Which Way You Run

So there's this .gif I love . . .

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I first saw this a few years ago captioned thusly: "There are two kinds of people in this world . . ."

That caption has stuck with me as much as the actual .gif has. I think about it a few times a week. Who runs toward their fear? Who wants to ride a rollercoaster, much less jump out of a plane, wrestle alligators, or attend a live taping of Dr. Phil? Not I.

And yet, I've been wrestling with fiction again. The same novel I came a hand's breadth from selling in 2010—God, it's such a long story; buy me a beer—still claws at me, and I've decided I'm going to finish what is now my third rewrite of it as soon as I can, because I want to move on to writing other stories. This one's had its turn, and it needs to get off the swing set. 

So I was writing away tonight, and it was one of those kinds of sessions where you're doing a word count after every paragraph—torturous. Nothing seemed to want to come. I'm in a weird sequel spot in the big, creamy middle of the book, about 25,000 words in, and that's where every fictionist eventually gets mired down. 

And I was writing out what I knew needed to be the next little bit, and suddenly—I'm not big on plotting much out ahead of time beyond the broadest of strokes, and I don't know how this thing ends yet—a plot development hits me that I didn't know was there. And it has to do with so much of my own trauma, stuff I spent years in therapy processing. And I knew—knew—this was where this story had to go. This was where this story had been begging me to take it all along.

I struggle with fiction in part because I suck at putting my characters in real peril. Oh, but peril beckoned. Peril, in this case, demanded, and I'm ready to oblige. But this means a lot of processing of old, bad stuff for me—stuff I feel pretty settled and okay about but that still isn't pleasant—and I feel a little like both of the two kids in this .gif above.

Run away to a safer, cleaner, more well-lighted room where terrifying dolls fear to tread? Or run at this fucker full-speed and punt it all to shit?

There are two types of people in this world.

For today, I know which I choose. Today, I lace up my shoes and run.

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Weekly Reader, Interstellar Edition: January 14, 2018

NOVA: The Invisible Universe
This episode of NOVA—still one of the best shows on television—made me actually weep. The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most amazing—if not the most amazing—things humanity has ever done, and this look back at its history is deeply inspiring. Nancy Roman's face should be on money. Watch the whole episode at the link; the preview is below:

The Wayward Spawn of a Dead Star?
It didn't turn out that the first interstellar asteroid detected traveling through our solar system was an alien spacecraft, but 'Oumuamua still is revealing its secrets even as it zooms back out into the galaxy, never to be seen again. The science behind this newest hypothesis is a doozy, and as always, Phil Plait does an excellent job of explaining it. 

Ring In 2019 in the Kuiper Belt
Not really, of course, but this NASA preview of the next New Horizons flyby—of the Kuiper Belt object 2014 MU69—has me excited to see humanity once again push the boundaries of exploration. Think about the engineering marvel this spacecraft is and the impossible needle it threaded to send us the first-ever up-close images of Pluto and be inspired.