The brain may devise laws for the blog, but a hot temper leaps o’er a cold decree

scream

Okay.  So.  It’s Thursday, and thus it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post.  Hello, and good morning, and all that chitty chat.

I’m not sure that I have much to say that’s very interesting today, not that I’ll let such a thing stop me.  Nothing much new is going on, as it were, just a lot of the same old same old.  I posted a “karaoke” song on Iterations of Zero over the weekend, and I then (yesterday) posted the audio I did on common misunderstandings of evolutionary theory and some troubles with social media as well, but as far as I can tell, no one has listened to that.  Except me, of course; I listened to it repeatedly during the editing process.  But it’s hard to say whether anyone else has listened to it.

There are tools in WordPress with which to check one’s metrics and clicks and all that, but I have a hard-enough time fitting the writing (or the recording) and editing of these posts into my schedule.  Frankly, it’s a good thing that I have no life, because otherwise I don’t see how I’d get anything done apart from running about like a decapitated chicken.  Yesterday at work, for instance, was one long chain of trying to address problems most of which shouldn’t have existed.  Ironically this involved greater stress than did working as a physician, even in the emergency room of the primary city hospital in the Bronx, since in the latter case at least one was surrounded by and working with motivated, skilled, and intelligent coworkers*.  It’s difficult to overstate how wonderful that can be.

So, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with respect to IoZ and these alternative subjects about which I want to speak and/or write.  I often enjoy the recording of my thoughts (which entails the crystallization and clarification of those thoughts themselves, carried out aloud), but though it’s easier to do the rough draft for audio, the editing is much more onerous than is the editing of a written file.  Also, it’s astonishing how data-inefficient audio is.  I’m seriously considering using voice-to-text on some typical portion of one of the things I posted and seeing how big the Word file is relative to the mp3.  The current draft of Unanimity, which is now just under half a million words, takes up a little more than 1 megabyte of storage.  A simple, compressed audio file can take up more than that amount of memory for only a few minutes of speech.  God help you if you look at a raw wav file or similar.  Don’t even try to think about the size of video files!  It will drive you as mad as an encounter with one of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones.

I guess there was a good reason—probably many of them—for inventing written language.

It’s difficult for me to tell if anyone out there is more interested in listening to audio files than they are in reading my written posts; I’ve received no feedback on the subject, nor any clear and convincing data, one way or the other.  As for me and my house, I prefer reading in one sense, but it’s weirdly easier to fit audio into my schedule (I can listen while commuting, for instance).  Also, many people whose thoughts interest me do a lot more podcasting than they do blogging or writing books or articles.

On the other hand, my hearing is not great…with the exception that I quite literally, constantly hear a very intense and high-pitched “A”** in my right ear.  But that’s tinnitus, and as far as I can tell, it conveys next to no information***.  I’d probably be better off if I just didn’t listen to anything on my commute and eschewed watching videos, except with subtitles and the sound turned down.  I already avoid phone conversations if I can, partly because they are maddeningly noise-ridden****.

So, anyway, if anyone out there has any suggestions about whether you think I’m wasting time with the audio stuff for IoZ, and/or if you prefer it to written matter, or if you have any other comments, I’d appreciate the feedback.  I’m very much talking to myself, otherwise, and I can do that without using the internet.

In other news, Unanimity, at least, is going well, as I hinted above.  The editing process is bearing fruit, which hopefully will be ripe for your consumption and enjoyment in the not-too-distant future.  I’m still enjoying the story, myself, but I’m reaching that excellent stage where I can read what I’ve written and say, “Well, that whole paragraph adds absolutely nothing to the book.  Delete it.”  Stephen King counsels that, when editing, you must be prepared to “kill your darlings,” but honestly, it sometimes feels more like killing cockroaches…which, a reasonable interest in entomology notwithstanding, is not a difficult thing for which to find motivation.

It’s the cleaning up afterward that’s annoying.

TTFN


*I know what you’re thinking:  How did I worm my way into such a work environment?  I have no clear answer for you.

**I know this because I tried to discern what note it was the other day, and then checked my guess against a keyboard, and I was right.  It was an “A”.  At least I can tune a cello any time I need to, no matter where I am.

***Other than the obvious, which is:  “Hey, you’ve got pretty nasty nerve damage in your right ear!  Hey!  HEY!!!  HEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYY!!!!!!!!!

