Adventures In ‘Just Writing.’


Shelt Garner
@SheltGarner

Some 18 months ago, a bunch of so-called friends demanded that I “just write.” They wanted me to “just write” so, I guess, they could be Col. Tom Parker to my Elvis. They wanted manipulate themselves into my life so they tell me what to do.

I got rid of all those people, thankfully. And, so, about 18 months later, I am finally, “just writing.” One striking thing is how different development is from writing. I have way too much plot to work with because, well, I have no friends and no one likes me. So, I have way too much time to dwell on plot. I spoke to a script consultant recently and he threw me for a loop — I’m focusing a lot more on character motivations now.

I’m rather pleased with how things are working out, over all. I’ve already thrown out about 10,000 words. But I do think I will be able to reuse a lot of what I’ve written. I know my heroine’s personality really well. My hero’s personality is, well, much like my own, but not 100%. I’m actually basing most of the character on an old boss of mine who is really interesting.

My female romantic lead is kinda-sorta inspired by Alexa Chung. But, really, that has more to do with how much Chung talks about herself and how that can facilitate plot than anything else. I honestly don’t care about her on a personal level outside of her obvious grace and beauty.

Anyway, I love to talk. A whole lot. So, to that extent, I’m not so sort of deranged loner. Anything that’s going on in my mind, you’re going to find out about it if you’re paying attention. I am, by nature, an extremely copacetic person, even if Trump’s policies makes my blood boil a lot.

I’ve come up with a fairly effective way to develop and write individual scenes now. I’m trying to go as quickly as possible. Sometimes, I write a scene that’s so shitty that I just leave it be so I can bounce to the next one. I really, really want to write a first draft as quickly as possible. If I don’t do that, I’m afraid I’d be a decade older and still not have anything to show for all this hard work.

One thing that weighs heavily on my mind is how the COVID19 pandemic is going to dramatically change the context of this very of-the-moment thriller whenever I try to spec it. It’s set in the immediate past, so I’m probably going to drop a lot of hints as to how life is going to change for everyone once the pandemic strikes.

I have a lot of creative ideas, but I’m totally focused, totally consumed by this novel. We’ll see how it all works out.

History, Please Stay Asleep

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I’m enough of a student of history to know the conditions are there for the next, say, 60 days, to be some of the most surreal, jaw-dropping days in American history. I say this only because of what’s happening in Italy. Italy is imploding and it could very well be they’re us in about 10 days.

I refuse to articulate what I fear my happen because it would be bad taste. But I will note what has happened to Iran because of COVID19 — the entire power structure of the country is now wrapped up in the contagion. Maybe it’s because I like scenarios and to think up stories, but it definitely seems as though it’s possible we may want to slow our collective roll and what may — or may not — happen in American politics long term.

I have no inside information. I’m not a part of the Deep State. I just am well enough versed in the conditions of the pandemic bouncing around the planet right now to know that anything is possible. The Gray Plague. The WuFlop. If either one of those two things make a significant appearance the entire context of the 2020 campaign might not be at all what we think right now.

I don’t want to be right. I really don’t. But I do want to simply prepare myself for the possibility that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

A Fortnight Is A Long Time #COVID19 #Pandemic

Matt Schlapp — he’s never going to get woke, even if we all die from Trump going insane.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


Given what China was able to do, I’m beginning to think that maybe there’s some hope. Maybe. Maybe Trump’s hope that COVID19 will just vanish in a few weeks will come true and he can go back to plotting his consolation of power to found the Fourth Reich.

Is it possible that we may have a big spike in infections for about two weeks then it will subside like in China? I don’t know. I’m not an expert. The issue is, of course Trump. In fact, I would go so far as to say Trump’s mental state is probably the most mediated crisis we face with what happens with COVID19

Even if we have a best case scenario and after a significant spike in cases over the course of the next fortnight the cases drop, Trump could very well snap mentally in the meanwhile. When it becomes apparent to him that the previously absolute personal fidelity he enjoys with the MAGA base might not be as absolute as it has been, he might just snap. Either he’s going to implode or explode. I honestly don’t know which one.

If he implodes, then we’ll have something of a Pence Regency where we see Pence all the time and Trump just tweets really weird things — like usual. The only tip off we might have is he simply stops doing public appearances or any of his Nuremberg rallies. If he explodes, meanwhile, that will make an already bad situation far, far worse. He will begin to tweet really passive-aggressive things. He will abuse the “Presidential Alert System” in some astonishing ways. It will be a gross, historic national embarrassment for the ages. Trump will at last be seen by all for what he really is — an American Caligula.

But, again, it may be that we have a really, really wild two weeks or so (maybe until the end of April) and then things settle down. I just don’t know exactly the dynamic of what happened in Wuhan. Or, put another way, since this is a process, not an event, events are moving so fast and I don’t have a frame of reference to know what’s important and what’s not.

One thing I will say — things may get so bad so fast that even if they subside equally as dramatically in early April, Trump is not going to walk away from this unscathed politically. The economy is probably going to lock up in the near term under the best of circumstances. The fundamentals are sound, so I guess it’s possible Trump’s vision of losing the popular vote and winning the Electoral College will, again, happen and, well, lulz!

