American English has this term called the “coming-to-Jesus meeting” or “moment” in which an individual who is perceived to be on “the wrong path” is shown the error of their ways in a “fire and brimstone” manner in hopes those in attendance will “see the light.” The understanding given by whoever is arranging the meeting is that this is the final bout of effort before the recipient is “too far gone.”
Interestingly, Christianity doesn’t really use Jesus this way. The Old Testament certainly did, but Jesus the Messiah Himself was a pretty chill guy. His parables didn’t speak well of rich people, and he’d absolutely wail on those running business at a church, but there is no canonical example of Jesus ever saying “get your shit together or that is it, no more salvation, you are going to hell.”
Americans love us some money though, and enjoy condemnation, so our Jesus tends to hit a little different. In America, if you aren’t well to do, clearly you aren’t trying hard enough. Manifest Destiny and the Prosperity Gospel and all that.
Switching gears a little, but on the same topic I swear. I remember being a young adult, not even old enough to legally drink, when Livejournal was a a fledgling service (and the Russians hadn’t bought it yet.) There was a furry (back when “furries” meant “white dudes in IT fucking their animals because they couldn’t fuck kids, not this mainstream furrydom you all have now) who was complaining about things I can barely remember, I think people were arguing with him about his hobbies. Someone replied to him “seriously, you are 37. Grow up.” And I remember seeing that and going “oh wow, he acts like he does and he is HOW old?”
It is now the year 2021. I am 38 years old. And I really had no right as a teenager to think I would somehow end up “Better than.”
THE YEAR IS 2021. I AM NOT REINCARNATED IN ANOTHER WORLD.
I haven’t posted in this blog for a hot minute, and there’s a pretty good reason for this – I’m planning for a move far across the country, from Illinois back to my hometown of Hamilton, Montana. I have some pretty mixed feelings about this, but I can only explain it as “the stars have aligned.”
The stars have aligned. In, like, a Lovecraftian way, where suddenly the Great Old Ones can manifest? Or like, in an Astrology sort of way? No one knows.
In some ways, I had become comfortable here in Illinois, where I have lived for the last decade. The job I’ve worked at for the last 3 and a half years is something I’ve learned a lot at, and become quite familiar with… but also expects me to work 65 hours a week. Great when I want to pay bills; poor if I want to take care of my kids, or myself.
I don’t know if or when my estranged wife is returning, so I need to do more to take care of my children especially as I see signs they are slipping through the cracks.
I have no family connections here; all of my family will be in much closer driving distance once I am in Montana. In fairness, this could likely create all new problems, but I’ll burn those bridges down when they capsize on me.
A big pull towards moving happened when the lady who has been kind enough to rent to us for the last 5 years decided to sell the place. She’s… not happy with us, haha. I don’t blame her. At one point, this place had 3 ferrets, 3 dogs, and 3 cats. That is too many animals. I didn’t do enough. I didn’t do my part. I didn’t stop us from having this many animals. I need to do better at accepting my responsibility for this. So… yeah, not getting a positive referral from her, I imagine.
Also, the lack of outside help has created issues with my children. My oldest has had an extremely poor year academically, and if he doesn’t correct faces the likelihood of repeating a grade, or needing a GED. Not that this would be the end of the world, but the kid can do better. My daughter admits she feels neglected, and some of the ways she acts (and acts out) tells me there are deficincies there. My youngest son really needs more of a foundation to help with his autism and allow him a better springboard into a better future. I won’t get into his specific milestones here except to say I feel he has only improved because of the work his teachers have put in, not because of work on my part, and I feel rather heavy about this as well.
In the strongest of theories, I’ll be landing just outside my hometown with a place my children can stay until we find something better, a job that will be starting me at what I make at my current one (with a promise at a review at 90 days), a stronger family support system, and a chance to start fresh.
Assuming the ghosts of the past don’t drown me to death.
Or maybe I’ve always been dead, and I was reincarnated in such a way I never really came to terms with that.
My time growing up wasn’t perfect, but there was a lot of good in it. Some of that good was tainted towards the end when I left. I’m going to have to face those issues head on, especially if I’m to set down permanent roots and allow my children to do well there.
I don’t really want to.
