Today I begin my new job. But last week, a lot of little things have been going on. Among events in my life, I got comments back for my first novel and began work yesterday, giving it a final once over and correcting canon concerns. I’m trying to have the final draft ready no later than a month. I also have a critical review of Avengers: Age of Ultron that I’m tinkering with.
Finally, I’m giving up drinking for a month.
I don’t really have any substance abuse problems. But I am heavy drinker, and there’s a fine line between that and being an alcoholic. Given good reason, I’ll abstain. But when I have a green flag to drink, I tend to consume a great deal, which has become an insidiously bad habit. I’ve been hearing some about what happens when a person stops drinking for about a month and I think the biggest attraction has to be the ease of getting sleep, as rest hasn’t been coming to me very easily since I moved.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about the situations that lead me to the bottle, and it really depends on the people with whom I’m spending time. With most coworkers, I usually cap out at a reasonable two drinks. Strangers, usually just one unless we hit it off. But with my closer friends, there often isn’t much of a limit, and four or even five drinks can come and go in the blink of a few hours. This can sound alarming, but one of the things that enabled me was my proximity to home; I walked or took the metro, and never drove.
My new place in Virginia is a great reason to try abstinence for a while. But this does leave me to wonder about how my writing will be effected. Word craft and alcohol frequently go hand in hand, probably because story telling and being social are somewhat correlated. I do suspect that drinking and writing does make the author more prone to making literary mistakes both small (typos, grammar) and large (cliche approaches, less impressive improvisation) but it can help us get over the “writing hump” of actually putting words on the page.
At least my latest writing projects are primarily editing and proofing based, of which I’m fairly certain that not being inebriated is ideal. I’ll have to try and remember to jot down my feelings on it once we hit June.
I’m not going to lie. I was a little adverse to reading this book for a short while. Let’s just say it’s an American thing many of us picked up in the 80s and 90s, when our heroes weren’t supposed to be beautiful. Guys like Bruce Willis and Kurt Russell played these bad ass roles where their characters were injured and made unattractive in the course of their conflict.
Oddly, if this book had come to me about 10 years ago and I had been into Warhammer 40k back then, I would have been all over it. In the past I was more into Japanese animation with heroes so gorgeous, the line between masculine and feminine disappears. I’m long over my pretty boy phase.
Another thing to discuss came up when I was talking to a friend. Also a Warhammer fan, he asked me what the real danger of Slaanesh was. The problems of Nurgle and Khorne were obvious, the threat of Tzeentch was more subtle but still there.
What is the threat Slaanesh really imposes? It’s a problem every parent faces for their pubescent teenage children. There is the threat of STDs and pregnancy. Obsessions too are an aspect, like a relationship where one side is far more possessive than what is reasonable. And then there are those whose limitations are so small, it’s dangerous. Like David Carradine.
And not just sex, since he is the lord of excess. It’s an issue when someone drinks themselves to death on alcohol, or eats their way to a heart attack. And I think anyone who has met a serious artist has seen some antics that worry them, such as the artist not eating or sleeping to finish their workload. There are drug users as well, some of whom push themselves into over dosing at times. Slaanesh is a god you don’t see coming because he is in the most mundane of activities we take for granted as being human.
I write all this because it’s what I gathered from reading Fulgrim by Graham McNeill. It’s a perspective changer. My rantings above were not a digression from the review. They are the point. McNeill takes the reader on a wild ride that blows several stereotypes and misconceptions out of the water. And the story that unfolds from the pages is disturbing and sobering enough that even non-Warhammer 40k fans will find something of value here, as McNeill succeeds in making the line between fan and casual book reader thinner than ever before.