****To be honest, though, that’s mainly because of anxiety.  Still, when one is already socially awkward, the added problem of trying to decipher someone’s speech without the help of visual cues from body language and lip movement is just that much more problematic.  I suppose video calling might help, but then I’d have to let people look at me, and that’s never a good thing for either party.

As who should say, I am sir Oracle, And when I ope my lips, let no blog bark!

Meaning

Hello and good morning, as usual.  It’s Thursday (the second Thursday of the decade, or at least of the year), and thus, as usual again, it’s time for another blog post!

So far the new decade has been…well, reasonably interesting, I suppose, but more or less on a par with all other beginnings of years and of decades, and with Thursdays in general, for that matter.  I’ve been continuing to try to feel my way toward the best thing to do with Iterations of Zero, and to that end, yesterday I posted the edited audio of two different recordings, one made on the morning of January 7th, and the other made on the morning of the 8th.  [I also did a bit of a recording on the 6th, but that was almost like one of my old therapy sessions…it was very glum and dark and dreary, and I don’t think I’m going to be sharing it with anyone, at least not for now.]  Anyway, the first of the two, both of which I posted yesterday, was about both the necessity of suffering and the desire for a sort of “political scientism”, as well as a more parochial attitude toward the importance of political ideas…in the sense that I want to encourage people to stop getting so caught up in the importance of their current political bugaboos, and recognize how transitory most of these concerns are.  I’m not sure if I made my case effectively or not.

The second was a bit of thinking about the quantum wave function, Everettian “many worlds” quantum mechanics and the ideas of Fourier analysis.  It’s a bit more esoteric, I guess, than the previous one (but to me a bit more interesting…the other is just a subject that’s irritating, mostly).  Anyway, I posted both of those on IoZ, and then later in the day put them on my YouTube channel.  If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to go listen.  The longest of them is less than fifteen minutes.  If anyone has any feedback, I’d love to get that as well, as always, but I often feel that’s a bit of a pipe dream.  I often feel that when I’m doing these sorts of things, I’m very much talking—and writing, I suppose—to myself.  Now, of course, that’s literally true, when I’m doing it, but I feel that even in the general, broad sense of interaction with the outside world.  Oh, well.

I continue, as usual, to work on Unanimity, which is coming along, and getting pared down slowly and steadily.  I’ve cut over thirty thousand words off already, but it’s still got a ways to go before it reaches where I want it to be, following the general advice Stephen King received from an editor many years ago: that your final version should be your first draft minus ten percent (or words to that effect).  I still sometimes wonder whether I’ll live to see it finished and published or not.

I’m trying very hard to make use of the New Year as a means to drive myself to improve my habits, and I’ve already made some headway on a few fronts (I won’t go into specifics to spare you the potentially dangerous boredom), but I always come up against the barrier of motivation.  It’s not really a matter of willpower, or at least not in the traditional sense.  I have a tremendous supply of stubbornness, and more than a little willpower.  The real question is more of a “why bother?” or “what’s the point?” question, sort of the converse, or obverse, or transverse, or whatever, of Victor Frankl notions put forth in Man’s Search for Meaning (an excellent, but harrowing, book).  His point in general, as I took it, is that if one has a meaning and a purpose, then one can endure almost anything*.  Potentially implicit in that argument, however, is the possible notion that, if one does not have any real meaning or purpose, then almost nothing seems worth enduring at all.  We can certainly see possible evidence of this all around us, perhaps most glaringly and poignantly realized in the drug use and overdose crisis, and the glaring examples of suicides among the highly accomplished and successful (which are only the most obvious examples of such cases throughout our culture…the number of suicides in America is roughly equal to the number of traffic fatalities annually, and the number of attempts is more than ten times as high).

I guess maybe this sort of stuff is more appropriate for discussion in Iterations of Zero.  After all, despite the fact that I glean my weekly blog post titles from Shakespearean quotes, and Shakespeare certainly dealt well with the darker aspects of the human psyche, I do try to keep this blog upbeat.

Of course, I’ve also struggled back and forth in my head with whether I should continue to keep my blogs separate or if I should just consolidate them into one blog (it would be this one, obviously…it would be silly indeed to discontinue an eponymous webpage).  I’ll have to see.  I’d actually love your feedback on this.  Would you like to see the material that I tend to put up on Iterations of Zero just put up here as a greater number of posts of various types? Or do you like keeping the two blogs separate? Which form would lead to greater readership? Does anyone actually care at all which way I do it?

