Nobody knows where the glow in the horizon comes from. This is not a place of knowledge.
I apologize for missing a month, I've been reading incessantly lately. I've settled on 500 words as a goal for whenever I work on my fiction or just want to get in some writing practice, at the behest of Lester Bangs. Lately I've been struggling with figuring out how to balance my CCNA studies with the rest of the things that I want to work on, and to help with that I ordered some nice Kokuyo Campus notebooks since I have an enduring love of Japanese stationery. Considering I'll more than likely spend the rest of December reading Cyclonopedia (translation: dicking around) I've decided to begin fully committing in January with a caveat that I'll dedicate 3 calendar days a week to only studying for my CCNA, which I'll dedicate one of my notebooks to. The rest of the 4 days will be dedicated to my philosophy reading and literary ambitions, also with its own notebook. It's sort of silly but I'm essentially trying to get myself to behave as if I'm back in community college and I only scheduled 3 days for classes. Similarly silly is having to tell myself that I need to strap my ADHD brain down and study for my shit so I can get a job where I can afford my own apartment so I don't have to subsist on a diet of ham sandwiches and multivitmains because the sink is still fucked up.
As far as philosophy is concerned, I've been reading Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials and I ordered a physical copy of Deleuze's Difference and Repitition. Lately I've been interested in exploring for myself various strains of explicitly Anti-Hegelian thinking, whether that's Deleuze, Derrida, or early analytic philosophy. I also intend to read Georges Bataille's The Accursed Share soon-ish, partly out of genuine interest and partly for the purposes of the Cruelty Squad story I'm still working on. Alain Badiou I've also developed a little bit of an interest in, I ordered one of his shorter works, only three chapters. If I feel a bit more reserved in sharing my enthusiasm for my philosophical reading, it's partly due to this excerpt of Kant that I came across in his Prolegomena:
Making plans is often the occupation of an opulent and boastful mind, which thus obtains the reputation of a creative genius by demanding what it cannot itself supply, by censuring what it cannot improve, and by proposing what it knows not where to find. Lately I've also been more content with my reading of philosophy being an exceptionally slow burn. The way I visualize it mentally is I imagine capital P Philosophy as a circle where every single work I read and re-read expands its circumference slowly over the course of my life.
As far as fiction goes, I finished re-reading Neuromancer and I thoroughly enjoyed it more on the second run. Recently I've also read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep but I don't think I was able to really appreciate Dick's writing until I was already near the end of the story, when I could finally stop comparing it to Blade Runner and appreciate it as its own separate work. I do wish there was a novelization of Blade Runner 2049 but I can safely say that I enjoyed Do Androids Dream more than I enjoyed Blade Runner, and I can't wait to give it a second read. I've noticed that my ever since reading it my mind tends to wander to thoughts of kipple and the kipplization of our universe, and perhaps my own kipplization. For those not in the know, kipple is the in-book term for all the accumulated abandoned garbage left behind on Earth after the majority of the population booked it to Mars or one of the other colonies. Kipple's only purpose is to accumulate and gradually overtake everything on Earth, after a long enough period of time, everything either becomes kipple or gets overtaken by it. It makes me think that one day every word I'll ever write, philosophy, fiction, or otherwise, will become kipple, and the process has already begun before I ever started.
I'm taking my sweet time with my Cruelty Squad story, I'm not only putting more hours into the game itself to sort of burn its world and language into my memory, but I'm also trying to get to the second and third endings. I've finished the first ending on Archon Grid and I've managed to find the 6 bonus levels, but I haven't yet had the chance to beat them. I've also been scouring the wiki for information on everything I can and can't find myself. There's a few books that I have in mind to help me write it, but lately I've been thinking of shitting out a rough draft that I can sit on for a few months, read some more books, then go back and revise it with new information gleaned from more competently written fiction. As far as the story itself, I've decided on a non-linear structure that hopefully won't strike anyone as too pretentious. I'm going to dig out a dot grid notebook that I have laying around in one of my boxes so I can try to take detailed notes on the game itself while also writing lines that I think I'll try to work around. In Jacob Geller's video on games writing, while referring to Jamil Kochai's Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, he said of it,
The tightrope that this story walks seems impossible. It is, simultanously, written for people intimately familiar with Metal Gear Solid V, people who have never played a video game before, and for the author alone. It is so intensely personal that it's almost overwhelming. Those few lines gave me the framework I needed to attempt this piece, it's the goal to strive for alongside the satisfaction of having written what I hope to be a good story, and it's what I hope to accomplish for any work I ever decide to write on a video game that I'd like to dedicate concentrated effort to.
One thing that's only somewhat related to both my interests in philosophy and fiction is I ordered David Peterson's The Art of Language Invention since I wanted a fun introduction to linguistics. There's a certain severity in learning a natural language that real people think and dream in and I hope conlanging gives me a chance to be a bit more playful with introducing myself to the inner workings of language before I attempt a natural language. I'll probably make time for that book after Cyclonopedia since it should come in around when I expect to be finished with this book. Recently I purchased a new laptop that I'm quite happy with since I've done my best to install as little as possible on it that could possibly distract me the way my desktop seems to. It's more than likely where I'll end up doing the majority of my writing practice and where I hope to flesh out my Cruelty Squad story over the coming months. It's also where I hope to work out commentaries and notes on works of philosophy I feel compelled to engage with. But mostly, it's where I installed the necessary network simulation software I'll need to study for my CCNA on the days I've set aside for it. I also went ahead and installed Ruby since I've decided that I want to teach myself a programming language, I've learned a little bit of C on a Linux distro I had on a shitty laptop but the laptop itself was frustratingly slow and I moved on to other things. If I fail miserably at improving my prose fiction I'll try out video games. I have plans for things I'd like to read and things I'd like to write, making plans is easy, what's difficult is disciplining myself to explore what I'm currently capable of writing, and returning to what I've written with the embarrassed lucidity of a six month gap.