Metatopia: a rumination

Anyone who's heard me talk about metatopia in the past couple days: this is not that post. Instead, this is a post about whether I'm confident that it's actually a good idea.

A quick summary: "metatopia" is an umbrella concept for (u|dys)topia stories, meant to highlight the difference between stories that are about (u|dys)topia and stories that simply contain speculative or fantastical governments. The idea is that, most of the time, when someone says "Is this a (u|dys)topia?" the answer is "That's not a metatopic story."

I'm hesitating because I'm not certain that this argument is a harmless semantic distinction. I think it would definitely improve discourse around fiction, but there's another use of (u|dys)topia in discourse that I don't want to attack: describing and critiquing atrocities in the real world.

Yesterday Sabrina Vourvoulias, the leader of the Fantastical Dystopia panel I was on (she volunteered last-minute), published a blog post called "Readercon 27: Confronting the fails." I didn't say anything about the metatopia idea in the panel -- because I came up with it during conversation afterward with Michael Deluca. 

Vourvoulias's post mostly isn't about the Fantastical Dystopia panel -- it focuses a lot more on serious problems on other panels -- but my apprehension about this topic stems directly from her comments during the panel, and what I was thinking while she was talking.

She wrote,

Fantastical Dystopia, on the other hand, was really quite awful. I took on the role of leader the day before, and consequently hadn’t organized it — and it showed. I truly value everyone’s contributions under less than optimal conditions, but things never meshed for us. On the other hand, at least nothing “outright barbarous” (to, fittingly, quote George Orwell) was said or enacted by any panelist — which reportedly happened at other panels on dystopia and apocalyptic fiction.

To the point about none of the panels doing anything "outright barbarous" -- Vourvoulias explored the question of dystopia during the panel by way of describing her own experiences of having grown up in what she described as a dystopic state. I didn't have anything to add to that line of discussion, and an attempt to tie it in to the point I had last made would have functionally amounted to "Listen, I know you're talking about your extensive experience with suffering and horror, but let me tell you how you're wrong about the semantics." And that isn't what I wanted to convey at all, but there would have been no way to make that segue that wouldn't have sounded like that.

The question I'm struggling with, then, is: 

Can I make this argument for a "metatopia" designation at all, without it constituting an attack on the ability of marginalized people to talk about their experience? Regardless of whether the concept helps keep literary discussions on the rails, will it also be a tool to derail real-world accounts of suffering?

My solution to this, I think, is going to be to write the essay I was planning on writing, and discuss this specific concern with some of my professors. In the meantime I plan on not actually sending that panel suggestion until after I decide whether I really feel okay about this concept.

Scary Toast

I just jumped, and audibly gasped, at a toaster popping up -- while I was doing literally nothing other than standing in the kitchen, looking at it, waiting for my toast to finish toasting. That was when I realized that I'm having a severe anxiety episode today.

It's a bit of a relief, to be honest. I've been feeling off all day, and it's good to know that it's not a symptom of an oncoming physical illness -- just the mashup of daily discomfort, grief, the knowledge that my younger brother will be living at home all next week, and putting out the new episode of Solarpunk Press and getting ready for Readercon -- the latter two of which are things I'm thrilled about, but knowing that I have to do these difficult things, which I want to go really, really well, amidst an atmosphere of hightened stress, is really fucking with me.

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I've been using Twitter

It still feels super weird. I've been resisting the urge to tweet every 15 minutes "It feels so weird to be using Twitter," like one of those people who won't stop talking about how high they are. (Not that using twitter is like being high. I just think the experience would be similarly annoying. Look how many characters I've used so far in this blog post! There's no way it would fit on Twitter. It's certainly going to exercise my sentence-level editing.)

https://twitter.com/TXWatson

Vi Hart, "Feeling sad about tragedy"

Vi Hart's latest video "Feeling sad about tragedy" is about the shootings, within days of each other, of YouTuber Christina Grimmie, and then of 49 people in a gay club, both in Orlando.

I didn't know about Christina's shooting. (I didn't know about Christina.) But Vi's video felt deeply relevant to many people I care about and admire. 

Vi so often says things in ways that make me wish I had thought them. I show people her video "On Gender" when I want to explain my feelings about gender identity. I've been watching her videos for years, and I've been thrilled that the internet has opened up platforms people like her can inhabit.

