Losing the plots

This is the longest I’ve neglected my blog since I started it about three years ago.

And right now I should be working on a novel, rather than poking at this post. Except I’ve lost the plot. The structure of my narrative escapes me just now.

Call it writer’s block, or simple lack of sleep. Or maybe this book is really a classic hobologoistic project that should be presented to the jury now, with a view to burning the ms. before I waste any more of my life on it.

Taoist hobologoism: “Stuff happens. Some of it we call books. Better to contain these than let them lead to readers and critics, eh?” (Few people realize that Taoism originated in Canada.) See “Inspirational hobologoist aphorisms & epigrams.”


Everybody’s a storyteller. What makes me think I’m not a writer? These days everyone’s a writer.

Not only that, it’s as easy to publish your stuff as it is to mail a letter. Writers of the older school, meanwhile, some of whom entertained hopes of earning a living from their products, are more and more often hearing it said that artists of all sorts should reconcile themselves to working for nothing. (See this recent article, or this one from a year ago.)

So guilt at composing a blog post instead of working on my current novel may represent a more complex plot failure. I may also be losing the thread when it comes to my own personal narrative. The sense of who I am, and why and so on. (Or, as I’ve suggested, maybe I just need a good night’s sleep.)

Who we are. I am this, and I am that. Basically, though, I am my story. I am not my brain or my body or my mind or my soul or my consciousness. And where am I? I am co-extensive with my universe, to the extent I can’t talk about a universe that lies outside what I have cognitively appropriated. That goes just as surely for the reductivist ideologue, the hardest-core logico-empiricist Child of the Enlightenment, and so I say and so it friggin’ well is, eh? In all humility, I say these things.

* An alternative, rather more reductionist view: “I am my connectome.” Connectomics explores our neural wiring in remarkable detail for some uncertain ends.

* Or perhaps I am my language (or my languages).

* Or I could be my tattoos. (Having no tattoos, I’m well advanced on the road to realizing non-self.)

* Or I could lapse into sufficient mindfulness of my situation that I recognize I am merely the ever-fleeting sum of contingent determinations. Whoa! Thus all of this will pass, including the prospect of writing a whole series of novels for no discernible reason or, at least, no money. Dependent origination rools!

* Or I may be nothing but a blocked novelist succumbing to avoidance behavior, in this case composing a rambling, largely pointless blog post. I should get out of here, maybe go for a walk. I should just relax, go with the flow.

Outsourcing ourselves. Here’s a good idea. I am myself a personal narrative and, with the modular commodification of self,  I can simply outsource my narrative. And why not? All of us are pretty much letting corporate and other murky entities ghost-write our individual and collective selves. Why fight it? Why bother writing sprightly tomes that run darker with such themes as undercurrents. Why spoil things?

And such are the thoughts that arise on this lazy morning when I could be doing something with my life instead. Yeah. I should probably go shopping.

Work for money? You must be kidding. I’ll conclude with my perhaps Quixotic decision not to accept a recent offer for the first volume of my science-fiction series with an option on the novels to follow. In fact I was flattered, and tempted to say okay. But the publisher wanted global English-language rights at a price more appropriate to Canadian rights only.

Of course I may come to regret that decision. Lapsing into mixed metaphors, I’m liable to find myself standing here in these hard times with nothing but dick in hand, rather than with all those birds in a bush I hankered after. Or words to that effect. Reviewing those words, in fact, I’m led to believe it may be a good thing I can’t get it up to work on the novel right now.

I should be more self-confident, Sara says. Plus all this writing is keeping me off the street, so it can’t be all bad, eh?

By the way, avoidance behavior can be good for a writer. See “New frontiers in creative foreplay.”


5 thoughts on “Losing the plots”

  1. Forget yourself, someone said. A man whom has been largely forgotten, already. Beat the crowd, he may have been implying. Or retreat to the redwoods and hire a security guard to keep the masses away.

    The Tao of Canada? Sounds like a best seller to me.

    I have been asked a question, above: Enjoy this article? Yes, I did.

    One day, I will learn what an RSS feed is. Until then, it is comforting, somehow, to know I offer one. Cheers.

    • Thanks for the comment. I like the image of a starving writer hiding from the world, surrounded by redwoods and bodyguards (may I also have a masseuse or two and a salad chef?). Starving ain’t what it used to be.

  2. Good for you Colin, don’t sell yourself short! If you think it was the right decision not to accept a recent offer for the first volume of your science-fiction series with an option on the novels to follow, then good for you. I admire a man of principles in world that nowadays is sadly lacking in them!

    • Thanks, Tom. Kind of you to call it a principled decision. Others might be less generous. Anyway, I hope it was the right thing to do.

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