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Roger E. Eichorn's Blog: Fantasy, Philosophy, and whatever else I feel like writing about
I utterly failed in my goal to start updating the blog this summer. I did, however, make good headway on the novel. The numbers aren’t spectacular, at least by my old standards. I used to be able to churn out 3k-4k words a day, consistently. On the other hand, the quality of the work I’ve produced this summer is, if I do say so myself (and I do), pretty damn impressive. I’ve reached the point where all the disparate elements, developed over so many years, are coming together, and the results surprise even me, who’s supposedly in control of the whole thing.
I started in June with 37,815 words written (down from 44,122 at the end of summer 2016 because of cuts). I ended this summer (last Friday) with a grand total of 79,871. That number includes a significant rewrite of, and significant cuts from, an earlier chapter. In terms of chapters, I’ve finished 10 out of 29 — which means that at this rate I’m going to pretty soundly overshoot my 200k “word limit.” So be it.
Alas, the time has come for me to start thinking about philosophy again. I have to finish a second (and final) draft of my dissertation this year. I hope to defend it early next summer. That’s the most important thing I’m facing, at least as far as my sanity goes.
In the fall quarter, which starts in a couple weeks, I’m going to be teaching a class (of my own design) called The Skeptical Tradition In Philosophy. It’s basically “the world according to Eichorn.” If there’s any interest, I could make the course available here: I could post PDF’s of the readings and recordings of the class sessions.
My resolution for this school year is to continue making progress on the novel. Like a well-worn New Year’s resolution, this one’s an old hoary thing. I’ve never had much luck shuttling on a daily basis basis between philosophy and fiction: it’s like I have only so much RAM, and loading up both those programs at the same time crashes the system.
But fuck that shit. No more excuses. As long as I keep moving forward with the novel, it’ll get done before too long, and it’s got to get done.
Believe it or not, I am finishing this goddamn novel, in its current form. It’s just a matter of finding the time.
I don’t know what I’m a-gonna do, but I will find a cure for the end-of-summertime blues.
I’ve finished a draft of my dissertation and am ready to get back to work on Three Roses. The near-future is a bit uncertain for me at the moment, but I hope to start making decent progress on the novel pretty soon. You can check out the first chapter of my dissertation here, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I’ve updated the Sample Chapter. It now includes the Prologue along with the first chapter. Let me know what you think!
I hope to start posting actual, substantive blog posts pretty soon as well. The stacks in the Kosmos Biblioth are sadly barren…
“Here, as in all democratic states, those who complain the loudest when they are insulted have the greatest power, even if they have the least reason for their complaints.”
– Descartes, “Letter to Princess Elizabeth” (10 May 1647)
When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant and which know me not, I am frightened and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then.
– Blaise Pascal, Pensees 205
(For R. Scott Bakker…)
Artistic conventions. — Three-fourths of Homer is convention; and the same holds true for all the Greek artists, who had no reason to adopt the modern rage for originality. They were completely lacking in any fear of convention; this was precisely what held them together with their public. Conventions, namely, are the aesthetic means that have been conquered for the sake of the audience’s understanding, the laboriously acquired common language with which the artist really can communicate himself. If he, like the Greek poets and musicians, sometimes wants to triumph immediately with each of his works of art—because he is used to contending publicly with one or two competitors—the first condition is that he also be understood immediately: which is, however, possible only by means of convention. What the artist invents beyond the conventions, he voluntarily attaches importance to and wagers himself upon, succeeding in the best of cases in creating a new convention. Originality is ordinarily seen with astonishment, sometimes even worshipped, but rarely understood; stubbornly diverting from convention means: wanting not to be understood. Toward what, then, does the modern rage for originality point?
– Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow, §122
Truth wants no gods beside it. — The belief in truth begins with doubting all the “truths” that have previously been believed.
— Nietzsche, Mixed Opinions and Maxims, §20
The pessimist of the intellect. — Anyone who is truly free in spirit will think freely even about spirit itself and not conceal from himself certain dreadful facts about its source and direction. Hence others may describe him as the bitterest opponent of free-spiritedness and impose upon him the abusive and frightening label, “pessimist of the intellect”: accustomed as they are to call someone not by his distinguishing strength and virtue, but by whatever about him is most alien to them.
— Mixed Opinions and Maxims, §11
“Human maturity: this means rediscovering the seriousness we had towards play when we were children.”
– Beyond Good and Evil, §94