Writer’s Big Year: Satire?

I missed this season of 10 Gladwell podcasts, Revisionist History. Number 10, The Satire Paradox, fascinates from a writer’s perspective. Essentially he observes that the best, most savage satires appeal to both the target audience (who appreciate the sharp, righteous irony) and the attacked “enemy” (who see what they want to see). A case of “motivated cognition,” an academic interviewee finds. Colbert attacks Palin and it’s wonderful and it works, but Palin supporters love it also! No viewpoints are altered. Memo to self: satire is a dangerous genre. Go serious. Always. (Maybe?)

2017 Cycling Big Year: Practice time!

Nerves . . . how do I get to nine hours of cycling every week, beginning Monday, January 2, 2017, from a base of childlike ineptitude? I’m keen to ramp up my current casual cycling to something within cooee of nine hours, but in the meantime I need to jog four times a week (plus gym, plus stretching, plus the most intense activity of all, the writing).

All I can do is allocate time, using common sense, and ratchet up the activity gradually. Two hours a week at the moment . . . let’s aim for three, four, then five, then six, hours over the month of December. Such fun!

The unossified mind

Why is everyone around me so definitive? So cast-iron certain. I guess it’s the human way, especially for the middle-aged, to assert: me, I know!

You don’t. I don’t. If our dominant story is “here’s how one does it,” we’ve lost our way, vanished into a retirement haze.

Writing Big Year: Why can’t data stop coming in?

South Africa cheated, pretending to embrace the peaceful atom while building nuclear bombs. It recanted and binned its bombs. The South African tale belongs to my book and I’ve researched it to death, in fact I need do no more. At least that’s what I thought until I spied a brand new book, “Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program.” David Albright is one of the world’s experts on proliferation, so after sighing and whispering “damn,” I chucked the new data onto the Kindle.

Notion for a novel

Does a notion get under your skin? I’d read Mantel’s 2 books, then watched the first episode of this Wolf Hall miniseries . . . too busy, fuggedabout it . . . But no, here’s the notion that compels: Cromwell is the moral f***ker, the frighteningly effective and frightening human operator who, underneath it all, retains a hidden code of morality. You all know someone like that. You want them on your side. I tell you, I’d love to write a novel featuring a “climate change Cromwell.” So onwards, let’s watch the remaining five episodes.

Decision time: 2017 Cycling Big Year

Let’s gamble on a big change, a Cycling Big Year. From January 1, 2017, until December 31, I shall:

  • Cycle each and every day
  • Commit five days of each week to at least one hour, plus two days at two hours minimum
  • Aim over the entire year to clock up 8,000 kms
  • Convert 45 weeks (i.e. 52 weeks less travel/hiking outages) into that 8,000 kms by roughly targeting 180 kms per week

Writing Big Year: Oh, exuberance, save me!

The brain wave was to insert into a pivotal historical moment, handed down by a US president, the likely whereabouts and reactions of nine reactor pioneers across the globe. Well, it reads like magic. Hence the emotion in the photo.

But the flip side is that this required quite some detective work (delays, delays) and it chews up a couple of pages. In the end does it work? I’ll have to wait to read the entire Chapter 5.

Jogging Big Year: Why abandon such wonder?

Jogging an entire year always seemed risky, especially on January 1, but it’s now part of my life. An ingrained habit that invokes wonder week after week.

But I’ve made the decision to switch next year. To ditch the specific fortitude and skill built up over a calendar year, probably never to try it again.

Why? Wear and tear on feet is the most sensible reason; although the feet have held up well, how much longer can they? Secondly, I believe I can get the high of real cardio effort (call it huffing and puffing) with cycling, as long as hills are in the mix. Thirdly, it’s time to try something else, and surely that’s the most implacable logic. A Big Year isn’t a Big Year if it is two years.