Friday, March 03, 2017

Ash Wednesday Confessional

Featuring photos of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and its environs between Moffat, CO, and my current home in Monte Vista, the better to break up the monotony.

It was a very pretty, if chilly day. Admission to the park was free on Presidents’ Day (normally $15 a carload), so we drove out to see what the big deal was.

There has been so much not to write about, I haven’t written anything. At least not for this blog. Make sense?

Sure, I could be babbling about current events that will mean absolutely nothing two weeks from now when the media rolls out the next Great and Terrifying Manufactured Crisis to keep us tuned in. It hardly seems worth it, though. As much as I enjoy the reading comments sections on news blogs, it occurs to me how exhausting it must be curating all that passion while working troll patrol.
Be vewwy quiet. We’re hunting trolls along the path south of the Visitors Center towards the main attraction. I’d love to take credit for these magnificent photos, but all photos featured in this post were taken by Cynthia J. Aiken on her phone.

You cannot imagine how grateful I am that I get so few comments on this blog. I’m not all that anxious for conversation; indeed, I’m anxious to avoid it. Unlike a lot of entities on the Internet, I don’t find myself all that fascinating. I live in a state of low-grade terror that anyone talking with me will learn the truth, namely, that I’m the dullest old shut-in they’ve ever met outside of an assisted living facility. Seriously, how interesting can a 50-something old guy who spends most of the day in front of his computer be?
Looking left towards distant Alamosa and the even more distant San Juan Mountains. Nope, no trolls here.

I’m not at all excited by film or television. I am the one person you know who has not watched a minute of the Groundbreaking and Edgy New Shows for Netflix, Amazon, whatever. I’m talking Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, all that stuff. I’ve read enough about it elsewhere to feel I’ve seen all there is to (not) see.

As an author of zombie novels, it seems incumbent upon me to watch The Walking Dead, but I haven’t been able to move myself to do so since the episode after Tyreese died, the one that concluded with them meeting Jesus. No, I don’t “hate” the series. Crazy as it sounds, I’ve got enough depressing post-apocalyptic stuff going on in my own third book right now, and I’d rather not wallow in the nihilism any more than I have to. 
Looking to the right. No trolls—and no flesh-eating walking corpses, either, thank God.

You know how some people like to go on with, “Every day I wake up and I’m grateful _______ is/is not my President?” Me, I wake up everyday and I’m grateful the electricity, and therefore the heat is still on. Every day is Thanksgiving when I see grocery stores with their glass fronts intact, stocked and open for business, when I can drive out to resupply without fear of crossing paths with a local warlord and his goons. Trust an old paranoiac who has done a lot of thinking on the matter—whatever flavor of your post-apocalypse, it’s going to be Negans everywhere you turn. 

Keep the lights on and the roads free of bandits. This is where another writer would add, “I don’t ask for much,” but it’s actually asking quite a lot. Civilization is no “small favor” by any stretch.
It’s as pretty as it is vast. But what if this was all that was left?

So I do what I can to keep my spirits up while plotting and executing some of the most violent and gruesome scenes I’ve written since my last book—these scenes must be ultraviolet dark and over the top, as the book I’m writing now concludes the series. I watch others get worked up into a fine froth over whatever minor terror campaign the Ministries of Misinformation are conducting at the moment, and turn away to look into the clear blue sky, grateful that the days are getting longer and that the trees will bud soon.
Actual, unretouched photo of the living dead prowling the post-apocalyptic wastes in search of live, uncorrupted flesh to rend and consume. Wish you were here?


The more I read about what’s (supposedly, allegedly) going on in the world, the happier I am that my wife and I settled out in the country, where the potatoes and beer barley are as fresh as it gets. Of course, even if I was living in the city, I’d be more preoccupied with minding my own business than what the so-called news tells me to be upset about. Of all the crazy things going on in the world, the one that confounds me is how the neighborhood where I used to live in Colorado Springs is still maintaining its overpriced value even as reports of car break-ins and other crimes are going up, and the streets and sidewalks have been neglected for so long they look, well, post-apocalyptic.

Honestly, I hadn’t wanted to move here, or anywhere away from an Interstate corridor. I like the amenities a good metro area has to offer. Thing is, most metro areas haven’t been good for a long time. So here I am in the high valley, and thank God it’s starting to grow on me. As it is, I have a sneaking suspicion what happened to us in Colorado Springs may yet happen over the next ten years in the San Luis Valley. There’s plenty of space to fill, and when everywhere else fills up, this is as fine a place as any to be.
Coming eventually: big box stores, apartment towers, strip malls with cash-for-gold and payday loans offices. Maybe not in the next ten years, but eventually.

Meanwhile, there’s nothing to do but follow Voltaire’s advice following the action of his dark comic novel, Candide. Let the rabble hoot and shout over whatever current Punch ‘n’ Judy show is playing, and mind my own garden. “Avoid foreign entanglements,” George Washington added most helpfully. It’s working for me.
Be like this tree. No one’s around to throw shade, and it’s got a hell of a view, besides.

The title of this post is “Ash Wednesday Confessional.” It started as “Sunday Morning Confessional,” but I got sidetracked, and didn’t resume until Wednesday. Now it’s Friday. What can I say, but keep watching this space. Life hasn’t killed me yet.
The road goes ever on and on.