Update on October 6th

I’m having a lot of fun thinking up ideas for a weird and hopefully compelling tale based on some real and very vivid memories I’ve had, one of which I mentioned earlier in this blog (A New Year and Some Old Thoughts). I’ve been calling this story “October 6th”, for no reason in particular, only that this story came to me right around then last year. I’ve plotted out a series of about 14 episodes, and since I don’t know what I’m doing I rather think that this will be a learning exercise. I talk a little bit about this story idea here, although I have elaborated greatly on my original idea (which was going to simply be a short story, then a novella).

I’ve been working on the pilot, and it is going slowly but I hope to have more of it written today. I admit I have been working on this more or less as I have energy and this is not the only project I have on my mind, so it is going very slowly. I’ve been working on science-related projects and ideas as well, and started a podcast in April that I have been neglecting. I meant so many times to write a second episode about how clinical trials work and use as an example the existing vaccines under development (which is really exciting news, that some are progressing very rapidly through the development process).

Mostly I have lots of story ideas, which just come to me each day- either ideas for new stories, or additional ideas relating to ones I have already plotted, partially written, or have concepts for. I now have a list of project ideas for which I have at least a concept for, many of which I have plots, outlines, notes, or details for, and the list is above 80 projects now (some non-fiction). There is simply no way I can make all of these projects into some sort of reality unless I get a fair bit of help, and so I am simply at this point accumulating them, because I get more ideas every day and I can’t write fast enough to finish them all before something new occurs to me.

Now, I have some free time to myself this evening so I had better make use of it and try to nail down a few more scenes (or at least, make more notes to do this later) for my pilot. I really have to come up with a new name for this show. I actually don’t have any idea how to write a treatment so I’ve been just describing scenes more or less how I write, which is apparently easy to translate into a screenplay.

[Update: Today I finished a series of detailed notes outlining what will happen in the segments of the pilot I have not fleshed out yet, and I hope to translate this into writing and dialogue during the remainder of this week. I’ve set aside this time for creative writing, though I do have some science work to do also.]

Squirrels

I wrote this story for a friend I met in Guelph, Ontario, who was having a problem with unruly squirrels.

“Fucking squirrels,” David muttered, surveying the damage. Torn screen, broken ceramic mug, potato chip bag torn open and crumbs scattered over the floor.

David started cleaning up the mess.  He ruminated angrily as he did so that he had told the landlord a dozen times to replace the windows, and why did the damn squirrels keep getting in? Why his apartment?

He found some duct tape, approached the screen, tore off a silver strip. He was just about to use it to patch the hole in the screen when a little voice piped up behind him.

“I would not do that if I were you, human.”

David froze. He heard crinkling, and turned to see the potato chip bag rocking from side to side on the counter. Something was clearly moving around inside it.

Much as he did not relish an encounter with a wild animal, he decided to trap the squirrel- for what else could be inside the bag?

“Mmm, salty goodness!” came the same little voice from inside the chip bag.

David paused. He considered for a moment that he might be going insane.

There was a muffled burp, and then a small furry face stuck its head out of the chip bag. It was a squirrel, all right, but a squirrel with a silvery green helmet that had a pair of bulky antennae protruding from it.

“No, you’re not insane,” the squirrel said.

“Fuck,” David blurted.

“No, not under these circumstances,” said the squirrel. “Though the overlords are interested in the history of your species’ reproductive habits. Apparently today reproduction involves various forms of what is commonly referred to as ‘porn’?”

David reddened.

“Let’s just leave that topic alone for now,” he said. “What are you? Where are you from? Why are you in my potato chip bag?”

The squirrel’s whiskers twitched.

“I am a genetically modified supersquirrel,” it said, “from about a hundred years in your future. The overlords chose my species for modification and time travel because we are both small enough to travel well and we are highly photogenic.”

It paused, and then widened and batted its black eyes.

“Aww,” David said, without even meaning to.

“Exactly,” the squirrel said, in a satisfied voice. “None of the opposition could be afraid of cute fluffy squirrels, especially since at the beginning of the modification and introduction campaigns, we sang ballads as we fed the homeless at soup kitchens.”

“That’s all very laudable,” said David. “Why are you in my potato chip bag?”

The squirrel picked at its large front teeth.

“I happen to like salty snacks,” it said.

“Why are you watching me?” asked David.

“I can’t tell you that,” said the squirrel. “If you knew what you’d accomplish in twenty years’ time, prior to actually accomplishing it, it may never come true and our timeline would irrevocably alter.”

“Well, OK,” said David. He wondered what the squirrel was referring to. Was he really so important to future generations that he would be the subject of a special time-travelling investigation? He began to feel a sense of pride, swelling up slowly. No one had ever told him he was so special before, it was a nice feeling to think that maybe, someday-

“I mean, Samuel,” said the squirrel, “that you should not worry about what will happen, just act naturally.”

