Thursday, May 08, 2014
Progress toward my own next "Breakpoint"
So, what are the “pressures” I get from the outside world these days?
Well, from my on-demand publisher, it’s to become aggressive specifically in selling books.
From social and church-related circles from my background, it’s to become more committed to other people’s ends (faith trumps everything), or to join up and give of “myself” in service. The latter is quite heavy, that “service” becomes something “you are” (April 1).
For me to move into these areas in a meaningful way, I’ve said I need to “finish my homework” first. That’s moving, slowly, on the Wordpress blogs. Right now, I’m in the middle of reviewing the fiction manuscripts I have developed since about 2000, much of the material before 2005. There is a novel “Tribunal and Rapture II”, seen from the eyes of a retired fibbie who thinks he was abducted once. There’s a novella “Rain on the Snow” where “Bill” goes to an “Academy” for job retraining after a layoff and meets a charismatic figure who may be an “alien”, and winds up in jail, only to escape just before “Armageddon”. There is a longer manuscript that puts these together. And then there is the more recent “Angel’s Brothers” (mostly from about 2007), seen from the viewpoint of a late thirtyish but fit “family” man, with a covert CIA job and a day job teaching history, who meets an unusually charismatic college student (different from the one in “Rain”). But this novel will “encapsulate” a combination of the first two novels as a “backstory”, embedded in a manuscript by the “Bill” character. Complicated enough? There’s a lot to sort out. I think I will have gotten through this by the first week of June. There are about eight more "big" Wordpress postings to do.
There are at least three important screenplays. One of them is a story told from the viewpoint of a reporter in Dallas who believes his fiancée has been abducted. The trouble is, he plays on the side. But the evidence points to a real encounter with aliens, publicly, and what that would mean.
Another screenplay has a character, me, finding himself in a bizarre hospital setting, and then in an intentional community. At first, “Bill” doesn’t know if he is in the afterlife, having a job interview, or even in jail. Gradually, as he negotiates his re-education, he realizes he is on another world, but in return for learning his lessons, he will get to judge who gets to become an angel.
And, there is the “music” (as I described on April 23). And there is the idea of a documentary video, which starts from scratch, and does not have (like my third DADT book) have to build on what is out there already.
The documentary would go like this: I think a central question is, how those of us who perceive ourselves (and are perceived by others) as “different” should behave. It’s a moral question, and it deals with karma. As libertarians know, it’s not (or no longer) a legal one too much, as laws shouldn’t try to deal with this (you see what happens in Russia). But there is a certain kind of bearing and self-deployment that can be sold to others in an open society, and a lot of behavior and personal motivation that will not fly.
I has pondered the best format for such a video. It could start with a summary of my life (like one of Dvorak’s string quartets), with its looks and crannies, presented like a map on a board game, with lots of still shots and videos of the real places where stuff happened (like at William and Mary, NIH, the Army, etc). Maybe that takes 15 minutes. It assumes the viewer hasn’t read the books.
The narrative produces a list or set of things that have been expected or even demanded of me, at various points in my life (especially early and late, not so much the middle) in terms of socialization (or call it “radical hospitality” and “radical solidarity”). Soon we enter the world of sexual orientation. As I wrote on a post on the GLBT blog May 6, we need to understand the “perfect world” of traditional marriage, as “social conservatives” see it, as generating sustainability. Marriage, in their world, is in a continuous feedback loop with a more pervasive capacity of everyone – including young and old people before and after having families (or sometimes never having their own families) to experience personal complementarity and actually let it mean something. “Complementarity” requires more self-giving than “polarity” because it involves helping people with adaptive needs, not just growing psychological surplus (as in Rosenfels terms). Readiness for people to do this on a personal level does have "global" implications for sustainability/
It’s fair to ask, what am I going to do about all of this when “it gets personal”? As I said, I need to reach a breakpoint before I get into new discussions with other parties – finishing the evaluations above are the major piece to finish. (Otherwise I never get it done.) And, I must note, I perceive conflicting signals from others. Some want me to join their causes and because an obedient foot soldier, but dedicated to the “needs” of the group (often bureaucratically implemented) rather than myself. But some want to see more “personal contact” with others in actual need, not just those in my own “cognitive circle”. There is some tension between these two approaches. As to the desire to see personal contact, I perceive mixed and contradictory signals from others, sometimes. It is a challenge for someone who did not have his own family, and for whom some options possible today (like same-sex marriage on the horizon) simply weren’t feasible in my time. Would I have been capable of staying in one relationship for a few decades and maintain passion and accept “the family bed”?
What can I do about this as I navigate the Breakpoint (which also involves some remaining travel, as getting news on my own is still a top piroirty)? I would like to think I could use the skills I have. That could include music (piano) and getting back into chess, so I could actually be a “role model” in my own way. In the area of chess, there are not enough opportunities to practice and play non-USCF rated games, without possibly going to NYC and playing “rehab” in some Village per-hour chess parlors.
There are things that I can do “within the cognitive circle” (building on what I said April 23). I can look at “pimping” Kickstarter, not for my own media projects, but for related media projects from others (“American Lynching” from Gode Davis comes to mind). There would be some opportunities within the music circle, which could lead to fragments of my own compositions being performed publicly by others.
“Adaptively”, a few things stand out. Yes, I “inherited” a house (there are legal technicalities beyond scope here). Taking care of an older home, with its vulnerabilities, especially to storms, is more a job for a family, for someone raising a family and enlisting other people. It’s not easy to drop what I’m doing and downsize quickly (given the contacts that I get), but that raises an obvious “moral” question. Should those who “have” be expected to make the effort to house the “have nots”, especially after increasingly frequent natural disasters? There is some synergy: if you’re prepared for “radical hospitality” the people you would really want might come. (Gode Davis actually needed a place to stay when he came to DC in 2005 to film at the Capitol, and with my mother’s situation, I could not offer it then.)