I don't want to be afraid for her. I hadn't much thought to be, before now. If you had asked me whether I thought she had a risk of dangerous fans, I'd have said yes, but I wouldn't have had that line of thought just sitting on my own. She's so anonymous. I think I've seen her face, in other people's videos, but I only ever see her hands in hers. I have no idea if Vi Hart is the name she goes by in meatspace. 

Her refrain from the middle of this video, "I'm not supposed to be right," sends shivers down my spine. I recognize that feeling. Of wanting to be a good person, who believes in love and has faith in people, of wanting choices made from fear or distrust to be unjustified, of wanting to be rewarded for taking a risk on the good faith of other humans. I'm sure I don't know it as well as anyone who's read by strangers as a woman, though. 

When Faith and I tried to write a post about Orlando for Solarpunk Press, my first pass included a lot of commentary about the media's tendency to reduce and splinter narratives, asking solarpunks to resist the encouragement to pit narratives about gun violence against against narratives of homophobia against narratives of individual disposition. This was a product of all those, and more.

Vi Hart argues here that these shootings are a product of our system's success in teaching men that violence against women won't be punished. She's right. It's also true that if these men had had less access to guns, they would have caused less damage. The Pulse shootings are also about racism, and about homophobia. Christina's shooting is also about misogyny, and about male entitlement.

I want the people I care about to feel safe. I care about Vi Hart, and it's upsetting to know that if I tried to express that to her there's a good chance it'd read as threatening.

I wouldn't blame her for reading it that way -- she's right to be cautious. There's no easy way to tell "I hope that society changes in a way that makes it safer for you and for everyone" from "I've decided that it would be okay for me to kidnap you and put you in a bunker, because there are scary people out there and I don't understand that I'm one of them."

There's no way to tell whether hypothetical-bunker-guy would turn violent when he finds out somebody doesn't want to be kidnapped so he can protect them.

This also makes me think about, and worry for, many other people I care about, who I do have an actual relationship with. 

In the first episode of his new podcast, Revisionist History, Malcolm Gladwell talks about moral licensing as it applies to societies: how token signs of progress get treated as permission to regress in daily practice. White people who voted for Barack Obama, for example, often held themselves less accountable afterward to resist holding racist views. The fact that the Republican party followed two terms of Obama by nominating Donald Trump is a pretty good example of how this is playing out in American politics. 

I know how Vi is feeling right now: the temptation to approach tragedy and crisis analytically is strong. But it doesn't work -- not on its own, anyway. We need detailed and practical exercises in empathy, individually and as communities and societies.

housebound

I haven't left my house for anything other than work, groceries, and a couple appointments yet this summer. Every time I think about that fact, it feels like I'm putting my hand on the door to a room from which I've heard an ominous thud. I feel guilty, because I haven't been paying my friends the attention they deserve and because I need a social life and staying cloistered in my room constitutes practicing poor self care.

I've tried reaching out to people a few times, but it keeps happening to be a bad time. I'm at a point where things going a little bit wrong in the effort to leave the house takes all the wind out of me and ends that train of effort. 

As I write this blog post, my niece and nephew are screaming outside. Not for any particular reason. They just scream sometimes.

I desperately want magical solutions to my mundane problems. Stuff like teleportation powers and a perfectly nourishing and hydrating food substitute.

Averting decision fatigue, Spring 2016 finals

This is the third day in a row of pre-scheduled blog posts -- after I wrote the Monday blog post last Saturday, about how I didn't have the energy to work on stuff I needed to, but I did have energy to work on other stuff, I decided it was a good idea to use this burst of energy to clear up some space later in the week.

This blog is really important to me, but on a day that I'm already struggling to make mental ends meet, deciding what to blog about then pulling it together (when I do, which I sometimes basically don't) takes a lot out of me. Rather than just decide not to update for a week (I've done that before, it makes me feel shitty) I think having a week of pre-scheduled posts will feel a bit more like a weight lifted, a pleasant knowledge that I'm getting something done on schedule just by existing, and having had a good Saturday.

It's been a rough time

I don't want to talk about what's been happening at Hampshire College in the last few days on a public blog. I have no idea whether googling will yield informative results but I'm not going to be offering contextualizing details.

But the last few days have been a difficult time at Hampshire, and right now it's hard to keep anything else on my mind.

