Day One – Hubris

e8

[Revisited]

My name is Richard. Some people shorten that to Rich, and I am oll korrect with that.

When I was eight years old, I ran for public office for the first time. My campaign slogan was “Vote for Rich because he’s Rich” and I gave pennies to prospective voters. Now, I could tell you that the meaning behind that slogan was actually more humble than outright bribery, but I would be lying. I could tell you that what I meant when I came up with that slogan was, essentially, Vote for me because I am me. I don’t remember if I capitalized “rich” or not, and frankly it does not matter.

I could weave the tale as I will, and, in fact, I have. That story is now so deeply entrenched in my memory that it very often feels like truth to me. It was bribery, but that’s not an interesting story. I enjoy creating interesting stories – some people might call that lying, but I call it creative invention. I put it to you that I am no liar, just a man amused with the art of creative invention.

My name is Richard. I am a writer.

I am thirty-seven years old, give or take several days depending on your personal measurement of this planet’s passing through this particular star system. What’s that? I see. You did not realize that time is perspective. You have not been exposed to the idea that years, months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds, really have no meaning in an infinite universe. Come again? You do not believe the universe is infinite?

Oh dear.

My name is Richard. I am a writer. My age is irrelevant and I do not allow numbers to dictate my worth or potential.

There was a time, not too long ago, when human life expectancy was dismally low. A seventy-year-old man was a miracle, and adult life started at twelve. We have evolved. We have gained knowledge that allows us to extend our lives, to undo the damage time wreaks upon us, in a sense. You can live to be one hundred years old, and we are not finished yet. There is a problem with that, though. You anticipate that I am about to talk about population control, yes? Actually, I am going to talk about adulthood. We are doing things backwards. Life expectancy extends, but we force ourselves to grow up faster. We rush through actually gaining knowledge and experiencing the world in an attempt to discover who we really have the potential to be, and we eschew patience for the achievement, not the journey. Society presses the need for achievement on us with deadlines: graduate by eighteen, degree by twenty-two, marry by twenty-five, two kids by thirty, retire at sixty-five, die before one hundred. Numbers. Here is your number, welcome to the workplace, sit there, talk to these people, watch this television show, follow this team, do not deviate, fit in. We allow ourselves to be herded into expectations set by the society that needs us as predictable consumers, predictable numbers, as soon as possible. Instead of extending our time in an academic setting to maximize our knowledge and specializations, we shorten it by imposing milestones that act as not only status symbols, but rites of passage to higher levels of the social hierarchy. It’s the gauntlet syndrome–those that have run the gauntlet have no respect for those who haven’t, and when their gauntlet becomes obsolete, they rail against the change and become the impediment that delays progress. I honestly do not think you are fully equipped to realize your full potential until you are thirty. As life expectancy extends, so should the time we spend learning and developing. Time is relative, the universe is infinite, you have eternity to experience and gain knowledge, but not to sit and tell yourself you know all you need to know. At least, that is how I approach life.

My name is Richard. I am a writer. I am patient.

Writing is not a talent, not a gift. I was not born at the intersection of woven fabric of destiny to become a prolific and influential artist fated to change the world with the expression of my own personal cognition. I neither feel obligated nor impelled to write anything that you might find appealing or profound. I seek neither monetary compensation nor pity from you, the reader, who may or may not have the mental tuning to understand the universe as I see it.

I intend to use the E8 Lie group as a model for the structure of the multiverse. I do not do this because I want Will Smith to star in a movie based on a miniscule collection of thoughts that may or may not have been my point. I allow myself to imagine these fictional realms, because I gain knowledge through my own artistic freedom. I revel in building a literary universe and tying all my stories into a grand unified epic. I do it for me, but if you’d like to join me, I know some great stops along the way.

My name is Richard. I am a writer. Contrary to my own pessimistic predictions, I have written a novel, and will very likely write another.

150,000 words or so ago, I began weaving a tale about nothing. I have tied the knot in that tale–I have forced the snake to eat itself. I will spend a portion of this year smoothing out the surface of that tale, correcting imperfections, and polishing it to a reflective shine. If I decide I want to attempt to publish this science fiction novel, I will do so using the traditional method, the method used by all of my heroes. I am overconfident to the point of impetus. i have discovered the wonders of the double hyphen.

This year, I will write my second novel–a departure from the grand unified epic. It’s working title is Lunacy, and while set on the orbital stations of a luxurious future, it is not so much science fiction as a study of the human condition in transplanted time. The story centers around one family attempting to find their purpose in a changing world. The main character is a middle-aged physical therapist employed at the lunar colonies and orbital stations who spends the majority of his time hosing down obese men and women in zero-gravity like a zoo keeper hosing down flying elephants. His ex-wife, a naturalist, spearheads the reclamation of wilderness areas on the Earth’s surface, specifically the reclamation of Yosemite National Park as all remnants of human influence are removed and the entire area is returned to a natural state. Their daughter, a teenager entranced by the glory of the twentieth-century and enamored with a lifestyle that embraces yesteryear, struggles to find meaning in a world of technological advances that have only sharpened the social divide instead of equalizing it. Their son, a ten-year-old junior lunar scout, is the glue of the family, as his pristine and optimistic view of the universe inspires his family to forget their differences and appreciate the beauty of life. The family experiences the gamut of human experience through tragedy, unexpected success, and separation from the society that so desperately requires them to fit into neat, little archetypes. While I intend to use my own style in approaching the writing of this novel, it is greatly inspired by the works of John Irving and Kurt Vonnegut.

Hello.

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