a few, but that one stood out.

              Alas, little Willy, we shall see him no more.
              For what he thought was H2O, was H2SO4.

                1. Yeah, that was early summer. Yellowstone tends to be very cooperative with Darwin award contenders. Irritates us locals no end, because some of them damage features and all of them get the idiots screeching about closing the park.
                  Be nice if the DA contenders would stay home and use hairdryers in the bathwater instead.

            1. Whenever I think about nitric acid, I can’t help but remember how if you soak cotton in it, you get a magical substance that has been used for movie film, billiard balls, magic tricks…and propelling bullets out of brass shells.

              Versatile stuff, nitrocellulose.

              (Of course, when you use it as movie film, you have to put the projector in an asbestos-lined room, to reduce the chances of the film catching the theater on fire and killing a lot of people. Also, the movie doesn’t store well…we’ve lost a lot of early movies because of nitrocellulose deterioration.)

          1. And I will say that that is what I first thought too that Agenothree was AitchN03 or HN03 (nitric acid). But the description of it turning things black also would fit a strong solution of AgNO3 or Silver Nitrate. Unfortunately its too late to ask Anne McCaffrey to clarify the matter.

            1. But it’s also good fertilizer, so I’m going with the idea that she was just imagining the reaction moving more quickly than it really would, since IIRC, HNO3 DOES turn organics black and cause them to become very fragile.

            2. I thought she did in DragonDawn. It was called “agenothree” because their chemist pronounced the chemical formula that way. I don’t have the book to hand and it’s been a while so there’s the salt. It was Sellah Telgar’s husband. I thought it WAS HNO3.

              1. Sallah Telgar’s husband was one of those characters I found myself wanting to strangle a bit, personally. I’m never really sure why. maybe it was because he didn’t really appreciate her until she was moments from death; and this was after she’d borne him several children.

  3. … lying in bed taking stock of my various appendages (sure, you don’t do that. Don’t come crying to me when you wake up minus an arm and don’t realize it till the evening,)

    The human keeps checking for hooves and tail, and keeps on being disappointed. Not so sure about horns. Equinity rather than bovinity. Granted, centaurs have it easier with the hands, but that quadrupedal thing can get complicated: tight spaces, stairways, transportation beyond local, etc.

          1. Where else could one? Ever “throw up in your spleen a little”? Or “throw up in your intestines a little”? Or throw up in your hippocampus a little”? And please do not confuse the chucking of up with ruminant requirement.

            1. I’ve known people to throw up in their esophagus, in their nose, in their navel and even one guy who threw up in his ears.

        1. Sorry, my bad. Centaurs only have two stomachs….
          Time to go back to comparative biology of mythical creatures. :p
          Still they have to eat a lot!

  4. Actually, I don’t take a stock of appendages on waking.Usually it’s bam! Get up and get moving.Maybe it’s something hard wired or maybe it comes from farm life when, if something woke you up, it was usually a varmint in the livestock and you got moving now. The few times I slowly woke up have been from a dream, such as trying to remember a log-on password and doing the waking up and realizing it was just a dream thing. Just one of those things that make you go “Hmm.”

    On the current unpleasantness: I’m debating venting on my blog on some issues of behavior. I’m not terribly surprised by the precious little snowflakes, since it brings to the Camilia Massacre and other such Democrat events. I’m still p*ssed over the Hamilton incident, moreso since their “diversity” resulted from a “No whites need apply” policy in the casting call. So we have non-whites playing whites in a musical. When whites did that, it was called a minstrel show.

    1. At my age there’s less need to check all appendages remain appended than there is reason to inventory functioning joints in those appendages, as well as degree of malfunctionality.

      On that other matter …

      Actor Rob Schneider owns Democrats with a series of vicious tweets
      Rarely do you see actors, celebrities, or even athletes rip on the Left, Democrats, or the mainstream media, because most of them are liberal.

      Yet, actor Rob Schneider, amidst the chaos and crybaby protests the Left is stirring up, just destroyed the Democrats on Twitter.

      I haven’t seen the Democrats this mad since we freed the slaves!
      — Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) November 18, 2016

      I haven’t seen Democrats this angry since we gave women the vote!
      — Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) November 18, 2016
      He also went after those posting #NotMyPresident tweets and anti-Trump protesters.

      Saying he’s #NotMyPresident is like saying it’s #NotMySolarSystem !
      HE is and IT is!
      — Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) November 20, 2016

      The California-born actor … jumped over to the Republican Party after being a registered Democrat in 2013 stating that he couldn’t take it anymore.

