Out of It

I’ve been asked why I haven’t been writing exhaustively on Libya/Middle East/Wisconsin/Washington Budget Battles/Enter Topic Here over the last couple of weeks. The answer is pretty simple: I’m trying to finish a novel, so I have to decide whether I’m going to devote processing cycles to thinking deeply about the artificial world I’m creating in my own head, or the real world which is going on outside of it. An as a matter of practicality, while everyone else can comment on the real world, I’m currently the only one who can comment on the artificial world in my head. So that’s where I’m mostly putting the brain cycles at the moment.

It’s not to say I might not turn around tomorrow and go on an extended rip about what’s going on out there in the universe. I might, because I’m twitchy like that. But what I’d really like to do is finish this particular novel. I’m reasonably close. So it’s likely that’s where my brain cycles will stay until I’m done.

I know, I picked a fine time to ignore the real world. Hey, it happens. If everything goes the way it should, at the end of it, I’ll have produced something you can use to ignore the real world, too. Seems a fair trade.

That said: Jesus, 2011. It’s still only February, and you’ve already tired me out, news-wise. You are The Year Mostly Likely to Need Ritalin. Please make the next ten months entirely uneventful to make up for the first two spastic months. Thank you in advance.

33 thoughts on “Out of It

  1. I often wonder why people insist that anyone who has an online presence (and comments on some real world topics) must comment on all real world topics. I’ve seen this at a number of sites with readers almost demanding at times that a commentator must comment on whatever topic the reader insists on.

    I’d much rather read topics that the commentator is interested in writing about. And, no offense Mr. Scalzi, but I’m looking forward to the novel you’re writing more than any comments you might have about the political situation around the world.

  2. What Mark S. said. But even more so, I avoid news sites mainly because of the comment threads wherein people get all frothy toward each other about whatever political thing is occurring at the moment (whether or not it has anything to do with the topic). I like the comment threads at Whatever much more when people aren’t getting similarly frothy.

  3. I am completely sympathetic. I was a news junkie for many years. Nowadays… news just bores me more than anything. All of this has happened before, all of this has happened again, and it doesn’t get any better in reruns.

  4. I take periodic “news vacations”. It isn’t that I don’t get any news, its just a conscious decision to watch something fun instead of the news in the evening, and to listen to music instead of NPR while I drive. I find it relaxing. The internet makes it so that we get bombarded with information, and sometimes I like to slow the flow a little bit. I realize what you are saying is not that you don’t know about these things, you simply aren’t commenting on every little thing. While I enjoy your opinions, I’d rather see your next book sooner than to know your deepest, darkest thoughts about Egypt/Wisconsin/etc. I do like your cat pictures though.

  5. I’m betting that most other readers, like me, are here NOT to find your opinions on weighty world issues and news, but about your life, your work, what Athena, your wife, and your friends are up to, and science fiction things that YOU find interesting.

    And Ghlaghghee pictures.

  6. Mark S @2

    I often wonder why people insist that anyone who has an online presence (and comments on some real world topics) must comment on all real world topics.

    The answer must be obvious: it’s because the requester wants to impress us all with his/her opinion on this matter only he/she can’t if Scalzi won’t give ‘em the forum.

    Scalzi

    while everyone else can comment on the real world, I’m currently the only one who can comment on the artificial world in my head

    No real reason why you should bear this burden alone. Just tell us what’s up in your artificial world and we’ll all comment on it just like it was the real world.

    We’ll all hep ya.

  7. The real world is very exciting these days, but distracting if you have a need for ‘thinking room.’ Just the weather/ floods/roof collapses/potholes are major annoyances this year.

    It’s that grand old Chinese curse in action – “May you live in interesting times.”

  8. Yea!! Working on new novel!!

    Boo!! Having to wait for more comments on Wisconsin.

    Not that I am happy about WI being a part the national and international news circus. But I must say that you know you are in the thick of things when The Daily Show turns up and dosen’t just green screen you in.

    Oh, and Yea! New novel!!

  9. Joke making the rounds:

    A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party and a big-corporate CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says,”look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.”

    And that’s the news from Wisconsin.

  10. I’m currently the only one who can comment on the artificial world in my head

    The real world will carry on just fine regardless of whether or not you’re paying attention to it. Except for that electron that just zipped by you on the way to the kitchen – if you don’t look at it, it won’t know if it went out the window or smashed into the refrigerator.

