Choice and Ambiguity

One step forward, half a step back.

I shambled to bed early last night, my head caving in. The sudden changes in barometric pressure kicked off one of my infrequent but very bad headaches–not quite a migraine, just close enough to rob me of any chance at working for the day. I managed to stay up through dinner and feeding the dogs, then downed a couple homemade edibles and slithered into bed. The dogs were not averse to this, since it meant I was flat on my back somewhere they could supervise and “help” me; Boxnoggin in particular wanted to lick my temples since I was clutching at my head and obviously in distress.

Miss B settled for lying across my knees; when I tried to tell her that was not helpful she gave me a look of such wide-eyed doggy surprise I meekly reclined and shut up, attempting to breathe through the pain until relief kicked in. Once it did and I clearly wasn’t going anywhere else she condescended to move aside, taking up half the bed as is her usual wont. She likes a particular space so I can simply throw an arm over her in the middle of the night, mistaking her for a giant teddy bear.

This morning, I’m shaky and nauseous but much better. Even a gentle run isn’t out of the question, and that should shake off any remaining pain though I’ll have trembling fits for the rest of the day as my body tries to sort itself out.

Some people have deliberately consumed and worship nothing but whitebread American sitcoms, and it shows. Playing with other narrative structures or character types often raises a howl of protest from such creatures, who want their familiar line-line-“joke”-canned audience laughter and they want it now, with everything tied up neatly at the end of a half-hour and any female main character safely shackled to their problematic, highly abusive fave. The idea of female characters who prioritize themselves, or prefer people who don’t try to manipulate them, is treated as a deadly insult, as is any ambiguity. I understand these dull, banal elves.

I am simply not the writer for them.

Seriously, folks. There are two men–count ’em, two–in Hostage to Empire who don’t try to manipulate, use, or use-and-kill Komor Yala. One ends up an Emperor and the other…well, that would be telling. But the idea that Yala could finally go against the strictures of her class and culture after an apocalyptic battle in which she literally sacrifices both her life and honor, that she can go on to choose someone who doesn’t lie to her, manipulate her, or attempt to use her as a political game-piece seems to drive some readers into a particular type of baffled fury, much as Dru Anderson‘s refusal to select a boyfriend from the frankly not-so-great options on offer or Robin Ragged‘s preference for freedom seemed to.

Cultural misogyny is a helluva drug.

Perhaps I’m simply tired; my patience for such malignant, deliberate idiocy is at an all-time low. Frankly, my patience for a whole lot of things has been exhausted, partly as a function of hitting my mid-forties and partly from surviving the neverending hell of 2020 and its knock-on years.

Monday’s Tea with Lili was about character names and selecting good writing groups, with bonus knitting. I should talk a little more about good groups and the like on Friday, if I remember it. My performance anxiety over being on camera is not abating, so I’ll give this another month to shake out and then see if I want to continue.

I’m up relatively early but the dogs are certain this only means I will be having breakfast toast early as well, which means they will get crusts. So they are both expectantly crowding my office chair though I haven’t even worked halfway through my coffee yet. Hope springs eternal in the heart of dog, and all that. A heavy grey cloud just covered the newly risen sun, but the birds aren’t fooled–they’ve already sung the dawn chorus and won’t be tempted into encore.

I suppose I should finish my coffee and do some stretching. The dogs will attempt to supervise and “help”, eager to rush me through the morning so they can get to crusts and walkies. I’m pretty sure Boxnoggin will knock me over at one point or another, so I have to be ready to fall the right way, avoiding further injury. It’s good training, at least.

Happy Tuesday, my beloveds. Revel in ambiguity, do not be afraid to choose yourself. It’s nice to have other people along on the ride of life, but it’s not a set-in-stone necessity.

I promise.