Political Calls, Deadlines, Lucid Dreams, and a Record-Breaking Month on the Blog

This is another “working” weekend for me–working in the sense that I am doing a lot of writing-related work, so I haven’t had much time to blog. Here, then, is a single post containing various and sundry items from over the weekend.

Political Calls

I protect my cell phone number like a Hollywood celebrity. I receive almost no “spam” calls on that phone, but yesterday, one managed to get through. It was from the Democratic Party of Virginia. They asked for a moment of my time, which I granted and then listened to their spiel about local Senate races for two minutes. The bottom line, of course, was money. They had some kind of donation-matching mechanism in place and if I would give them $200, it would be tripled to $600.

I told them what has become my standard answer in these situations, “You have my vote, but I’m not giving any money.” Then, to ward off the possibility of the caller asking for less money, I added, “I’m sure you would agree that my vote is the most powerful thing I could give to the Democratic senators.” I find that response to be unanswerable and indeed the caller agreed and the call ended.

But I’ve got to say that I was worked up after that call. I am embarrassed by how politics is carried out in our country these days. And while I think it is very important to vote and be informed, I find it very hard to swallow almost anything political. Politicians on both sides aren’t much better behaved than schoolyard kids, and indeed, I felt the way I used to feel on those rare occasions back in junior high school when getting into a schoolyard fight was unavoidable. My adrenaline was flowing. My heart rate was elevated. The side-effect of all this was that I lost the good writing flow that I had in the morning and never quite got it back.

Deadlines

I’m working under a couple of deadlines for various writing projects. I’ve got a nonfiction article due this week. I spent some time yesterday on the final draft of that piece, integrating feedback from some beta-readers. I can’t say enough how fortunate I’ve been to meet writers so willing to give feedback–and to have that feedback be on the mark and useful. I think this is a rare combination, but I can say firsthand that the feedback has helped me sell stories that would have otherwise been passed on.

I’ve got revisions to a story that I was invited to submit to Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s Beyond the Sun anthology. Those are mostly done now, but they stand out a little too much from the rest of the story and I need to take them back into my workshop and file them down a bit so that the edges aren’t so rough.

Episode 40 of my Vacation in the Golden Age, which covers the October 1942 Astounding comes out tomorrow and I am working to put the finishing touches on that one.

I am also worked on a novella that could turn out to be the best thing I’ve written so far. I had originally given myself an arbitrary deadline of September 27 to finish up the first draft, but I’ve barely gotten started. So I’ve reset things and decided that I want to submit the story by the end of November. It means I need to work my butt off on it, but hopefully that artificial deadline will keep me better focused.

I have to start reading for my next book review column for InterGalactic Medicine Show. The column is due at the end of October. I have already selected the two books I am reviewing for that column and I am very excited to read them. One of them will end up being the 500th book that I’ve read since January 1, 19961.

I am also doing another interview column for the November issue of InterGalactic Medicine Show. For that column, I am interviewing the prolific and talented, Hugo- and Nebula award-winning writer, Ken Liu. You can look forward to reading that interview sometime in November.

Lucid Dreams

I had a rare “lucid” dream last night. I dreamt that the carpet in the hallway outside our bedroom, and in the Little Man’s bedroom was soaking wet. There was no obvious cause, but I was annoyed beyond words for it. I went downstairs to tell Kelly about it and I noticed that the layout of our house was different. Somehow, this led me to the conclusion that I had to be dreaming. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but I didn’t not want to have to shell out money to have the carpet replaced. I kept looking around and I finally said to Kelly, “This is a dream.”

“What are you talking about?” she said.

“This has to be a dream. The house is all wrong down here.” I considered for a moment and then said, “I’m going back upstairs and getting into bed. Give me five minutes and then send up the Little Man to wake me.”

Well, I don’t know if dream-Kelly followed those instructions, but I can tell you that the next thing I knew, the Little Man was in my room blasting away with a toy laser gun that Kelly got him yesterday and asking if I was awake.

“I am now,” I said. He happily ran downstairs to tell Kelly. I got out of bed and trudged through the hallway and into the Little Man’s bedroom. The carpets were bone dry.

A Record-Breaking Month on the Blog

Early this morning, the record was broken for the most number of direct visits to this blog in one month. The previous record, back in May, stood at 47,309 visits. As of this writing, the number is 47,398. I expect to pass 48,000 before the day (and month) is over. I kind of hoped to get to 50,000 but the truth is I can’t complain. I’m still rather stunned by the amount of traffic I’ve been getting here these last year or so, especially since I’ve been doing this since 2005. I like the slow-but-steady approach.

If you factor in numbers from RSS subscribers and people who read the blog via RSS instead of directly from the site, then the month of September is by far a record-breaking month. RSS readers add 21,000 additional views, bringing the visits to the blog (based on those numbers that I can track) up to about 69,000 visits this month which is just remarkable, considering I had 95,000 visits for all of 2011!

I want to pass along my heartfelt thanks to everyone who stops by and everyone who takes the time to comment.


Notes

  1. When I began keeping my list.