Hurry Up & Wait

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m waiting to start writing the second draft of the first novel in this five novel project. I really want to just start writing NOW, but I am beginning to understand why they tell you to wait a month before working on your second draft.

It really does help a lot to clear your mind some before you turn around and start working on the second draft. You need to decompress. You need to also do a lot of reading and development before you throw yourself back into things. It’s too easy to get too excited and grow overwhelmed. Then you experience burnout.

So, I’m going to try to do some reading and development for a little bit longer. I really love, love, love the writing element of novel production when the conditions are right. They aren’t always right, but sometimes they are. Anyway, I’m going to force myself to read and develop for a little bit longer.

America On Edge

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

For some time, I have suggested that all America needs is a slight push and all hell is going to break loose. And I still think that. There are two reasons why I believe this to be the case.

One is, I continue to get a trickle of people to this blog looking at my hysterical “terribly negative” predictions of doom and gloom for America’s future, specifically the possibility of civil war. Not that it’s all that many people who are thinking this, but there definitely are a number of people floating around the country thinking enough about civil war that they’re searching for it online.

The other is each new mass causality event in the United States seems to make people even more anxious than they already are. To me, that seems to indicate that the nation is a lot more on edge than it has been up until recently.

As such, it’s at least possible that if some big historic event happened in the US that left us all wondering Which Side Did It long enough for the guns to come out.

Or not. It could be that that isn’t at all what is going to happen. It could be that I’m overestimating how fucked up things are in the US and it will be a lot later, like around 2024 – 2025 before everything is primed for something catastrophic if we get just a little bit more pressure put on our society.

An Aspiring Novelist’s Review Of Andy Weir’s ‘Project Hail Mary’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

First, I have to cry a bit into my beer because of how young Andy Weir is compared to me. Ugh. I’m an Old. But I just finished reading his novel Project Hail Mary and I thought it was really, really good.

It took a bit to get into it, but once I did, I read it fairly quickly. It’s a novel that would be very, very easy to film. And it is yet another piece of content that not only helps me be a better storyteller but also inspires me to think seriously about putting a plot on a concept I’ve had for 15 years or so now. Something about how he handled the concept of one person saving the world triggered my synapses.

But, I do have a few quibbles with the novel.

There was no sex in the novel, not even suggested outside of a conversation so lulz, it could easily be a YA novel, or be for the same type audience. There’s nothing wrong with that — I’m not dinging him for the lack of sex — but I am making note of it.

Second, he has a far, far more optimistic opinion of the human condition than I do. Even just getting Americans to go along with saving the world — even if it was beyond a shadow of a doubt that that is what was going on — would take up a third of any novel on a similar subject I might write.

And the third act was really, really good. And, yet, I did not get the catharsis that maybe I might have gotten had things gone another way. But I suppose because he did that with The Martian, he wanted to go a different direction.

But I was very pleased with Project Hail Mary, especially as a fan of scifi.

Why It’s So Hard To Figure Out America’s Political Future

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I’m honestly at a loss as to what’s going to happen to the United States between now and, say, January 2025. All I know is, it’s going to be big and I mean Big. America will never be the same, no matter what happens because a number of enormous, macro trends are all coming to a head as part of the 2024 presidential election cycle.

I dunno.

But, really, I have no idea what is going to happen.

Why?

The Two Sides Are Hardening Their Positions
No matter what happens politically in the United States going forward, it’s going to happen in the context of the two sides growing more and more absolute in their views. There just isn’t any middle ground anymore. American politics is no longer in a death spiral — it just isn’t working at all anymore. So, either the MAGA New Right seizes some sort of total autocratic control or we have a civil war. No middle ground.
No Viable Center-Left Leadership

