Escaping Real Life (cosmic Shawshank edition)

Fifteen years ago, a couple of pipes of marijuana and the first Hubble Deep Field printed in Scientific American inspired me to write a little fable, of civilizations trying to communicate between galaxies by making stars go supernova in patterns. Never mind the consequences for whatever happened to be orbiting those stars, never mind that the initiating civilization might die out before anyone else saw or answered the message. To communicate with faith was the point, and, as I wrote, “Maybe, someday, there will even be something to say.”
I never did anything with the story — though reciting it over a lunch date, also with weed and cheap wine too, did score me a nooner in a suburban playground with this wild brunette from Legal. Anyway. I digress. I was trying to complain.
The past few months have been a time that mired me In, as nerds used to say, Real Life. Note that word “mired” – if you were my therapist you’d ask for more about that. It’s been a taxing few months, with a lot of hassles and family issues too. Still, most people whose houses get into Wall Street Journal don’t feel “mired.” Bad form even to say it, really, a level of rude kill-jollity much like wearing a Morlock mask to an Eloi holiday party.

My dirty little not-so-secret is that I’m actually pretty good at Real Life. I am tall, well-favored, cultured, literate, and rich, yet with enough quirkiness and edge, and occasional monstrosity, to put off the vapid and engage the interesting. And I can talk to coders too. You know those writers for whom writing was a salvation from penury, from addiction, from horror, from despair? Not me. If I never put fingers to keys again I would probably have a very good life. I might even get a job again, and in this economy it says something that I could make so arrogant a statement with complete confidence. But like I said, I can talk to coders. Barring zombie apocalypse I’ll do fine.
Yet to me all of this is a consolation prize. Maybe I have not “lost all my mirth” but I’m not in a good place. I spent far too long relearning the craft that excited me as a child, from which Real Life was a long detour — an exciting, educational, lucrative detour — only to get detoured again just when I started to feel some confidence about it.
A few months back I lamented that blogging itself was yet another distance and distraction, but it’s the only way that I can get through this phase of my Real Life and still meet the like-minded. At long last the Coevas noticed the big Hello I sent them Internet-ages ago, and responded with “likes.” Luckily I was still around to get them. I need to send out a few of my own.
Likes or no likes, supernovae or no, it’s a very deep field and I am well-favored. Maybe there’s still something to say.

About Admin

Anthony Dobranski Posted on

Novelist, writer, game designer, skier.


  1. I think if you are at heart a writer, a storyteller, then writing is simply what you do, and you just can’t help yourself. And when you’re not actively engaged in it, there’s a sense of something missing that nags at you and pulls at you. If you are facing hardship, then the writing becomes a way to escape or survive. If you are sitting fat and happy, materially-speaking, (and yes, I am jealous of that, thank you very much), then it becomes a way of processing and making sense of your own being in the world. Honestly, I think that’s the point of any creative expression. It becomes our means of processing the human experience, both alone and with others. So, you write because you are, at heart, a writer, and you always have been.

  2. Wish I had something deep to say, but I just got a kick out of reading it……although I like the supernova idea. Gotta tip my hat to someone who can be honest about being in a good place and have it sound real. Hope the taxing times are over for a little while.

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