This isn’t something that happened overnight, of course; it’s not like you wake up in the morning and bang, you’re suddenly old and you have no idea how it happened — unless you’re a character in a high concept comedy from the 1980s, but how often is that the case? — but that’s what it felt like, somehow. It was my birthday last week, my 41st, and there was something about that number that stuck in my head for days before and after the day itself: 41. That felt old, somehow, even older than 40 (well, obviously, although what I mean is “more than just a year older” — substantially older in some existential way I can’t explain). I was 41! It was, some very vocal part of my subconsciousness has decided, all downhill from here.
With my mortality buzzing in the back of my head all week (“I’m making a meatloaf for dinner. That seems like an age appropriate thing to do, right?”), this passage from current reading The Accidental Universe by Alan Lightman struck me:
I don’t know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of thing so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of tres and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away. All that we see around us, including our own bodies, is shifting and evaporating and one day will be gone. Where are the one billion people who lived and breathed in the year 1800, only two short centuries ago?
As you can see, I like light, frothy reading. (In my defense, I’m juggling this book with Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl and Diane Ackerman’s The Human Age, which feels like it falls somewhere between the two.) But instead of finding the above depressing or more proof that we are all trending towards a sad, tragic end and ultimate meaninglessness, I found myself taking some solace in the passage. It’s an odd thing, but I find it comforting to remind myself how small I am in the grand scheme of things.
If nothing else, 41 is nothing when you start thinking about time on a cosmic scale.
Yes, I’m back writing here. I don’t know if this is a thing or just a one-off. I found myself reading Warren Ellis’ Orbital Operations letter last night and thought, “I’d like to do that kind of personal, meandering writing again,” and suddenly remembered, oh, right; I have a website for that very purpose that I’ve not posted on for months. Things got in the way, as things generally do — personal and professional, such as me writing almost 8,000 words on Friday, which is a lot, but also not unheard of these days, for reasons that perplex me — but I should really try to do more with this site again, somehow. What form that’ll take, I’m unsure, because every time I think I’ve come up with a format, I burn out after awhile and then am left thinking “oh, what now.” So, instead, I’ll leave it up to seeing how I feel for awhile.
I like October.
I wasn’t at New York Comic Con this weekend, to the surprise of a great deal of publishers and PR folk, judging by my emails. (I don’t know why; I’ve never actually managed to do that show to date.) At first, I was upset about that — I had hoped to go this year, at one point, and had made quasi plans in my mind that then met realities like “paying for the travel and the accommodation and and and,” with a bunch of things knocking it totally out of consideration about a month or so back. As the tweets and the social medias started buzzing about the show, I had this feeling of jealousy and missing out that lasted exactly as long as it took for the first “There Are Too Many People Here” comments to emerge, and the stories like this one, before I remembered that I hate crowds.
The lack of big news stories to come out of the show made me feel better about not being there, as well; if I’d gone on someone else’s dime — which is pretty much the only way I’ll go to a show like this these days, although I’m thinking that Emerald City Comic Con might be something I’ll do properly next year just for me — I would have wanted to get, if not a scoop, then at least some stories. But NYCC this year, there weren’t really any stories, and that void made me feel oddly relieved that I hadn’t asked someone else to pay for me to get there, if that makes sense.
I would suggest that the show was a dud for the combination of “too busy” and “no big news,” but I’ve seen enough comments from those who attended who really loved their experience to know that that’s not the case — instead, I think it’s one of those things where, literally, you had to be there for it to have any appeal. I’m in two minds about that, because part of me thinks “So, it’s Emperor’s New Clothes conventioneering, then?” while also wondering, isn’t that the best kind of convention, where those who make the effort/pay the money to make it get the best experience from the whole thing?
One of these days, someone is going to work out how to do a virtual comic convention properly, and then it’ll all change again.
For the last week, this has been on constant repeat in my head. No matter what I do, I cannot get it out of there. In case you’re not in the same boat, well, now you can be.
(It’s specifically the Broadway cast version that’s in my head, which I couldn’t find on YouTube, but it’s also had me thinking about musicals and musical arrangements and dynamics and things that make no sense in words, but go along in the weird visual synesthesia of my brain and music.)
Apparently, I should do brain dumps more often. I’m over 1,000 words already? Holy crap. I haven’t even written about my new favorite podcast Pod for America yet, or my thoughts on the new Doctor Who season or being part of Secret Convergence on Infinite Podcasts or anything like that. Well, maybe if I do another one of these sometime. For now, it’s almost 6pm and I’ve been at the computer for far too many hours and there’s dinner to make. Time to shut up and post.