The Q-Tip doesn’t really have much to do with it, I just thought I’d mention it because right this very second I am listening to Vivrant Thing, a perennial fav.
Basically, this: I’m using Matthew Van Temple as my writing name, outward name. I think I’m going to keep Inhaesio Zha as my legal name, because I’m lazy and don’t feel like changing my legal name at the moment. I might change my name again, someday, maybe to something else altogether. But I hope to publish TSID, and if I do I’m going to use Matthew Van Temple as the name there, and on further novels. That’s minor though, non-consequential.
I’ve been thinking this as a basic plan for my life:
I’m through doing software development as a job. No malice, but in a John Laroche “fuck fish” sort of way, I’m done with that. I don’t ever have to so much as set foot in that ocean again. Done with fish. (In Neuromancer, Gibson writes, “The Japanese had already forgotten more neurosurgery than the Chinese had ever known.” That’s what I just did with a whole profession’s worth of knowledge, I would like to point out to my former coworkers—I just threw away more knowledge than you will ever acquire.)
Now I’m listening to James Newton Howard’s “Prologue” from Lady in the Water.
I don’t have money. My family doesn’t have money. Until I have money, my options are limited. Once I have money, I would like to go to school, I would like to travel, I would like to accumulate a greater play bin of knowledge to have as I create, but until I have money, doing something like going to school or traveling is basically the activity of a slave. I’m not going to do that right now.
I don’t feel like starting a business. That’s not what I like to focus on. So doing a software business is out. Not my thing.
I’m going to write. I’m basically going to write novels at least until I sell one, and then enough copies of that one and whatever ones that can follow, until I don’t have to work anymore. Only then will I approach some additional self-care, possibly including travel, and going to school. If I never get to that point of not having to work, then I will work shit jobs and write books until I die. Simple as that. It’s a sane plan, I’m not trying to do anything that’s basically impossible to do without money, and I’m doing something that I can do without money, and that I can already do well…and something that produces a simple product that is very close to the customer…you write words and then people read them. Very simple production-consumption model. The goal, while interpretable, while variable, is overall simple as well: the why of writing novels is simple: that people like to read them. The philosophy behind it is sufficiently established that I can just operate within that frame and not do a whole lot of transcendent thinking about it, if I don’t want to. And I don’t want to, right now. What it means to make a program, for certain types of programs, is something whose philosophy isn’t well-developed, so when I’m doing that type of programming, the activity invites all sorts of extraneous thinking—perhaps not extraneous, even, but—wide thinking—when what I want to do now is deep thinking. So I’m going to write books—novels—at least until it pays for my life, for my freedom, or until I die, whichever comes first. I won’t necessarily stop writing novels at that point, but I will not attempt to do anything else until/unless I reach that point…not exploration of directing movies, not writing movies, not writing scripts, not writing plays, not going to school, not traveling, not making a family.
I’m going to set aside the other major life project that I can envision now, which is a garden of sorts, called inhesion, for which I have many notes that hopefully someday I will implement. It will help, actually, to hold off on that implementation, to continue to store away notes and brainstorming…but if it takes me 10 years to start implementing it, the advance of computer hardware between now and then will be a great help. And if I mis-estimate and somehow someone else does what I want to do there, first, so be it. I can’t control that. For now, on that family of ideas, I’m going to squirrel away notes and save them for later. And when I get to that project, I’m going to do it for fun. It will be open-source, I will not try to sell it, doing it will be its own end. Basically, if I can’t make a living selling novels, I’m not going to make a living any other way. I’m not here to pursue money my entire life, and if the world is such that I can’t make a living writing novels, then I would like to discover that. But I don’t think that’s the case.
Now I’m listening to Crookers—Mad Kidz!
I have my relationships in order for the first time in years. Some people have fallen away. Some people have grown close. Some of us have cultivated a courteous limbo. I feel each of my close relationships, now, is as developed and as tended as it can be, as I want it to be. I’m going to mark all those efforts a success. With those with whom I want to be close, I am; with those with whom I wanted to mend, I have. And those with whom I wanted to sever, I have. All of that feels good, settled.
So I’m going to write. Very simple. I finished TSID and am involved in the exciting, daunting and sometimes nonsensical task of communicating with literary agents to find one that will champion my book. I have another project in the works. I’ll work on that until I get it right, then go from there.
Now I’m listening to 90210 by Wale. Lol.