This will be the place I come to write. I will not write lurid prose or exotic poetry. I will write words and things. This exercise in writing words and things will be to produce a habit for writing, or at least, that is the goal. 1:25 will roll into 1:30, and I will have written during that time. I do not expect anything to come of this, nothing worthwhile, at least, just more words and things. The theme will be words and things; the plot will be more words and more things. An increasing number of words and things will effuse across the page under the guidance of my twitching fingers across the keyboard. That is all. There will be nothing special or worthwhile about this page, nor about its contents. I will not even insert a new paragraph or page break during this writing session, though again, once this is done, there will be nothing produced which merits the activity being called a writing session. My fingers must keep moving; the words and things must keep falling out and filling up the page; the spice must flow. I need to read Dune. And more Asimov. I thought about writing a post concerning “impostor syndrome” and using my experiences in academia as the guideline, as even though I have a master’s degree, I have not read half as much as some of my conversants with fewer degrees. And the time is up. Time to stop writing. Time to end these pointless words and things.

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12 thoughts on “Words and Things

  1. Tonight, we played two games. I like convoluted games; or rather, the games I like tend toward an apt description of convolution. I have played convoluted games I did not like, and I’ve played simple games which I absolutely loved and became part of my ready library of games. But the games I tend to love, perhaps because I’m unable to play them as often as I would like, are easily categorized as convoluted. I’ve written on the blog about Twilight Imperium. Now that I’m able to play it once a month in a steady flow, I’ve found that monthly is just enough of that galactic game of guile and grandness. I had an opportunity today to play another game of TI, mid-month. I turned it down. I didn’t already have plans and would have had fun playing, but between the sage advice of my wife and my recent cold, I decided it would be foolish to strain myself. Instead, we invited our friends in the area over; however it was last minute and only one of them could join us. We still had a ton of fun. We played Betrayal at House on the Hill (which I will invariably call House on Haunted Hill, or some variation thereof) and the Firefly board game. The first starts simply, but at some point in the middle of the game, completely up-ends itself. The second is long, varied, and always a different game. I lost both games. I’ve yet to win a league match of TI. And I will play them all almost every chance I get.

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  2. “Ear worms” sounds so unpleasant, and yet not all ear worms are unpleasant to hear, at least initially. After the hundredth time through, anything will grate on the nerves. And yet, the phrase “ear worms” does not sound pleasant at the first hearing, nor would I imagine wanting to hear “ear worms” ninety-nine times, much less the next one. What a strange phrase, “ear worms,” wiggly things which crawl into the acoustic chamber on the sides of our heads. This would certainly not translate well into another language; I wonder what the equivalent phrase is in other languages. Maybe I’ll look it up later, after I’m done with this installation of words and things. I won’t break away from pounding the keyboard to go chasing flights of fowl across the internet. Five minutes, for five minutes of my day, I can focus on habituating my craft. Right? Check the clock… right. Done. I haven’t had a consistent time, but that’s three days in a row, fifteen minutes randomly selected out of the four thousand three hundred twenty minutes of words and things. There are certain days in habit-forming that are spikes in the difficulty. Tomorrow is day four, the first spike. What happens next?

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  3. Damn, already missed a day. I actually wrote this earlier and forgot to post it.

    The human body is a marvelous and complex set of things, which sometimes seems utterly stupid. A virus, a molecular device consisting of genetic material and the means by which to invest a host and spread said genetic material, enters the body and attempts to take hostage some of the cells of the host body to help it procreate. The body responds by unleashing molecular hell from its cellular commandos, except these guys don’t bother with rules of engagement. They slash-and-burn everything in sight to capture and kill the invaders; unfortunately, everything in sight is the rest of your body.

    A bit of pollen (the spermatozoa of trees and flowering plants) enters the body and triggers some of those same symptoms. The body’s commandos aren’t sure about this bit of arboreal spunk, but they know what to do about potentially deadly invaders; slash-and-burn time. Only this time, there’s no bacteria to kill or virus to dismantle, just a bit of tree sperm that other systems in your body probably got rid of already. Tell that to your histamines.

