Mostly because I had other fish to fry. However, my experience writing SILVER BROWN (and subsequently 2021’s project for National Novel Writing Month, which was an offshoot of SILVER BROWN) came up as a topic whilst chatting with somebody I met once on one of those crazy apps. The conversation fizzled soon after I brought up the talking ferret, but it got me thinking about what kind of grand artistic endeavour I should tackle next. During the holidays, I spontaneously jotted down something in the notepad on my phone to that effect, which I’ll have to wait until the end of the academic year to pursue in earnest.
I shall be returning to school this fall to formally train in the medical sciences. The scope of what I’ve been doing these last couple of years has revolved around this line of work, so it seems like a natural fit. At first I appreciated the fact that I still had a job to do regardless of whether or not a provincewide COVID-19 lockdown was in effect, but along the way I had the pleasure of working with some actual professionals in the field, finding myself greatly admiring the fact that their culture values things like compassion and lovingkindness. A complete about-face from the vicious cutthroat slash-and-burn world of information technology.
Don’t get me wrong, I love building web apps. But to me, building an app has always been more of an endeavour than a job. Something one willfully devotes a great deal of time and elbow grease to simply because doing so provides joy and contentment, like a vintage Harley Davidson being restored in the garage. The presence of a corporate manager constantly breathing down my neck about how the Harley must be street-legal by a particular date always killed the joy for me. It felt like being told I have only three minutes to get my rocks off during a sexual encounter.
Unfortunately, our health care system is in shambles. A lot of essential medical personnel have either retired early or entered a different line of work. Not just because of the stress of dealing with the pandemic (which is taxing enough on its own), but also because of the psychotic behaviour of certain misguided souls who get all their medical information from Karen from Facebook and react to any request to get vaccinated as if it’s a demand that they cut off their penis. We all know the type…
However, I’m certainly no stranger to people exhibiting abnormal ways of thinking driven by fetishized superstitions and old wives’ tales. The formative years of my childhood were spent listening to my grandfather proclaim young-earth creationism the Truth with a capital T, denouncing those geologists who have actually studied the earth and heartily beg to differ as harlots of Satan (his arguably disturbing obsession with what consenting gay men choose to do with their own genitals warrants a separate blog post). A decade or so later, my mother found instant validation for her hatred of my teenage self’s favourite bands in then-current conspiracy theories about satanic backmasking, and would hear nothing of her validation being built on a pile of sensationalist horseshit that was designed to exploit the ignorance of white suburban mothers and scare them into giving more money to the church. This is to say nothing of the fact that I used to work for somebody who eventually went insane and stabbed a guy. In part because she fell for that silly old li(n)e about God having a plan for her life. Thus I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever the cultists throw at me. I’ve been told (recently) that I have the patience of a saint.