      1. I refuse to acknowledge Trump as my President. He’s the President of the United States, no more, no less. He’d be my President if I entangled myself with Government (which I will do my best to avoid) or join the Military (they won’t have me — I looked into it twice — on account of short tendons in my hands and feet).

        Beyond that, I am the only President over my own life. I will not be answering to Donald Trump, I do not answer to Obama, and I did not answer to W Bush, nor Clinton, nor HW Bush.

        What’s more, even if I were to run for, and win a position in, either the House or the Senate as a Republican, or be appointed to the Supreme Court, the President wouldn’t be *my* President. It will be my responsibility to represent my State or Justice, independent of what the current President may say.

        I strongly expect that if I were to explain such a thing to the crybullies holding “#NotMyPresident” signs, though, their heads would explode. (It would be disgusting, I’m sure, but at least I won’t get much brain matter splatted all over my clothing, amiright?)

          1. Now that you mention it, that’s a *very* good way to think of the President. (The “My plumber” way, not the “my Lord and Master” way…)

    2. I wake up; I get off the bed and go about my day.

      My wife sets her alarm an hour early and plays “snooze alarm” until she’s almost late for work.

      1. If something causes me to wake up hard and fast it causes me to be discombobulated all the rest of the day. I CAN do it, as my older son found out when he opened my bedroom door out of breath and said, in a somewhat urgent voice, “Dad, I need your help*,” but I pay for it.

        * His eyes got pretty big when he saw me straightening up in front of him about two seconds after he started talking. From the foot of the bed.

        1. One night the cat decided to jump on my chest. I woke with my hands around him, my knees up and scissored, and his eyes big. No, I hadn’t tightened my hands, and yes, I let him go. Wondered if it was some primitive reflex. Would have come in handy if something pounced on you in your sleep.

          Oh, and the cat’s never jumped on my chest when I was asleep since.

          OTOH, the kids have woke me many times, and I’ve never had a startle reflex. That implies some sort of awareness.

        2. If it sounds like a chemical, general, missile emergency, or collision alarm I wake up immediately ready to go. Any other noise, no. I can sleep through an alarm clock if it’s not my time to wake up. When my wife’s alarm goes off in the morning, I sleep through it. When mine goes off, I wake up.

          1. Yeah, the only thing I can remember that has merely irritated me out of sleep was someone scraping paint off the house siding on the outside of my bedroom. But offspring sounding like there’s an emergency breaks through in nothing flat.

        1. I wake up instantly, fully awake and ready to hop out of bed. The wifey usually takes 10-15 minutes to come to life, except in those situations where we get that midnight phone call or one of the sons coming into the bedroom saying “Mom, Dad, …..”

        2. I do the snooze alarm too, except I find that I need at least fifteen-minute intervals before the official time to wake up. I’ve tried not to do snooze, but it doesn’t work for me for some reason. I think one of the reasons is that I need to consciously turn around two or three times, or my back hurts even more than it normally does. (That’s not the full explanation, though, because I’ve had the snooze issue well before I had the back issues…)

          I’ve discovered that I can do half-hour intervals, too.

      2. I play snooze alarm when I don’t REALLY have to get up (but it would be good if I did, for things like “this is the only day this week I can do laundry”). Otherwise I can usually get up fairly fast. Well, maybe one or two snooze alarms first. But that’s not really playing with it, not like I do those other times when it can go on, I don’t know, hour or couple of hours or maybe even a bit more…

  5. … young men are stupid when they like a woman.

    This, perhaps more than any other reason, may be why adventure stories feature young men as protagonists: easily grasped motivations. Authors don’t have to invest time and thought in explaining why he’s doing whatever; he’s doing it to get laid impress the lady!

  6. “Can we survive Trump?”

    Obviously. You survived Slick Willie and Bathhouse Barry, Trump is not going to be the one to burn it down.

    1. Some wonderful person posted this on ATH a while back. If anyone is panicking about how utterly horribly different 21 Jan will be from 19 Jan… well, this tune still applies in 2016 and it was filmed in 1959. So.. DON’T PANIC.

      Yeah, keep an eye on things, but….



    2. While I believe that this country will survive, don’t forget that whatever damage Trump (and the progressives opposing him) do in the next four years comes on top of the damage Slick Willie and the One did. Eventually if the the structure keeps being damaged, it collapses.

