Posts Tagged ‘path’

Familiar Path

25 March 2011


Dear J-

The typical fantasy storyline goes something like this: young person discovers they’re a once-in-a-millenium class talent (whether for sorcery or swords), but is unable to convince themselves of that fact without some kind of agonizing sacrifice, quest, or divine intervention (and if there’s one thing fantasy plots get consistently it’s the polytheistic. World these people live in). Ultimately, though, good trimphs over evil through the course of flexing thoe powers, the unkillable evil is rooted out and destroyed, and our protagonist settles in for a long, happy life with the one character that, as in romances, seems completely wrong and arrogant (feelings which actually hide the depth of their regard; thanks, Pride and Prejudice).

Worse yet is when the hero serves as author wish fulfillment, a Mary Sue. Everything about the charcter is just as the author, only more ideal. They’re a little handsomer or prettier, wittier by far, a dynamic, sparkling personality that no one can help but be attracted to without envy. I suppose you could make a case for those authors as control freaks: not only are they putting words into every character’s mouths, they’re also taking the opportunity o rewrite their reality into something more ideal. Really, there’s nothing wrong with that aside from the sneaking suspicion that I get sometimes that I’ve already read this stuff. I do tend to read in patterns and perhaps I’ve gotten too jaded as a result.

I’ve been reading the Path series by Dianna Pharaoh Francis and it’s reading a bit too close to the standard template for me to enjoy fully — granted it is well-executed and moves along in a snappy manner but the truth is I don’t know if that’s something I can spend reading time on when there’s so many other stories, classic and novel, out there elsewhere. It’s one reason I stopped reading Jean Auel: the character of Ayla was fast becoming a Stone Age superhero, able to leap credulity and the reality of her situation in a single bound. Here in the current series the heroine, Reisil has had deity-granted powers that make her unbelievably powerful yet immature enough to refuse them on first contact. On the whole, though, the effect is familiar rather than annoying and so I continue to read.



Good Luck

8 February 2011

Dear J-

I saw a skunk this morning on the ride to the vanpool. I’m not sure if it’s the same one that I saw before — let’s say, for the sake of the story, that it is — so let’s call it the neighborhood skunk. It’s not clear if it’s a pet or something wild roaming from its canyon home but this time, instead of lifting its tail in a warning greeting, the skunk continued its rolling gait down the sidewalk, sniffing around at gates and driveways. I thought ha, if it was a black cat then I still wouldn’t have bad luck since our paths are running in parallel, but it’s not completely black, or a cat at all, so this analogy is falling apart immediately. Maybe, I thought, maybe I’ll have good luck instead today. And then just as quickly I realized what good fortune I already have.

Yesterday I got home fairly well-rested — Calcifer has stretched out to four and five hours solidly asleep for at least one chunk of the day, figgy was amenable to suggestion, and no one had to yell to get their point across. As much effort as you put in some days, other days make it seem easy and I find myself thinking that two hasn’t been so bad, why not more kids? Well, between our relatively advanced ages (theVet had to undergo all kinds of additional screenings last time already), the general diffidculty in conceiving the second time (we had gotten several IVF consultations and were about to embark when we found out she was pregnant) and financial means (stretching our dollars over two is easier than over three) there’s all kinds of reasons not to. And yet — I think I’ve already forgotten how deep the sleep deprivation goes now that we’re coming out of that phase (Calcifer is twelve weeks old on Thursday), and we’ve likewise forgotten how much more difficult it is once they become mobile, either crawling or rolling.

All the same I like the idea of three at least in an abstract sense. I can see a day when the youngest would be five and they’d all be happily together. I find myself, when we’re out, counting off the kids and marveling that the bigger families are amazingly well put-together, but that’s no doubt a result of everyone finding a way to make it work together. Yet parenting isn’t always this easy, sunshine and lightness, attentive to your every command. You will wonder if you are maybe the worst parent in the world if your child doesn’t measure up, or misbehaves, or runs contrary to your wishes, and you know what? They will. It is foreordained. But I keep thinking that skunks must crisscross my path all night and while I’m not looking, it’s so amazing.


