Mars is the closest thing there is to Earth (not just in distance) and scientists believe it could support life, just not Life as We Know it On Earth.
Earth is in the “Goldilocks Zone,” while Mars is on the fringe of it. That’s the “just right” area in our solar system not only to support life, but life so lush and varied that it boggles the mind how we became who we are and what we are—Random Acts of Nature. Random is comforting to me, inspires discovery and thought, and actually has organization or it becomes Complete Chaos. Many times what seems to be Complete Chaos is really organized splendor. Nature never gives up—always changing, always moving. Adapting to its environment, sometimes beautifully and sometimes dangerously and sometimes disastrously but always marvelously.
Mars is smaller than Earth but has two moons, which makes it nice to visit, because I like moons. Though, it’s often difficult to see the moons because of the howling wind dust storms kicking up, some of which last a month long. The sunset tinges the sky blue. Blue sunsets on a red planet—real stuff! It snows on Mars, too. Though there may be snows we are familiar with, carbon-dioxide snow also falls there, so it’d be like a dry-ice snow; ain’t gonna build a snowman with that. With all the wonders of the universe to fuel our imaginations, we could do anything we wanted in our writing, as long as we convince our audience that it is really truly Truly Real whether it is real or not real or maybe is or maybe not—blue sunsets, dry-ice snow, purple skin, wolves with wings, clouds that rain diamonds (actually, liquid diamonds fall on Neptune and Uranus, but that’s for another day).
From space, Mars is beautiful. Standing on Mars, well, it’s a bit rough. The red of The Red Planet is from so much iron in the soil. And it’s cold. 80 degrees below zero. And dang it, I forgot my coat on Pluto. Oh well! When you are by yourself a lot, you don’t have anyone to remind you to grab your coat, or to make sure your shirt isn’t on inside out, or fix the tag that’s sticking up in the back, or acknowledge your existence when you return to Earth from Mars. There’s no one to say: “Why aren’t you writing?—if you write another book, I bet it’ll be a best seller! I know you’ll make a lot of money! Never give up on your dreams! Writers write, right? You can do it! I believe in you! Are you okay?” Actually, those things are meant to encourage and support but strangely you often find they make you anxious and you feel cornered and stressed and pressured and want to tell them to stop it and you know to think this way feels Just Wrong but there you go thinking it.
But! There’s no one to see how your royalty checks have shrunk, and then tell you, “Hey! That’s okay! Write that next book! I know that one will make you a zillionaire!” I like how I can open that envelope all by myself and shrug and say, “Welp, at least I get a royalty check! I have written books; I have books out there published—no one can take that away from me, not even me. And I’ll do it again when I’m good and damned ready to. Now, I’ll take this check and think about how lucky I am, while I still get one *skips off zippity do dah day*.”
On Mars there are canyons, volcanoes, craters. Clouds, fog, wind. Tornados. There’s gravity—one-third less than Earth has. If you dropped a cup of coffee on Mars, it would fall slower than if you dropped that cup of coffee on Earth; maybe you have time to grab it before it ka-splats, but then I suppose everything would move slower, including you. Might take you fifty-galleven times longer to write that novel, moving so sloooooo…oooo…ooooow. [Read more…]