When we look at the world, we are hallucinating all the time

I’ve got burnout.

I was hoping the mania induced by VP and WFC would carry me through to the end of the year, but the hyper-productivity that persisted through the end of NaNo has failed me, and until a few days ago, I was approaching my laptop with trepidation.

In the interim, I’ve been reading things I’ve been meaning to read. My to-read pile has been steadily growing as I ignored it in favor of writing, and after spending a few weeks hacking away at it, it’s almost felt like a Christmas present to myself. I miss spending five hours straight reading. It was a relief.

I’ve also been doing some research to keep my beast fed and happy in the interim. I’ve been reading about neuroaesthetics and neuroanatomy and I’m currently reading V.S. Ramachandran’s The Tell-Tale Brain (highly recommended) because while I can describe in excruciating detail the process of synaptic transmission or the function of the different types of cells in the brain, I know very little about the gross function of its parts. And seeing how I have three or four stories rumbling around in my head that deal with neurology in some fashion, it’s something I’ve been wanting to read more about.

And while I feel residual guilt about stepping away from the novel draft since December 3rd, all of this reading and space let a bunch of abandoned story ideas jumble up into something I hope will parallel (or even exceed) the Triffid story in its beauty and horror and sciencefulness.

Which gets me around to something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. All of the stories I have in circulation (or in draft form) right now have nothing to do with science, and they’re trifles when compared to the Triffid one. This is something I’m not entirely comfortable with. As someone who doesn’t see herself conforming to a single style or genre any time soon, I’m left thinking about what my body of work will look like in five years. Part of me almost hopes none of these find a home just because they’re so hollow when compared to the Triffid one.

But the louder part of myself knows this is a silly thing to be pondering. It’s useless to think about these things. I need to just be writing things that make me happy, and damn the rejection torpedoes. I need to be writing stories that push all my buttons, be it horror or fucked up fantasy or hard SF.

So I really like this story I started the other day. It’s mashing up a few roadtrips to the desert I took with my friend Natalie of the past few years, neuroscience and art to make up what I hope is a unique take on the (WAY overdone) zombie apocalypse trope. And I don’t care that it’s just going to make it that much harder to sell down the road. It’s got my favorite opening line of all the stories I’ve written to date.

I want to finish this story this month, but the novel has started calling me back to finish it, so maybe next month. Until then, I’ve got some studying to do.

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