by Robert Waltz
Not for the faint of art.
A complex number is expressed in the standard form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i is defined by i^2 = -1 (that is, i is the square root of -1). For example, 3 + 2i is a complex number.
The bi term is often referred to as an imaginary number (though this may be misleading, as it is no more "imaginary" than the symbolic abstractions we know as the "real" numbers). Thus, every complex number has a real part, a, and an imaginary part, bi.
Complex numbers are often represented on a graph known as the "complex plane," where the horizontal axis represents the infinity of real numbers, and the vertical axis represents the infinity of imaginary numbers. Thus, each complex number has a unique representation on the complex plane: some closer to real; others, more imaginary. If a = b, the number is equal parts real and imaginary.
Very simple transformations applied to numbers in the complex plane can lead to fractal structures of enormous intricacy and astonishing beauty.
I have a confession to make:
2020 wasn't a terrible year for me.
Oh, sure, I was visited by the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. His name is Minor Inconvenience. Death, Pestilence, War, and Famine don't talk about him much.
I'm not trying to downplay how horrible the year was for a lot of people. I'm not as self-centered as I sometimes project myself to be. Hence why I call this a "confession." I know it was a really rough year for a lot of folks, and I still don't see it getting any better just because a clock struck midnight. Ideally, I should go on being empathetic toward the plight of others, but right now, with this prompt, I'm just going to take a moment to gloat about how I, personally, was largely untouched by the tides of 2020. I didn't get sick; no one I'm close to died; and life continued to be, as I noted in yesterday's entry, unfair in my favor.
Sure, there were things I wanted to do that I couldn't, such as travel, theater movies, and drinking at bars. As I said: minor inconvenience. And there were a few moments of deep despair, but they were mostly fixed with music and alcohol, the combination of which often cures what ails me.
There is, of course, no guarantee that this will continue. As I also noted in yesterday's entry, luck can be fickle, and fortunes can reverse at any time. But as far as the big bad wolf of 2020 goes, he didn't manage to huff and puff and blow my house down.
One good thing about 2020?
I survived it, and even prospered in spite of it.
I appreciated all of the comments from yesterday. Some of them made me feel really good indeed. I'm so glad that people get something from what I write in here, sometimes. Another confession: here it is, 12 hours into the new year, and I find myself still drunk from last night. So I don't trust myself to pick Merit Badge recipients at random right at the moment. Perhaps after some more Advil and a nice nap, I'll be able to roll the virtual dice. Bad enough I have to judge and prompt at "The Writer's Cramp" [13+] as soon as I'm done posting this.
One thing I'll continue into 2021: mini-contests. So everyone will have another chance soon.
Another thing I'll continue: Zoomies. Our next meeting is tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure I'll be sober for the start of that. Probably not the end of it, though. If you haven't chimed in, maybe it's something you'd like to do this year, just to hang out and chat about writing and life in general. You can find more information here: