Don’t know if I will get this out today . . . certainly, I will miss the East Coast midnight deadline. Such are the perils of time zones.
Not even sure what I will delve into . . . stuff be swirling round and round in my brain and I’m going to grab one or two things and see if I can mold them into anything cogent. If not cogent, perhaps interesting.
One thing I can touch on — before I get into stuff from my brain — is the above photo. It’s from a recent drive we took and the weather was not cooperating. It was a hazy and mostly blah day, perhaps drifting into a dark day. The above was shot at a higher ISO than I would have liked and required a three-step process to make it look like that. What did the original look like? This:
I had mentioned before that as a photographer I ain’t worth spit . . . but I do have me some nifty tools at my disposal: DxO OpticsPro11, ON1 Photo 11 (Effects module), and Lightroom.
Anyway, back to my brain and what’s swirling around in there.
We are a week away from the 2016 Ironman World Championships which is held here, in Kailua Kona, every second Saturday in October.
I will try to get some photos, but really, as far as photography goes, the day will belong to people with drones. I expect to see a number of them flying around. Also, if one watches this next video, one can see the number of spectators expected along the waterfront . . . no surprise there since there are roughly 2,000 competitors and each likely has family and friends coming to cheer them on.
Many athletes are already here, so we can see them both going and coming from our morning walk, but also coming and going from our daily gym visit.
I’ve already gotten used to the guys (and some gals) who work out at the gym having more muscle in one of their arms than I have in my entire body, but now I’m contending with seeing people who have less fat in their whole body as I have in one of my arms. Mind you, I’m 63, but still, the Ironman age categories go all the way into the 80s and these guys are fit.
A less secure individual might get a little self-conscious as they sit in front of their computer writing a blog post and munching on dried coconut chunks, macadamia nuts, graham crackers, and Hawai’ian sweet bread.
The thing is, I’m fairly certain that, were finishing one of these races be a goal, with two or three years of training under my belt — by then a much smaller belt — I would be able to swim the required distance, bike the required distance, and run the required distance.
Hubris, you say. Not saying I could win. Just saying I could finish. It’s all about goals, isn’t it? I’ve never had any, so there is zero chance I would all of a sudden be moved to such a goal, but I bring this up because I know a lot of people look at those athletes and in at least a small corner of their mind they say something like “I wish I could be that fit” or “I wish I could run that race.”
By careful observation, I surmise that what they really mean is “I wish that through magic and without any effort on my part I could be that fit.” Sometimes, it’s a self-deprecating “I wish I would have been born with a better body.”
The first one is fairly innocuous but still annoying (to me). It’s not difficult to get fit. Wait, it is somewhat difficult. It required dedication and focus and giving up what I like to snack on. If one wanted to really do it, they could. Yes, there are some limitations based on your genetic make-up, so I will modify that to say . . . you can get to the equivalent of fit for you as they are. Bone structure, muscles types, and other factors will dictate what you will ultimately look like, but, you will be as fit as they are.
People are seldom happy with how they look (and if they are, we call them narcissists). A part of that involves looking at other human specimens and “wanting” what they have. BUT . . . that is based on a lot of cultural influence. What and who would be considered attractive changes over the years.
Here’s the thing . . . regardless of the time period, humans tend to compare themselves against them who be at the far end of the bell curve for any particular then-favored feature or physical attribute.
For instance, if slightly deformed bodies and stuttering were for whatever reason highly favorite features, why, I’d have to carry a stick to beat back the advances of both gals and guys. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thanked the luck of my genetic draw for that not being the case. I don’t know if people are aware of it, but a decent stick is fairly heavy, and I already often walk around with 15+ lbs of camera equipment.
Here’s another example of before and after as far as photos go.
Anyway, Ironman . . . I marvel at the number of people who will be running it. All but the elite of the athletes will get nothing out of it other than the satisfaction of having completed it. As I said, I can’t understand that kind of drive, but I can admire it. I can also admire the support the competitors get from their families and friends.
By the way, notice that tree? I think that’s an Ironwood tree, but I’m not sure. Regardless, the thin needle-like leaves made for interesting patterns against the sky. Perfect, in fact, for a B&W rendition.
They are OK in color, too.
But I did like the waves pounding that rock that features in this next photo.
So, what else is rattling around in my brain? Well, yeah rocks, but other stuff too is being macerated in there.
I’ll talk briefly about writing, but please do not misconstrue anything I say as me complaining, feeling sorry, feeling dejected, suffering from a persecution complex, or in any way courting victimhood status.