It’s hard to expect an answer to that last question, because surely any negative answer at least would be self-contradictory…though I guess a positive reply would be valid.

Okay, that’s it for today.  I’m not actually feeling all that well, physically, so I think I’m going to post this without quite my usual editing.  I apologize if the means to quality of the content is not as refined as usual.  And if it’s not noticeably worse, I don’t know whether to feel glad or sad about that.

TTFN


*And as a concentration camp survivor, he had the credentials to make that claim.

Art thou not, fatal Vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a blogger of the mind…

2020

Hello, good morning, happy Thursday, and—of course—Happy New Year!

It’s 2020 (AD or CE), a year that I’ve personally dubbed #TheYearofSeeingClearly*.  My book giveaway is now officially over, sad though that may be.  For those of you who took advantage, I hope you’re enjoying or will soon be enjoying your chosen books or stories.

I haven’t posted anything on Iterations of Zero since my last blog post here…the last two musical posts went out on December 25th.  However, given that the holidays have been underway, I feel it’s okay to give myself one week of a miss.  Now, however, there is no further excuse.  It’s a new year**, and even a new decade by most people’s reckoning, and while there may be nothing magical about the transition, it does serve as a good psychological milestone by which to set one’s goals for self-improvement.

I like the idea of striving to see clearly in this new year because of its coincidental numbering.  It would be nice if we could encourage people around the world to use this year to become more aware of their biases and blind spots, to work at removing the beams from their own eyes so that they can—when necessary—assist neighbors who have asked them to pluck out an occluding mote.  Of course, there’s a bit of a contradiction in trying to encourage other people the world over to be less critical of others and instead to try to look at themselves a bit more harshly with an eye to self-improvement.  Isn’t the very promulgation of such advice a violation of its own precepts?

Maybe in a small way, but it’s not advice that’s focused or targeted on any one person, but on us all, especially on me.  Goodness knows I have plenty of room for improvement, self- and otherwise.

I am, however, trying to achieve such improvements, on several fronts, though I try not to be overly ambitious on each of them, lest they get in each other’s way.  One thing I’ve learned at least to some degree by this stage in my life: you can’t let the “perfect” be the enemy of the good.  I’ve long tended toward an attitude of ruthless perfectionism with respect to myself, with the additional, cruel parenthetical that I know that I can never be perfect, so I can never be good enough.  However, as I’ve pondered things throughout the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that, except regarding quite simplistic processes and ideas, the very notion of perfection is mostly vacuous.

It’s also limiting.

To say that we are shooting for perfection implies that there is some upper limit beyond which we can never go.  But as math and science seem to show us, there is no real upper limit to many processes.  We can always improve, always find ways to make ourselves, and our cultures, and our creations, better.

Einstein is reputed to have said that there are only two infinite things:  the universe and human stupidity…and he wasn’t sure about the universe.  That statement about infinite human stupidity—perhaps infinite ignorance would be a better way to think of it—implies an infinite potential for human improvement.  We can keep getting better, as individuals and as a whole, without ever reaching a stopping point, until the end of time itself, if there is such a thing.

One may never reach the peak of an infinitely high mountain, but one can climb higher and higher, and be able to see farther and farther, to ever more distant horizons, with new vistas, filled with wonders one couldn’t have expected, because to have expected them, one would have already had to know what one hadn’t yet discovered.  And obviously one can’t do that.  We cannot ever, in principle, predict the specific shape of future discoveries and knowledge before they are created, for to predict them, we would already have to know them, which we don’t.  Quantum Electro-Dynamics***.

So, it is with a guarded sense of optimism that I approach the new year and new decade, and I hope you are also able to be reasonably optimistic, while still always maintaining a habit of self-improvement, and trying to see as clearly as you’re able.

Finally, with respect to writing/authoring news, Unanimity is coming along well and should be out sometime in the early part—at least the first half—of this year, hopefully followed shortly by Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  And whither then, I cannot tell.

TTFN


*Yes, I had the temerity to give it a hashtag.  It’s probably an unjustified bit of wishful thinking, in any case.  There’s little reason to expect people to see any more clearly, metaphorically, just because the year is 2020 than we ever have before.  But maybe we will.

