Catching Up

26 Feb
0

I’m back after taking a long break from adding blogs to my website.  What was I busy doing?  I was continuing to live life in my busy retirement village, exercising, taking classes, and writing a column for a newspaper in my community.  And, for two years,  I was researching and writing my third book.

Actually, I didn’t intend to write a third book after I completed my second book, “Out of Step:  A Diary To My Dead Son.”  But the niggling challenge in my brain kept saying, “You’ve written two non-fiction books, but you haven’t tried a fiction book yet.”

It took me awhile to convince myself that I wanted to start another book, and a fiction one at that.  What would it be about?  I decided to write a book of philosophical science fiction.  You might wonder what genre philosophical science fiction is.  I’m not sure, but it described what I thought I wanted to write.

I’ve been a member of our local Astronomy Club for many years.  I knew I was fascinated by the thought of “out there” even though I didn’t understand much about it.  Outer space is a very complicated place!  I also began doing some research to catch up with the world through a well written weekly news magazine called “The Week.”  Although I had vague memories of the first Star Trek tv show, I knew nothing about the series that followed — “Star Trek:  The Next Generation.”  Fortunately, there were frequent re-runs on tv to help me catch up.

Slowly, I began to enter two rather new worlds to me — science fiction, and new ideas and discoveries taking place in technology, astronomy, and neuroscience.  I was excited about all the new (to me) information flooding into my brain.

In the meantime, life went on with its ups, downs, and detours.  For 2 years, I researched and wrote rather regularly. In the third year, I got stuck.  For over one year, the book kept reminding me it was waiting for me, but I guiltily ignored it.

Eventually a writer friend gave me a helpful push along.  I began writing again and the ending of the book just popped into my mind.  I have just completed my first draft of “The Old Lady and the Alien.”  A first draft isn’t the end draft, but it’s a reasonable start with a complete plot — and to my astonishment, a possible lead in to a sequel.

What I didn’t realize that third year was that I had entered a rather deep depression. Sometimes it works like that for writers.  The writer writes the book, but the book tells the writer what’s going on in her mind.

So, now I’m more and less back emotionally, refining my first draft, and planning the rest of my life.

 

Birthdays, especially senior ones, stimulate musing about life in general, and one’s life in particular.  Where did it go?  Where is it going now?  Where do I want it to go?  As old age goes, I’m in my middle old age with a lot of years behind me and likely some more years ahead of me.

It’s depressing, but true that there’s nothing I couldn’t do better, easier, or faster before.  I’ve given up things along the way — running, jumping, having a job, driving, always planning my next travel destination.  “Be aware of your limitations,” was the advice on aging given me by my then 88 year old dancing teacher.  She’s 96 now, and still dancing.

I’m very thankful for how much I was able to see that can no longer be seen.  When I went to Kenya in 1978, there were many more wild animals than can be seen there now.   I’m not sure when I was at Glacier National Park, but it must have been in the 1970s.  The count of glaciers there in 1985 was 150 compared to 27 in 2009.   Ernie and Bert of  an innovative new tv show called Sesame Street  made me and my young son laugh.  Now, they have reached middle age at 40, but my son never reached middle age and has already been dead for 8 years.  Time passes.

As my closeness to nature increased, my distance from other humans of my species increased.  Nature had its cruel side, but I sided with the biologist E. O. Wilson who “once pondered whether many of our fellow living things were doomed once evolution gave rise to an intelligent, technological creature that also happened to be a rapacious carnivore, fiercely territorial and prone to short-term thinking.”

In fact, I spent most of my life quite naive.  Perhaps it was an extreme case of wishful thinking.  I somehow missed the part where money and power became the motivator and goal of one’s lifetime.  In the real estate section of my newspaper, a newly listed rental home in Laguna “offers ocean views, a sauna, a spa, room to sleep six, upgrades throughout and seven – that’s right, seven – outdoor decks.”  And that great bargain is only a short distance from ones costing $25,000 a month – thousands more than I spend in one year!

They used to announce how many people went to see a movie.  Now they tell us how many billions of dollars it made in ticket sales.  We don’t hear much about “millions” anymore.  I barely learned how many zeroes to put in a “billion” when they started talking about “trillions.”  Corruption, abuse, looking the other way, white lies, big lies, taking advantage of, grabbing what you can — these became the “how to’s” of “making it.”   What planet is this I’ve landed on?

I didn’t find thinking “inside the box” so easy when computer technology advanced to thinking “outside the box.”  I’m falling behind as I huff and puff to take charge of my computer.  I’d really rather make friends with it and nicely convince it to do the things I want, but I’ve been told bluntly and directly that I need to be the one in control.  I’m human; it’s a machine.  But a very, very smart machine that has its own mind.   In the early days of computers, a friend told me I’d never be able to use computers because computers were logical and I wasn’t.  So, you see, it really isn’t my fault.

TO BE CONTINUED

Comments?? E-mail Suellen at ZimaTravels.com

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