"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." -Henry David ThoreauI keep getting the question from supportive friends and family: Do you think this week will be less intense? I’m to the point where I think I must’ve leveled up somewhere, because it seems that even weeks that should have been “lighter” end up exhausting. This week I lost another filling and New Dentist says that tooth will have to be fixed with a crown, while the two lower teeth that might have been candidates for a crown now appear to be candidates for extraction and implants. All these hours in a dentist’s chair are exacting a heavy opportunity cost of me, so this week’s quote from Thoreau seems particularly apt.

And I’m reminded of that seminal scene in Princess Bride when Count Rugen deploys his life-suctioning invention on Westley:

As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that’s all this is except that instead of sucking water, I’m sucking life. I’ve just sucked one year of your life away. I might one day go as high as five, but I really don’t know what that would do to you. So, let’s just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so be honest. How do you feel?

All the more so when some of the people I follow on Twitter this week schooled me on such a diversity of topics. Like the history of policing, which, given America’s adoration of capitalism, shouldn’t surprise anyone to have begun when, “mercantile interests … wanted to divest themselves of the cost of protecting their own enterprises, transferring those costs from the private sector to the state.” Or the Boer war, in which the English herded Boers into their own tragic concentration camps, and “people died like rats.” Or a reminder of the rights US women didn’t have even in the 1960s.

Small wonder that with historic measures of prosperity now becoming more accessible to a wider swath of the population, there’s a new push by the wealthy to distinguish themselves less by the things they can buy than by the experiences they can buy, as outlined in an interesting article I read at the Aeon. That concept of “inconspicuous consumption” might have to make its way into a future story.

Which brings me back around to my lack of progress on my current editing tasks. I’m hopeful that in the few gaps in activity over the long holiday weekend, I’ll be able to switch gears more readily, but given the additional, unexpected dental joy I’m facing, I’m not holding my breath.

We are, at least, keeping up with our walking. My phone says I averaged 4,764 steps each day this week, down some from last week, but still over 2 miles per day.

We also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the beginning of a prequel series to the Harry Potter books and movies. It was surprisingly moving and we’re now anxiously awaiting the second in the series, which is scheduled for release next year. It would be amazing to meet a niffler. Or any of the other magical creatures created for this series. And the fact that JK Rowling set loose these imaginary beasties as part of the hard follow-on work to daydreaming about A character… well. It’s inspirational. And aspirational. Especially for a speculative fiction author like me.

This is the “in-between” week for the ROW80 group, but some of us are still keeping pace with our weekly checkins, so while I’m considering my goals for the official Round kick-off post next week, I encourage you to go see what they’re up to.

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