One of my professors gave me a journal today. She got them, I believe, for everyone in our class. Mine is red. I started writing in it immediately -- I've tried several times before to keep a private journal, but so far I've failed, for various reasons I may go into in a future post. 

I've been blogging to shake out the day-to-day narrative of my life for years now, but there are often things I don't want to write on the blog -- sometimes because they're private, but often just because they're too difficult to spare the energy of saying them adequately carefully. I think the journal might fill a niche in my self-reflection mechanisms that is under-served or missing.

Planning out my whole life

I went back to that room with the whiteboard on Saturday, and I started a new thing I'm trying: Planning in advance literally every minute of every day for the next six weeks.

Okay, that's not exactly what this is. But I'm taking a page out of CGP Grey's podcast and trying a new approach for my calendar. Instead of only including things that are very definitely actually what's happening, I'm planning my ideal schedule -- what my planning-self thinks would be the best use of my time -- so that whenever I look at my calendar, I can see what I thought I'd be doing at that moment. 

It's wrapped around my existing schedule, but I've also included things like:

  • a solid 12 hours a week for homework and 21 hours a week for reading, which my class commitments approach in the amount of time I could spend on them;
  • blocks of time (mostly early mornings) set aside for catching up on TV shows or podcasts, because sometimes I feel like I want to squeeze those in and I'm hoping setting aside blocks for it will reduce the degree to which I use them to procrastinate; 
  • Chunks of "unstructured time," so when I look at my calendar I don't have to wonder whether this blank spot was supposed to be empty, or if it's somewhere I forgot to put down an event; 
  • meals, which correspond to where I'm going to be, when the dining hall is going to be open, and what I'll need to do to prepare for them;
  • time to catch up on my chores, because I just emptied my bedroom trash barrel for the first time in the semester;

and more. 

Here's a clip of what it looks like on my Google calendar:

2016-03-14 google.jpg

These are set up to repeat until the end of the semester, at which point I'll re-evaluate and see if I think this is a good idea or not. And if it turns out to be a really, incredibly bad idea, I can always turn off each calendar individually.

Not really writing about having a bad day

So -- I really want to blog about my emotional state today, because I'm having a weirdly intense self-loathing day, but I'm running into the problem that I'm realizing I have every time I want to write about my feelings here: I don't want to write about how I feel, and then, subsequently, have anybody bring it up in real life.

A fair number of my friends, on the off chance that they read my blog on a bad day, will tend to attempt to comfort me or sympathize with me about the content of the post. But on a day when I already feel like my self-confidence is pre-undermined, when I'm feeling exhausted or frustrated or sad, I don't want to have any extra moments-of-intimacy that sympathy necessarily comprises.

Especially, as is usually the case, when my mood is in part influenced by circumstances that I didn't write about, because my personal life often directly references other people's personal lives, and I don't like the idea of volunteering the details of other people's lives on my blog. Usually if I don't want to  share details with the internet I also don't want to share those details with people who aren't involved, and there are few things more frustrating than a person trying to solve a problem when you know they don't have any of the variables to work with.

I could always just, like, not ever write about personal stuff here. But the actual practice of writing is helpful, and I do like the idea of being able to keep people apprised of my emotional state without having to have direct personal conversations with everyone I know, or posting about it on social media, because both of those invite exactly the thing I want to avoid -- spending my already drastically diminished emotional energy on conversations about how little emotional energy I have. (I do know, like, three people with whom talking about my emotional state is usually refreshing rather than draining, but that's not most people, and it's not all the time, and anyway one of them is my therapist.)

I bought some fruit

I bought a whole bunch of fruit today. I was driving home from Amherst after buying one of my course textbooks, and I couldn't stop thinking about ice cream. I ate a ton of ice cream last semester, and I've sort of made an informal promise to myself to try to not have any this semester. It felt really important to not give into that at the moment, but it also really felt like I wouldn't be able to move past that thought without doing something, so I went to the grocery store by Hampshire and bought a bunch of fruit and some vegetables.

I ate a whole pineapple when I got home, and I've had a bunch of grapes. 

On my daily self care survey, I define two kinds of self-harm: "With food" and "With money." I think I can fairly say that I avoided self-harm with food today, but I can't decide whether or not this counts as a form of self-harm with money. 

I am having a complicated day, emotionally.