**Though, admittedly, as I think I’ve said before, “new year”, “new week”, “new month”, etc., are arbitrary notions.  There’s nothing special from an astronomical point of view about any particular point in our planet’s orbit around the sun.

***In other words, “QED”.  That’s my little physics/philosophy joke.

Man on top of a mountain standing contemplates the dawn

Fight valiantly to-day; and yet I do thee wrong to blog thee of it, for thou art framed of the firm truth of valor

270-red-boxing-gloves-vector-image-free

Good morning and Happy Boxing Day!  I hope that all of you who celebrated yesterday had a wonderful Christmas, and that those of you who celebrate Hanukkah continue to have a wonderful Festival of Lights.  For all others in the northern hemisphere, I pray that thou dost celebrate the passing of the solstice and the lengthening of daylight…and in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your summer!

For those of you who choose to celebrate Boxing Day in a twisted and quasi-literal sort of way, I remind you of this:  bare-knuckle boxing engenders fewer fatalities than does boxing with gloves, because the latter encourages far more frequent blows to the head, with consequent shaking and damaging of the brain*.  Honestly, I doubt there are (m)any who do such a silly thing, and precious few of us, with bizarre senses of humor, who even consider the possibility.  Still, just in case, I thought I’d bring it up.

And now, a quick and more or less final reminder:  My giveaway of free books (Kindle format) ends with the passing of the year (and, by some reckonings, the decade).  By the time my next regular blog post goes out, the offer will be over, so if you want to join the numerous beneficiaries of this giveaway, please, get in touch with me either here in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter, or through some other means that will reach me, and make your request.  I will need an email address eventually, to which to deliver the link for your e-book(s), but as long as your request is sent before midnight on December 31st (according to your local time zone) then you will receive your giveaway, even if the email only follows later.

For those of you who are resistant or ambivalent because of the necessary Kindle format, I’ll simply remind you that electronic books are far more ecologically and environmentally friendly than are paper books and other physical printed media (magazines, newspapers, etc.).  This is one of the great advantages of modern electronic media, and it is far from the only one.  This blog, and squillions like it, is another.

On a related note, I’m “currently” partaking of a book in both Kindle and Audible format (at separate paces), and its subject is the potential sustainability of perhaps the most precious resource of all: the healthy duration of our individual lives.  The book is Lifespan: Why We Age—and Why We Don’t Have To, written by the eminent Harvard biologist David Sinclair, along with Matthew LaPlante.  I highly recommend it, and I’ll probably write a review of it on Iterations of Zero once I’ve finished the book in both formats.

Speaking of IoZ, I’ve posted a few things there in the past day or so.  The first was a recording of me playing a rather amateurish guitar version of “Greensleeves” aka “What Child is This?” just barely in time for Christmas.  The second was a release of two earlier recordings of a sort of karaoke and “duet” of me singing the Radiohead song “Knives Out”.  You’re welcome and encouraged to listen to all three recordings, and I’d be happy to receive your feedback.  I’m a glutton for punishment, it seems.

Unanimity editing has gotten slightly less than its usual attention of late, partly because I’ve been stricken with a flu-like illness, possibly the actual flu**, and have been relatively miserable for the past six days.  Im on the mend, however, and though not quite back into full boxing form, I’m eager to return to the ring.  Other things, such as an office move at my job, about which I was none too happy—but with which I’m becoming more enamored—and just the general schedule derailment caused by a midweek holiday, have also intervened.  I did not edit at all yesterday.  I was too busy eating.

Nevertheless, the book proceeds more or less steadily, and publication is on the visible horizon, unless I’m falling prey to a metaphorical optical illusion.  After that, I mean to finish my novella and then publish it among other stories in Dr. Elessar’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  Then I’m going to be doing something rather more light-hearted than Unanimity, a sort of fable called Neko/Neneko, which I think I’ve mentioned here before.  That’s all assuming my plans don’t change, of course.  I didn’t have any mice helping me make those plans, so hopefully they won’t gang agley.  That’s what the quote by Robert Burns (aka “Robbie”—or perhaps “Rabbi?”) recommends against, isn’t it: men making plans with the help of mice?  It was something like that.