      1. I expect Trump will do some repair work, just not enough – and the progs opposing him will do their best to limit his success even at the cost of harming the country and their own financial well-being.

        1. On the other hand California wants to secede, so that will give the progs a place to flee to that isn’t Mexico, should they decide that fleeing is necessary.

          1. More fool they: California isn’t all that far from being Mexico *now* – entirely as a result of proggy policies. (See, for example, Victor Davis Hansen’s “Mexifornia.”

            If California does secede, it’ll finish becoming Mexico in a hurry. Which means that in the end the proggies will come slinking back.

          2. California’s not going to secede. A third of the voters in the state voted for Trump. Assuming that enough people were idiotic enough to sign the petition to put it on the ballot, that by itself would be enough to stop the issue dead in its tracks. It’s another political light show, like Boxer’s introduction of a *bill* to eliminate the Electoral College.

            And keep in mind that some of us live in this state. And if you think things are bad in California *now*, imagine what it would be like if the last of us left and there was no one left to oppose the Progs. It *would* seep out, and it *would* infect the rest of the country, and all your semi-joking ideas about walls and similar things wouldn’t be enough to stop it.

            So pray for us. We’re what keeps more of this mess from getting *outside* of the state.

            1. It *would* seep out, and it *would* infect the rest of the country,

              So, you’re saying California is a social disease? Can we put a condom over a state?

              Rest assured, you members of conservatism’s lost battalion are in our hearts and in our prayers.

    3. The real question is whether we can survive an electorate willing to elect Obama, even if some of them have had attacks of sanity since.

    1. Despite the claims, no hotel or motel I have stayed at has ever served or even attempted to serve a continent as breakfast. Fortunately, I have also never been that hungry.

      1. I’ve stayed at one that provided an incontinental breakfast, but I didn’t realize it until somewhat later that day.

  7. > Right now, they’re blaming it all on “we weren’t heard.” And “we must message better.”

    We heard real good. And we rejected their message. And those that delivered it. And their little dog too.

    1. I recently read an internet article in which the author claimed the blocking highways and vandalism of private property was justified because “the people can’t make themselves heard any other way.”

      The problem isn’t that we don’t hear them. We can’t help but hear them, the so-called “silenced” radical fringe has access to the media megaphone whenever they want it. The problem is that we’re not buying what they are selling, and trying to strongarm us isn’t helping.

      1. It’s like hearing homosexuality called “the love that dare not speak its name” despite it long ago becoming “the love that won’t shut up”.

      2. Blocking highways only works until the protestors belatedly realize that food isn’t being delivered to their local supermarkets. And in any case, it’s not as if the protestors would do anything worse than what we regularly had to endure here when Obama visited Hollywood for another round of fund-raising.


        1. Overheard at a truck stop somewhere South of Roanoke:

          “Those protestors try and block MY highway, I’ll block THEiR Starbucks. Let’s see who blinks first, eh?”

      3. So that man will approve my plan to secure the southern border by depopulating the Mexican side if I cross out all the rambling about my Roman cultural heritage and write in ‘so that our voices will be heard’?

        1. They don’t need to hear us.

          Their FEELINGS tell them what we “want”. 😈 😈 😈 😈

            1. More of a problem seems to be that half of them are thoroughly out of touch and can’t hear what their feelings are really telling them. Or that is the way I interpret guys like Joss Whedon. He keeps telling these stories which seem to point towards something totally different than what he then says he wants, and unable to see the disconnect.

              Listening to your feelings seems to be much harder than you’d think. Unless you can analyze them you might get a completely wrong idea.

              1. Listening to your feelings seems to be much harder than you’d think. Unless you can analyze them you might get a completely wrong idea.

                That was David Mamet’s conclusion.

                1. My apologies! it was only as I hit “post” that I realized “David Mamet” might require explanation:

                  Why I Am No Longer a ‘Brain-Dead Liberal’
                  John Maynard Keynes was twitted with changing his mind. He replied, “When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?”

                  My favorite example of a change of mind was Norman Mailer at The Village Voice.

                  Norman took on the role of drama critic, weighing in on the New York premiere of Waiting for Godot.

                  Twentieth century’s greatest play. Without bothering to go, Mailer called it a piece of garbage.

                  When he did get around to seeing it, he realized his mistake. He was no longer a Voice columnist, however, so he bought a page in the paper and wrote a retraction, praising the play as the masterpiece it is.

                  Every playwright’s dream.