“Samuel?” asked David. “Do I change my name?”

The squirrel paused.

“One moment,” it said, and emerged fully from the chip bag. Aside from being covered in crumbs, it wore a small olive green fanny pack, out of which it pulled a tiny computer tablet.

The squirrel began swiping at the screen. After a few moments, its nose twitched.

“I seem to be in the wrong apartment,” it said.

David’s face fell.

“Sorry for the window,” said the squirrel. “And the chips. Here, let me make things better- I’ll deposit something in your bank account.”

The squirrel swiped away at the screen again for a few seconds.

“You have money?” asked David. “How does the time travelling work, anyway?”

“I’d tell you,” said the squirrel, “but I’m not big on the advanced math. I’m just a squirrel that pushes the right buttons, you know?”

It pulled a wand out of its pack, black with a red light on its tip. The squirrel pulled down a visor out of its helmet.

“Smile,” said the squirrel.

“Hey, that’s from that movie,” David said, excitedly, pointing at the wand. “Does that mean-“

The light at the wand’s tip flashed, and David’s eyes crossed. He stumbled backward.

“Our designers are nerds who love that movie,” said the squirrel, pocketing the wand and computer tablet.

“And David, my friend, your future work will eventually help them. But I have to get to Samuel Jonas Rozenkowski’s apartment, he was actually my assignment. Adieu!”

The squirrel ran up to the window, pushed its way through the hole, and scampered away down the roof.

David shook his head. He looked around at all the crumbs on the kitchen floor, the hole in the window screen.

“Fucking squirrels,” he said.

The Accidental Spy

No doubt in a few years we will be simply inundated with Trump-era films, especially after certain events or transcripts are declassified (and I know that usually one might have to wait 50 years, but I rather think that it will happen a bit quicker than that. Trump’s shenanigans with Russians, Ukranians, North Koreans, Saudi Arabians, and who the hell knows who else, are not really fodder to be kept secret, in the most part, because it only benefits the man himself and not the country. I’m pretty sure 46 will have a different view of whether this garbage should be declassified, and no interest in protecting 45).

I have a story idea of my own. Several, really- I put one into my magical realism novel Cloak, I quite like that one though it does not reflect reality. I’m still plotting that, I keep changing my mind about certain events, and I can’t do the research I would like due to the pandemic. I have another, more autobiographical work, which might or might not reflect actual events- there are some real events in it, and some which remain to be verified. The best part about it is, if I’m right, a lot of crazy things done and said by the current Administration will be explained, and the explanation is really bizarre. I’m calling it The Accidental Spy, and it revolves around phone conversations I was privy to starting before the election in 2016. It’s a really weird, unbelievable story, and one I will be pleased to tell in my way at the right time, provided some key events happen which demonstrate to me that my experiences were not simply fabrications of an overactive imagination.

So anyway, I can’t prove that the events I’m waiting for will happen, but I suspect they shall. Time will tell.

And if I’m correct about what events happen and when, I won’t actually have to prove anything at all- it’s all been recorded. It would be useful if I had the recordings, but of course, I don’t. Meeting the person that does is one of the events I’ve been waiting for. I need to listen to these just as much as anyone else might, I honestly can’t recall most of the details. I’ve written “Hamlet’s play” series entries about a few of them, sprinkled here and there in this blog, as well as some earlier interactions that came to mind in light of evolving news at the time of writing.

So you see, even if this is a complete fabrication on my part, it makes for a compelling story and one I hope to relate- once 45 is off his perch, of course. No doubt there will simply be a flood of 45-related movies and shows- and of course, there already is a plethora of tell-all books to choose from, so I have to hope my efforts will stand out somehow.

I hope you have a lovely day.

My Muse has been busy

Hello, readers!

Just a little note. I have been updating my list of potential story ideas in a document I keep online, and now have upwards of 70. The majority of these are unwritten and unplotted. I plan on working on them as I have time, but honestly, even if I discard some as being a little redundant (there are several themes that pop up in this list) there still are too many for me to write by myself, especially at my current speed, which is extremely slow.

Today I have some responsibilities but once those are taken care of, I hope to spend time on October 6th, a story that’s dear to my heart and which I think is unusual enough that people will find it interesting.

The only solution to slow writing is to prioritize spending time trying to write and getting things written, and as one practices the craft of fiction, it becomes easier and more efficient to write things. I really believe I can get back to my former productivity of decades ago, but I have sustained some psychological damage (and I often wonder if I suffer from complex PTSD and not really bipolar disorder, after all). I have to balance my need to be productive with the requirements of peace and time for self-care so I can heal.

I hope you manage to have a good day and that whatever you are struggling with, you manage to make progress.

Nutbuster and the Helicopter Mom

I wrote this little piece for a friend, for Christmas. They requested a story about squirrels and helicopter moms.

