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Posted by Mick on April 24, 2010 – 12:52 am

That’s the way that the world goes ’round.
You’re up one day and the next you’re down.
It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown.
That’s the way that the world goes ’round.

Lyrics courtesy of the great John Prine

When I walked out of work this afternoon, I was feeling a bit stressed.  I came home, and I laid down to read a book.

I’ve just started the fourth and final book in Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth series.  I’m really enjoying the books more than I expected.  I didn’t get the books because I wanted to read the series, I got them because I wanted to read another book, Songs of the Dying Earth.  It’s a book of stories based on the world Jack Vance created for his Dying Earth stories, each one written by a different sci-fi or fantasy author.  Neil Gaimen has a story in it, I love Neil Gaimen, I want to read his story, but I decided I would appreciate the writing much more if I was better versed in the melieu.

Common sense would have told me that if several authors whose work I respect all liked the world The Dying Earth that much, it would be well worth reading.  Common sense is over rated. There’s a time and a place for common sense, and this was neither.  Nevertheless, common sense would have been correct.  The books are entertaining.  I will say I’m less impressed with the actual stories than I am with the world he created.  It’s set in Earth’s far far future.  The sun is burning out, and people are quite aware of this fact, constantly looking up at it, afraid that any moment could be the last.  Civilizations have risen and fallen, and the world is a fractured place.  Technology is almost unknown, magic is familiar if not widely practiced (not just anyone can control it) and it is understood as a science.  New species have evolved, some of them mutants from crossbreeding with extra-dimensional creatures brought to this plane by magic.

I hadn’t cracked the book open before my thoughts drifted.  I began to ruminate (figuratively of course) on the course of my life… well, not really my life.  My career.  How did I get here?  Is this where I want to be?  How can I get out?  Who am I working for, the man or myself?  Should I just chuck it all and go back to the world of convenience store clerking?  You know, the small questions.

Yes, I really was a clerk.  Years before Kevin Smith.

Right now, sitting in my dining room in the middle of the night, I’m perfectly content.  It was a good night.  Work is just work, after all.  I do my best, my best is damn good, and all I can do is what I can do.  It’s not worth the stress, and my life is what I do when I’m not there. It’s about perspective.

I think I’ve said all of this before.  Hell, I know I have.  Repetition is a powerful tool.  If I remind myself, over and over, time and again, eventually it sticks.

And speaking of the good things in my life, I have good friends.  The kind of friends who will always show up when you need help, especially when you have to move.  And tomorrow, one of those friends is moving.  It’s MY turn to be the friend who shows up and helps you.  I have to be up and working, manual labor, sooner than I want to be.  I should get to bed.

Be good to each other.

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