In any case, the holiday season is not yet over.  A New Year beckons, as does a new decade, and though great Nature recognizes not our arbitrary subdivisions of days and years and centuries and eons, such things matter to humans, of which I am one***.  So, enjoy and embrace the time.  Make merry (and possibly Pippin); indulge yourselves in ways that don’t cause harm to others or yourselves; and by all means, give yourselves some belated Christmas gifts by requesting a free copy of one or three of my stories.  We all need things to which to look forward to bolster our enthusiasm for life, after all.

TTFN


*It can hurt your hands—a lot—to hit someone in the face with bare knuckles.

**It serves me right for not having gotten my flu shot this year.  I can offer no excuses.

***No matter what I or anyone else may occasionally say.

Being holiday, the blogger’s shop is shut.

Solstice

Welcome, one and all! It’s Thursday, which means that it’s time for my weekly blog post…as you already know, since you’re reading it.

I hereby remind you all about my book giveaway, which continues until the end of the month, the end of the year, and—by some measures—the end of the decade.  If you contact me and let me know your choice(s)—or have me make the choice(s) for you—and give me an email address, I will send you one novel or three short stories, in Kindle format.  I’d love to be able to send you out hard copies, of course, but I can’t really afford to do that right now, and currently, most of my short stories are available in electronic format only.

Don’t wait!  Time is ticking, as it always does, unless you travel at the speed of light (which you can’t, since you’re made of particles that interact with the Higgs field).  Next Thursday will be “Boxing Day”, as the day after Christmas is called in the UK and related places*.  By the following Thursday, the giveaway will be over, its metaphorical carriage having turned back into a pumpkin at midnight on December 31st.  So, give yourself a free holiday gift.  You have nothing to lose but a tiny portion of your time and a tiny bit of storage space on whatever electronic device you might use for e-books.  And you would gain…well, in my biased but humble opinion, I think you’ll gain some enjoyable stories.

Speaking of which, this week I finished another round of editing on Unanimity, and I’ve begun the next one.  I mean to find ways to tighten up my schedule so that I can go more quickly from now on.  The whole project is taking sooooooooooo long, and I really can’t wait—or I don’t want to wait—for the book to be out so you can all read it.

I did a minor experiment on Iterations of Zero recently, with some conflicting results.  Near the end of last week, some thoughts occurred to me that I wanted to get down quickly, and I didn’t have the time to write them, since that would have interfered more with my editing schedule.  So, I just recorded the thoughts aloud on my voice recorder app, and later in the day, I edited and published them on IoZ, here.  The response was decent, both on the site and on my social media pages.  Pleased, I did a second, more formally prepared but no more formally spoken recording earlier this week (it was about eight minutes long and the previous had been about five, but I don’t think that makes a huge difference).  That second recording has gotten no response at all on WordPress, as of this writing.  I’m not sure why.

Arguably, the first topic—depression, a subject near and dear to my heart, so to speak—was drearier than the second, which was political philosophy.  Maybe right now, with all that’s been happening, people are fed up with politics, at least in the US and the UK.  If so, I can hardly blame them.  Maybe the second title was a little too cryptic.  Or maybe the recording was simply missed because I posted it early in the week, and I’ve been recently publishing my IoZ entries toward the end of the week; maybe people who would have been interested simply didn’t notice it because of the erratic timing.  Or maybe people are just too caught up in the rapidly approaching holidays to take time out to listen to an eight-minute ramble.  Maybe audio is just not a good format for me.

I’ll continue the experiment a little bit longer (your suggestions are welcome on that score) to give it a fair day in court…or in Congress, or in Parliament, or whatever.  The audio format has advantages and disadvantages.  In first draft at least, it’s quicker and easier to get audio out (though I do type fast).  Audio, however, doesn’t tend to be as well-organized as a typed and edited blog post.  It’s easy to skip ideas accidentally and realize the fact too late to make corrections (without a lot of trouble doing the sound editing, anyway, which is not complicated in principle, but which can be tedious).

But audio can feel more personable sometimes, I think.  I know people like to watch videos of people talking about ideas at least partially for that personal touch, but I’m not quite able to get over that hurdle of anti-narcissism.  Also, videos are so data intensive that I find them wasteful, unless adding the visual portion really improves the conveyance of ideas.