There are a least a dozen would-be autocrats within the MAGA New Right ranks. There are a dozen men and women who, should Trump hand pick them as his successor, could finish the job of turning America into a Russian-style autocracy and still be in power in 20 years. But, within the center-Left…there’s just nobody. There’s AOC…and? She’s kind of too young and should might kind of be knocked out of commission in the near term when she inevitable has her (1) one child after getting married between now and 2024. Or not. What the fuck do I know. But the center-Left has a real problem when the only leadership I can think of all comes from the ranks of the “Radical Moderate” #NeverTrumpers. Not, great, Bob!
Trump

I simply can not game out what’s going to happen with the USA as long as Trump may run for office either as Speaker in 2022 or POTUS in 2024 (and or both) I just don’t know. He kind of has the fate of the United States in his tiny, tiny little hands at the moment.
MAGA Is Ascendant And Yet They Want Political Violence

This is a real mystery to me. The MAGA New Right craves political violence, even though they’re on track to get everything they want over the course of the next generation or so. But here we are, with cry baby snowflake MAGA people whining about “the woke cancel culture mob” even though that, in a sense, is something of a joke.

It Would Require A Historic Blunder On MAGA’s Part For There To Be A Civil War. Too Bad Dingus Trump IS A Historic Blunder

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

At the moment, I don’t think there’s going to be a Second American Civil War in the US anytime soon. The MAGA New Right is ascendant and has the political will to get everything it wants over the course of the next decade or so. There might be a little bit of a hiccup around 2024 – 2025, but, overall we’re in American democracy’s twilight.

For there to be a shooting civil war in the United States, someone, somewhere within the Republican ranks would really have to screw up.

Enter dingus Donald Trump.

Now, let me be clear — there’s every reason to believe that Trump somehow won’t be the Republican 2024 nominee. He could get sick. He could simply not have it in him. He could pick some equally nuts successor (Mike Flynn?) and “retire” to some extent.

And, yet, we all know that if Trump has breath in his lungs, he’s going to want to be the center of attention, DeSantis be damned. And, since the entire edifice of the Republican Party is now designed specifically to ensure that Trump wins in 2024, he has every reason to run.

But Trump is sooooo fucking stupid and lazy. He also says “the quiet part out loud” much, and cheats even when he doesn’t have to, that if you posit that Trump is absolutely going to run in 2024, then the possibility of a civil war in the United States escalates dramatically.

So, by definition, Trump 2024 means things could grow extremely unstable. And even more so if the crazy idea to name Trump, Speaker of the House happens. Yikes!

Welp, America Thinks Political Violence Going To Happen

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I check my Webstats like a hawk throughout the day and almost the only people looking at this blog right now are people who are interested in my “terribly negative” gaming out of some sort of clusterfuck in America’s near future. Most of these people come from Red States, but I do, on on occasion, get a ping from someone in New York City or LA.

But the point is — Americans have political violence on the brain. And as I keep saying, the people who are getting everything they want via politics — the MAGA New Right — are the very people who are the most obsessed political violence.

This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

They have the most to lose from political violence and, yet, here we are, with people from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and the rest of the Old South really interested in my admittedly dark visions for America’s future. It makes no sense.

The only explanation I have is Reds have had a sense of aggrievement so banged into their minds by their echo chamber that they can’t even appreciate it when they’re getting everything they want. Even the barest slight is seen as an attempt to “oppress” them by the woke cancel culture mob.

Or something. That’s all I got at the moment.

The Only Way We Get Common Sense Gun Control Is A ‘National Divorce’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

During the Civil War, there were a number of different reforms passed while the South was no longer part of the Federal government. And, since form follows function, the only way we’re going to get common sense gun control in the US is if Red States aren’t a problem.

But, also, since history doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme, it won’t be Red States who have left the Union, but Blue States. I wonder where the Blue State capital would be — NYC? LA? If you wanted to troll Reds, you could seize Richmond and put it there for a while.

The point is — gun control is a dead issue. as long as the US is one country or as long as there hasn’t been a civil war where Blues have totally defeated Reds and re-united the nation for a Second Reconstruction. (By definition there is no peaceful “national divorce.” The idea that there might be one is a silly canard on the part of the Right.)

