When I was little, the room in which I spent most time — being of a sickly disposition, in a society not yet used to the existence of antibiotics — didn’t have a window. Well, it kind of did, but it was a slit high up on the wall behind me, to capture the light that came into the living room through the two sidelights on the front door.
But on the wall, in front of me, there was a picture of an angel walking behind a boy and a girl, while the boy and the girl, blithely walk at the edge of an abyss.
I feel like right now I’m sitting here, in my office chair, typing at the edge of an abyss. I sure as hell hope there is an angel ready to save my butt, but I’m not going to tell you there is.
For once this doesn’t make me even vaguely special. Right now, this morning, whatever you’re doing, including sitting on your chair reading this blog, you’re doing it at the edge of the abyss.
I remember similar times, when I was very young, and we were not sure what the rules were or how they were changing, and we definitely didn’t know what came next. And I remember my mom complaining to her friends about how hard it was to concentrate.
… I’m having a heck of a time finishing BOR because who cares about made up fights and perils of dragon and lion shifters, when we’re not sure what is going to go boom where, but we’re sure it’s any second now, and we’re sitting here, waiting for the crack and boom.
The only thing I can say is that unless you’re a person of more power and influence than I think reads this blog, whatever you do today, in the normal run of your life is more important, overall for your future than what is going on over our heads, in the beleaguered and plagued entrails of our poor Republic as it attempts to purge itself of the Marxist infection killing it.
Unless you are in a pivotal position, at a pivotal time — and if you are, you will know it — you’re better off dancing at the edge of of the abyss and ignoring the howling winds than trying to pull everyone along with you back from the edge.
Yeah, it’s not easy. I’m not going to claim it is.
But even my day job, which is mostly making up entertaining lies is important to someone. How do I know?
I have the letters. “Your books kept me going when my family was falling apart/I had cancer/my father died.”
And I’ve experienced it from the other side myself. Sometimes, in the years of hell, the only thing that kept me together was books, and honestly, at the point? The more amusing the better. If they could manage to slip in one or two comforting verities or a bit of hope even better.
So even my work, even the sillier books matter.
And other things matter. Because I’ve been fighting this novel to the finish, (And at my age, what business has a plot running away from me?) my house looks like Pompeii after the volcano. Only with more dust and cat hair. As soon as I finish this thing, there’s going to be such a cleaning as has never been seen. Well, not recently.
That matters too, because living in confusion and mess affects me and my work. Jerry Pournelle, as we headed into the dark in 2008 told me if I couldn’t concentrate to write, or do anything else, just “Work on making things organized and very clean.”
For one, if there are supply/energy disruptions, cleaning will be much harder — trust me on this — and starting from a clean place helps.
So, as you hold your breath and wait for a crash; as each fresh bit of news makes you start up and go “What fresh hell is this?”, unless you’re in a special place at a very special time — and you and only you will know that — dancing is the best you can do.
And for the love heaven, unlike Wile E. Coyote in the cartoons: Don’t look down.
As long as we’re not away we’re on thin air we won’t fall.
And we must keep dancing.