                  I once won one of Mary Ann Madden’s “Competitions” in New York magazine. The task was to name or create a “10” of anything, and mine was the World’s Perfect Theatrical Review. It went like this: “I never understood the theater until last night. Please forgive everything I’ve ever written. When you read this I’ll be dead.” That, of course, is the only review anybody in the theater ever wants to get.

                  My prize, in a stunning example of irony, was a year’s subscription to New York, which rag (apart from Mary Ann’s “Competition”) I considered an open running sore on the body of world literacy—this due to the presence in its pages of John Simon, whose stunning amalgam of superciliousness and savagery, over the years, was appreciated by that readership searching for an endorsement of proactive mediocrity.

                  But I digress.

                  I wrote a play about politics (November, Barrymore Theater, Broadway, some seats still available). And as part of the “writing process,” as I believe it’s called, I started thinking about politics. This comment is not actually as jejune as it might seem. Porgy and Bess is a buncha good songs but has nothing to do with race relations, which is the flag of convenience under which it sailed.

                  But my play, it turned out, was actually about politics, which is to say, about the polemic between persons of two opposing views. The argument in my play is between a president who is self-interested, corrupt, suborned, and realistic, and his leftish, lesbian, utopian-socialist speechwriter.

                  The play, while being a laugh a minute, is, when it’s at home, a disputation between reason and faith, or perhaps between the conservative (or tragic) view and the liberal (or perfectionist) view. The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

                  I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.

                  As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

                  These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. “?” she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as “a brain-dead liberal,” and to NPR as “National Palestinian Radio.”

                  This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.

                  But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.

                  And, I wondered, how could I have spent decades thinking that I thought everything was always wrong at the same time that I thought I thought that people were basically good at heart? Which was it? I began to question what I actually thought and found that I do not think that people are basically good at heart; indeed, that view of human nature has both prompted and informed my writing for the last 40 years. I think that people, in circumstances of stress, can behave like swine, and that this, indeed, is not only a fit subject, but the only subject, of drama.
                  — — —
                  Read on at your own risk.

                  Sadly, Mamet’s publicly announced epiphany has not had the effect of encouraging other Liberals to reflect upon their own contradictions so much as it has led them to shake their heads sadly and say, “Poor David; he used to be good.”

                  1. Sadly, Mamet’s publicly announced epiphany has not had the effect of encouraging other Liberals to reflect upon their own contradictions so much as it has led them to shake their heads sadly and say, “Poor David; he used to be good.”

                    Of course it didn’t. I was commenting over at TXRed’s blog the other day about Progressivism being in many respects a secular substitute for religion. Those of its adherents who express disagreement with its preconceptions and (current, but ever-changing) tenets are treated much as heretics and blasphemers. Those who reject them wholesale are treated as apostates. Its going to take more than a few changes-of-heart or soul-searching articles by a few open-minded or introspective liberals before anything much changes in the Leftosphere.

              2. Maybe he is a subconscious subversive. Superego virtue signals while his freedom loving free market id writes scripts.

        2. That is exactly the danger they fear confronting. If they hear us we might make sense. More: if their Base hears us, they might listen.

      4. I’m still waiting to see what happens at Standing Rock when a really stout northern plains blizzard sweeps through. BTDT and you do NOT want to be out in the weather when those things hit.

        1. Apparently water cannons in sub-freezing temps are no fun to encounter, either. *tries to look faintly concerned about the health of the protestors, fails miserably, goes back to writing*

              1. I think it may just be a fringe benefit. It’s rather unsatisfying to talk to inanimate objects if you want a conversation. For writing stories, it’s fine, but conversation actually requires the other side to be able to think.

          1. Word is I might have a relative out there, so I’m somewhat concerned, but if he’s dumb enough to still be out there when the temperature drops he deserves any dousing and subsequent encoldening that subsequently manifests.

    2. Turning up transmitter power is useless if sending the wrong message on the wrong band. But if they wanna waste MegaWatts (and MegaBucks), well, I won’t stop them.

        1. As many of them as have been revealed to beg crumbs from the DNC table (there’s the one who asked Podesta for questions to deploy when interviewing Trump, there’s the one who was revealed to submit articles for approval before by the campaign before submitting them to his editor, there’s the one who used the DNC as his research arm for the “10 Plagues Of Trump column, there are all the ones who publish DNC talking points as if they were gospel and don’t know the # of a single conservative) perhaps the appropriate image is of the MSM as a pack of beagles.