"sorry"

I used to say "sorry" a lot. Like, too much. I'd say sorry pretty much whenever anyone expressed the slightest bit of displeasure -- not even at me, just in general. And not like a "I sympathize with your plight" sorry, a "I accept blame for this" sorry.

That's a really hard habit to unlearn, and I found out recently that I may have gone too far in the other direction. I hurt a friend pretty badly, and when we talked about what happened, over a week later, they told me that I had never even said sorry.

This was a mind-rocking realization. I was and am immensely sorry, and I had no doubt that I was at fault. Not in an artificial "I'll just take all the blame, that'll be easier" way -- a genuine "I've looked at the facts and yeah I definitely fucked up here" way.

But I hadn't said it. And I knew there had been times when I had thought it, and decided not to say it (or, text it) because I didn't want to be overwhelming with effusive apologies. I didn't want to seem to be pleading for forgiveness, but I ended up seeming like I didn't even know I had done something wrong.

I feel weird about writing this post. I feel weird about writing this paragraph. It feels like I'm apologizing for not apologizing sooner, and then I'm apologizing for apologizing again right now. But my brain has been spinning around this all day, and it isn't a good idea to let that kind of thing fester. Plus, I've said I'm going to try to be more open on here again, and it's either this or "uuhhhhgghh I can't think of something to bloooogggg abouuuttttt."

My brain has a lot of traps like this, and this is my attempt to stop running the same script over and over for the rest of the day/week/month/semester. Paralyzing psychological traps are pretty much never the solution to themselves, anyway.

Better day

This morning I made myself get out of bed, shower, shave, brush my teeth, eat breakfast and drink water. I went to a friend's office to do some freelance work for him that I called out on yesterday. I caught up on some Solarpunk Press work. I volunteered at the Bernie Sanders campaign. I took my pills on time. I made art that I'm happy with.

I still feel crummy, unattractive, hard-to-like, dried-out, drained and exhausted. Yesterday those feelings beat the crap out of me. Today, I managed to tread water, performing acts of self-care at a rate that matched or exceeded the rate of internal collapse. 

I feel okay about that.

Tower defense problems

I forgot to sleep last night.

The reason I forgot to sleep is that I left Brooklyn 99 playing on Hulu in the background while I played a tower defense game I had just installed on my phone. When I started it was about 2 episodes into season 3. A little while later when I stopped it was 3 episodes into Parks and Recreation, because Hulu had run out of episodes of Brooklyn 99 to play for me. I had spent $2 on additional content for the free game and my neck was so stiff it was starting to crackle.

Today, I spent another 5 hours, and another $2, on the game. I have accomplished nothing else today, apart from making myself an omelet for breakfast. Partway through writing this blog post, I uninstalled the game.

I'm really frustrated with myself right now, on compounding levels. I'm mad that I spent so much time playing a game when I had things I clearly ought to have been doing instead. I'm mad that I'm wasting time and emotional energy being angry at myself. I'm mad at myself for having a headache, being unable to think clearly about my mental state. And I'm mad at myself for playing a game on my phone for so long that it gave me a headache.

I dreamt about being back at Hampshire last night. It was pretty unrealistic but it was more like Hampshire actually is than my other dreams about Hampshire have been. (One time it was clearly a mental cross between Harvard and the Boston Museum of Science.)

I'm really struggling right now. I feel trapped under an immense weight of indecisiveness and lethargy, and I want to just shrug and get through it but I'm not sure that's good enough. I know it's irrational but I'm afraid this feeling isn't going to go away when I get back to Hampshire. I'm afraid that it might go away but then come back again. I don't know if  what I need is to find better tools to handle this situation, or if it's impossible to handle this situation and what I need is to arrange to not be in it anymore. I feel like I have to be working to try and be better but I don't know if, right now, I'm trying to do an impossible thing. I don't know if I'm trying to solve a problem to which the only solution is leaving the problem behind.

Slide

It's 10 minutes to midnight and I just remembered that I haven't blogged yet. Oops.

I haven't been doing an awesome job of keeping track of things lately. I mean, I've done better in the last few days. And that's helped melt a lot of anxiety. But there's still stuff sliding. Like this. 

It's not the only thing on the list of stuff I should really do before I sleep, either. Some of that stuff is definitely going to slide a little longer. I don't have the mental fortitude to conjure it right now, and I'm starting to remember that, in fact, I never do. I just let my organizational patterns slide enough that they aren't keeping up anymore.

