The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, November 19, 2007


Ah, free wireless in PDX. I love it. It seems you’re more likely to find this in small airports than large ones. Too bad.
Just coming back from Orycon, sitting in Portland Airport. Chances to see lots of good friends, and some educational experiences as well. Finally had an opportunity to play with R., who is an extremely advanced martial artist with probably more practical experience than almost anyone else I know. Deadly, deadly, guy, and a sweetheart. Great flow, and can punctuate it at any moment to create damage.
But more importantly, he has a calm about it all that is pretty close to out of the box—that is, it’s all just…nothing. He’s navigating some very rarified psychological/spiritual territory, and there are few maps of reality available for someone like him. Looking at the edge—and over the edge—of the map puts you in “Here there be Dragons” territory. If you were imbalanced when the realization that it’s all illusion kicks in, it can drive you crazy. At that point, in terms of living in consensual reality, you are operating on the bare wiring of the survival drive, and whatever structures you have built atop it. Skew to either side, and you can rush toward death as a means of avoiding ego destruction. Sounds strange, but what I mean by that is that your ego doesn’t want to die alone. It will try to take your body with it, and use your own strengths and weaknesses against you. Nothing matters, excepts acts of will. The ultimate act of will is to decide the moment of your own life. Why not jump?
Cute. Sorry, ego, you don’t get to get away with that one. Not on my watch.
So…I have six weeks to finish SHADOW VALLEY. Really, I plan to finish it in four, and then enjoy the holidays. We’ll see. Two weeks to finish, two weeks to polish, then kick back and be leisurely about the rest of the work. I think that thinking like that wil work great.

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