          I suspect comparing them to Carl Barks’ Beagle Boys would be insulting Mr. Barks’ creation.

          1. My beagle, Lilly, is insulted by your statement.

            On the other hand, she doesn’t mind if you call them “little yapper dogs”. 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿

            1. Yes, my Sion has to spend some time in a safe room chewing his squirrel squeaky toy from the implied insult to beagles across America.
              I think MSM is like a pack of jackals is a more appropriate. Now, the cartoon is pretty much on the mark. Nothing makes a beagle happier than to be chasing a bunny.

      1. Almost two hours and this has been left for me to say? Y’all are so kind!

        It’s called MSM and it’s a bitch.

        1. My beagle, Lilly, is insulted by you calling MSM a bitch.

          She’s much better behaved than MSM. 👿 👿 👿 👿 👿

    3. One of those answers is MYOB! (Mind your own business.) Don’t tell them what it means. Let them try to figure it out.

    1. eh, sometimes you can change the character.

      Once upon a time, in my teens, I had to write a story through before I could turn around, take it whole, and THEN realize what the characters’ motives had been. They were what they did.

  8. Inventory appendages…. I started doing that somewhere around the age of ten the first time I woke up with a dead arm.

    Apparently, I had rolled over on top of it in my sleep and cut off the circulation. Craziest thing I had ever felt. At first I didn’t know it was MY arm, and started to freak out. Once I figured out that there wasn’t a dead person in my bed with me, and that it was just MY arm, I calmed down and started examining it. Left arm. Cold… dead… No feeling whatsoever (it’s incredible just how unnerving that can be). I couldn’t move it on it’s own volition, so I started out seeing if I could feel anything if I moved it manually with the other hand. No, but something “felt right” about doing that, so I kept on doing it. After a bit the pins and needles started. Then it started warming up. A bit later I could move my fingers a tiny bit so I kept going. Eventually it came back to life and started feeling normal again.

    I didn’t even bother to tell my parents about it. I had fixed the issue, and I had things to do. I was pretty self-dependent at that age.

    This has happened to me a few times since then, but once I figured out WHY it happened, I started sleeping differently to reduce the chances.

    1. Yeah, I have this issue. There are certain positions that I’ve had to remind myself not to sleep in because if I do, I’ll spend the first few minutes of the next morning restoring blood circulation to a floppy arm.

    2. By the time this happened to me the first time, I had already heard of it, so I didn’t panic. Much.

      By then, I ALSO knew that cutting off the circulation too long could kill the limb, and I worried that I had done that, until the pins and needles started.

          1. Don’t it though? If I sleep on my right side the bottom shoulder gets jammed and aches all day, if I sleep on my left side the upper shoulder hangs out of position and aches all day, if I sleep on my back the knees get locked up and if I sleep on my stomach I don’t sleep. That is what comes of remaining in one position throughout the night, thanks to a lack of sin on my conscience.

            1. I don’t lock up my knees because I turn my legs out. Have done it that ways since I was a kid.

            2. Shudder.
              Please tell me you’re not talking about a dislocation that drops down and lodges beneath the socket. One doctor had to take off a shoe, put his foot in my arm pit, push with it as he pulled and twisted my arm to get it back in.

    3. Done that a few times. Best one was when I was on duty and woke for call. Arm flopping beside me until halfway to scene.

  9. They know. They just thing it’s inevitable, and as such have decided to justify it and push it.

    There’s a scene in early on in the first Austin Powers movie that this brings to mind. Austin Powers has just woken up from his cold sleep, and there’s a British officer in the room to greet him. There’s also a Russian officer in the room. So Austin instantly assumes that the West lost the Cold War.

    Thank goodness for people like Reagan, Thatcher, John Paul II, Walesa, and Havel. They took a look at that inevitability, both from inside of it and from outside of it, and did the hard work necessary to overcome it.

  10. My second-favorite thing about this election is watching the Progs learn about the value of limited government. Ah, would that the Democrat Party had but one head that I may smack the upside of.

    1. No. They will merely oppose Reich wing fascists. Limited government only good if big government is not pushing goals they like.

      The continuous caterwauling about how gays are going to be rounded up Into conversion camps and how racist everyone is is wearing on me. Nevermind the standard artistic lecturing.

