Something Worth Knowing

Hello, friends!

Today I’d like to share a very old video I found on YouTube.  It’s a series of man (and woman) on the street interviews where people are asked if they think we’ll find life on other planets.

According to the video description, this was filmed in 1962.  It’s interesting to me to hear people talk about the possibility of finding “vegetable” and/or “animal” life on Venus.  At that time, the Soviet Union’s Venera 1 spacecraft would have already visited Venus; however, due to a technical glitch, Venera 1 failed to transmit any data about Venus back to Earth.  So surface conditions on Venus were still unknown to us Earthlings.

But setting aside the Venus stuff in particular, in general people’s opinions about space exploration and extraterrestrial life have not changed much since 1962.  Some people are enthusiastically optimistic, others think it’s all nonsense, and a lot of people don’t seem to care one way or the other.

Then, of course, you get the one guy who swears he’s seen a U.F.O.  And then, of course, you get the guy who’s “working off the theory of the Bible,” where it says God only created life on one planet (F.Y.I., I’ve read the Bible too, and I don’t remember it ever saying that).  So again, not much has changed since 1962.

But my favorite is the woman at 1:40 who says she doesn’t expect we’ll find any life on Venus, but then goes on to say we’ll still find “something worth knowing.”  I’d say she was right on both counts!

Personally, I do think there’s life on other planets, and also on other moons (I’m looking at you, Europa).  But regardless of whether or not we find alien life out there, we should absolutely keep searching and keep exploring.  I suspect we will continue to learn all sorts of things that are worth knowing!

Next time on Planet Pailly, we’ll learn how to dance like binary stars.

#IWSG Judge Not and You Shall Not Be Judged

Hello, friends!  Welcome the first posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group for 2020!  If you’re a writer, and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here.  I.W.S.G. is an awesome organization for insecure writers like us!

For years now, I’ve used these I.W.S.G. posts to tell you about the relationship I have with my muse.  She’s a clever muse.  She can also be really annoying sometimes.  But my muse is also a little bit more than just my muse.  She’s also my conscience.

If you’ll allow me to get religious for a moment, I’d say my muse has a favorite Bible verse.  It’s from the Gospel of Luke.  It’s the “judge not and you shall not be judged” part.

I have to admit I have a tough time with this.  Other people can be so stupid, so crass, so self-centered and inconsiderate.  I can’t help but feel a teeny bit judgmental.  I think it may be part of human nature.  We can’t help but judge each other.

But the muse does not accept my “human nature” excuse.  Every time I start to get judgy, my muse reminds me that I am a writer.

As a writer, I have a responsibility to see how everyone is the hero of their own story (or at least I have a responsibility to try).  No matter what horrible things my gut instinct may tell me about other people, other people have their own reasons for doing what they do or being the way they are.  Other people have backstories.  Other people have motivations.  They have needs and wants, and maybe their needs are in conflict with their wants.  And they have inner monologues that, regardless of what I might think, must make logical sense to them.

This is not meant to be a Bible-themed blog post.  This isn’t about being a better Christian.  It’s not even about being a better human being.  This is simply a matter of becoming a better writer, because if you can learn to sympathize with other people in real life, then, miraculously, your readers will find it easy to sympathize with the characters you put into your stories.

At least that’s what my muse keeps telling me.

Next time on Planet Pailly, the Earth orbits the Sun… right?  Right?