Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Excerpt - Ryan makes an incoherent metaphor

Yesterday my lack of progress on NaNoWriMo ended. That doesn't mean much because tonight NaNoWriMo ending and getting less than a days worth of words written yesterday doesn't exactly cancel out 15 days with no progress. That said... words. Words were produced. Words that don't necessarily make a lot of sense, but I've talked enough about not making words, so here are some words that I made, picking up near the end of a conversation:


"[...] The villain shouldn't have to save the day.”

So you think he shouldn't have to take responsibility for his own actions.”

No. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that he shouldn't have to clean up the hero's mess. I'm saying that any superpowered guy in a cape who wants to call himself a hero shouldn't be endangering innocents in the first place.”

He has a job to do, he's upholding the law.”

The laws exist to serve the people. Not the other way around. Anyone who sees people as meaningless collateral to be endangered or sacrificed in the service of some abstract love of the law isn't a hero. People matter, and any law that threatens the people is a law that needs to be broken. And I don't remember when duly elected officials voted to make, 'we should throw vehicles around to stop art thieves a law in the fist place.” Two things stood out to me. The first is that I had raised my voice and things had changed from a friendly debate to something more hostile, so I said, “Sorry, sorry,” and tried to make my posture much less... combative? Threatening? Unpleasant? Not sure what exactly, just tried to be less of whatever it is that marks one as an opponent rather than a friend.

The second thing that struck me was that I just defended the people. I never defend the people. I don't like the people. An individual person I may like, but the people are an annoying mindless organism that never stops getting in the way and requires constant care. It's like a hamster that isn't cute and would throw you in jail for the rest of your life if given half a chance.

You have to constantly make sure you're not doing anything to hurt it, you have to consider your comings and goings in how they'll affect the hamster's regular feedings. You have to decide on your own budget in light of the cost of feeding the hamster, because in this analogy the place you take your money from is the economy you rob and if you take too much, or take it from the wrong place, or create an inefficiency in the system, well then there might not be enough money left in the household budget to feed the hamster.

But it's not like you can pet the hamster, it bites. It's a scary hamster and whenever you're in the same room as it you're worried that it's looking at you, evaluating your every move, plotting, and possibly considering reporting you the House Un-American Activities Committee. Yes I know that was disbanded years ago, before I was born even, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a damned scary hamster.

Everything you do has to be thought of in light of the hamster. Do I want to do a renovation? Well maybe the wall I want to knock down, by which I mean building (explaining the analogy too much defeats the whole purpose of analogy, I know, but really sometimes you have to for risk of being confusing), isn't exactly made out of hamster safe materials, and the fracking hamster couldn't be bothered to get itself a gas mask so no, I can't have my renovation.

Anything I might want to do requires thinking about the hamster. Not because I like the hamster, but instead because I'd feel really bad if I somehow harmed the hamster. Stupid hamster. Why couldn't you invest in well insured retirement accounts like a sane rodent would have? Do you have any idea how annoying that squeaky wheel that you inexplicably like is?

Or for that matter, do you have any idea how annoying it is cleaning up your waste? The gerbil in the next city over built a perfectly good sewer system all on its own with no prodding from anybody, but the hamster I'm stuck with, no. No, no, no. Oh, good God in Heaven -and the chthonic deities as well- does the hamster have any idea what I had to go through to make it so its waste wouldn't get everywhere every time I had to do a minor remodeling job?

That's one of the things that's so awesome about Erin, she understands -really truly groks- the importance of a sewer system. But the hamster, the hamster has no idea. And it's financial planning is for shit.

So anyway, that's how I feel about the hamster, by which I mean the people. Which brings up the question: when did I start caring about them as something other than a source of potential guilt to be avoided? Because when I got all whatever the word is for something two steps down from shouty, it wasn't because I was sick of having to pick up the Becaon's many and varied messes, it was because I was indignant on behalf of the people. How dare he put them at risk?

It wasn't about me, it was about them. And that was very weird. Most of my career I had cared for their well-being only insofar as it effected me. Hurting them made me feel bad so I worked not to hurt them. Now all of a sudden I was angry that they weren't being treated like human beings.

The fact that the Beacon endangered them wasn't making be angry because it meant more work for me, though it did. It wasn't making me angry because if that danger ever turned to injury or death I'd feel bad, though I would. It was something else. Something different. He was endangering the people, how dare he? And somehow I was being left out of the equation.

It was weird, and I realized this would require more thought.

Meanwhile, back in the conversation, Erin said that it was ok, she'd gotten worked up too. I'd been so caught up in how I was feeling that I really hadn't noticed whether she had been, but I trust her.

We did what we've done before when we disagree, we talked about a lighter topic.

If interdimensional dolphins had inadvertently started a countdown to world war three, who would have saved the day? Someone would have to save the day because, as I said, this was a lighter topic. The natural first assumption is the dolphins themselves, but I think that that's too obvious. My feeling is that the day would have been saved by the computer from War Games, for if he is not the savior of humanity I don't know who is.

Erin could not disagree more. She thinks Loki would do it and that it would somehow involve getting Thor to crossdress. She thinks that Loki started to get a bad reputation after Christianity began to have an influence and he has been waiting for the opportune moment to demonstrate that he is not evil but instead awesome.


  1. I have never commented on a blog before (really. and I dozens of them), but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this--for all of this blog, actually. I like this piece a great deal, and it makes my day better every time I read a snippet of your fiction.

  2. First, thanks for speaking up. It means a lot.

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this--for all of this blog, actually.

    You're welcome.