And we’re back

Right. So. It’s been a long break but I’m here. I may not have been updating this blog, but I’ve been thinking about it. But the longer I’d been away, the harder it got to come back. Anyway. No excuses. This is me trying to get back on the horse.

It’s not that this place has been out of sight, out of mine. I have a stack posts in my drafts folder that I’ve started and stopped. They’re about the pandemic and anything, generally, that provoked anxiety and despondency in me over the past half year. Which is why I’m going to go ahead and scrap those and move forward. It’s not that I’m suddenly uncharacteristically positive about the world. It’s just that I know there will be so many new things to worry over moving forward that I’m going to clear the table.

At any rate.

I may have been away from the blog, but I was still working on my manuscript, researching the next book, reading up on topics related to its themes and … well … thinking about stuff. More than once or twice, a movie or show we were watching would strike me as being particularly relevant to Spinozist thought. My long-suffering wife can attest to how often I would excitedly press pause to turn to her and gush about determinism or substance or some other thing. Bless her heart, she especially suffered through that during the first season finale of Loki, and I plan to write about that.

I’ve also become interested in cosmology and quantum mechanics, though I promise you I can’t pretend to understand either to any degree. However, I understand just enough to see how tantalizingly either could dovetail — or, in contrast, pigeon-toe — from the same aspects of Spinoza’s philosophy I mentioned above. And all of that made me curious about various lines of mysticism.

It’s been an interesting time, as far as thinking goes. I look forward to distilling some of those thoughts into posts, but before that, a few announcements are in order:

First, I managed to finish editing the draft of my manuscript. And if you don’t mind me saying, my mom loves it. I know, I know. But really, my mom is a tough but fair critic — as opposed to my dad, who was a brutal but fair critic. I gave her a copy for review and simply asked her to mark the parts she found interesting, where she got bored and to mark any glaring typos she came across. She responded with a fully marked-up manuscript replete with color-coded post-its and highlighters that I am insanely grateful for. I’m currently letting the manuscript age a bit so that I can return to it with fresh eyes, and also giving a copy to another person for a first read.

While that happens, I’m in the midst of pre-planning for Book 2. What’s pre-planning? Anything that comes before making an actual outline — so, research, knocking ideas around the ol’ noggin, even imagining bits of dialogue in my head. In fact, I’m even trying to figure out where Book 2 should end and Book 3 should begin, so I’m figuring that’s a good sort of problem to have. I’m hoping to start throwing down words in November.

Finally, on a totally unrelated note — I’m going to Iceland! My mother and I have decided to take a one-week trip in mid-October to see the world’s newest volcano, take a mess of landscape photography and hopefully see the northern lights. But more than anything, we’re going back to the place where she taught me to swim when I was just five years old. We were there one a one-night stopover on the way to visit family in Germany when we decided to go to one of Reykjavik’s famous geothermally heated pools, but I didn’t know how to swim. In the shallow area of the pool, she took a few steps away from me and called, “Mama Duck, Mama Duck, swim to me!” as I paddled my way toward her. It was, almost literally, a lifetime ago, but the memory has always been a sentimental favorite of ours, and who knows, maybe we’ll get to reenact it in the Blue Lagoon.

And that sums up the past six months, give or take a month or two.

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