My books are all available on piracy sites because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (largely written by Google lobbyists) ensured that on the internet, authors have no real copyright protection anyway. But my blogs are an even more authentic source of my voice than my books, so I scuttled them. I might publish them as a book at some point, in which case, we’re back to…
The situation with AI encroaching on creative livelihoods generally has me down. The wretched heat has me down, as does the thought that we might look back on this summer as “before it really got hot.” Summer is never a great time for book sales, and the stinkin’ Japanese beetles got after my little cherry trees before I even knew Japanese beetles liked cherry trees.
All of which is to say that my annual July case of the summer megrims has come around right on schedule. I know this too–all of this–shall pass. I’ve drenched the cherry trees in neem oil (very little threat to pollinators), I see some cool nights in the forecast, and everybody is suing the everlasting peedywaddles out of Google and company over the whole AI debacle. Winter is coming, thank heavens.
But my mood doesn’t lift just because being bummed out is tiresome and unproductive. It’s still hard to write a sparkly scene, still daunting to do all those danged daily steps. So I asked myself, “What’s one straw we can take off the camel’s back, Grace?” (Don’t ask me who we is.)
I was really not in the mood to get on the dreaded tread desk yesterday evening, so I… went to the pool.
I splashed around some, and then I noticed that very few people were using the diving boards. The pool has two boards–low and lower–and they have their own deep-water splash down zone. I was hopping off a 5-meter dive at the age of five (blame my oldest brothers), and yet, I haven’t gone sailing from a diving board for probably fifty years.
“I dare ya,” says me to myself.
“I will look ridiculous,” I replied.
“You look ridiculous staring at the computer, muttering to your cats, and wearing a wet towel on your head. That board is one meter above the water. You know you want to.”
I did want to. I wanted to do something that connected me to my more daring, adventurous, innocent, brave self, and I wanted that physical feeling of being unbound from the earth. Wheeeee!
I took about a half dozen turns off the one-meter board, though I didn’t have the nerve to do that one-two-three-bounce prep that presages a really good upward arc. For no reason I can explain, by the second dive, I was giggling at myself. I am no sylph, and when I leave that board, it doth bounce, but ye gods, I had fun. This is a joy I can still claim, a little micro-accomplishment (from when I was five) that still resonates.
Take that, ChatGPT… I cannonball you, Bard! A bellyflop upon thy house, Bing! And you blasted beetles SHALL NOT PASS!
What makes you giggle? How do you combat the summertime blues?
PS: A Gentleman of Dubious Reputation is also now available in print.