So, I need to get back on that.

Panic week

Yesterday, I had a bad day. I'm not going to get into what the specific events were that were involved but I almost had a panic attack around midday and spent the rest of the day feeling more anxious and afraid than I had in months.

It bled into today, and I expect it's going to keep bleeding out for a while -- both because the circumstances that caused it haven't changed, I've just had more time to get used to them, and because I was already in a pretty tightrope-ish place before it happened. I have a lot of assignments due this week, and I'd fallen behind on some important aspects of self care that I'm not likely to find the energy to work my way back on now.

For me, there has often been a pretty close relationship between running out of spoons and running out of fucks. (I think the technical medical term is "dissociation.") 

The problem with letting my spoon meter slide and keeping my fucks-to-give meter up is that I run out of the ability to do the things I need to get done, while maintaining maximum emotional energy to be incredibly anxious about them. The problem with going the other way around is that that's what assholes do -- I don't want to hurt people just because I don't have the energy to be careful with their feelings.

'Course, if either one bottoms out, it takes the other one with it.

Sometimes it feels like I can manipulate them to get things done: if I don't have the spoons to get a task done because it's triggering too much anxiety, I can just let the bottom drop out my concern about the consequences and get through it by pretending that I'm not bothered by my inevitable inadequacy.

Sometimes they're kind of the same thing. Sometimes they're totally different. Often this metaphor breaks down completely and neither "idgaf" or "no spoons" expresses the nature of my lethargy quite right.

And I don't actually have access to a spreadsheet or a stat book that allows me to balance my energies with reference to known upcoming circumstances and a metagame understanding of my intended outcomes.

But right now I don't have the energy to get things done the old fashioned way (by not being mentally ill) so I'm going to be trying the next best thing: manipulating the bubble and flow of my not-really-comprehensible feelings to attempt to chuck balls of energy at the right tasks at the right times to keep things moving until I get my feet under me again. (Mixed metaphor level: maximum)

Congealing schedules

i think I'm starting to get the hang of the schedules that are shaping my life at Hampshire. When things are due each class, (just remembered a thing that's due Tuesday while I was writing this) And Solarpunk Press stuff is starting to fall into place faster and with less struggle (right in time for new, unanticipated challenges to pop up) and I've started to manage to block out time socially with slightly more consistency.

And, of course, the semester is almost over, and I'm going to have to solve for winter break then figure out a whole other set of classes in the spring.

i may-or-may-not be slightly overwhelmed. I'm managing, though. 

Detail

A moment ago, it just struck me as really strange that, in facsimiles and depictions, the only detail of the thing depicted is the detail the creator expects the audience to notice, but in real life, all the detail, in absolutely perfect intricacy, is always there.  Like -- there are hair follicles on my body that currently have hair growing in them, there are books that have pages that contain writing in every library in the world, even when virtually all of them are virtually always closed. In every star in the sky, right now, at this moment, there are specific, individual atoms smashing into specific other individual atoms with specific, individual consequences.

Depictions leave things out, though. Video games only render the face of a rock you're going to see: if you clip through it, you discover that not only is the rock hollow, it's not even visible from the inside. Paintings don't have a back to them featuring the rest of the person. Sculptures don't have hair folicles, individual, growing. The stars in "Starry Night" contain the same, inaccurate, combination of molecules they did when they were first put on the canvas, more-or-less.

And our perception even leaves things out. If you stare at a pattern on the wall long enough parts of it will just sort of stop being patterned in certain chunks of your vision. We think of obviously-fake things like books and movies as being real, whenever it's convenient or comfortable for us to do so. We think of other people as being basically like one of the other people we know, or like one of the other people we've heard described, or the person we remember them being last time we took a good look, 10 minutes/months/years ago.

But that detail is always still there. That person you haven't taken a new look at in the last ten minutes has had an entire ten minutes worth of new life happen in their brain -- life that may have had profound implications on the nature of your relationship with them, in that moment/day/month/lifetime. They may have remembered a song that changed their mood completely. They may have suddenly realized that they love you, or don't love you, or don't care and thought they did. They may have realized that about somebody else, in a way that's inconvenient for you.

