Where Is My Mind? Guest post by Travis Peck

​This week I want to introduce you to Travis Peck, fellow SPFBO author and extraordinarily witty tweeter. Peck's novel Ravinor (The Ravinor Saga Book 1) is out now and I know you'll want to go check it out after reading this post ... Enjoy!

Forget about writing? Forget about writing? FORGET ABOUT WRITING?! FORGET ABOUT WR—

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Phew. Thanks. I needed that.

Shifting gears can be hard, especially when you’ve thought about something for so long, and so frequently(bookbookbookbookbookbook). Ahem. Where was I? Oh, right. It is actually nice to focus on regrowing some of those old synapses or even forging some new ones in the old thought bucket. Of course, allowing these other thoughts in can have less-than-delightful effects. For instance: Can anyone guess what’s making me angry? I bet you can.

Trump. In all his shitty Trumpness, seems to be dismantling every good thing in the US. It’s like he wants to piss me off, and being pissed, in this case, is a massive understatement. Thus far, I’ve vehemently disagreed on everything he has done to this point, and it’s just the fucking beginning. Scary stuff.

Just typing his name has caused a Mt. Everest-like spike in my blood pressure. But, in an effort to maintain healthy, life-sustaining systolic and diastolic pressures, as measured in terms of millimeters of mercury (Thanks heart.org!), I shall instead focus on the ensuing squeeing over what I’m truly excited about right now…

Space: The final frontier. (Whoa. Did I just come up with that?! I must have. Someone should use that line for a show about exploring the universe or something).

neil degrasse tyson meme

I am completely obsessed with all things space right now. Not since I was a kid have I been so utterly drawn (in?, into?, out?, up?) to the astrophysical realm. From the formation of the earth, moon, stars, planets, black holes, galaxies; to space travel—you name it--it is all so mind-blowingly, er…mind blowing, and I can’t get enough. The distances involved in exploring space, even our own neighborhood around our dear friend the sun, is so vast that it is inconceivable, for my mind at least, to fully appreciate, yet I find myself thinking about it more and more. Just getting to our moon takes three days. Mars takes, I believe, five freaking years!

Travis. How did this newfound space obsession come about?” No-one asked. Well, I’ll tell you.

My three-year-old son began showing some enthusiasm toward space shuttles, rockets, etc., and we would spend countless hours (HOURS!) counting down to launch our imaginary rockets. This eventually morphed into flying space missions (while trying to get him to use the potty) to all the planets of the solar system—sadly, his favorite is Pluto and, thus far, he has scoffed at the scientific community for its reclassification of the distant dwarf planet. Flashcards, books, a multitude of re-purposed paper towel rolls (duh, for pretend rocket boosters) later, and now I have the bug too. And unlike my brief dinosaur interest resurgence (that I still kind of have) this space thing is not going away any time soon.

Between the kid’s interest in it, SpaceX landing potentially reusable boosters—and they land themselves on a barge in the damn ocean!, NASA’s glorious return, various TV shows about it(non-fiction or Sci-Fi), and most recently The Expanse series(books and show) that I am currently reading/watching, and I can’t get away from it. And damn it! I don’t want to. Though, now thinking about it more, I would not be surprised if the Orange Demagogue hadn’t had a tiny little hand (see what I did there?) in this space obsession of mine. You know, what with his being a danger to life as we know it, and needing a way out, i.e. LET’S GO TO SPACE, MOTHERFUCKERS!

Now, I just need to harness my enthusiasm for astronomy, astrophysics, and all that thar fancy space stuff in my own writing. I’d love to try my hand creating a stand-alone science fiction novel, but even with my recent dabbling in the genre, and learning a small piece of the science behind it, I feel woefully ill prepared for such an undertaking. I assume, judging from how long that I’d been reading Fantasy before actually attempting to write it, that most writers have been obsessed for decades longer than I have in the whatever genre they wish to pursue. There are certain established norms in the fantasy genre that you can use in your book: Swords, bows and arrows, and such; maybe even orcs, elves, and dragons. The problem is that I have not read quite enough science-fiction to figure what those norms are for it. Gravboots? Some sort of warp drive? Photon torpedoes? You get the idea. Which are permissible to use without being hackish? It bears investigating.

Aside from its obvious influence on me in potentially writing in a completely different genre, this space kick has me thinking about how I might be able to incorporate some elements of it into my normal fantasy writing. At this point, I have loads of ideas, some good and some…BAD. The one idea that keeps hanging around like that lone, lingering donut at work that no-one will take because it’s the last one, but someone DOES take it, because he’s an asshole and lacks basic human decency, and goddammit, Daryl, you know I loved the glazed ones, and you took the last piece of Sarah’s birthday cake last Thursday so you owe me one, and fuck you, Daryl, I’m going to go into SPACE and you can go straight to hell in the Trump-spawned hellscape, you piece of—

Right, sorry. But, seriously, suck it, Daryl and Trump.

There was an idea that I was trying to express. Oh, yeah. So I love the idea of people living on/at the cusp of a frontier, be it land, ocean, space or anything new that is momentous enough, or seems momentous enough, to change things forever. In the Old World, sailors could gaze out into the ocean and wonder what was over the horizon. Settlers on covered wagons longed to see what was just over that next hill. And now we have space. We’ve obviously been able to see the stars and moon since life started on this planet, but now we can actually touch it. So regardless of genre, I will certainly be incorporating that element of a newly reachable frontier for my characters in whatever world I’m creating.

This idea of a frontier is more than just added danger and excitement; more than high risk, high reward. It also allows us to examine what our characters would do on the outermost edge of civilization. The means they use to explore and/or exploit this new frontier and showing what lines they are willing to cross, or not, reflects upon them and us. The question of what humans, or whatever species of character we are dealing with, bring with them to that frontier is fascinating. And, I think, worthy of exploring.

So that’s that. My son is asking me to be done with the computer and go explore the solar system with him. Sounds like fun.

Live long, and prosper! (Wait a damn minute. Again?! Surely someone has used this phrase before. There is NO WAY I’m that good).

Travis 'Fuck emigrating to Canada - why not Mars?!?' Peck everyone XD You can and should follow Travis on social media, and most definitely BUY HIS BOOK ! 

Next week on Where Is My Mind: Derek Alan Siddoway

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