Got it? Good. So far, excluding some 19 or 20 agents having declined to represent my novel, I’ve accumulated 22 rejection letters for various stories. This is a rather low number. I am 815 rejection away from my target of 837 rejections. That number will have me best the number of rejections many successful authors have racked up before — and even after — achieving success.
Obviously, I need more material and more markets to submit my material to. Well, I’m doing something about it. First, I’m editing my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel so that I will have two novels to shop around. I will then edit the first NNWM novel, possibly skewing it to the Young Adult market, so that I will have four novels out there as I finish my first and still incomplete novel. And, yes, NanoWriMo this year. Second, I plan to write short stories in three genres; Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Thriller/Mystery. I need a large number of stories out there if I’m to hope for a break, especially so since I’ve pretty much given up on building a social network in publishing and related circles. Getting published will have to rely on one of my stories grabbing some unnamed editor by the throat and forcing them to make me an offer of publication.
Why am I giving up on the whole social network bit? Honest, it’s just not me.
Forcing the matter would likely only succeed in me alienating people as opposed to endearing me to them. Trust me on this; I gotz experience in such matters.
That’s not to say I don’t keep my fingers on the pulse of the industry. But, here too I hear a beat I’m not likely to follow. Over the course of these last few months (since we’ve moved here) I’ve been reading stuff in markets I hope to eventually break into.
Want to know what I found out? Social issues are big. If lacking social issues, put in some sex. If lacking that, swear a lot. I’ve written before about this. First and foremost, I have my own ideas about social issues. It’s not that I don’t think they are important; they are. But, they are also something I don’t want to explore in my fiction. I want adventure and escapism, I want action and instant justice, and I don’t want to write about a world that serves as a mirror to our world in anything other than basic drivers of human actions — physiological needs, self-actualization, self-protection, love, status, friendship, partners, desire, greed, generosity, honor, vanity, power . . . I could sit here and name a bunch.
Yes, all of those can and will likely be couched in mantles encompassing ongoing and evolving socio-economic issues because I have to present a world readers will at least peripherally recognize. If not that, they should at least find the world and its characters plausible.
How about one more before and after? OK, if you want it.
That’s not to say I don’t write social issues into my stories. It’s just that they are not the focus of the stories.
Next up, sex. I’m no prude, but I have little interest reading about sex and even less interest in writing about it. Some romance? Sure. Heavy romance? Probably not. Detailed description involving the exchange of bodily fluids? Nope.
I’ve noticed that them referred to as Millenials are casual about sex. Or so they say. I don’t think so. I think they are at least slightly obsessed with it even as they claim “it don’t mean nothing”. You see, they are so casual about it that they have to have it part of their “normal” conversation to show just how casual they are about it. So casual that they claim the freedom to interject the topic at every chance they get. I remember those days myself . . . I was in high school then. I graduated in 1971 and shortly thereafter transitioned to speaking more like an adult. Not just in public, but also with friends and coworkers.
And that goes for swearing as well. I’ve written about swearing before, and I’ve not changed my opinion about it. I still think that for all but very few individuals, interjecting swear words in the spoken or written language should be done rarely and with great reserve. In that regard, I still think the frequent and deliberate use of swearing is a mark of someone lacking the ability to bring power to their words by any other means and who thinks that swearing will lend a gravitas to what they are saying that would otherwise be lacking. They are wrong on the first count but are likely correct about the second.
Let’s be charitable and say the practice does nothing to endear them to me. At best, I endure them.
OK, one last before and after.
I really like that photo. I could say I “fucking” like it, but aside that being a bit vague as to what it actually means, I don’t think it raises my statement to greater heights. I would posit that, in fact, it degrades anything I have to say about the photo.
Here is the next in the series.
The lack of a social circle will definitively be felt with regards to having beta and alpha readers, with having frequent and honest feedback, and with leveraging the knowledge and experience of other writers. Much like my first novel, I will have to self-edit and self-criticize. Everything I read says this is a recipe for disaster. Disaster in the form of not being published.
We’ll see. It could be that’s the case, but then I fall back on my post on success and failure.
Well, this is getting a bit long and I am nearly out of photos. This next one is, in fact, my last photo of the post.
That reminds me of the mess that is politics and the current presidential race. I’ve been holding back saying anything about it, but I will eventually break down and say something about the poverty of thinking I see out there. Do you like that phrase, “poverty of thinking”? It’s not mine. I stole that from Sam Harris. The man has a mastery of the language that makes listening to him a joy even on those rare occasions when I don’t agree with what he says. And he does it all without the use of any profanity.
Dang! . . . it’s already Monday.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.