‘Doom Spiral’

by Shelt Garner

It definitely feels like as we enter the 2024 election cycle silly season that we’ve entered a doom spiral. There just doesn’t seem any way — barring some sort of major Black Swan event — for us to avoid Something Bad happening in late 2024, early 2025.

At this point, in spring 2024, it seems the only possible way we avoid some sort of catastrophic political disaster in late 2024, early 2025 is if Biden wins in something akin to a landslide and when Trump starts to scream about the need for a National Divorce to keep him out of jail — everyone ignores him.

That’s it. That’s all I got.

If anything else happens, we’re totally and completely fucked. The country is just too tightly wound for us to make it through the 2024 election without some sort of severe, unpreceded political violence.

I hope I’m wrong. I really, really do. And I can’t predict the future — anything can happen. But I AM alarmed at how batshit insane things already are in our political system and only getting worse.

So, who knows?

I Need To Work On A Second Creative Track So Bad

by Shelt Garner

I keep telling myself that I’m going to work on a back up story and then…I don’t do squat. I’ve become so totally consumed with working on my first novel that it’s really, really difficult for me to focus on anything but it.

The heroine of my first novel has a sleeve tattoo similar to what Megan Fox now sports, even though I came up with the idea first.

I say this because there is a real chance that my first novel is just going to be too fucking long. Instead of about 100,000 words, it could be in the 140,000 to 160,000 spectrum.

This is not good.

But I just don’t know yet. I won’t know until I finish the novel then put all the scenes into a single document and do a word count. So, it’s possible that my eyeballing of the number of words to scenes could be off and instead of the novel being about 140,000 words, it might be closer to 120,000.

I just don’t know.

But I do have a lot of really interesting back up stories — all of them scifi.

Jesus Christ, Is Tech Bro David Sacks A Dick

by Shelt Garner

I try, you know. I really do. I try to force myself to listen to people I disagree with because it forces me to better understand what I believe and why. It’s that thinking that causes me to listen to the All-In podcast even though sometimes what those asinine tech bros have to say gives me the heebie-jeebies.

But it’s tech bro David Sacks who continues to grate on my nerves. He loves, loves, loves, to second guess and bitch about what you would think every American would do without much thought — support Ukraine.

He seems to go to ridiculous lengths to think up reasons why we should give up on Ukraine and let Putin run roughshod over that proud nation. And he’s not alone — there are plenty of other Tech Bros who think the same thing.

It’s all very curious and alarming.

But what do I know. He’s far more wealthy than I am and we’re all supposed to listen to people like Sacks because they’re wealthy and successful. Right?

I Need To Watch Fleabag Again

by Shelt Garner

Few TV shows really make a big impression on me. In the last 20 years, only 30 Rock, Mad Men, Mare of Easttown….and Fleabag have really made me sit up and take notice.


And now that I find myself struggling with the characterizations of my characters in my first novel, I realize I probably need to study what Phoebe Waller-Bridge does with her characters in Fleabag.

So. I’m probably going to watch Fleabag again just to TRY to get some inspiration about character. The only issue is, of course, that Fleabag wallows in one thing I hate — awkward comedy.

But I’m a grown man, it shouldn’t be such a big deal

But it is.

I have a real problem the type of comedy-drama that Fleabag seems to enjoy getting into. But character, plot and conflict are very much connected. I need to put on my big boy pants and confront what makes me uncomfortable.

Even Thought It May Be Too Long, I’m Very Pleased With How This Novel Is Shaping Up

by Shelt Garner

During the multi-year process of developing and writing my first novel, I’ve become something of a storytelling snob. To the point that I often walk out movies the moment I feel the storytelling isn’t up to my standards.

The works of the late Stieg Larsson are about 150,000 words on average.

I. Do. This. All. The. Time.

So, it means something when I look over the outline I have for the third draft of my first novel and I’m pleased.

There is one problem — too many scenes.

