For some reason, I've been a bit more apprehensive than usual of late, and I'm not entirely sure why. Some of it, no doubt, is my long-standing tendency toward pessimism, which isn't likely to go away entirely no matter how many items I cross off my Bucket List, had I a Bucket List with items to cross off, which technically I don't. (Which suggests a pony tale. There exists no more avid listmaker than Twilight Sparkle. Surely she has a Bucket List, no?)

Then again, Bucket Lists themselves suggest a far more morbid topic. And no, except to the extent that time has elapsed, I don't feel a whole lot closer to the Next World now than I did a couple months ago. I know it's coming, and I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but then I don't think I'm obsessing over it. About the only thought I've given to the matter, really, is noting that my late brother Paul got the jump on me by insisting that "Let It Be" — the original Beatles 45, not the Phil Spector-ized LP version, and not one of the umpteen cover versions that exist — be played at his services. Maybe I'll ask for something like this.

I have taken something of a financial beating this year, but who hasn't? (Okay, probably not Mitt Romney. I'm not really worried about him.) With an almost-certain tax hike next year, plus a $700 increase in my homeowner's insurance — which, inscrutably, will likely drive up my monthly house payment by $100 or more — it's going to be rough sledding through most of 2013 and probably 2014 as well, since I don't have $180-200 extra to squeeze out of the current budget every single month. I can shuffle things around a bit, maybe, if nothing else goes wrong. Having had to ante up two grand this year to take care of automotive issues, I'm somewhat depleted. On the upside, I'll be 59½ come summer, which presumably means that if I have to yank something out of my 401(k), at least I won't get hit with the extra tax penalty, though of course any distribution will have to be reported as income.

The Grand Writing Experiment proved exactly one thing: there are people out there way more talented than I am, and I would be loath to try to steal their thunder, even if I were capable of so doing, which I'm not. The solution most often proffered is "Find yourself a good editor," which is not at all a bad idea. Then again, this presumes that the writing is good and it just needs to be cleaned up a bit. I'm actually a pretty effective cleaner; I'm just not all that wonderful a storyteller. There's one chap in one of the smaller fandoms I follow who can't produce a spiffy-looking chapter to save his life: his sentences run on for hours, his phrases are hackneyed in the extreme, and I strongly suspect that he misspelled the name of one of his characters. But damn, can that man tell a story! And then I look at his Lorem ipsum-esque blocks of text, and my neatly-polished but drab paragraphs, and I become despondent.

Then again, I am legendarily bad at taking my own advice. Consider this passage from Second Act, in which pre-novice pony Desert Brush offers advice to the mare he loves:

Twi, honey, there's only one thing wrong with you: you can't stand the idea that there's one thing wrong with you. You seem to be able to put up with my flaws just fine. Can't you cut yourself a little slack now and then? I don't want to come home some day and find you've put a Starvation Spell on yourself because you farted in the bathtub the night before. But you make me worry about things like that, and it scares me.

Obviously, should all my other options vanish, I need to hire myself out as a Projection Specialist.

The Vent

#794
  23 October 2012

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