    Same body, same systems, same symptoms. Can’t tell which it is without having another marvelous and complex set of systems who has pursued medical education and licensing take out samples of one or another of the symptoms making up the host body and running tests. Marvelous, complex, sometimes completely stupid.

    Also, it’s worth noting that even though I started this words and things habit in the middle of one of these attacks (not sure if the invader was viral or plant-based), and even though I don’t actually remember part of my day because I was too busy being exhausted and sick from my body fighting itself, and even though this is day four, I still managed to pull myself together enough to pound at the keyboard. Suck it, apathy!

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  4. Boredom. Doldrums. Working from home on a project that bores me and, by all definitions of my current career, should not be performed by my team. We don’t have the experience or knowledge to do this as well as other groups, at least two of whom actually are supposed to handle this task. And yet, here we are. My team thought we had a reprieve this month because the system wasn’t working properly to provide sufficient data; instead, we learned halfway through the month that we would be required to complete the full month’s task anyway. So even though I just came back from being sick, I stayed home today so I could focus on knocking out this boring task. I don’t know how much more of it I can do today. Then, I get a text from work that something which my team actually should be involved in has just experienced a major change. At this point, I stop kidding myself. I’ve put a huge dent in this project’s workload and, though the day is not truly through, I fear I’ve lost the initiative to carry on with pretended productivity.

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  5. Alright, time for a confession. This was not written today. That’s a weird way to say it. Today is when I’m writing, of course, but it is at least the day before I post it. That’s right; in the project of creating a habit of daily writing, I built up a backlog. I’m afraid I’m a fraud, Dr. Freud. But to be fair, I did actually write each day for four days before I posted the first one. So I goy over that hump, wrote the fifth day, and completely forgot about it the sixth. Oops. But I think I also forgot to post one, so I guess that makes us even? Then again, I’m guessing because I already posted today’s entry, which was written yesterday (I think… or was that the one I skipped writing? Oh what a tangled web I’ve weaved). So there it is. I’ve misled you, random person reading this, if such a person exists. I’m not apologizing for it, though. So there. It’s actually very common for creators to build up a backlog (see daily webcomics). I’m still pressing on. Still writing.

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  6. We spent today having a family outing. A few hours at an interactive museum, another half hour at a playground with some really cool fixtures, and then lunch at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. It was fun, loved spending the time with the kiddos, and I’m pleased to note that even though we were surrounded by crowds, I didn’t experience any anxiety.

    During the playground time, I sat on a bench, watching the kids and practicing a more active meditation. The crowd of kids carousing, the groups of parents patiently keeping watch, the cool breeze, and the I sat, absorbing it all. Life, full and bubbling, strong and light.

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  7. I realized as I wrote yesterday that weekends are going to be difficult for this project, simply because I don’t have a computer at home unless I take my work laptop with me. I wrote yesterday on my phone, but my wpm with a thumbed keyboard is significantly lower than my actual typed wpm. I’ve been hitting over 200 words in five minutes on my typed words and things, but I only hit 100 words yesterday. I suppose I could always take my work laptop with me, but some weekends, I just don’t want to have that extra symbolic weight with me. I say symbolic weight because the laptop itself weighs less than my shoes, but at the end of a long week, waiting for it to shut down, unlocking it from my desk, putting it in the bag, making sure I remember to bring it with me… little steps in a process when my processor is checking out. And there’s always the tiny fear that I’ll forget I took it home for the weekend and have to turn back on a Monday morning when I’m already running late. I’ve done that once before, at the last job, and I can tell you it wasn’t worth it to even go in that day. Almost told folks I’d be working from home then, and there wasn’t a lot they could’ve said or done about it. This job, though, I have to be here and I don’t mind that as much.