This is a real problem because, in general, if you’re a nobody loser like me writing your first novel and you hope to sell it traditionally, it needs to be ~100,000 words. But, just from eyeballing the number of scenes this novel has, it definitely seems as though I should probably accept that it’s going to be around 140,000 words.

Fuck it, we’ll do it live.

The only glimmer of hope I have is the fact that The Girl On The Train is about that many words and THAT was a success. If I REALLY want to be delusional, I would compare this novel to what Stieg Larsson wrote which, was, on average about 150,000 words.

So, I find myself with something of a conundrum. The story I want to tell is really, really good — it’s just too long for a first time author who is living in oblivion.

Ugh. Fucking ugh.

‘Hot Lesbians’

by Shelt Garner

I am nothing more than a simple, smelly CIS white male. So, excuse me if I am taken aback by the rise of hot lesbians. These are women who are drop dead gorgeous and yet have zero interest in men.

Hot lesbians Fletcher and her ex-girlfriend Shannon Beveridge.

I only bring this up because I keep getting pushed awkward Tik-Tok videos of lesbian icon singer Fletcher talking to her smoke show of an ex-girlfriend. It seem as though Flecher’s ex, whose name I do not know (Update — it’s Shannon Beveridge), has a podcast and for some reason Fletcher — who has written a lot of really good lyrics about her ex — decide to go on said podcast.

Now, while I find the idea of hot chicks being lesbians generally a lulz on a personal basis, on a macro cultural basis it is…intriguing. Fletcher’s ex, in particular has the phenotype of a woman I would fall hard for. That is a reason why her status as a lesbian sort of rattles my cage — on a macro basis.

It makes you wonder what the fuck is going on in Western culture that women who could clearly find a man simply aren’t interested. It seems as though some New Yorker writer — who could articulate this situation far better than me — could spend 10,000 words looking into this situation without being “canceled.”

It’s a very intriguing and curious situation.

Fascists In The Family

by Shelt Garner

Holy shit. This weekend was the first time that I felt my far more conservative relative had crossed the Rubicon into pure cut fascism. Now, before I begin, my conservative relatives have been VERY GOOD to me and very gracious to save my sorry ass on a number of occasions.

So, this is not personal. This is just an alarming political observation.

I bring this up because I have a regular monthly political discussion with one of my intelligent, college educated conservative relatives. I have been trying to avoid these conversations of late, but this time we got into it.

The most alarming part of the conversation was that my relative — whom I love dearly — was officially all-in for MAGA and Trump. They continue to have reservations about Trump the man, but they are totally willing to give up their American democratic birthright to the autocratic aspirations of Trump the idea.

It’s all very alarming. When pressed, my conservative relative agreed with me that only something like Trump murdering someone would be a “red line” that would prevent them from supporting him in the 2024 general election.

Now, there is obviously a lot to unpack here.

The key thing that I notice is how similar to 1850s antebellum America the conversation was. Replace “trans rights” or “abortion” with “abolition” and all the arguments on both sides would be identical.

I pressed my conservative relative — whom I love dearly — about the idea of a National Divorce and they did not dismiss the idea out of hand. It seemed as though the idea of smug Twitter liberals talking down to them would determine if they were willing to tear the country asunder or not if, say, Trump lost the 2024 election.

All of this is very much a potential dystopian hellscape. The only glimmer of hope that I could find from the conversation is what my conservative relative — whom I love dearly — my do if all the as of now rhetorical things Trump could do in his second term became a reality.

There is a very small chance that if Trump did, in fact, go full Tyrant on America that that, unto itself, might cause my principled conservative relative to sit up and take notice. That, of course, sucks because we would have to go through the chaos and turmoil of having a full-blown tyrannical president.

I say this because my far more conservative relative simply can not believe that Trump would actually do all the tyrannical things that he very clearly says he wants to do in a second term. They totally dismiss Trump’s autocratic, tyrannical leanings because he wasn’t able to implement his autocratic rhetoric the first go round.

