Discover more from Fragmentary
Zoe, Fungal Beer and the Good Neighbour
Also a brief note about writing
Well, look, this whole thing is called Fragmentary for a reason…
Okay: first of all, I’ve recently started playing the NYT games in the morning over coffee, and today’s entry in Connections features an answer (around the word “icing”) that is so deeply indicative of the state of the world that I just can’t. I’m not going to spoil the game for anyone playing today, so if someone reminds me I’ll add a comment or something tomorrow for those who are curious. But really: wow. Incidentally, the whole range of puzzles increasingly feels to me like CATs or SATs or what have you, and I’m suspicious of the entire enterprise. What was that old SF story about the selection of a new Emperor of the Universe? CATs are an excellent test of how good you are at CATs (and to some extent whether you can think like an algorithm).
Incidentally incidentally: I was going to say that thinking like algo seems unlikely to have professional or personal applications in the future because there’ll be a lot of algo doing that, but as I think about it there’s then a “where would my robot have put my socks?” aspect to the whole thing as we navigate a world increasingly designed by algo which produces humanlike outcomes as determined by other algo. So maybe.
Next: I drank a fungal beer last night, and you do NOT get a prize if you’re even now bouncing up and down in your chair to point out that all beer is to some extent fungal. Yes, I know. This was a low-alcohol beer with Lion’s Mane extract, made by Fungtn - there’s a name that seems unlikely to survive the next round of investment - and I have to say it was pretty damn good. There are apparently three varieties and I’m actually going to go looking for the others. According to the guy who persuaded me to buy a can, who reports himself to be friends with the women who created the whole thing, the brewing process is essentially just good craft brewing - so there’s a reason why it tastes right.
Also in health news (I have health news now? Okay, carry on) I’ve been using the ZOE app and accompanying blood sugar monitor. It’s one of those quantified self/health science efforts, this one quite serious about the science part and fronted by Tim Spector, one of those gently intelligent critics of government Covid policy during the early (earl-ier, I suppose, depending on your point of view) stages of the pandemic. So far I have learned that it would be very bad for me to eat plain bagels every day for breakfast, but I’m still in the testing period. Oh, and do not let the Zoe people make muffins for you. But the promise is that I will uncover stuff about my gut health that will help me live longer and work better, and I am on board with both of those things. Note: they should really give you a better explanation of how the application of the blood monitor works, because when you first see it in the applicator the device looks both broken and alarming.
I am wearing utility trousers from The Good Neighbour. They are really good trousers and John, the guy who makes them, seems lovely. They are also not painfully expensive. Win/win.
Finally, today’s “what I learned that I already knew but somehow needed to learn again” about writing: write the good bit. Seriously. Just write it. That bit that you want to write, that you’re saving up? Write it. It’s the most important moment in the book, isn’t it? So write it, and bend the rest of the book towards it, rather than retrofitting it to what you come up with along the way that’s less important.
I say this because, having spent however long burning through the early scenes of a new novel (about which more at some point, because it’s an interesting conversation along maaaaaany axes,) I felt I was off-track in ways I didn't entirely understand. So then I wrote A Scene that I wanted and… ooooh… oooooOOOOOH that’s how it works! Like THAT! And then I wrote THE scene and now the book makes sense to me, and I have text to look at and go: that is the standard. The rest feeds that.
And now I feel like an idiot for not doing it sooner.
Obviously everyone is like me and should do things exactly the way I do them. If only I knew what that was…
More of the same, only different to the point of unrelated.