      1. and how racist everyone is is wearing on me

        And they do not realize that all the excessive use and mis-application has the effect of… making it ineffective. Sort of like antibiotic resistance. So they the do the usual: If it doesn’t work, they must need to use more of it. But then the excessive use and mis-application…

        1. They also appear to have failed to realize that, in so doing, they are allowing ACTUAL racists to operate with more impunity than they’ve had for years. ::facepalm::

          (Of course, most of that ‘progressive’ lot is so horrifically racist themselves, I’m not sure it would matter even if they DID realize it…)

  11. “Also, my outline (why do I do these, they lead me into trouble) showed exactly where the story was going, so why couldn’t I lay it down?”

    I do this over and over to myself, just putting together a syllabus and lecture notes for the class I teach, and I’m glad to find that I’m not going crazy, or even atypical. I’d like to think it’s because my outlining is so cursory, but we can’t spend all our time outlining instead of writing. Guess that’s why writers (and a few lecturers) get paid the Big Bucks.

    I’ve adopted a wait-and-see approach to The Donald, but I’m waiting for something good, rather than the inevitable something bad from the disloyal opposition.

    Good luck with the finessing, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  12. Just spotted:

    Muslim Arrested Plotting Nice-Style Attack In NYC
    A 37-year-old Brooklyn resident named Mohamed Rafik Naji was arrested for allegedly attempting to execute Islamic terrorism on behalf of ISIS, reported left-wing CBS News on Monday.

    A citizen of Yemen, Naji was legally present in the US as a permanent resident.

    Prosecutors say Naji has been expressing support of ISIS on social media since September 2014.

    Left-wing NBC reported that Naji traveled to Yemen in 2015 in an attempt to join ISIS, returning to the US after failing to do so.

    Left-wing CNBC reported that authorities have charges Naji with attempting to support ISIS by carrying out a mass murder attack in Times Square.

    Russia’s English language propaganda arm RT reported that Naji intended for the attack to be reminiscent of June’s mass murder Islamic terrorist attack in Nice, France. The attack left 86 dead and 434 injured.

    President-elect Donald Trump has called for restricting the flow of foreign Muslims into the US as immigrants, refugees, students, workers, or visitors. Democrats and the broader left oppose such proposals, calling for a maintenance of or increase in volume of Muslims admitted to enter the US.

  13. … just stopping what the left thinks is inevitable enough to make them pause and think is a goal in itself.

    This is the second (third? I haven’t really been counting) time in my adult memory that the “Wise Heads” have accepted that America’s decline is inevitable and the task of government is managing that decline.

    Reagan proved them wrong the first time they tried selling that, and it is to be hoped Trump will emulate the master persuader and prove them wrong once more.

    Whether proven or not, they are wrong.

    From Scott Adams today:
    You might also wonder why the anti-Trump protests are petering out. If a real Hitler came to power, would people get tired of walking around outside to protest?

    The biggest demographic group opposing Trump – including the ones on the street – are young people. Objectively speaking, young people are the dumbest people within every demographic group. I was dumber when I was younger. So were you. So is everyone else. Ask yourself if it is a coincidence that the dumbest people within every demographic group lean in the same direction.

    The Master Persuader filter says that young people have not yet experienced multiple situations in which the media scares the public over nothing. To them, the fear of Trump is real because the Internet and the media says it is real. To people my age, we have seen one fake media scare after another. We don’t believe in fake scares the same way that that young people do because we’ve been through it so many times.

    As the election season fog begins to clear, most people will start to see Trump as an unconventional president whose policies conform to the preferences of the governed. But that simple movie is boring. I invite you to join my movie, in which each of us has a small role in making America Great Again. You just have to find your part.

  14. I’m with you on the depression thing. I thought that my deepening depression since May was from the situation with my mom, until I realized in the days after the election that I was almost happy. I don’t have to worry about living in Hillary’s America, I just have to worry about living in Trump’s – though his early selections for advisors (especially Mathis) leave me cautiously optimistic.

      1. I think you mean James Mattis There’s a bunch of his quotes here
        One of the best (that I can actually quote without having to censor) is
        “I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.”.
        They’re talking about him as Secretary of Defense. I didn’t like Trump, but darn if his choices for various positions aren’t spot on. At least it’ll be interesting to see the moonbats heads explode.

  15. The cold fish of reality

    Makes me think of the way Charlotte Macleod would have several of the characters in the Peter Shandy books express something.

  16. ” A chance is needed so that I don’t feel like I’m fighting through the darkness without end.”

    I know the feeling. The story I’m finishing (knock on wood) deals with this very theme.

  17. “What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.”

    ― William Lamb Melbourne

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