Keep moving

The average life expectancy of a human being is about seventy one years. Reasonable, right?

It should be, if not for the fact that we lose so much time. Work. Sleep. Acts that nurture the spirit-housing machine. These innumerable obligations gnaw at the precious time we do have, leaving us with very little chance to sit back and enjoy the journey.

Oh, there might be alternatives, but are they even worth considering? A life without money is no life at all. Unless you’re a fan of insanity, sleep cannot be avoided. And a neglected body has a tendency to not last very long. Aside from not being very pleasant to inhabit.

Indeed, the mere act of existence often seems like an endless race with something horrible and relentless. Do this. Do that. Oh, you don’t have to, but you’ll be sorry if you didn’t. And the more ambitious one is, the more these so-called options keep piling up. This is not a choice. It is nothing more or less than an illusion of it.

And here’s the thing: that is okay. This planet is not a nice place. Everyone and everything must fight. No exceptions. Living beings die by the millions. Billions. Some thrive, and have to keep struggling. The dull, watered-down routine that civilization has provided us might be soul-sucking, but at least it comes with some degree of certainty. Not counting wars, a human being getting killed is an exception; not a norm.

Yes. We have replaced good old battle for survival with a battle for prosperity. Except that everyone wants that, so few can have it. Like a bunch of hyenas, we gather around a large piece of carrion, and try to eat as much as we possibly can. Or we’ll be sorry we didn’t.

But this respite is over in an eye-blink. Our appetites are insatiable, and we have to keep moving. Someone would call that agony. I call it progress. Both individual and collective.

We have to be the best we can possibly be, or we will be no more. This goes for society as a whole, and for its individual members. It’s not pretty, but few things are.

I myself would not have it any other way. Perhaps someday there might be an actual alternative, but don’t hold your breath. It tends to slow one down.

Keep moving, my friends.

M. T. Miller

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Getting There

No angst-filled philosophy today.
I have broken 80k words, and expect to have the book ready for editing within a week or so.
Now back into the pits for me.

Focus

Ascent has broken through 70k words. The more I add to it, the more I end up liking it. I think the end result is going to be an amazing ride.

But this is only part of today’s post. The rest is about focus. Ooooh, shiny!

Back when I published my first book, I thought the second would come naturally. I thought I’d just sit down, and the words would flow like an avalanche. To a degree, I was right. Initially, content exploded onto the digital pages. I was unstoppable.

Then, real life happened.

As deadlines and obligations tossed me around like a ragdoll, all I could think about was “how the hell am I going to write this thing?”

With great difficulty, it turned out. I wrote in a Café. I wrote in a bus. Sometimes, I even wrote in my own home. This lasted for several months. Of course, the disruptive nature of these places (yes, that includes my home) had made those chapters far less cohesive than I’d like them to be. So there had to be edits and rewrites. Some more cut material. And the pace kept slowing down.

Fast forward a couple of months. I sit in my place, alone after years of not being alone. Now is the time to give it my all. I sit before my computer. I crack my knuckles. Magic happens. The words flow as they never did before. Events take shape; not as I’ve planned but even better. And all the while, I keep hammering that keyboard.

Focus is divine.

It took me three weeks to write Risen. In contrast, the last ten days had me adding as much material as the entire length of Risen to my second book. Knowing this is empowering because it tells me what I am capable of. Knowing this is humbling because it tells me just how many opportunities I’ve missed in the past.

But that way madness lies. To think of all the things that could have happened is to throw in the towel. Nothing breaks a person faster than regret. Nothing slows the mind and bends the body worse than musings about coulda woulda shoulda.

Circumstances and failures are inevitable. What is not inevitable is victory. And what this victory requires is focus. Tossing aside the unimportant and unworthy, and just doing what needs to be done. One step at a time, no matter how small or insignificant.

Nothing else is worth one’s time.

Do not get humbled, my friends. Get focused.

M. T. Miller

Life

“You need to get out more.”

If you’re navigating the endless currents of the internet sea, chances are you’ve heard that a fair share of times. Whether it comes from friends, relatives, or a random wisdom-sponge, the phrase is eternal.

While the opener is always the same, the retort allows for a lot of creativity. Regardless of what one says in response, however, the conversation-starter tends to react predictably.

“You’re missing out on life.”

Well, who isn’t? Unless you’re stinking rich (in which case I want to know your secret), most of one’s time is spent making ends meet anyway. Chasing deadlines. Waiting for payments. Learning something new so you can add more deadlines. Repeat. Compared to the total number of hours in a day, moments of respite are brief. And then some joker comes and tries to tell you what to do with your free time. Why?

Options abound. Anything one can think of, one can find in some form. Films. Books. Games. Stories of all kinds. The real world barely has a chance. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I get out far too much, and I force myself into more physical activity than I will ever need. But the way I choose to unwind has always been my own. And it will always remain my own.

I have visited Venice as Ezio Auditore. I have robbed Camorr with Locke Lamorra. I have stopped a god of mischief alongside Scarlett Johansson. And I will do a lot more. Until visiting Taj Mahal becomes cost-effective, the virtual and the imaginary will always be preferable to the so-called real. And I have no problem with that.

Compared to the content, the emotional density, and the level of engagement I can squeeze out of a particularly well-crafted piece of media, a regular night out is a dreadful bore. What are the other options? A crowded place with music so loud the bass drowns out my voice? Getting drunk out of my mind? A great equalizer between me and someone with absolutely nothing to say. No, thank you. I’ll stay at home and entertain myself. Everyone feeling the same way is more than welcome to join me.

After all, life is what we feel. Is it any less real if it’s someone’s creation? I don’t think so. After all, a good chunk of the world believes that someone consciously created it.

Create your own worlds, my friends.

M. T. Miller