In my case, video just gives people the option to look at my ugly mug while I’m talking, which is only going to put them off their lunches.  I suppose I could consider it my contribution to fighting the western epidemic of obesity and diabetes, but at this time of year, with so many celebratory meals being enjoyed, I’d just as soon not be accused of ruining someone’s holiday dinner.

And with that, I’ll wrap things up for this week**.  For those of you who celebrate it, I wish you a very merry and happy Christmas, which will have passed by the time you read my next weekly blog post.  For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, I wish you the happiest of that holiday, which will be well underway by next Thursday.

And of course, all of you please enjoy any and every other of the many celebratory holidays that come at this time of year, having evolved from older celebrations of the Winter Solstice (which is in three days).  I wish all those in the northern hemisphere the happy anticipation of the lengthening daylight to come.  Those of us who are Seasonally Affected can at least look forward to our spiritual weight beginning to lighten in the days and months to come.

To all potential readers (and anyone else), all around the world, I wish you all the best.

TTFN


*I have no honest idea what the name of the day means.  I doubt that it has anything to do with pugilism.  If it refers to Christmas presents, it’s strange to think of boxing them after they’ve been given and received.  If anyone reading knows the etymology of this term, I’d be delighted to learn it.

**Appropriately enough.

The art of our necessities is strange that can make vile blogs precious.

relessarwithquestions

This is about the last picture of me that I like…

Hello and good morning!  It’s Thursday, as you no doubt already know, and thus it’s time for another of my staggeringly popular weekly blog posts.

I should let anyone who’s paying attention know that I did in fact write a post for Iterations of Zero last week, but while editing it, I decided that it was just too negative to share right now.  Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future, but I figured there’s enough material on IoZ dealing with depression and its fallout, and I thought people wouldn’t be too chuffed to read more of it.  Perhaps I’m wrong in this.  If so, please let me know.

I now hereby remind you all that my giveaway offer is still in place until the end of the year:  If you send me a request, either here or through my Facebook or Twitter accounts, I’ll happily send you the Kindle edition either of one of my novels or three of my short stories, whichever you prefer.  You can pick them, or—if you like—I can pick them for you.  In such a case, I’ll be inclined to send you works that I most want to promote, so fair warning.  Of course, I’m happy to try to match your preferences if you just tell me what you enjoy, but I can’t guarantee that I have works that match all possible tastes.  My short stories, in particular, tend to be rather dark.  Still, if it’s sci-fi, fantasy, and/or horror that you crave, I think I can find a shoe that fits.

I’m very near the end of this run-through of Unanimity, which is nice, though of course the ending is sad in many ways.  The fact that I’m making such progress—glacially slow though it often feels—leads me think that the book will be ready for release sometime relatively early next year, always assuming I live that long.  It will definitely be my magnum opus to date, at least as far as size goes.  I hope it’s worth the wait*.

Now, to indulge in a bit of a tangent:  when I searched online to confirm that I wasn’t misusing the term “magnum opus”**, one of the top results delivered was the Instagram page for what seems to be a hair salon or similar out in Portland, OR (they had some lovely pictures, by the way).  This led me to wonder, as I do from time to time, whether there would be any benefit from my starting an Instagram account.  I don’t currently have one (which was implied by what I just said, wasn’t it?), and I’ve never really followed or looked closely at any such account hitherto.  I’m not big on photo sharing in general.  I don’t like how I look, so I don’t tend to share pictures of myself***, and there are few enough external events in my life that merit pictorial representation to the masses.  Of course, in addition to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I do have a YouTube channel, but that’s mainly used for sharing “videos” of my songs and recordings of some of my stories.  I’d be interesting to learn what your thoughts are on the benefits (or detriments) of Instagram for authors and other writers.  Do Stephen King and J. K. Rowling have Instagram accounts? I doubt that Shakespeare does.

That’s about all I have for now.  I’ll work on something new for IoZ for this week, and I’ll try to keep it as upbeat as I’m able, but I am grumpy by nature, it seems.

Again, please do contact me if you want some free stories to read for the holidays, even if they’re not exactly holiday-oriented tales.

In closing, in apparent contradiction to my grumpy nature and my dark imagination, I wish you all the very best in everything, even if you don’t necessarily know what that might be.  After all, does any of us really know what’s best for ourselves? But whatever it is, I wish it for you, my dearest readers, and for your families and friends…and what the heck, while we’re there, I’ll wish it for everyone.

