Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Influences

I've been scattered these past two weeks, ever since the book launch.  My partner and I spent a good portion of my holidays last week flogging the thing online and trying to create a presence.  It is a hard, uphill climb, one that will be going on a year at least.  At the same time, I'm trying to edit my book, so that it can be published the end of October.  I thought at first September, but that ship has probably sailed.

Worked on maps, which I posted, and I worked on a new algorithm for the availability of goods and services for my equipment lists ... but that won't be evident in any of the future lists I'll publish, and in any case all 1,600 hundred items on the list need to be individually managed.  That will take time.

I admit I'm depressed at the moment.  Depressed at the long actual artistic tasks in front of me and depressed at the prospect of getting it on the market for no good purpose.  It may be lost on some readers that I have a profound artistic temperment - as my daughter says, it wavers from "I am master of the world" to "Is it any good?  Really?"  She's right.  It hurts to admit that, though.

My partner Tamara is twisted up for her own reasons, as naturally the sales jump she expected was less that desired.  And there have been unexpected problems, resulting in frustration and the feeling of being kicked when she's down.  I know I'm going through this myself in a couple of months.

The decision to publish our own stuff came uneasily, as people explained to me and Tamara that we were wasting our time attempting to get the subjective support of a publishing house.  The world has changed, and the only way to get recognition now is to sell online, prove yourself and THEN maybe one of the houses might deign to take notice.  This is a change in thought process, and not an easy one.  The fall out has been sobering.

Sometimes, the artistic temperment gets muddled with the problem that my brain never stops working.  Getting the brain shifted into something calm and pleasant is difficult.  Video games are often too much like work.  Designing D&D is often too much like work.  Writing is always too much like work.  Film and entertainment are good, but often too passive.  I like something that at least takes a bit of functionality - interactivity, if you will - to keep me relaxed.

About 8 months ago I stumbled across the flight simulator on Google Earth, which has been an interesting experiment.  If you haven't played it, you can find the option under the Tools menu; the simulator allows you to take advantage of Google Earth's 3D landscape as an arena for flight.

It's touchy, but easily manageable with a little practice ... and since sometime in February I have occasionally returned to it.  With it, I've been on a strange quest, the kind that appeals to me.  With the SR22, the slow plane that's offered, I've been flying from Calgary eastward.  The plane's top cruising speed is about 175 mph, and having dedicated some time to this, I'm about fifty miles from Isfahan in central Iran.  I have been flying from airport to airport, not stopping unless I've landed in an airport (had to teach myself how to land) ... and so far I've covered something like 9,000 miles on an uneven route through eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Europe and the Middle East.  I plan to drop into India, cross the Himalayas from there, fly across China and through Siberia to the Bering Strait, then down through Alaska and back home again.

I'm not in any hurry.

There's something odd about viewing Google Earth in this fashion - something I've learned.  Since I'm not rushing the trip ... and since it can take up to half an hour to fly to yonder mountain range out there ... I have plenty of time to contemplate the manner in which people live, the distribution of population, the circumstances surrounding the layout of roads and so on.  It is profound to think that prior to Google Earth, it would be virtually impossible to view the earth in this fashion - even as late as four or five years ago.  The 3D is excellent, there are images everywhere that can be viewed if the flight is paused, and of course I'm not limited by political air space. 

The world is BIG.  Deserts are not, in large part, empty.  There are large places of emptiness, to be sure, but its fascinating to note where on earth there are extensive fields and small towns.  The proliferation of huge cities in strange places is astounding.  I have a visual sense now for how the mountains are different in Montenegro as compared with, say, Scotland or central France - a sense I wouldn't have if I'd merely dropped into those places with Google Earth.  I've stared at those mountains intently as I've approached them, flown around them, watched the patterns of the ground change as its risen or fallen away.  I really believe I have a sense of the Earth now I did not have seven months ago.  I'm not saying in the least that its equivalent to actually going to these places ... but then, going to these places is not equivalent to joining hundreds of them together abstractly.

It takes patience.  I can heartily recommend it ... though I can't say I really began to feel the effects of it until I had begun to cross the Atlantic.  I continue to be enlightened.  Moreover, like I say, it is a calming influence.

There can never be too many of those.

1 comment:

Scarbrow said...

I don't know if knowing it will help you with your depression, but to the extent that knowing what's our influence in others can do it:

I'm going to try. You've piqued my interest in yet another way. Well done.