Good morning and welcome to another Thursday. There’s no longer anything very interesting or specific to say about the date. It’s not the week before Christmas, or the week between Christmas and New Year’s, nor is it even the week immediately after. It is, instead, yet another featureless span of time, trapped in the wasteland of days that marks the first part of every year. The next truly celebrated holiday—in America, at least—is Valentine’s Day, and that’s a highly artificial, commercial holiday, mainly celebrated by people in romantic relationships (known to the rest of us by various uncomplimentary epithets). After that comes St. Patrick’s Day, which is a little better, and then the Easter/Passover time, which has much to do with the arrival of Spring. Once Spring is here, certainly for those who live up north, one hardly needs a holiday in order to feel like celebrating.
Of course, here in South Florida, at the same latitude as Upper Egypt*, Spring arrives a bit earlier.
Those of you who follow my blog will know that I’ve gone back and forth a bit on the topic of how many projects to work on at once. Well, I’m thinking of going back (or forth) yet again. As you may recall, I decided to write Penal Colony and to publish Solitaire because Unanimity was taking so long, and I needed to give myself some variety so that I could maintain my pseudo-sanity. But all along I’ve dabbled in other matters, such as my experimentation with audio versions of my stories and trying to put out a weekly posting on “Iterations of Zero.”
I can’t help but think, though, that if I hadn’t allowed myself to be distracted, that Unanimity might well be done by now. Of course, that would mean that it would probably be slightly different than it’s going to be in this universe, but it would be done, and that’s the point.
So…I may go back to the purist’s recommendation and stick to one story at a time (except during the cooling off period between the first draft of a novel and the rewriting/editing process, which is a very good time for a short story). Of course, there’s little doubt that, someday down the road, when I feel bored or impatient, I’ll switch it up again. I’ll keep you posted on how that all goes. I’m sure you can hardly wait.
One reason I’m thinking about this is that I’m frustrated that editing Penal Colony is going so slowly…or feels like it is. By my usual standards, it’s not that long of a short story; it’s only about twenty-five thousand words. But of course, for the moment, most of my writing time is dominated by Unanimity, as I come ever closer to its end…it’s hard to walk away from it when my schedule calls for me to do some work on Penal Colony.
This would all be easier, of course, if I were able to write full time, but alas, I must needs make my living in other ways for the time being. Perhaps in days or years to come this will change. Hopefully at least some of my Everettian branches have a full-time-writing future…which would mean that I will have such a future, even if I also have other futures, in which no such thing happens. Each of those futures will be just as contiguous with—just as identical with—the current person writing this blog as any of the others. All of which speculation assumes that Everett’s “Many Worlds” interpretation is right, of course, which is my personal suspicion.
Isn’t quantum mechanics fun?
I hope all of you who live in climates north of me are staying safely warm to as great a degree as possible. It feels cold down here when it goes into the low fifties overnight (as it did last night), but I know that’s just because we’re all soft and weak.** On the other hand, I have mangoes and papayas and avocados and bananas and coconuts all growing in my yard, so there are compensations to such softness and weakness. I know that you’re all enduring much greater privation. You may console yourselves with the knowledge that, before long, my home may be (literally) underwater. A little schadenfreude helps keep the blood warm in winter; indulge yourself.
And what the hell, a belated Happy New Year to you all.
*The “Upper” part, by the way, apparently refers to the course of the Nile, so Upper Egypt is actually farther south than Lower Egypt.
**I grew up in Michigan, did my undergraduate degree in upstate New York, then lived in Chicago for two years before med school…so I’ve known what it’s like to be through real, relatively severe cold. Of course, people from North Dakota, from Minnesota, and from Canada may laugh at my presumption. I accept such laughter as a just rebuke, even as I stand outside in the sunshine without a jacket in mid-January, wondering why creatures such as we—with almost no fur, and with the highest concentration of sweat glands of any living organism—ever left the rift valley of Africa.