Those changes grow from possible to certain when you scale up by decades, because it really only takes a few minutes for life-changing thoughts to occur, and given 10 years worth of time to have thoughts in, eventually one of them's going to relate to someone who hasn't been paying attention in the meantime.

This was a weird place for a thought that started with "It's weird that mitochondria have existed for thousands of years before we even found out what cells were" to have gone.

Flow: the word and the concept (Materialist hipster yells at cloud)

I don't like the word "flow" very much, in terms of the concept in psychology. I also don't like the other version of the concept, being "In the zone." I'm uncomfortable with the degree to which that kind of language seems to spiritualize or mysticize the concept.

I realize that many people are perfectly comfortable with that kind of construction, but it doesn't fit neatly into my internal monologue, and for totally unjustified reasons it bugs me that the scientific term for the concept, "Flow," isn't something more, like, y'know, clinical. 

I want to be able to think the sentence "I arrange my working time and space like this in order to achieve a state of [BLANK]," and I want the word I put in that blank to sound, like, sciencey, you know? Like, "Persisting engagement," or "Somatic focus," or "Csíkszentmihályi's state."

But when you put "Flow" in that blank, it sounds like I should be having some kind of religious experience, or that my emotional state at the time is the primary point of focus. And it's not. Flow is a lot of fun, I definitely enjoy the state, but I don't like thinking of it as a kind of meditation or spirituality. I don't want it to be about the process, I want it to be about the product. For me, focusing on process is something else. That's practice. It's a much more intentional, much less flow-like state. And if I'm going to meditate, I'd rather just meditate. 

I don't have any kind of point here. I don't actually want to enforce a certain kind of presentation of formal labeling in the social sciences. This just happens to be one of the areas where my prejudices and insecurities intersect a kind of postmodernity in a way that puts me on the conservative side of the discomfort.

Continuous versus fragmented experience (Doin' stuff: Sims style versus real life)

I'm watching one of my modmates playing the Sims right now (in particular, they're playing the Sims to procrastinate on doing homework). And I'm thinking about the difference between the way tasks get done in the Sims -- which is the way our brains seem to tell us tasks work -- and the way they actually work.

Which is to say, work in the Sims is initiated as a task, and then it's basically done. You just have to let a timer run down.

And in real life -- well, it's not quite the opposite. You do kinda get started on things and just let yourself run some of the time. For example, right now I'm typing sentences I've finished thinking through, while I watch the screen to see what my modmate is doing in the Sims.  They're painting.

But tasks keep stopping. The harder they are, the more often they require a renewal of effort, I find. Or, the more complicated. At every moment that you need to make a decision, even the tiniest possible decision like "What word do I start the next sentence with?," it takes a whole new renewal of effort to keep going.

I wonder if it's like that for everyone, with most tasks? I wrote all that in the second person but I don't actually know that this is a universal experience. For me, with writing, things grind to a halt every time I catch up on the page to the text in my head. It's like surfing. I assume. I've never surfed. Anyway, it's like trying to catch a train of thought, past the very first bit so that it keeps on going ahead of you, pulling you forward, but not so far back that you lose the sentences that you come in on. Not, like, stream of consciousness, because I'm not just dumping stuff onto the page regardless of its relevance. There's curation going on. Focus. Editing. 

Do other people's minds work like the Sims? Once you start doing something, do you get all the way through the thing before your brain throws a popup saying "Are you sure you want to continue?"

Notes on the experience of blogging frustration

Today was a very stressful day, for a whole lot of tiny reasons, and now that I'm sitting at the end of it I'm not sure what I have to say. There isn't much I did today that I want to expand on or write about. I don't want to dig into my anxieties. For reasons of a sense of privacy, I don't want to talk about the best parts of the day; for reasons of spoilers, I don't want to talk about the media I consumed today. 

Pretty frequently by the end of the day I'm sitting down at my blog and I don't know what to write about. This isn't a weird feeling for me. Today's only really different in that I don't have the energy to fight the impulse to blog about how I don't have anything to blog about. (It used to be like two thirds of my posts. It was a problem.)

I guess it's pretty in keeping with my overall self concept and existential experience that my natural flow for journaling starts with writing "I don't know," and "I don't want to talk about it." 

Maybe on one of these difficult writing nights I should just push that a little farther, and see what happens.

Then, though, I guess I'll just have to write "No blog tonight" anyway, and link back here, because I doubt it'll be anything I want to share with the whole internet.