Monday, November 21, 2011

On Death

I went to a visitation for a friend of mine that died last night. He worked in the lab I used to work in, and was quite old. I think it's very possible working in the lab was one of the things that was keeping him alive, and I am sad to see him go. He was a genuinely nice guy.

As we were driving home (I'd gone with my mom), she wondered aloud if people's spirits hung around watching their visitations/funerals, like seeing who showed up or who cried or whatever. Or if maybe they just didn't care, like whatever I've moved on now. She asked me what I thought. I don't think she liked my answer very much.

What I told to her was that I didn't think there was anything in particular after death. That there was, as a friend put it, an eternity of not existing before I became me, and there is probably an eternity of not existing which will follow after I have stopped being me.

This is not to say that I don't like to think something exists after death, because I do. I just don't see that it's very probable. It's always been one of those things which is very difficult for me to grasp, the thought of something beyond death. She cited that obviously a Creator who went through all the trouble of creating this world for us and giving us life wouldn't just have nothing for us afterward. But, I suppose this view by necessity requires one to believe in a Creator, a god of one sort or another, and also believe that the god is benevolent or actually cares that much about any of us and is not care-taking, say, a human fish tank, where we just get flushed down the toilet.

It is difficult for me to believe either way on the matter of a god existing or not existing. There is a lot in this world that I feel like could really only exist or happen with some outside force interfering. On the other hand, grasping that some all-knowing entity watches over us and has designs on our every move before, during, and after our lives seems a liiiittle far fetched. I'd like to believe something exists after death; not because I am afraid of not existing, but because I enjoy existing and would like to do so again. Maybe as a boy, or a cat, or a hawk. But if not, I feel that I've come to terms with that as well.

I intend to live this life to the fullest extent possible, and if I get another shot, cool. If not, well, I will have done well and enjoyed what I was given and what I was able to find.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nanowrimo 2011

Figured I would make a post, since it's been a few months. I'm currently up at Deer Camp, the annual tradition of going to BFE, drinking, and attempting to shoot a deer to bring home delicious, delicious venison. So far we have not had much luck with the deer part, but the rest of it has been fun.

We do have another tradition that occurs during Deer Camp, or rather, Deer Camp happens during it! November is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short!). This is the time of the year where over one hundred thousand people the world over are sitting down at their computers and each of them is attempting to write 50,000 words on a story in 30 days.

If you have never tried to write a story and are not sure what that means, it entails writing approximately 3 single spaced pages of a story per day for 30 days in a row (if you stick to doing the daily required word count to finish). It amounts to between 85 and 90 pages, depending on the amount of dialogue and such. On top of just writing 90 pages (which is no easy feat even if you happen to be straight copying pages!), it has to be 90 pages of material you are creating from scratch. Some people choose to write stories with no pre-planned plot, choosing to allow the story to go where it will, so to speak. Others plan very carefully so that all they have to do is write the words. Still others write off the beaten path, choosing to do a story "stream of consciousness" style or by taking challenges from the Nanowrimo site.

Personally, I have chosen a story this year that has a great deal of personal meaning to me. It is one of my oldest stories, and on a personal level it represents my transition from writing fanfiction to writing original stories. On a non-personal level, it's a story I have grown very close to, invested a lot of time in, a lot of effort in, and is the story of all my stories that I would most like to hold in my hands as a book. I care about these characters probably more than I should and I have put off writing this story in its entirety because there was so much of the plot left... well, unplotted.

This past year, I decided that had to end. I sat myself down on more than one night and said Ked, you have to plot this shit out. You HAVE to figure out what is going on when, and how you are going to work this story. You're not going to like it. It's going to be like eating your vegetables or shaving or paying your bills; you don't have to like it but you do have to do it, because it's good for you and because I will kick you if you don't.

So, with self threats like that in mind, I set about plotting out the hard parts of this story, the parts I did not want to write, the areas I was nervous about slogging through because I wasn't sure they were going to be interesting, or that they were going to be 'right'.

But, here I am, about 30k words into the story, and it's going better than its ever gone before. I am in a section I don't particularly want to write through, but I am going to write through it and when I get to the other side, I am going to look back and go well that sucked, but I made it, and I'm going to keep making it right up until I write the last words of this story.