I feel like this is going to force me to come to terms with the times I was a victim, and also the times that I was an aggressor, in a mix of affairs that frankly I have been up to this point been more comfortable just locking away and never visiting. One can’t change the past, after all, and apologizing for it (in my experiences anyways) usually does not benefit me, and often also doesn’t benefit others who were involved. So… why, right? Also, coming to terms with who I am as an individual, and how it contrasts with who I need to be to take care of my family.
Still, the experience will likely give me a lot more to reflect upon and write about. Always a silver lining there. A modern day Helmholtz Watson, only instead of an island where it always rains it’ll be an idealic town in a valley in the middle of the mountains plagued by high property prices and a fear of outsiders.
WILL THIS BLOG FINALLY BE TAKEN OFFLINE?
In a word, no. It may be updated less frequently over the next month, and there may be a change on what I focus on, but it is an important space to me and I’d like to continue to keep writing on it.
This WordPress Blog is not, at all, a money maker. Last year, it barely paid for itself. It is clear, looking at things, that won’t be the case this year (unless I suddenly get a whole lot of ad clicks, or book purchases, or something.) And that’s fine! But with that comes the realization I should mix up what my focus is a bit.
I like sharing books that I have read and enjoyed on here. I very rarely like sharing a book I didn’t enjoy. The reason for this is simple – if I don’t enjoy a meal, why would I keep picking at it? To warn others? I mean maybe, if they ask about it, but I don’t feel compelled to, especially in the indie space where everyone is working on their craft and many just need to work on things and retool them.
Of course, when I am reading less, because I have less time and also my head space isn’t the best to begin with… this means less content. And as we all know, Content is King ™ (c). I also would like to share more of my original works, good bad or indifferent… but that involves this thing called “actually writing them.” So for a bit, I feel my updates will be more sporadic… and that might be a good thing. Maybe I need more time to find a more focused voice.
That said, I do need to address a thing that has been eating at me, like a shizophrenic piranha that is just waiting for his school mates (that don’t actually exist yet) to show up so he can stop taking nibbles and start devouring at me whole.
These days, I don’t leave a lot of negative reviews. Recently, I one star’s a book that was clearly the writer trying to justify his relationship with his ex-wife, whom he groomed as a teenager. That book got pulled, and I don’t even feel bad. Sometimes, though, I can really hate a work and still feel like there is something worth salvaging, or at least a chance an author might hit it out the park with their next release.
I do truly believe that reviews are for potential purchasers, not the content creators themselves. Obviously, content creation platforms feel differently, especially Jeffrey the Amazonion Dragon, who has skewed the star rating system so horribly just so he can watch indie sellers and content creators bum fight each other. That dissonence, about the duality of these systems and what they mean and how they are used by the systems that employ them, can be a heavy ball to play with.
Which brings me to a book I gave two stars, that hasn’t gotten any reviews since… a book I truly fucking hated, but also which I feel the author should consider revisiting his concept and maybe retooling it. Failing that, I don’t feel like he should have given up.
I am not going to name the book, although I imagine those of you who follow me on Twitter (or in a very specific Discord group) know which book this is. That said, I am interested in finding people willing to give the guy an honest review for his book (which I, myself, did not care for. But maybe you will?) So I am offering a Kindle E-book copy of this book, which I will not name out of respect for the author, to anyone who shares an interest in the comments below. It’s a book that is kind of fantasy at first and then the later two thirds is a Modern Noir affair, featuring mermaid vampires and some minor amounts of kung-fu. In return for having this ebook purchased, I will request that the person who acquires it leaves an honest review. If you read it and like it, great! Mea culpa and all that. If you read it and hate it? The guy still gets more views. I feel that alone is win/win.
I also need to come to terms with the fact that I am not some sort of academic reviewer, I’m a hobbyist. This is fine in and of itself, and I don’t feel like I need to be “Sysco or E-Burt” in order to have an opinion worth hearing… but I also have to remind myself and others that my opinions are just that – my own.
Although man, when I finally get something published, it will be fun to see how I react to the poor reviews I’m sure to get, and trying to sort out how many of them is because the product isn’t up to snuff and how many of them are because I’m in a rendition of Chicago and I Have It Coming.
I really hope the changes that are coming my way manifest into me becoming a better person. I have severe doubts. But I can hope.