With so much attention to freedom these days, both freedom from and freedom to (they can feel like — and amount to — very different things), it’s strange there’s so little discussion of what to do with it once we get it. We’re supposed to know intuitively, like eating or breathing. Let me “do my own thing,” “don’t fence me in,” “don’t tread on me,” “a man’s home is his castle,” “do what you want,” and countless other phrases and proverbs and old saws and aphorisms to capture that sense of a supposedly “inalienable right” to do — what? Along with life and the often asymptotic* happiness we’re supposedly in pursuit of, this third leg of the American Independence tripod got declared and delivered to us and we haven’t done a paternity test to see whether it’s our baby. Liberty. As in “see Statue of.” As in Patrick Henry, who gave himself and his audience only two choices (“liberty or death”), proving he was definitely not a true American, because as we all know, Americans love their choices. “Have it your way,” goes the old Burger King advertizing jingle. OK, my way. But once I get it, how do I know I have it? Is it like a lottery ticket — changing in value by the day, and up to me to claim it if I won it? And then what? What’s freedom for?
More to come in Part II.
*An asymptote, if the Wikipedia definition above doesn’t do it for you, is a curve that keeps edging ever closer to a line, but never actually arrives. (Unless you want to count infinity.) Think of it as a geometric tease.
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Passing the halfway mark of 25,000 words a couple of days ago felt as big this year as reaching 10K last year did — a milestone. Inevitably I’ve fallen behind — this time by about 5000 words. Got nothing written at all on Monday, and Tuesday was little better. Today’s quota is 30K. I’ve gotten down 3000 words so far, in a burst of catching up, and hope for another few hundred by day’s end, which will bring me within striking distance. I’m at 28,125 as I write this. (Yes, my break from writing a novel is writing a blog entry.) Definitely some interesting material has come through. I’ve put my poor succubus Alza in a number of implausible, erotic, challenging, historical and dangerous situations, just to see what sticks.
I’ve also found out that in order for an important historical meeting to occur, she needs to be about a century older than I’d made her. Not sure how she feels about that. Will no doubt find out. And I’ve gotten down a description of her original appearance that she has just discovered, the “face she had before she was born,” as the Zen masters like to say — before she shape-shifted the first time in her life among humans. That discovery seems to give her a stability and sense of self nothing else has. Here’s a striking image I found online and used for inspiration as Alza. It comes, both appropriately and ironically at once, from an Australian evangelical website, in the form of a pamphlet providing counsel to victims of Incubi and Succubi.