Also, I want a pony.

TTFN


*Obviously, I think it’s terrific, but I’m biased.

**I did and do know what it means, but I wanted to make sure there weren’t misleading connotations in its common use.  It turns out I was both correct and fine, which happens sometimes.

***I used to be reasonably satisfied with my appearance, but chronic pain, depression, and prison will tend to take the glow out of one’s skin and the sparkle from one’s eyes, to say nothing of the gleam from one’s teeth.

I give away myself for you and blog upon the exchange. (Announcing a Giveaway!)

gift box

Hello, good morning, and welcome not merely to another Thursday, but to a new month!  It’s the last month of the year and, depending on how you divvy things up, it’s the last month of the decade (though an argument could be made that the decade really ends with the beginning of 2021, and that the twenty-first century began in 2001, not 2000.  But I’ll try not to split hairs).

I haven’t yet written this week’s Iterations of Zero post, for those of you who might be eagerly anticipating it.  I’m afraid that the freeform approach I’m taking to that project often leads me to leave it to the end of the week.  I may need to set a specific day for releasing it again, as I do with this blog, though I fear that might lead to perverse resistance on my part.  In any case, I don’t want to let writing it interfere with the daily writing and editing of my fiction.

Speaking of which, things are proceeding steadily with the editing of Unanimity.  I’m nearing the end of my latest run-through, which will put me truly over the halfway mark of that process, which is exciting.  I don’t know about you all, but I for one am anxiously looking forward to finishing and publishing that book.  I can hardly wait for someone (besides me) to read it.

And further, speaking of that desire, and of my fiction still, I’ve decided to do something at which I’ve hinted previously:  I’m going to do a giveaway of some of my fiction in honor of the upcoming holiday season—during which, by many a tradition, we give gifts to those about whom we care.  I certainly care very much about people who love to read, and I can’t help but have a narcissistic soft spot for someone who wants to read my stories.

This giveaway will be e-book only, for several reasons—logistics and cost not the least, since I am a poor boy*.  Also, my short stories are mainly published in e-book format, on Kindle.  In case you don’t know, you don’t need to have a Kindle device to read them.  The Kindle app can be installed on any tablet, smartphone, or computer, and it’s a free at Amazon for the asking.  Many of you might be resistant to the idea of reading books on Kindle, preferring them in the more traditional form.  I do have deep and personal sympathy for that preference, of course, but there is incredible joy in being able to carry a library of well over two hundred books in one’s pocket…which is what I do all day, every day, thanks to Kindle.  It also saves on shelf space and—nominally—on trees.  Of course, you’re clearly reading this post on some form of computer, so it’s presumably not too great a leap for you to use Kindle.

Now to the specifics and then the mechanics of the giveaway.  Some of my works are novels and some are short stories.  Since the Kindle versions of the novels are currently priced roughly three times the cost of each of the short stories, I’ll give anyone who wants them a choice: you can be sent three short stories or one book (one of which is actually a collection of three “short” stories, which makes things nicely symmetrical).  Lest you think that’s a meager gift, let me remind you that my short stories don’t tend to be very short.  Some of them are nearly novellas.  The shortest one, I think, is Solitaire, and it’s also by far the oldest and the darkest of my available tales.

As to the mechanics: to send you the books/stories, I will need to have an email address to which to send it/them.  You can contact me here, in the comments section below, if you like (this week or later in the year is fine), or through my Facebook author’s page or my Twitter account (see the sidebar).  In case you don’t want your email address to be public knowledge, which I do understand, you should certainly feel free to direct message me through Facebook or Twitter.  Don’t forget to tell me which novel or which short stories you want me to send you**.  You can find a list of them on my Amazon author’s page, or on Goodreads, or here on this blog under the subject heading “My Books”.

I will not save your email address externally, nor shall I use it for future promotional purposes, nor shall I sell it or share it with anyone without a court order***.  All I really want to share is my work with interested readers.

That’s about it for this week.  I look forward to hearing from you, and though I don’t attach any strings to my giveaway, I’d certainly love you to give me feedback after reading my stories.  But that’s your decision, and I’ll think no less of you if you don’t (for whatever that’s worth).

TTFN


*I need no sympathy.

**Otherwise I’ll just pick for you.

***Possibly not even then.  My respect for the courts is not what it once was.