September ’20 State of the Author

Confoozled. Just as I get my tech checklist set and everything starts going more smoothly, a new layer gets added and chaos laughs. Semper Gumbi and all that.

I’m re-reading McNeil’s Plagues and Peoples. It was published in 1976, a new introduction added in the late 1980s, and is still a classic for good reason. I keep arguing with him a little, because we know so much more about what was going with climate shifts, and how much that affected disease outbreaks and spread, but his basic thesis still stands.

I’m also reading a book, The Lost Kingdom by Plokhy about Russian nationalism and how Muscovite rulers created a past that came to incorporate Rus (what is now Ukraine). It’s an interesting study, and is filling in some blanks. Russian nationalists don’t like the book, which is another reason to read it. I’m not entirely sure about some of his arguments, but I’m only a third of the way into the book, so we’ll see.

I’m finishing some polishing work on K-Familiar. J-Familiar is out with alpha readers, and I should have it back by the 15th or so. I’m aiming for late September or early October release.

I’ve plotted out, roughly, the drivers for L and M Familiar, but I’m not starting them. I hope, after next week, to start back on White Gold and Empire. I know, I’ve been promising it for over a year now. I wanted to start back in on it sooner, but we all know how that worked out. (Just to add to the “the Universe is laughing at you” file, one of my reference books for that is locked in a local nursing home with a bunch of other books that the family loaned to a gent there back in late February. So goes it. He and the other residents need the distraction a lot more than I do!)

Work is much more tiring than it used to be, because of all the extra little things I have to remember to do. It’s amazing how that sort of thing adds up in terms of brain load, and I come home tired every day, even my two shorter days. It is what it is, and as the Old English poem “Deor’s Lament” says, “That passed away, this also may.” Deor was writing in the 900s, or perhaps earlier.

The poem is below. Here’s the source site, which has notes about the mythology and story of the poem.’s%20Lament%20Translation.htm

Weland endured the agony of exile:
an indomitable smith wracked by grief.
He suffered countless sorrows;
indeed, such sorrows were his bosom companions
in that frozen island dungeon
where Nithad fettered him:
so many strong-but-supple sinew-bands
binding the better man.
That passed away; this also may.

Beadohild mourned her brothers’ deaths,
bemoaning also her own sad state
once she discovered herself with child.
She knew nothing good could ever come of it.
That passed away; this also may.

We have heard the Geat’s moans for Matilda,
his lovely lady, waxed limitless,
that his sorrowful love for her
robbed him of regretless sleep.
That passed away; this also may.

For thirty winters Theodric ruled
the Mæring stronghold with an iron hand;
many acknowledged his mastery and moaned.
That passed away; this also may.

We have heard too of Ermanaric’s wolfish ways,
of how he cruelly ruled the Goths’ realms.
That was a grim king! Many a warrior sat,
full of cares and maladies of the mind,
wishing constantly that his crown might be overthrown.
That passed away; this also may.

If a man sits long enough, sorrowful and anxious,
bereft of joy, his mind constantly darkening,
soon it seems to him that his troubles are limitless.
Then he must consider that the wise Lord
often moves through the earth
granting some men honor, glory and fame,
but others only shame and hardship.
This I can say for myself:
that for awhile I was the Heodeninga’s scop,
dear to my lord. My name was Deor.
For many winters I held a fine office,
faithfully serving a just king. But now Heorrenda
a man skilful in songs, has received the estate
the protector of warriors had promised me.
That passed away; this also may.

Loose translation by Michael R. Burch.


9 thoughts on “September ’20 State of the Author

  1. “The Lost Kingdom” sounds interesting. I’ll look for that. The brief premise makes some sense, in light of the Grand Duchy’s early years and Mongol problems. The desires for succession and validation as Third Rome and Third Empire (and, er, Patriarch of all) were very tempting.

    Meanwhile the new Abominatus Optic-Mechanicus lurks, waiting for its victims to press the wrong button sequence: “MUWUHAHAHA! NEGATIVE copies, I have devoured the original!”

  2. a new layer gets added and chaos laughs.

    I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I am convinced that sometime in the last twenty years, we got traded, and the patron deity of the United States is now Coyote the Trickster. I can’t think of any other plausible explanation for how totally nuts our world has gone.

    I mean, twenty years ago, if you opened a near-future SF novel and read the words “President Donald Trump” in it, you’d have immediately assumed it was an alt-history comedy. Yes?

      • Well… I suppose. But there’s “unlikely,” and then there’s “the rules of probability have clearly taken a sabbatical.” Like this video from a few years ago.

        If you put that in a movie, no one would believe it.

  3. “Chaos laughs” — Those are words of primal terror. I hope is was really no more than a brief snigger.

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