As such, if Trump literally does go full tyrant in 2025 there is a very small possibility that, on principle, my far more conservative relative might balk at such policies. Of course, that won’t help ME much because I could be dead after an ICE agent shoots me because I won’t shut up about how I think Red King Trump is a fucking cocksucker.

All I can say is late 2024, early 2025 could be fucking lit. We could see a series of surreal events not seen since the end of the Civil War.


by Shelt Garner

I really need to watch Fleabag again. I’m now completely consumed with how to improve the characterizations of my characters. I say this in the context of having a very stable first three chapters of the novel.

They’re not perfect, I’m still going to futz with them some, but they’re good enough to move forward. The issue I have now is I’m edging towards 50 scenes in the first act and that’s just way too many. And, yet, if I play my cards right, it won’t be THAT bad because some of those scenes won’t be 1,000 words.

The reason for so many scenes is very, very dumb — I have very dumb, arbitrary rules for my chapter structure when it comes to POVs and, as such, I find myself feeling repeatedly compelled to add a scene here or there to fit to the conventions I have in my head.

The average reader won’t notice — but *I* will notice and I’m the fucking person writing the novel. And I’m willing to write more to fit the conventions I have in my head, so there you go.

My goal is to write a heroine as interesting as Lisbeth Salander.

More scenes.

It is becoming clear that this novel is probably going to be in the general 140,000 word count area. I’m a complete nobody loser and, as such, I risk writing a really good novel that I can’t sell because, lulz, it’s just too fucking long.

But because I’m doing all of this in a vacuum, I just don’t know. I have no idea if what I feel on a visceral level is the right thing to do or not. And because it’s really, really tough for me to do something as basic consume someone else’s media….things can get tricky.

And, yet, I do plan on watching Fleabag again. There are such great characters in that show that I believe I can glean some sense of how to construct good characters by watching it. I also need to watch some more of House of Cards.

Wish me luck.

We Are In Serious Trouble

by Shelt Garner

If my recent conversation with my far more conservative relative — whom I love dearly — is any indication, we are in serious, serious political trouble heading into the 2024 election cycle. The person is college educated, wealthy and intelligent, and yet, they are all in for Trump and MAGA’s fascism.

Now, I fear, I know what people in Germany felt in the early 30s as the Nazis were consolidating power. Christian Nationalism is now so mainstream within Traditional conservative ranks that there is No Red Line for Trump other than, say, them seeing him murder someone with their own two eyes.

Things are so bad, I fear, that if Trump is re-elected that the only Red Line that may exist is the personal. If Trump becomes president and comes directly after me and people like me, then, yeah, maybe my far more conservative relatives might sit up and take notice.

But, at the moment, they are so wrapped up with the “crisis at the border” that they are willing to give up their democratic American birthright with their eyes wide open. And, as I’ve long said, if every election your democracy has is existential then…you’re probably not a functioning democracy anymore.

I feel like a broken record saying shit like this all the time. But, I just don’t know what to tell you. We’re in a lot of trouble.

Is The Petite Singularity Near?

by Shelt Garner

It will be interesting to see if just as the so-called “Fourth Turning” strikes the United States in late 2024, early 2025, so, too does a technological “Petite Singularity.”

If a company like OpenAI manages to invent AGI, then everything could change very, very quickly. AGI will have a near-instant influence on the economy because many, many jobs will be considered moot by the fucking greedy captains of industry.

It will be interesting to see how things sort out. I continue to be very curious about the intersection of politics and technology going forward. I still believe there is a pretty good chance that MAGA will evolve into a neo-Luddite movement that is against things like AI.

I do continue to believe that we’re in the middle of a vibe shift of some sort that will fully come to fruition — one way or another — in early 2025. I think we’re going to lurch into the future in late 2024 and we’ll all wake up in January – March of 2025 and realize a real sea change in both culture, technology and politics has happened.

Only time will tell.