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On and Off a Roll. Introducing Infinity.

Last week I finished doing a major revision on Jim and the Flims. I’d had my character Weena talking in the familiar Phil-Dickian California-speak that I’ve learned to do so smoothly. But if she’s really from 1907, it really makes more sense if she has an old-timey manner of speech. So I’m going through the book, searching for every occurrence of “Weena,” and rewriting all her lines.

I have a slight worry that I’m losing some nice Val-girl zingers, like “Don’t worry,” but those are, after all, rather facile. I think it’s going to be richer and funnier if Weena talks in an odder and more high-falutin way.

Changing the Weena dialog actually took three days, it was a lot more work than I’d expected. What made it more work especially was that I ended up noticing all kinds of loose threads and inconsistencies from the accumulation of reach-back changes I’ve made. But now I think it’s pretty solid. And it is sort of more fun to have Weena talking in this 1900s-style way—at least I hope that’s the era she sounds like. I might reread some of Hinton’s “scientific romances” to check the tone.

The drudge work of doing this long revision threw me off the roll I was on before that, a lovely writing binge, tearing through the Castle chapter and into the Quest Rose chapter, all excited about the higher-degree Mandelbrot sets. It was so nice being on a roll.

I had a couple of days when all I thought about from dawn to dusk was the novel, and I was belting out more than a thousand words a day, and that’s including two or three polish-revisions. I’d almost say those are my favorite kinds of days, when I’m almost in a trance, just thinking about the book all day long, problem-solving, rockin’ it, hitting the curl.

This week I didn’t get to write on the novel at all, I had to write this 6,000 word introduction for a collection of essays about infinity, to be published by the Templeton Foundation, a group interested in promoting scientific discussions that relate to theology.

They were going to have me to write an article last winter, but I wrote an SF story then, “Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory,” and the intended publisher freaked out about having an *ack* science-fiction story in their scholarly tome. But the Templeton guys were nice about it, and this spring they told me I could write an intro instead, and they even said it would be okay if I put in a plug for my “Jack and the Aktuals” story online.

I liked this development fine, but then the papers that I’d be introducing showed up at my house, and instead of reading them right away, I kept putting it off, even though I’d said I’d do the intro by mid-September.

So a few days ago, the Templeton guys emailed me, like, “Where’s the intro?” So finally I tore into reading the papers. The good ones were quite strong—some great math ones, papers about physics and infinity, and a few of strong theology papers about God and infinity—written in philosophical jargon just this side of incomprehensibility, but sort of fun to read—like listening to the twittering of alien beetles.

For most people the math papers would be the alien beetle twitters, but for me those are more like hearing jazz that’s switched (over the years since I left grad school) to some new kinds of beats.

Anyway, I actually read all the papers and wrote a six thousand word introduction. I can’t quite understand how I did that so fast. I could never write six thousand words on a novel in just a few days. Of course for my intro, I was partly able to recycle stuff that I already knew from writing Infinity and the Mind, also I was able to drop in quotes from the papers in question. But I did write quite a bit of brand new stuff as well. And it was interesting to be writing about infinity again.

But at the same time, I was in a rush to finish because I wanted to get back to Jim and the Flims. I might be able to use some of that theology stuff in there, too, when Jim meets the god-like spirit of Flimsy herself, in the center of the Helaven sea—remember, I did a painting of that spot a few weeks ago. Anyway, I’ll still be working on the intro a little next week, as there’s still two more late-arriving papers coming in, also I want to improve it a little overall.

And I have something else coming over the horizon in the next few days as well.

I may get a little writing done around the edges in the coming days, I’ll try and keep the embers alive, but I won’t be doing any all-day rockin’ on a roll for maybe a week. But then, ah then, Muse willing, I’ll be carving Flimsy again…eventually getting to the Surf Zombie chapter!

3 Responses to “On and Off a Roll. Introducing Infinity.”

  1. emilio Says:

    wow, great post. I really like the part about how it is for you to spend your day writing. I can have days like that coding. But all the problems kind of look the same any more.

    Scientific papers that relate to theology — what a concept.

  2. Russ Van Rooy Says:

    ‘Infinity and the Mind’ is one of my favorite books. I’ve read and re-read it numerous times, always getting a little more understanding. Write on!

  3. regime rapide Says:

    WOW its nice photography and good concept of tracing it over infinitie.
    I appreciate it lol..

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