Random Thoughts, v2022.2 or: what will I do when cognitive dissonance ends?

I read a lovely Twitter thread today on grieving:

Every once in a while, as I’m ticking items off my daily to-do lists, it occurs to me that I’ve been grieving for a long time. Years now. I still remember the day I got the phone call from the bank that held my dad’s brokerage account, telling me they could no longer in good conscience allow him to trade. I don’t remember precisely when this happened, but old emails suggest it might have been early 2017. Five years ago. Not so long, really, and yet an eternity.

For someone who spends a lot of time fearing the worst-case scenario, I cope with a lot of immediate adversity with persistent, often blind, optimism. Knowing my father was growing ill didn’t mean he would grow ill quickly; realizing that my mother was beginning to have issues of her own didn’t mean they’d overtake her soon, or even that they’d get that bad. Thinking that way allowed me to absorb the reality of it all slowly, in the back of my head, filing it as something I’d deal with in small bites.

It’s sort of been like that. And sort of not.

It’s been, sometimes, a tremendous amount of work, but when I look back on it? We got their home sold in September of 2019. They agreed to move into an assisted living situation (they were still well enough to make that choice for themselves). My mother has had no problem asking for help, especially with making choices for my dad; while they both complain about where they’re living, they’re relatively well looked after.

They are both so different than they were five years ago. I’ve dealt with it as it’s come, as much as I could; my brother holds up his end and more, and we’ve been able to find extra help when we’ve needed it.

There’s no “better” ahead, and I’ve always known that, and grief has crept up on me like the tide.

Last week, The Kid’s school started sending home covid tests. She takes one on Sundays, and if she turns up positive we quarantine her and report to the school. This is in lieu of contact tracing, which they dropped. Their numbers haven’t been too horrid, I suppose; they average 2-9 new cases a day.

Why is that presented as a good thing?

So we have this test-every-week program, which we signed up for because it’s voluntary, and at the end of this month they’re dropping the in-school mask mandate. I am hoping the infection numbers support that move by then. Indeed, they’ve been dropping in Massachusetts; they’re now at the level they were at (checks graph) almost exactly a year ago.

…Yeah, I’m still waring a mask at the grocery store.

I’m so sick of this. Everybody’s sick of this. What I can’t comprehend, though, is how many people think that matters at all. Like if we ignore covid, it’ll go away like a bothersome party crasher. It’s a virus. It has no dignity to preserve, no feelings to hurt. It’ll replicate as long as it can, and the longer it can the more opportunity it’ll have to mutate. This is not hysterical fear-mongering; this is reality. We may very well be at the tail end of this. I hope we are.

But I don’t know, and neither do they, so we’ll have a pack of mask-free teenagers and home tests every Sunday night.

I need to redesign my web site.

I have some really cool stuff with which to use to redesign my web site.

It’s series-related, which means I’ll need to do some restructuring to accommodate non-series books. And right now, non-series books are paramount. Arkhangelsk comes out in (yikes!) just over three weeks; I may play with colors to match the cover. (I haven’t even changed my Twitter banner. I am a bad author.) WordPress templates aren’t particularly flexible, but they’re low-maintenance, and for now that’s…all right, I suppose.

I’m pleased with Arkhangelsk. It’s different than it was a year ago, but not by a whole lot. It’s just a little more cohesive, I think. My characters are the same, and they’re what’s going to snag a reader or not. Maddie and Anya, one loud and one quiet, one fatalistic and one irrationally optimistic, two sides of the same coin. They have come to this story from opposite directions, and it’s the differences that propel the action.

I like it. I like how it goes. I like how it ends. It has some rough moments in it. There are parts that are hard for me to read, and I wrote the thing. But it ends in the right place. It’s optimistic. Much of the story is not happy, but it ends well. Promise.

I have, thanks to a video game, developed a fascination with Brutalist architecture. In real life, I find it uncomfortable and intimidating; in photographs–and in supernatural animations–it’s somehow organic and compelling and beautiful.

So for my next non-series book, all the buildings are going to be Brutalist. I’ve got a bunch of buildings bookmarked for inspiration, but one I’ve settled on is this one. It’s 736 meters long, and looks to have 7 floors of windows (which could be more than 7 floors; who knows?). It won’t be this actual building, of course–the book isn’t set on Earth, much less in Moscow–so I’ll be able to make it as big or as small as I need it to be. What I love about it is the scale. It’s absurd, really: heavy and intimidating, far too massive to be practical. It’s like an ancient sleeping god, and anyone wandering through it must on some level always be waiting for it to wake up and decide whether or not to consume them.

Yes, I’m in the nit-picky detailed bits of the current MS. Yes, that means my imagination is always trying to pull me away from practical matters and into the new shiny thing–which will, in due time, become the nit-picky detailed one. Spouse has to remind me it always goes the same way. It never feels familiar.

2 thoughts on “Random Thoughts, v2022.2 or: what will I do when cognitive dissonance ends?

  1. Brutalist architecture is a mood, and a pretty interesting niche too. I too found myself drawn to them, as if the structures themselves are propaganda. Works great in my stories, which typically revolve around corrupt bodies in power.

    1. They’re amazing, aren’t they? I find them uncomfortable as living spaces, but they have a weird, ancient-God kind of beauty to them, like an existential threat that’s barely inert.

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