A New Fiction Writing Project Begins!

So things on the health-front have unfortunately deteriorated recently.  I think Bagel, having been gone for over two months, certainly contributed to that, to some extent.  But of course I don’t blame her at all; I’m glad she’s off doing what she wishes to do.  She’s currently still abroad and having just finished training, she just flew off again, to yet another country, to actually begin her real job.  I’m very excited for her.  We still talk nearly every night over video chat and that certainly helps.  But currently, more than ever, I’ve been gripped by an ever-expanding loneliness, especially when it is late at night and I am alone in the apartment.  During the day, when I’m feeling well enough, I can escape to the library or to cafes and achieve some level of human interaction.  But at night I’m left by my lonesome.  And consequently, I think the illness has unfortunately become worse recently and more debilitating.

To this end, one of my doctors suggested I take on a new hobby to try to organize my time into a more specifically-directed activity.  The thinking is that by taking on a more active hobby, it could possibly help me feel better.  Because of the illness, I’m unable to perform any kind of strenuous physical activity so exercise and sports are out of the question.  And while I’ve always reads lots of books and watched TV shows, these activities are too passive.  So as we shift into a more palliative mode of care, doc suggested I try writing; specifically, writing fiction.  Of course I’ve always journaled.  But the idea now is I would try to marshal whatever mental energies I could summon into weaving together a story.  It’s an interesting thought.  And many decades ago, when I was a child, I’d always dreamed of wanting to become a writer one day.  So hell, why not.  Maybe one day I’ll look back on all this with great amusement; let’s write a story.

To start, before I begin writing in earnest, I think it’s necessary though to establish a tone for what is to come.  A sort of “organizing principle.”  Having read a lot of fiction, I feel all authors possess an “organizing principle” when they write fiction.  JKR writes with a childish whimsy with a firm grasp on worldbuilding.  Lev Grossman writes similarly, but more adult material.  John Scalzi is a shamelessly commercial writer, hugely successful, whose prose centers mostly around quippy dialogue.  So after some thought, I’ve decided that my organizing principle, if it can be called that, will take after what I affectionately refer to as the “Michael Bay/Fast & Furious” model.  Even when there are explosions happening on screen and a $100M-worth of special effects blasting into your eyeballs, I never want the personal and intimate human story to be lost.  It’s a tightwire balancing act of never losing focus on the personal while still acknowledging the sweeping grandiosity of the world writ large.  Because, yeah.  Whenever I write, I do wish for there to be a twinge of spectacle.  Larger than life characters and plots.  Monstrous villains and gallant heroes.  I strongly feel an important component of fiction lies in its ability to give the reader a chance to escape from the mundaneness of the real world, into another more exciting, funnier, adventurous world.  That’s my aim at least.  How well I achieve that humble aim, well, I leave to you, dear reader.

The Day-Trader’s Credo & The Bagel List

Relying on day-trading as one’s sole means of daily income possesses several financial implications.  One of which is that your bank balance and daily/weekly/monthly cash flow can be highly unstable and uncertain.  I’ve only been day-trading for five months but have already been forced to endure lengthy down-stretches.  Statistically and historically, the models almost always tell you that your positions will recover.  But believing that –especially during huge rocket rides or death slides– and practicing the discipline to hold your positions in the face of unrelenting onslaught are two totally different things.

It’ll be useful before proceeding further to first clarify a few points though.  Again, these are simply the practices which have worked for me.  These are not recommendations, etc.

Since income from day-trading is always uncertain, it engenders both “save for a rainy day” and “if we got it, spend it” mentalities.  There is nothing more frustrating than being frugal and saving tons of money over a long period of time (say, many months) only to have those hard-earned savings all incinerated in a single swoop by an unexpected market downturn in a single day or week.  Conversely, because sudden plunges could happen any time, that’s also why I’m not extremely leveraged (2:1, at most, and only for short periodicities).  Remember, assuming you’re leveraged even at a modest 2:1, if your holdings decline by 50%, then you’re entirely wiped out.  (For reference:  LTCM was leveraged as 25:1 at the time of its collapse).  Also, generally speaking, even if you’re not leveraged, if you lose 50% one year, you’ll need to make 200% the next year just to get back to even.  Thus, whenever I see a hedge fund manager having a terrible run, losing 30% or even as much as 50% during a bad stretch, I’m never impressed when they rebound 40% the next year.  If you lose 30% in one year, you’ll need make 150% just to get back to even.  Only coming back 40% means you’re still down by a lot.

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