Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Weirdness of Writing

The following (black type) was originally part of an essay I decided not to write. Well...I wrote it, but decided to trash it. All but this part. After I'd finished it and looked at what I'd sucked ass. But I still like the part that follows.

The past three weeks have been a weird trip for me, as far as writing is concerned. I took the break to visit my nephew and his wife and daughters, and I rarely write anything when I go on vacation. But when I returned I found myself not able to write much. I wouldn't quite go so far as to call it writer's block, but I surely wasn't producing my usual 1,000 to 4,000 words per day of fiction.

After a while, I figured out what it was. I was feeling anxiety over the Presidential election. I was afraid that the right wing extremists (Republicans) would rig yet another election. I was afraid that the American people might actually be collectively stupid enough to elect a moron like McCain and force us to endure at least four more years of this madness.

But I've fought through it. Whatever happens, happens. That's always been my life's philosophy. What will be, will be. C'est la vie. Oh, well.

So now I'm writing again. I'm working on not one, but two novels. I can't ask for more than that.

And I wrote an essay that sucked. Except for this one bit that I still like, but which now goes absolutely nowhere. Oh, well.

The Place Evolves

by James Robert Smith.

I have long observed how things vanish into the earth. The planet’s history, revealed to us in the form of geology and paleontology teaches us how, time after time, things do indeed rise and vanish. Flash and fade. March and fall. Run and stop. The shapes keep coming, and they keep getting disassembled.

I’ve always been amazed at how life seems to reach for the logical. It finds a niche and inhabits it. Living things look about for a purpose, for something to exploit, and they adapt to do just that. Some creatures take slightly different angles of attack, but they generally will evolve to do the same thing that something else has done in a similar situation and environment.

Take, for instance, the ichthyosaur. It was a reptile. It originated as a land going species but returned to the seas. Legs became fins. Heads became streamlined. Eyes became large. They adapted.

Ichthyosaurs are gone, now. They have not been seen on this planet for tens of millions of years. But the form is with us again. Nature always finds a way to do this. Some land-dwelling mammal returned to life at the edge of the sea, found it desirable, and stayed. Legs became fins. Heads became streamlined. They evolved. The modern dolphin bears a stunning resemblance to the extinct ichthyosaurs with whom they are barely related, and only by the most tenuous of branches on Life’s family tree.

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