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tipping point

Quite a good writing day yesterday. I did 1,618 words. A good bit of other writing-related work, as well, but it's all too dull to mention here.

Byron came by for a late dinner. And sitting down now to write about yesterday, it occurs to me that there really isn't a lot of yesterday worth writing about. Which is often how the life of a writer — and most everyone else — proceeds. Most moments are not worth remembering or recording. Let them pass. Let's not hoard them all. Elevating the mundane only serves to depreciate the extraordinary.

Last night while I was brushing my teeth, Spooky spotted the shed skin (exuvium) of a small house spider hanging in an old web, and I spat and rinsed and said something about the process of ecdysis in arthropods, and how if human beings shed there skins there would be shedding fetishists. And suddenly I had a story in my head. Probably for Sirenia Digest 15 in February. That's usually the way it starts, the ideas that become stories, those little eureka moments. The light bulb over the head.

Today is the actual release date of Daughter of Hounds, though I understand it's been out in some bookshops for at least a week. So, here I am. I began writing this novel on October 6th, 2004. I began researching it in June 2004. I first conceived of it, in a rather different form, back in the summer or autumn of 2002. And now, here it is. And you may read it, if you've a mind to. It means more to me than I like to admit. And if I'm really lucky, it will not have to suffer a review from Fangoria.

I set up a TypePad account last night, as a potential mirror for this journal. Problem is, the more I looked at TypePad, the more counter intuitive and cumbersome it seemed. So, likely, I will not be going with TypePad. Say what you will about the cons of LJ (and cons there are, aplenty), it is quite an elegant, intuitive design. It works. Most of the time.

—————

Late yesterday, early last night, I opened the new issue of National Geographic to a page which announced "In the time it takes you to read this article, an area of Brazil's rain forest larger than 200 football fields will have been destroyed." At the current rate of deforestation, a full 40% of the Brazilian rain forest will be gone by 2026, and an additional 20% will be seriously degraded.

The litany goes round and round in my head, hour by hour. I never put these things out of mind. The melting Arctic and Antarctic icecaps. 90% of all large fish gone from the world's oceans. Soaring levels of atmospheric CO2 and methane. The melting permafrost in Canada and Siberia. The rate at which the human population continues to grow worldwide. Rising sea levels. Rising temperatures. Droughts and vanishing lakes in Africa. Drowning polar bears. North Atlantic thermohaline circulation...

A while back, someone here complained that I was trying to demonstrate the threat of global warming based upon a single data point. Though I wasn't, the accusation struck a nerve. It struck a nerve because there is so much data here, and it's almost all saying the same thing, pointing in the same direction. And the more I read, the more I learn, the more I fully understand, the more I see that Earth has likely already passed that fabled "tipping point." Humanity has set a period of sudden, drastic global climate change in motion, and now humanity will have to live with the consequences, which promise to be horrific and long-lasting. It's not alarmism, it's sobriety.

You should read this article, "Review of the year: Global warming — Our worst fears are exceeded by reality" (thank you for the link, Jacob) from The Independent (Dec. 29, 2006), which does quite a good job of explaining the business of positive and negative climate feedbacks and their critical role in determining the severity of global warming.

During the past year, scientific findings emerged that made even the most doom-laden predictions about climate change seem a little on the optimistic side. And at the heart of the issue is the idea of climate feedbacks - when the effects of global warming begin to feed into the causes of global warming. Feedbacks can either make things better, or they can make things worse. The trouble is, everywhere scientists looked in 2006, they encountered feedbacks that will make things worse - a lot worse.

And on that note, the platypus says it's time to write.

Postscript: Just got this link from matociquala: 2007 Could Be Warmest Year in Modern History.

Comments

( 9 comments — Have your say! )
sleepycyan
Jan. 2nd, 2007 05:27 pm (UTC)
I haven't received my copy of Daughter of Hounds yet, but I did receive a notice from Amazon telling me that it shipped.

I also wanted to let you know that I haven't finished reading Sirenia digest for this month, but I did read Metamorphosis B, and it was lovely. I'm always drawn to the stories that you write involving the sea.

greygirlbeast
Jan. 3rd, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
I'm always drawn to the stories that you write involving the sea.

Then we are both fortunate, as I fear there will be many more of them.
mackatlaw
Jan. 2nd, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
But
The mundane can become extraordinary if sufficient attention is paid to it. You can immerse oneself in washing the dishes and become part of the labor, learn and think about common humanity by watching a crowd of people, see the beauty of nature in a small shed spider skin.

Everything is worth experiencing, even if only because the present is the only time we can live fully in. Pick and choose when we will notice our circumstances, and we might miss the highlights. Without the sum of day to day experience, regular highlights would prove wearying.

At least, that's my own personal experience, which is of course all I can speak from.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 3rd, 2007 04:32 am (UTC)
Re: But
The mundane can become extraordinary if sufficient attention is paid to it. You can immerse oneself in washing the dishes and become part of the labor, learn and think about common humanity by watching a crowd of people, see the beauty of nature in a small shed spider skin.

Here, I suppose, I should say that mundane and extraordinary are subjective terms, that my mundane is someone else's exotic, and that, like beauty and evil, mundanity is in the eye of the beholder.

But. Really. You do not want me detailing these mundane bits of trivia.

Without the sum of day to day experience, regular highlights would prove wearying.

Sounds like history, to me. Or a syllabus.
mackatlaw
Jan. 4th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC)
Re: But
I see I was in my Zen Buddhist mode when I wrote that. The response from that philosophy, which I partially subscribe to, would be that everything is extraordinary if observed with enough engagement. But I find it hard to disagree with saying the definitions are subjective. I don't think those statements are incompatible.

On a practical level, I don't want you detailing trivia either, unless your artist's eye elevates them into poetry. :)

Did I mention I like history and have written syllabi for classes? Yes, that probably says enough.

Mack
darkdescent_13
Jan. 2nd, 2007 10:19 pm (UTC)
I also have had only the time to read Metamorphosis B, and I must say that it reflects your journal entry today of global warming perfectly. The metaphor of a fisherman capturing a mermaid and raping her is terrifying, yet exactly the same as what the human species has done to the earth and her oceans. I loved the story, yet it left me unsettled--as is probably the point.
tinkbell
Jan. 3rd, 2007 01:05 am (UTC)
desert planet
I bought a book on the desert to read on the plane, coming back from the foot of the Rockies in Colorado (which has always been hot and dry that I've known, despite the snowfall). I was seated next a woman who I might have guessed was from a sorority, on first glance. She told me how they are getting cacti in her home state of South Dakota - this year, for the first time she's known. She added, how can you not think global warming is real? People are seeing it, though I still think every news program should have non-stop footage of the glaciers, forests and oceans (and interviewing Vietnam vets on their experiences, while they're at it).

Some of the books that many of my friends have been reading lately are Ursula LeGuin, The Golden Compass and His Dark Materials trilogy, and Dune - all books about environmental shifts in some way, to think about how it could be, though Ursula Le Guin pointed out that sci-fi is about the world now.
sovay
Jan. 3rd, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
Today is the actual release date of Daughter of Hounds, though I understand it's been out in some bookshops for at least a week.

I am now in possession of a storebought copy: this makes me happy.
vulpine137
Jan. 3rd, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
My copy from Amazon came in today, I'll probably start it this weekend, when I finish up the other books on my reading pile.
( 9 comments — Have your say! )