Or, to put it another way — nothing has happened yet to indicate Trump will suffer any long term political confluences even if some of the more dire things I’m worried about — The Gray Plague, the Wuflop — happen. As always, there’s only one person Trump has to worry about in real terms — himself.

If he snaps and finally does something so astonishing insane that even, say, Matt Schlapp has to admit, at last, that maybe we’ve enjoyed the tax cuts enough and Pence can give him just as many young hack MAGA judges as Trump.

Oh, who am I kidding, Trump is the anti-Christ and that’s why MAGA supports him. Even if Trump turns the earth into a post-nuclear hellscape, MAGA will just say everyone who was vaporized really went to heaven as part of the Rapture.

Ugh.

Crisis Management & ‘Dow Joans:’ Queen of Denial #COVID19

Ugh
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I’m a nobody. I don’t know anything. Ignore me. I’m a crank. A hayseed rube in the middle of nowhere who Maggie Haberman called out on Twitter for not knowing anything about (access) journalism.

I am all those things.

I am also, however, someone who believes reality is very important.When otherwise “normal” people who wouldn’t sit next to me in a Manhattan coffee shop act rather delusional I grow concerned. This brings us to COVID19.

The Masters of The Universe who make $20 million bonus in a year are living in a dreamland of their own making. It wouldn’t be so bad if there was some sort of doubt about the situation, but there is none — a huge domestic crisis is careening towards the United States and “Dow Joans,” as POTUS recently called Wall Street, is living in a very weird denial. I am well aware that the fundamentals are fine, but so were the Titanic’s until it struck a fucking iceberg.

The crazy thing is it’s empirical that what’s going on in Italy, South Korea and Iran IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE UNITED STATES WITHIN TWO WEEKS. What’s more, for a number of worst-case-scenario reasons, we’re not doing anything to mitigate the situation. By the time we do, in a terrified spasm, it’ll be way too late.

What happens — probably around The Ides of March — is going to be like a real life horror movie. So many people will be sick — and so many elderly people will be dying in quick succession — that it goes without saying that the economy is going, for the short term at least, lock up and collapse. Let me be clear — this is not finance advice. Why would anyone listen to me? Maggie Haberman thinks I’m a crank.

I would note, however, that if I had any money — which I don’t — I would probably (glup) be looking at Bitcoin. I also would ever-so-slowly cash out and look for something that might actually do me some good in a short — if severe — crisis. If I was ultra-rich, I would hide out in one of those doomsday bunkers I keep hearing about. (Of course, as a poor, I have I vested interest in this because, lulz, it’s easier to seize rich people’s property if they’re doing rails on tails off of some whore’s asshole in a doomsday bunker and not paying any attention to the revolution taking place in the real world.

Do I really think it will get that bad, though?

Sorta.

I do think the United States’ economy is going to crash very, very soon, for no other reason than we’re going to be sucker punched by COVID19 in a rather dramatic fashion. It will be like a real-life horror movie without the zombies. But it will be real life and so, as such, we’ll make it through it. Though it will be mentioned in the same breath as the Civil War and WW2.

If it makes the Masters of the Universe feel better, once we finally get everything sorted out in about a year, we’re likely to have a post-Civil War level boom. A huge amount of money will be made because of the “creative destruction’ associated with what just happened. It will be a tragedy. Some pretty wild things may happen — not all of them beneficial to plutocrats — but it’s possible Millennials will stop killing industries and start making them.

But I guess, for me, the issue is we have to prepare for the boil to be sliced. We have to prepare for all hell to break loose in a rather Pearl Harbor kind of a way.

#WuFlu Feb 21 Threat Assessment: America’s Coming Apocalyptic Rock Fight

Do it.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Given what I know right now, it seems as though when the history of the WuFlu pandemic is written — if we’re still around as a nation (or a race) for it to be written — this weekend will be seen as significant because it’s when we reached another tipping point. America is collectively not only oblivious to its impending doom, we don’t even have enough of a collective response in place to know we’re doomed even if we wanted to be pro-active.

Only three States have WuFlu testing kits. So, it’s possible that people are getting sick and dying of WuFlu (or soon will be) and that metric would read a false negative because it wouldn’t register in the medical system. I have seen a study that there’s no discernable uptick in deaths in general in the States, so maybe people are being misguised with “the Flu” but not dying — yet.

But here are some things to keep in mind.

Economic
Hollywood and the newspaper industry are now dead men walking. If no one goes to the movies for six months and all entertainment production halts for the same amount of time, well, lulz? It’s likely that next year — or whenever we reached the post-pandemic era — what used to be the greater Hollywood industry will be nothing more than a barren post-apocalyptic hellscape, with”immersive media” not-so-slowly replacing it. The traditional print newspaper industry will die because no one will leave their home for the same amount of time. I have a hunch drones are going to become ubiquitous far, far sooner than any of us could have ever imagined if there really is a pandemic. It’s also possible that the American — and global — economy could tank in a way even worse than the Great Recession if places like China, South Korea and Japan have to be written off for three to six months. We might have a brief, but extremely deep depression in late 2020, early 2021.