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  8. I was born into a post-privacy generation. This is not to say that my generation has rolled over and accepted this; quite the contrary, many of my peers are outraged by the common invasion, some of them choosing to avoid social media altogether (others of them, seemingly ignorant of the irony, posting on social media about the invasion of privacy). I’ve never been one of those.

    When we were children, saying that we lived in a post-privacy society was a reserve of the conspiracy theorists (e.g. see the movies Enemy of the State and Conspiracy Theory for a view into how outlandish the idea seemed). But I’ve been reading science-fiction since I could hold a book, and sci-fi is, at its core, an examination of humanity in the face of change. Sci-fi authors presaged the information age, everything from global connectivity to the small, electronic miracle on which you’re probably reading this (probably on the toilet). And as an examination of humanity, sci-fi has shown many different possible outcomes of this technology, but they can be split into two main groups: humanity dies or humanity thrives.

    I think I’ll expand this one into a full blog post.

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  9. Missed another day. C’est la vie. Hey, look! French words and things! Croissant! Mondue!! Okay, I’m done. I’ve been re-reading the Dresden Files, a novel series by Jim Butcher about a modern-day wizard in Chicago. I’m almost through all the published books, and Butcher’s website still shows the next book as TBD, four years later. Not going to spend my Words and Things time griping about a favorite author not writing the next book; seems kinda hypocritically meta, especially since he’s writing other books in his other series. Anyway, the reason I bring that up is because I was reading it this morning and caught a reference I’d either missed last time through or forgotten about. The main character is being shown some information in movie format and says something just as it starts, to which the character showing the informational “film” says, “Hush, Harry. Or you’ll go to the special hell.” This is followed with Harry’s internal monologue griping about usually not being the person to miss the reference.

    It’s from the show Firefly, specifically the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” when Shepherd Book tells Captain Mal, “If you take advantage of that girl, you will go to a very special level of hell, reserved for child molesters and people who talk in the theater.” In the Dresden Files series, it’s made explicit throughout that people with strong magical talent tend to mess up modern technology unless they focus on controlling their emotions, so Harry hasn’t watched TV in decades and only sees movies at the drive-in, where he won’t be close enough to the projection tech to hex anything up. He never saw Firefly (poor bastard) and Butcher thought to include that in his story. How brilliant is that! It’s the little pieces of continuity that make great series… serieses… serieii… series (looked it up; it’s “series” both singular and plural).

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  10. According to the ancient law of xenia, when someone arrives at a home requesting  hospitality, the host is required to provide food, shelter, a bed for the evening, and a place for them to clean up, all before they are even allowed to so much as ask their guest’s name. The host must provide for and protect the guest against all dangers. In return, the guest is required to act graciously, bringing neither harm nor foul against the host, the host’s family, the host’s home, and anyone under the host’s hospitality. Should someone host two guests and one guest turns against the other, the host is responsible for the safe passage of the aggrieved, even to the point of slaying the attacking guest. At that point, the attacker is no longer a guest and has broken the law of xenia, just as surely as if he had attacked the host or the host’s family.

    I fear we have forgotten xenia in our society; I know my nation has broken xenia. The penalty for breaking xenia is divine wrath and consummate destruction; look at Sodom and Gomorrah (if you could). This law spans across many faiths, creeds, cultures, and philosophies, though not always to the same degree as what I’ve described here. In my home, for instance, we rarely have anyone random approach us requesting hospitality, but when we do (usually not at our place of residence; xenia and hospitality are not location-specific), we honor the guest and do as we are able for them.

    I suppose this is on my mind because tonight, we are having some people over for the first time since we moved her (excluding the family who stayed with us until their apartment was ready for them, or that one night a friend came by for dinner; I suppose I should say this is the first time we are having a large group of people over). Of course, this has required a round of extra cleaning and preparation, but we will have them over well past our children’s bedtime. What caused me to think of xenia was my wife explaining how bedtime would go tonight: at the appointed hour, she will go read to our son, then when she returns, I will go read to our daughter, that way there would always be a host present. To ensure our guests are comfortable and cared for, we will maintain a hospitable presence.

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