Right Way

2 February 2011

Dear J-

Wednesday brings a different sort of challenge to the week between getting up on time (today: fail) and staying motivated enough to get over the seemingly endless day. I got up just late enough that I couldn’t help much with Calcifer, I forgot to set out the trash last night so after driving away I noticed that everyone else had set out their recycling while my immediate neighbors had not (meaning it’ll be a full three weeks of recycling that builds up in the meantime; I don’t know why I trust my neighbors on whether or it’s a recycling week — they are inevitably wrong). Yeah, it’s turning out to be one of those days.

At this point though after having been conscious for barely an hour so far, it’s ridiculous to give up already. Attitude demands certitude, so if you think it’s going to suck, it will. There are so many choices still left ahead of me in the next hour, in the next day so I refuse to let precedent dictate the future. Weird things happen. You deal with the messes and stop worrying about what might be around the corner. Life continues. As much fumbling around in the dark as we end up doing (I had to pull a battery to perform a hard reset on this machine — I could crow about how I’d never be able to do that with the iPod Touch, but then again I’ve never had to do that) we should celebrate the minor victories.

If you approach the day as something to be gotten through, a way to let the hours slide by and marking time all the while, then maybe you need to choose again, not job or school but attitude. I kept thinking my first two years of college whether or not I really wanted to gut it out through more engineering courses, as it seemed only that first one — drafting — was applicable in any sense, and as my favorite courses were oddly enough the ones I was taking to fulfill requirements, history courses. I’m glad I saw it through now but nearly twenty years back it wasn’t always so. Do the right thing, even when when no one is looking, right?


Water Way

3 March 2009

Dear J-

Watch the drifts melt away; March was always the month with the biggest changes.  Snowbanks piled as high as your head would end up reduced to sad, crusty ruins by the end, with brittle edges to snap off into the ever-rushing melt stream.  Let it go; so flows the water, so goes my mind.  If it’s easy enough to release torrents — just through a bit of sun smiling on the earth — it should be as equally easy to let things go.  Retain perspective.

When you drive through Camp Pendleton on I-5, there’s a series of hills rising up just inland of the freeway near the county line.  They fold in complex shapes, they rise in rugged repose as far back as you might care to imagine.  I watch them and trace paths through the narrow canyons with my eye, torturously zig-zagging back and forth until I’ve reached the top in my mind.  Is higher better, after all, or is it mere distance that makes it the accomplishment that it is?

Where are we in life?  Is the path now obscured by the next bend, or the rise, or thick woods and mist, or does it spread out in an straight arrow inviting a sprint?  Do we rise?  Does the fall have a bottom limit?  Water finds the easiest route, sure, but it cuts mighty deep with time:  water does not rest.  Water has pushed through the hills; water shapes their faces and carves lines of age.  Do I pick the path or does the path choose me?


Disorganized Life

21 December 2008

Dear J-

At some point I need to find the time to juggle all the various commitments; ideally, if I had something with me all the time to take down dictation, or if I could actually multitask, or feel like I could drop something, I might actually do so.  It’s the first time since 1998 that the Internet is starting to overwhelm me again, and the disorganization currently prevalent in my life is of no help whatsoever.  My memory is shot full of holes; it feels sometimes like the online world is a little like a rice field:  the more you put into it, the more you get out of it, but that only works as far as you have resources.


I’ve said it before, though:  the writing keeps me relatively sane; it’s something that I selfishly need to prove to myself I still have a creative voice.  There are other outlets, but few I struggle as mightily with as writing, and practice — a little, every day — is better than not stretching those muscles at all.  Like I said yesterday, it’s less about knowing where the path goes as knowing whether it goes at all.