A depressing thought

Most of us turn to fiction in order to get inspired and alleviate our boredom of the world.

And yet, how many times do we hear of the “truth being stranger than fiction”?


Thus, how damned mundane must the real world be?


Okay, so maybe that is a little gloomy, which is (mostly) unlike me, however this came to me tonight. I was killing a bit of time and watching James Randi debunk a number of “psychics”. It was fun to have a giggle at them, even if some of them were truly convinced of their own ability. 


Anyway, there was enough of that, so I switched back to my default tired YouTube mix of AMVs (old habits die hard). And I started getting all stirred up by them. “Man, if only I could write something that would affect people as much as Fate/Bakemonogatari/Higurashi could…” I thought. 


Okay, so maybe KS isn’t quite at that level, but I surely have an inbox full of saved messages thanking me for KS. 


The same thing happens at airports. I travel enough to get access to nice airline lounges. And yet, when I grab a coffee in there, I jealously sneer at those corporate pricks that spend their lives on planes, flying to foreign lands and enjoying the finer things in life…

Sometimes you forget to look at your own life and surroundings. Truth is stranger than fiction, but unfortunately for us our brains conspire against us to prevent us from noticing this.

There are a number of books on cognitive fallacies, the most well known being “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, but there are also the “Easy Mode” versions like “The Art Of Thinking Clearly” by Rolf Dobelli and “You’re not as smart as you think you are” by David McRaney (although different countries have different titles depending on the local idioms). 


I’ll admit that I’ve actually been taking a narrow view on these books recently – actually mainly an availability heuristic failing (I finished an e-book without a readily available follow-up, Our Lord Amazon, however, provided…). But sometimes that is enough to open your eyes just enough to catch a fleeting glimpse of the immensely interesting and exciting world that we live in.


I’m halfway through the next chapter of Arctic Gale. I was interrupted last weekend and couldn’t get back into it, but I am hoping that I can fix this tomorrow morning. Keep an eye out!


In the interim, I leave you with an image that I will now select from my collection. Sadly my new NAS is having a case of the sads, so it will be an old one.



Flower Viewing on Miyajima Island, 2009
Flower Viewing on Miyajima Island, 2009

5 thoughts on “A depressing thought

  1. If you think about it though, fiction–any work of fiction–is inspired by the real world. After all, nobody can create something from nothing–what inspires them and subtly gives them ideas for their own work are two things: the works they’ve seen before and the world in which they live.

    And on the topic of those franchises you mentioned, as well as KS, I think that’s the key. I think there’s a bit of a strange sense where people can see when something’s made for the sake of making money, just like they can see when someone’s almost bursting at the seams with motivation and a (sometimes) new idea, KS being a primary example. When a creator has no ulterior motives for their work, but simply writes with that single idea/premise in their head and nothing else, I think that’s the key to creating a sensational work. That’s also why I think conscious attempts at milking a franchise usually tend to be somewhat…lackluster compared to that initial spark that created it in the first place.

    And we could get into the monster of a topic that the creators were aware of their target audience (Genderbent King Arthur, anyone?), but that’s a whole other thing.

    Anyway, for Bakemonotari, at least (don’t know about Higurashi that much), before it became an anime, it was(and is) a light novel–in the beginning, I doubt the author knew that it would sell like crazy and become an anime adaptation that would sell even more–he simply wrote what he thought was interesting or simply what he wanted to write, and a couple years later, we have the Monogatari franchise, still going strong.

    Don’t assume that I’m saying that every passing person who has an idea for a novel should work on it. There’s obviously talent involved, something which not a lot of people have. There’s also the determination to sit down to work on it for years, and then keep sitting down after getting rejected a bunch of times–which again, I don’t think a lot of people have.

    Sorry, it sounds like I’m published when I’m really not (yet). But these are just my thoughts.

    Anyway, see you. Thanks for posting–definitely gave me some food for thought.

    Akira Aria

    Also, this may come across as random, but what do you know about computers? As in programming and coding languages?

    1. Yes, novels and all creative pursuits surely sit in the “Extremistan” from Taleb’s “Black Swan,” and there are a number of mental shortcuts that make you miss just how amazing it is for something to become “popular”…

      But, by the same token, but many of us have that “dramatic” real life that we often crave in fiction. We are mostly relegated to mediocrity by the simple fact that if everyone is special, then no-one is…

      On the topic of coding, I have a minor in computer science. I was okay with object-oriented languages like C++ and Java, as with Actionscript, but I haven’t really coded anything for about a decade. I did work in a programing house for a few weeks but it just wasn’t my thing.

    2. Great thoughts! Saved me a bunch of writing! ^_^

      Inspiration is everywhere if we’re open to it. There is extraordinary in the mundane. Take time to examine the vien pattern in leaves. What does the chaos of a living room inhabited by a 4 year old do when you turn your back for 5 minutes? If the things in your cupboards could talk, what kinda biographies would they write?

      Also, as a reader, I/we are at the disadvantage of seeing the struggle of the writer for the last 1 to 3 (or more) years in the midst of crafting. We read, consume and exclaim: “That was awesome! More!” To make a marble statue takes a crazy amount of work. (Take “The David” for instance). There is carving rough, carving detail, smoothing and paying quarry workers and apprentices. Never mind adjusting for a major flaw that runs through the middle of that piece of material. Much time and effort goes into something that remarkable.
      Keep after it CC. Writing is definitely the “road less traveled by”. And as you want to do it well, gives ME confidence that you will reach your goal. Always baby steps. And you never quit learning and growing in your craft. 😉

      Don’t forget you have a family too. That, in itself, is a remarkable, wonderful thing!

  2. So is it one of those things where we take what we have for granted and keep looking for something even though it’s right in front of our faces? Or could it be that we just see someone who seems to have it better off than we do and that leads us to believe that our lives aren’t that great.

    All right. I’m majoring in computer science at the moment, so I was curious if you could advise me on anything. Seeing as you haven’t done anything with it in 10 years though, may I assume you don’t remember much?

    Anyway, looking forward to AG.

    1. I’m going to say yes and no.

      The Optimist in says “Yes! You’re right, sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees.” Being alive is a good thing, and we should try to eek out every millilitre of happiness and excitement that we can.

      But the pessimist in me says “No. The chances of you having a truly unique life experience is about 7 billion to 1. What makes you so special that you become the best at anything?”

      There is the whole argument about finding your sphere of influence/expertise, attaining a state of “Flow” and that kind of stuff, and most of the time I am happy with that. But every now and again, when sitting alone and realising that I am wasting a lot of time on Youtube, that you get those thoughts…

      Oh, and about to post AG 19. I hope it has a decent enough cliffhanger for you

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