Do all Heroes Breathe?

We just had to replace our fridge. It happens, but this refrigerator put forth a heroic service. We bought it in about 1983 and it kept our food cold through five presidencies. Now, the ice maker only lasted about half that and a grille at the base just would not reattach, but the milk and ice cream stayed at the proper temperatures. The end was near when the sealing began leaking cold air at the holidays, and it had to work harder and harder and the exhaust warmed the linoleum.

But it made it without failing, and a new one was brought in to replace the leaking veteran. Sadly the brand is not as widely sold anymore after acquisitions and slipped standards.  I couldn’t get it now.

But can an appliance be heroic?

It doesn’t have the human failings that make human heroes all the greater. It doesn’t feel pain… but it is affected by the ravages of age. The wrong things begin to leak, it passes unsafe gas, and everything sags. It is free of feeling pain, but it doesn’t complain as it struggles on. That would be a greater virtue if it could.

So if objects can’t be heroes, some heroes made it possible for that milk, meat, frozen pizza, medicine, formula, frozen coffee, and rolls of film to safely stay cool for over thirty years. (not the same ketchup, just to make that clear) These people, sadly nameless and anonymous after this many years of retirements and corporate buyouts, did a trojan job, under-appreciated those decades. Now I salute them, because that is the honest everyday heroism of doing a good job and they made something they should be proud of.

We need more of that, people making something for the future that can be passed down through the generation. People, especially politicians like to talk about our children’s future, but out future depends on more than the abstracts but also the concrete. Stock may appreciate and vacations make good memories, but would all all our lives be better if everything we bought was made with that kind of quality and pride? I want to celebrate the heroes whose workmanship then was their heroism… whether making a cabinet, writing tested-clean code, or making underwear that measures the same on both sides. We tolerate shoddy workmanship and poor service because that is the new standard.

The heroes are the ones who did it right, may more of us try to be heroes.

Competence and that Million Word March

I’m free of an older project now, and I can work on original stuff in between other commitments and that little thing called real life. I was refreshing my memory on positive (and meaningful) reviews in my fanfic writing for the ego boost and I noticed that that one site has 950k words archived. That doesn’t include one-offs on other sites, parody, or commentary so I have written more than I expected when I started.

I started when the end of a story pissed me off. One character just acted in a way I thought was unbelievable; why would an apathetic sleaze who enjoys wallowing in the gutters suddenly become nihilist and want to make a political statement? My muse had never been very interested in writing, I had other hobbies. But my muse when pissed, strangled other hobbies and keeps getting more interesting ideas that I want to write right NOW!

Feeding that muse and keeping it happy has prompted a lot or words. But last time I peeked, it was only half that. Despite disaster and block and a broken key on my keyboard, I hit almost a million words.

Does that mean I’m ready for publication? Not yet. I admit I’m more used to finished world-building, so I only had to worry about characterization and plot. I’m also not going to throw away that first million words. It was good practice and the feedback, good and bad, helped prepare me for trolls and indifference. The thoughtful comments are worth their weight in gold. Editors and proofreaders are too, and if you can find a good beta reader, thank them often and give them whatever cookies you can.