An Extinction-level Event (also linked in the image header up top) is an event in which mass numbers of species on planet earth die off. We are living through (and causing) one right now.
I don't know about you, but it is hard for me to wake up in the morning and give a shit when we're living in an ELE.
It is hard to write, it is hard to think, it is hard to relax. My mind feels like a muscle spasming in a permanent cramp, seized with terror over what's going on. It's hard to use a cramped muscle for anything other than experiencing pain, so it's not uncommon for me to just sort of shut down, whimpering underneath the weight of the threats of death.
When I write I feel an extra burden to find the bright side of things. Alone in my head I don't feel that burden, but when I'm writing I do, because I feel like I dragged you the reader into this crap (whatever I'm writing) and so I owe it to you to blunt the impact of its god-awful depressing conclusions as much as possible. But I can't really do that in this post. We're living in an ELE. Species are dying around us by the billions, most as a result of our way of life. Left unchecked, the ELE will almost certainly consume us as well. If the Siberian permafrost melts, and all that methane gets into the atmosphere, that's game over, man. We're done.
That's depressing as fuck.
Now I drive a hybrid car and all our electrical at home comes from wind power, we're trying to cut back on meat and whatever else, but the fact of the matter is the scale of this problem is beyond the ability of my single household to solve. It requires action by governments, by massive international corporations. I can bitch and wheedle and tweet and write fiction, but I don't have a whole hell of a lot of power to compel these organizations. And even my efforts, costly as they are to my mental health and social life, sometimes have the reverse effect of what I intended (for example, if I work to get a person elected to the local electrical board and they proceed to vote to keep a coal plant open for another ten years instead of closing it, which—yes, this has happened to me, just recently in fact).
So if everything is so goddamned bad, why don't I just kill myself? Because, of course, human extinction in my lifetime is not assured.
Pithy assurances aside, it is possible that we'll pull through. I'm not certain of it by any means, but neither can I rule it out. And even if I did know for certain that civilization would collapse and we would all die gasping by the end of the century, I don't think I'd kill myself. As a Humanist I have this whole thing about being grateful for this one life I've got, no matter how shitty or fucked up it gets. The universe gazing back at itself, and so on. I believe in the sanctity of my own life, in my own way, and I don't want to end it just because I'm scared things might go badly.
(And no, in case my loved ones are reading this, I've never seriously considered suicide. I'm not suicidal. I'm talking hypothetically, academically, because it helps me get a handle on my fears. To truly consider suicide as preferable to reality, I would have to be all alone in a world that was literally on the cusp of death. I like life quite a bit.)
So I'm here, on the daily, terrified of how things are going but without enough compelling evidence or rationale to end things.
Enter the blog name.
There's something romantic and weirdly reassuring about the fiddlers on the Titanic.
No, I can't edit books and newsletters like nothing's happening. I can't write novels and short stories while ignoring the fact that the world is slowly dying outside my window.
But I can, sometimes, somehow, manage to acknowledge the rapidly dying world and still create at the same time.
I am, ultimately, a speck on this planet whose opinions and works matter very little (even less if the world dies), and yet, I might as well do something. My ego has taken a major bruising over the past several years, much of it probably deserved, and I no longer revere my own mind enough to think it's any kind of gift to the world—but people have told me they like my voice and want to hear more of it, and if that's true and it makes me feel good to share it, then why the hell not?
So I'll use this little corner of the internet to spout off about writing, politics, religion, child-rearing, and editing—and yes, probably an occasional panic-soaked screed about the imminent death of the planet.
Might as well. The ship hasn't sunk just yet.