This will probably become my perennial Memorial Day post. It’s not the kind of thing that I’ll have a ton to add to, it’s just something we all need to do on the regular.
The book I think of most for Memorial Day is FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, by James Bradley. The review is above. It’s these books that will help us understand what it costs to create a nation and protect it from tyranny.
To me, that’s what Memorial Day is. Remembering the country we have, and what we enjoy in it, and those who died to give us that ability to enjoy it. They don’t get to have it. They just paid for it. We’re living on their work.
I touched on the idea of the price of a nation in HOWLING WILDERNESS, during a draft of the first chapter. This might not make it into the final version but that’s fine. The sentiment is there.
“Fifty years,” Lady Vandervoort said, her voice lowering just a touch, her eyes going distant. “None of it happened here. It wasn’t on Katahdin, it wasn’t in Maine. We trained in Virginia. Built mimics in the Ohio. Crossed Pennsylvania. Fell into a trap in New York. Finished the fight in New Jersey. This place…this place had nothing to do with it. But we are free here, because of what was done there. Fifty years I’ve carried the memories of that day, and all the hard days before it. Now here we are…finding this uniquely Merykan way to celebrate what we have.
“This? This is the anomaly. Life isn’t like this. Hasn’t been like this for most people in most places for most of the time we’ve walked the earth. Life is war and chaos and brutality and subjugation, speckled with tiny moments of peace along the way. This is peacetime. Enjoy it for what it is. Remember what it cost to get you all here. Have fun bombing around in the woods and the swamps, I guess, but know that you hold a diamond in your hand. It isn’t yours, it’s just yours to take care of. People died to find it, to pull it out of the ground and cut it and shine it up so you can look at it and see how pretty it is.
“Make sure it stays that way. One of you little bastards is going to win this thing and get a Council appointment. The diamond isn’t yours to spend. It’s yours to preserve. Think about that for the next two thousand miles.” She chuckled, lost in some distant memory. Then she sighed. “See you at the other end of this. Good luck.”
The cultured reader will know who Lady Vandervoort is from the original Engines of Liberty trilogy. If you don’t know, I won’t spoil the surprise.
Anyway. Celebrate well, and use this day for what it really means.
Every passing day I get a stronger urge to do more work with my hands, to be a maker, a real analog learner. I’m only getting closer to 40 and I haven’t achieved the more important stuff I set out to achieve in life.
My garage? Not a workshop. It’s full of mostly other peoples’ stuff, and bicycles. No workbench. One modest tool box and a cart with a bunch of junk on it.
I’m going to fix that this summer. In the meantime, look at this Swedish kid who bounced out of high school and started just straight-up DOING things. You want to talk about memes and masculine urges where you ditch society and build your own life in the wild?
WordPress notified me that I have 100 followers on this blog. I don’t try to build up the audience here as much as I do on YouTube, but it still seems like a cool milestone to hit, so thank you guys for checking it out.
Mostly I was there for work, but I had a hot minute to check out some local sights on Friday night. Gorgeous state, gorgeous scenery. It just rained a ton and turned everything green, and I liked that.
Because Louisville is right across the river from Indiana, my branch is zoned for that part of the state, and I got to make a few deliveries in an old historical district.
And since I was close enough to it, I checked out the Louisville Temple. Wasn’t able to do a session, but I walked the grounds.
Anyway, I’m back in the saddle now and returning to work on HOWLING WILDERNESS.
I found myself with a rare pair of nights alone at home, since the wife is visiting her family for my SIL’s graduation. I’m using the time to get caught up on HOWLING WILDERNESS, which, like every damn thing I write, is resisting my efforts to make sense.
This last week has been quite productive though. In addition to reducing the length of the Appalachian Trail Classic, I’ve also figured out ways to make the main three characters bounce off of each other better.
One potential pitfall is that I have 26 racers in the Classic and I’m tempted to showcase them all equally. That’s not going to be possible, so some of them will just have to get a passing mention (although I’ll draw all of them at some point.) Tonight I outlined a scene with a character called “Ohio Pete” Hamden–he’s got an important role to play at the end, so it was necessary to set him up at the beginning, but really he’s a second- or third-tier character. So I’ve got to be careful.
As of this writing I’m still putting the final touches on the outline, but once I have those in place the drafting will be smoother than it’s been so far. I just keep hitting the wall every time I sit down to draft because I don’t have all the minutiae in order and that stuff matters in a book like this.
And now it has 30 something views, more than my other book reviews get.
I really don’t know what else to do with my YT channel a lot of the time…860 subs, but I’m pretty much The Mayflower Guy. My most successful book reviews have been about Robin Hood, Louis L’Amour, and a manga version of All You Need Is Kill.
wtf do you people even want.
Anyway, watch the vid. I’ll do some art vids after I record the Sanderson stuff I have on deck.
Okay I figured out a lot of what was going wrong with HW.
Since it’s a race along the Appalachian Trail, I needed to double-check the course I had in mind. Looks like for a lot of it the racers won’t be on the current-day AT. It makes sense because they will be on machines and stuff, not on foot like the through-hikers do.
So the trail in the book will follow current-day roads and highways along rivers and such. That makes it about 700 miles shorter than in IRL. Trims about a week off of the original timeline.
That helps me to keep the pacing up. Trim the fat, as it were.
And my wife is out of town for the next two nights for a thing at my in-laws, so it looks like Graham is caffeinating and drafting like a mofo. Updates to come.
For serious though, I’m shoving more vegetable smoothies down my gullet to crush my hunger cravings and prevent me from eating soy-infused corn sold by truck stops. I desire to once more weigh 180 lbs.
I deserve this suffering for the money I have spent ingesting food unfit for the body my Woad ancestors bestowed upon me. I shall report further.
Like this post if you want me to share my daily weight on the bathroom scale when I wake up.