Political
This one is kind of touchy. A whole slew of elderly people are very powerful in the States and the death rate for WuFlu among the elderly is pretty brutal. So, lulz? If you wiped out a big chunk of the American political establishment over the course off amount six months, then, yikes. And if it happened in the right — or wrong — sequence of events, then MAGA would say it was a “deep state conspiracy” and start killing anyone they didn’t like. Like me! Or, put another way, if things get as bad as I fear, there may not been much of a 2020 Campaign for us to fight over. Or the end result could be significantly more surreal than anything we could possibly imagine. There are also no assurances that the “good guys” will “win.” Or, if they do “win” the cost of that victory could be so huge, so tragic, that we aren’t exactly happy it at the price we had to pay to get it.

Media
The issue for me is, if we actually did find ourselves in the grips of a real live pandemic, inditally it would be marketed as something like 9/11 Redux. That is, of course, until is lingered for weeks and months. Then it wouldn’t be “fun” or “exciting” anymore. It would just be a grim state of existence for millions of people. I fear that Trump would suspend the Constitution at some point and simply arrest anyone — like me! — who wouldn’t simply nod and smile at his tyranny.

National Security
If there really is a pandemic, we could see at least three major regional wars occur at the same time. Israel – Iran, DPRK – ROK and India – Pakistan. And it’s at least within the realm of possibility that the DPRK might lob a few H-Bomb tipped ICBMs towards North America which, of course, will greatly increase the number of deaths associated with the the general pandemic event. Also, given how divided the United States is, I don’t really believe we’d make it. I think we’d descend into mass political violence chaos and, if we’re lucky, split into two different nations. One center-Left, one center-Right. If we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky, we get American Killing Fields! Lulz!?

In general, I still can’t make an education opinion as to our fate. Maybe this is going to blow over. Or maybe it won’t. Lulz?

Japan & My Personal #WuFlu #Pandemic Metrics

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


A good chance exists that WuFlu is going to be seen as something of a dud by verified Twitter liberals. A million Chinese people could get sick or die and Vox would somehow poo-poo the concern of people like me in 2020 over WuFlu by pointing out no one cared during the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution, either.

But how should we common folk look at what’s going on? What should people without a blue check on their Twitter account measure things? I have three metric that I use to get a sense of things.

Perception
Response
Fatalities

Let’s look at Japan and how it’s our firebreak going forward.

I feel it is now beyond our control to prevent a pandemic. Either it’s going to happen or it’s not. The main question is, of course, what about Wuhan makes it so special that that’s where the vast majorities deaths have occurred? Was the Wuhan outbreak an “event” and what’s going on around the world simply a side effect of that event, or, what? I’m not one to ascribe to conspiracy theories, but I do think a tipping point has come whereby we need to start asking that question — the fate of humanity may rest on it.

But back to Japan.

Japan is important because it’s a Western-style liberal democracy that couldn’t go China’s End Times route when it comes to WuFlu without us at least knowing why. And, Japan has a lot — a lot — of old people. Wuflu has a pretty brutal fatality rate for the elderly, enough that I say it has the potential to be The Gray Plague.

Not good.

So, if, for some reason, whatever is happening in Wuhan began to happen in Japan, we would at least know why. We would at least have some sense of what is really going on. The reason why that is so important is either Wuhan is a unique outbreak and is completely separate from what is going on around it, or it’s present is our future. That’s rather chilling because, well, I find it unlikely you could lock people in their homes like the CCP is doing in Wuhan in, say, Alabama, without some pretty serious consequences. And if they started doing that in Japan, then their social contract is strong enough that they would be screaming at the top of their lungs to explain why they felt forced to do it. It wouldn’t be some sort of surreal, mysterious over-reaction like it is in Wuhan.

Let’s look at Japan using my metrics.

Perception
Right now, our perception is the Japanese have everything under control. While, yes, their numbers are growing concerning, to the outside world it’s still a lulz. Vox is still more concerned about telling writers like me to NEVER “fridge” a female character for ANY REASON.

Response
The Japanese seem to be doing a decent job of responding to where things stand with WuFlu in their nation. The few, brief, times I’ve been in Japan, they seemed to be extremly professional and polite in everything they did and so they’re just the type of people you want on your front lines as the fate of Mankind begins to be potentially put at risk.

Fatalities
There are few, if any, fatalities in Japan right now. If a lot of people get sick, but don’t die, then we’re ok. Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world and if they get sick and don’t die, then we, again, will know Wuhan is “special” for some reason and things just aren’t going to get as bad as we may have initially feared.

Something dramatic is going to have to happen for me to get all that worried about WuFlu. There’s a good chance that WuFlu — until a vaccine comes out sometime next year — will be seen in the global consciousness as something like lyme disease — a bad illness, but not the end of the world.

I would definitely keep an eye on Japan, though. We’ll know one way or another soon enough. WuFlu is all over the globe right now, but people just aren’t getting sick that much and even fewer are dying. If that should happen to change sometime soon, that’s a different matter altogether.