I do NOT want a civil war. I’m just being realistic and pragmatic. And I also don’t think there is any Blue leadership to speak of that could rise to the occasion and help lead Blues against Reds. What’s more likely to happen is, we’re going to slip peacefully into autocracy and that will be that.

I don’t make the historical rules, I just describe them.

But there is a greater than zero chance that the macro forces tearing the US apart will be so absolute that Blue state leadership will create itself out of thin air and away we go. Or, if you really wanted to be bonkers, you would suggest that Blue state leadership will come from the “Radical Moderates” of the #NeverTrumpers.

That would be surreal.

Get Woke, Mike Pence

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

In the book, “How Democracies Die,” they propose a solution to prevent a democracy from dying outright — the other, non-autocratic parties have to bond together for the sake of the nation.

Now, this solution is extremely problematic for America. The country is too big, unfocused and divided for any sort of “unite for the sake of the nation” plan to work.

And, yet, there is one person who could make such a plan a lot closer to being real — Mike Pence.

All he has to do is one fucking thing and he is SOOOO CLOSE to be the Democratic Union (or whatever) Party nominee in 2024: become a MAGA apostate (a John Dean-type character). He doesn’t have to change any other policy view other than turning on Trump and MAGA.

Pence would never do this, of course, because he’s a fucking coward, but if he did, he would suddenly be throw into the rarified ranks of Great American Men because, he could, single handedly give American democracy some breathing room if he teamed up with, say, AOC.

But he’s never going to do it. He somehow thinks he can play it safe and may a charge at MAGA King Trump and somehow succeed (fun fact: no.) So, Pence really faces sinking into political oblivion with both sides hating him equally for different reasons.

Or, he could get woke get pretty damn close to becoming the next POTUS. Of course, if he did run with AOC, there would have to be some sort of power sharing agreement. The whole thing would make America’s government seem rather schizophrenic, but at least it would probably avoid a civil war and probably keep the country a functioning democracy for one or more additional election cycles.

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So, I’ve finished the first draft of the first novel in a projected five novel series. I have a massive amount of work to do, still. But just by sitting on my hands, I’ve managed to find a number of different ways to make these novels a lot better.

I fucking hate this “test.”

Two elements of these novels are really coming together — one is the importance of music and the other is how the reader who is willing to read all five novels will get to see the ebb and flow of history and different families over the course of about 25 years.

That, for me, as the writer, is one of the main draws.

Throw in how I also get to critique both MAGA, Leftists AND religion and, wow, I have a lot of fun (and hard work) ahead of me.

I have to admit that it’s really a struggle to not start writing on the second draft of the first book immediately. But I can use these few weeks to ponder things, develop the other four novels and to do a shit ton of reading. I have so much reading to do. So, so very much reading.

And I’m old. I feel so fucking old.

But, if Stieg Larsson can write three novels and sell them, maybe I can write five novels and sell them.

Hopefully, of course, I won’t die of consumption, or what have you.

I Want To Fuck With The Qanon Mythos In My Novels

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I really am striving to create something totally original with these novels but yet in a way that is very much an “old brown shoe” for people familiar with Stieg Larsson’s stuff.

I keep struggling with the idea of how to fuck with the Qanon mythos as part of the universe of these books I’m writing but I’m finding it really difficult. There is some to work with there, but yet…not as much as you might think. I like the idea of making it clear to readers on the sly how much I fucking hate MAGA…and yet to date I’ve yet to figure out how to use the fucked up things that Qanon people believe in any way.

Which, I guess, is for the best.

But the Qanon belief system is SO fucked up, that it’d be a shame not to be able to flip the script on it some and turn them into the bad guys of a thriller. I think I might be influenced some by what they believe when I construct my bad guys, but it won’t be a 1-to-1.