  11. While I understand Mark’s sentiment, I don’t think it applies in all cases. In particular, I enjoy when our esteemed host waxes eloquent on a topic-of-the-day. He is, quite simply, good at it, and whether or not I agree with his politics that particular day I do very much appreciate that any posts he makes are thoughtful, coherent and stimulating. Which is a fair bit better than much of what I see float across the aggregators.

    That said, Mr. Scalzi, you’re quite right – novels are your day job, and we’d like MOAR! MOAR! MOOOAAAAAARRRRR!

    ahem.

    Please.

  12. I’ve been asked why I haven’t been writing exhaustively on…

    Because it’s exhausting, I assume.

    Anyone wanting to know exhaustively what’s going on in the middle east should just go to al jazeera for the straight dope:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/

    Certainly, they have a bias, but, hey, so do American media sources as well documented here:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/28/biases/index.html

    And in situations where, for example, the NYT is outright lying about what it knows about an American CIA operative who killed two pakistani citizens, sometimes the only way to find out what’s really going on is to go outside the American press.

  13. John sayeth: “Please make the next ten months entirely uneventful to make up for the first two spastic months.”

    Um, yeah, good luck with that.

    Although, you know, as eventful goes, I note that much of this looks like the good sort of eventful.

    Or at least has potential of having good results.

    Or at least “less bad” results.

    I think I’ll stop there.

  14. 2011 has been more ferocious and rambunctious than four badgers trapped inside clown pants. In the end, it may leave a much larger marker than the badgers will leave on the poor clown’s legs. Just been that kind of year. To top it all off, their will be another delightful book written by Mr. Scalzi. Or at least, it should be far better for the reader than that poor clown.

  15. It does seem to be one of those periods of time where the world is in fact changing. It’s a bad time to not be a news junkie, unless you prefer end-of-the-year history digest updates rather than history-in-progress.

  16. Frank speaks truth about the whole forum thing. Not that I’ve felt the sudden urge to comment on real life stuff ATM. I just want to keep up on the Libya story because I think when Gaddafi gets pushed out, it’ll be one of those big WTF moments. I mean he already had a 3 hour epic long rant.

    I think I’ve just commented on a real life news event again! Doh!

  17. “2011 has been more ferocious and rambunctious than four badgers trapped inside clown pants.”

    Christopher, I think I love you.

    :-D

  18. I’m 100% behind your choice. I get very, very tired of the “real” world stuff and really look forward to escape in a good book!

  19. The problem with all this real-world stuff is the study required to form an intelligent opinion! I could spend all day reading up on Libya and still not have a clue. Just one for-instance. Budget wars? Tunisia? Egypt? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! And badgers…

  20. #21 by MyName: (re Gaddafi) “I mean he already had a 3 hour epic long rant.”

    The man has had a 40+ year long rant. It’s really past time for him to STFU.

    He claims to be willing to become a martyr (and the people he claims love him seem to be willing to oblige). But what would he be a martyr for? The right for oppressive leaders to have an atrocious fashion sense?

  21. As one living too-close-for-comfort to these news items (and I don’t mean the ones in WI, folks), i welcome the thought that our host is focussing on what he’s really good at – distracting me from my worries.
    That said, if past history is any guide, John’s articles on current events are more often than not spot-on, why-didn’t-i-think-about-it, common-sense-is-really-that-easy pieces, so I’d welcome one as well. It would distract me from the BS i have to sift through on twitter to know what’s happening around me …

  22. I’m in the capitol in Madison and shared the ritalin comment with the people here. We found it hilarious and agree.

  23. Some people actually have the nerve to tell you what to write about?
    Why don’t you tell them all to shuck the fut up?

    Except for me . . . ’cause I only told you to do what you already made up your mind to do — right?

  24. So, I decided to try it. And yeah, even Al Jazeera isn’t (currently, on the front page) covering what’s going on in WI.

    Guess it doesn’t count as news.

  25. Scalzi: Jesus, 2011. It’s still only February, and you’ve already tired me out, news-wise. You are The Year Mostly Likely to Need Ritalin. Please make the next ten months entirely uneventful to make up for the first two spastic months. Thank you in advance.

    2011: Heh heh heh…

  26. Well half way through March, and I wish the ten very uneventful months had come up as per John Scalzi’s request..

    At this point I’ll settle for 41weeks of slow news days.. Please!

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