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General and Fiction News Update June 27, 2011

ImageAnd now we have another of my Charted Needlepoint designs, my second and the largest, "Harvest Winds." It has a lot of detail to it, a lot of putsiness -- like my life of late.

Ever since last Christmas, I have been feeling increasingly tired, and increasingly in pain. It started with twinges in my right arm and shoulder, which I dismissed as repetitive motion injuries because of all the writing I'd been doing on my iPad. I already have a lot of damage in that arm, thanks to the car accident back in '95, so it made sense, right?

Wrong. As the first half of this year passed, the pain continued to worsen and spread, and the exhaustion deepened. The pain was sometimes so bad that I couldn't sleep and it literally brought me to tears. I went to the doctor, tried several different things to stop the pain -- none worked, not even narcotic pain killers. Not even stopping using the arm altogether. Toward the end of May, the pain moved into my neck and jaw and was beginning to show up in my left shoulder. I truly thought I was going to die.

Then on the anniversary of the day my Dad died, something occurred to me: Late in his life, Dad had a lot of these same issues. He thought they were arthritis, and he took various OTC painkillers to try to deal with it. Eventually, it killed him. And in the long run, what was really responsible for the whole situation? Not arthritis: statin drugs. The same kind of drug I'd been on since last June, when my medical insurance decided they didn't want to pay for the non-statin drug I'd been using without problem. My system tends to get rid of drugs more slowly than many people, and after six months on it, it had built up enough in my system for the life-threatening side-effect to start to show.

I stopped taking it then and there. And within 48 hours, the pain began to subside, without me taking any painkillers at all. I thank God for the memory of my father and what took him from us on that day, because it got me to stop taking that drug before it killed me, too. I am now recovering from it, slowly. The muscle degeneration and damage that is what caused the pain is getting better, slowly, and the exhaustion is also slowly beginning to improve. I am hopeful that in time, I will manage to completely recover -- or at least recover enough to resume a more normal life. And at this point, I'm taking my chances living with slightly elevated cholesterol (the kind that can't be controlled by diet) rather than with the drugs. One might kill me, someday. The other definitely would, and sooner rather than later.

Fiction News

June 27, 2011

My current crop of Megamind fan fiction continues, with the posting of another ebook -- this the longest of the bunch, a 190,000 word novel called Getting Away From It All. It is as much a story of people on the verge of burnout learning how to let go, relax, and discover themselves as it is my loving homage to one of the parts of my home state in which I have had some wonderful vacations of my own, and where I would love to be able retire, someday. Perchance to dream....

On the front of my LotR fanfics in progress: Not to lay this blame on anyone in particular, but I hate it when the obsessions of others wind up spoiling what had been a pleasant creative environment. I still adore the works of Tolkien more than any other author, and I very much want to finish the two stories I began in that genre that are hanging, unfinished. But when you put yourself out there and find not only a general lack of interest in the characters you happen to love, but you also find people trying to push you into warping them to serve the characters they happen to like better, to write things to appeal to them and their personal interpretations.... Well, suffice it to say that this could take the wind out of anyone's sails. I'm stubborn, but I'm not stupid. I think it's quite obvious that what I love in this universe is not what other fans love. And I will not write what I don't like just because they do. So, am I giving up? Perhaps. I am at the very least extremely disheartened, and have no desire to continue right now. I suppose that in time, I may finish them just for my own edification, but at the moment, I feel very much that continuing would be a waste of my time, since it would be sending my work out into a vacuum. Terribly sad. Maybe some of this is the statin damage and the depression of my general physical condition talking, but I know that it is only a part of it, at best. I can see with my own eyes what's being put out there, what's being read, what's being liked, and I know that my judgment is not entirely pain-distorted.

On the subject of all my other fanfic genres: There are no plans to continue any of them in the foreseeable future. It occurred to me this past week that when I decide to start writing fan fiction, it's usually because the questions that arose in my mind and were not answered by the original book or movie or what have you inspired my Muse into creating a specific story arc to provide those answers. When I begin writing in a new genre, I almost always have a very clear idea of where I am ultimately heading. There is a clear resolution to what I have in mind. It's part of why I very seldom write backstories; I only do so when the story fills in a part of the past that is vital to the evolution of the uber plot I devise that goes into the future. Once I have written the story that is the denouement of that uber plot, my Muse is pretty much done with it, unless it has discovered a need to go further. When I stop writing in a given genre, it's pretty much always because I've told that larger story arc I had envisioned when I began. As far as my Muse in concerned, the tale is over, and anything beyond that either needs to be a new arc of its own, or additional tales will not be contributing to the whole.

This is how my mind as a writer works. And I think this is not a bad thing. I have seen a lot of professional book series and movie series go on and on beyond what was plainly the original endpoint, wandering off into pointless mediocrity just to keep things going. But they often turn into undead zombies, no longer interesting, no longer good, no longer truly alive. They're just cranking it out to crank it out (and make money, in their cases), but the spark of originality has died. And I don't want this to happen to me. Sorry if this is disappointing to some folks, but that's the way it is. I may revisit those genres from time to time when true inspiration strikes, but for the most part, many have completed their uber plot as I intitally envisioned it (in my Star Wars fanfic, that was the immense novel Turnabout; in my BTTF fiction, it was another immense novel, Losing Time. In my RGB fanfic, it was The Horror of the Shade, which wound up stalling because I let myself listen too much to people who were trying to tell me how to write it, and my Muse reared up in rebellion and refused to finish it).

Sooooo.... This is where my writing stands. The Megamind fanfic is continuing, my LotR story No Greater Love, part two is also continuing, slowly, and that's about it for now. We'll just have to wait and see what the future may bring.

Music News
May 25, 2010

Troubles with my main computer and sound system have kept me from completing the rescores and new recordings of the symphonies and various movements that aren't posted at this time. Given that it may be a while before I can afford all the upgrades I need to the system, I've been considering posting the old versions of those works so that interested parties might have a chance to hear what they sound like well, sort of what they sound like. Those recordings were done when I only had MIDI synth instruments to work with rather than nice sampled sounds. They were made using an old Turtle Beach Santa Cruz sound card or an early Audigy card. They weren't the worst, but they aren't the best, and perhaps some visitors would like to hear them (these recordings are NOT MIDI files, but mp3s, and will not be played through the MIDI portion of your computer's sound card). If anyone is interested, pro or con, please drop me a note via Feedback.