Steve was a man of simple wants. He loved good food, fine wine, and spending time in the park with his squirrel. It was a matter of debate whether or not Steve was in control of the squirrel, or the squirrel was in control of him. Nutbuster wore a small pink sequined cape emblazoned with the letter N, and a tiny pink and white luchador mask when out at the park, fighting crime. Steve usually offered support, as a human a hundred times the size of Nutbuster could, by buying nuts, driving to and from the park, and generally staying out of Nutbuster’s way. At home Nutbuster was content to curl up in her window perch, safe from the dog below, or to sit on Steve’s shoulder reading classics and sampling whatever food he was eating. On occasion Nutbuster took a bath, and Steve was content to hold the blow dryer afterward while Nutbuster chittered show tunes and turned to and fro in front of the hot blowing air. 

The crimes Nutbuster hated most were crimes of poor parenting. Steve was relatively affluent and lived a life free of many wants, and the people Nutbuster and Steve encountered most often were fairly to extremely wealthy. Children were still subjected to poor parenting, though, and Nutbuster found herself attacking examples of overprotective or emotionally neglectful or abusive parents on a regular basis. Steve usually found it useful to carry a copy of the New York Times with him and pretend to read it, following Nutbuster’s antics through a small slit cut in the paper, so he could avoid vituperative parents. Once Nutbuster wreaked vengeance on the unsuspecting humans (and they were unsuspecting, as the only person able to understand Nutbuster was Steve), she would run to Steve and chitter away on his shoulder; he would keep the New York Times up until the other humans left, and that was the basis of many a fine afternoon spent in the park in all seasons. 

Steve did not like being outside much in the winter, but Nutbuster loved it, so Steve dutifully picked up Nutbuster’s travel case and carried her into his large black SUV. They parked at the entrance to a local park that offered skating and snacks in winter. Steve was not much for skating but like many New Yorkers he enjoyed roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate, so he decided he would content himself with these while Nutbuster, in her own way, fought crimes among the parents of the children at the skating rink. 

Nuts in one hand, hot chocolate in the other, Steve nodded toward Nutbuster, a pink and gray blur as she made her way through the crowds of people around the skating rink, listening for evidence of criminal activity. 

Nutbuster found one family, then another. Her superbly sharp senses were activated when she saw two children, much too old to be dressed by their mother, having their coats zipped together. 

“This is so you don’t get separated,” said the bossy, fairly plain-looking woman. She had a greying dark brown bob that was cut too short, so that her ears were visible. Nutbuster chittered irritably to herself. She disapproved of haircuts that reminded her of ones originating from bowls and grandparents with poor vision and do-it-yourself barbering kits. 

The children’s hair looked no better, and Nutbuster watched closely. She pressed a button on the side of her luchador mask and computerized goggles slid down over her face. She chittered instructions to her mask and inside her goggles, green symbols appeared, telling her the names and financial status of the family she was looking at. 

Absent father, Nutbuster read. Lucy McGee, overprotective mother. Germophobic. 

The mother was busy spraying Lysol on the bench she had cleared so that she and her children could use it. Nutbuster coughed. 

She was just about to turn away when Mrs. McGee tugged at the nearest child (Paul, Nutbuster noted) and the other child his coat had been zipped to (Maggie, Nutbuster noted) stumbled and fell. Both children fell face-first into the snow. 

Mrs. McGee grabbed Paul and Maggie, roughly dragged them upright, and started swabbing their faces and hands with Lysol wipes. The running commentary gave Nutbuster new resolve.

“Such clumsy children! You get that from your father. Stop it, Paul. Your hands are not clean, I have to wipe them again. Maggie, stop crying. You wouldn’t have fallen if you weren’t so clumsy. This is your fault. If you can’t stay clean I am going to have to take you home.”

Nutbuster quickly scanned the nearby area. There was a hot dog lying on the ground covered in gooey mustard. Nutbuster grabbed a large globule of mustard, then sprang into action. She grabbed the fabric of Mrs. McGee’s designer pants and clawed her way up, leaving traces of mustard; as Mrs. McGee screamed, Nutbuster sprang at her face and shoved the globule of mustard into Mrs. McGee’s large open mouth. 

Wiping her forepaws and arms in Evelyn’s hair to remove most of the mustard, Nutbuster then sprang toward the children. They cowered, but Nutbuster merely grabbed the zipper that joined them and unzipped the two coats. 

“Be free!” Nutbuster chittered, and made a “come on” motion with her left forepaw. The children followed her. 

Behind them, Mrs. McGee choked and gurgled. She fell backwards into the snow. 

Nutbuster ran slowly so the children could keep sight of her, and made a beeline for Steve. 

Sighing, Steve drained the last of his hot chocolate. 

“Hi, kids,” he said, when Maggie and Paul reached him. 

“Is that your mother?” 

He pointed at Mrs. McGee. There was a crowd gathering around her, and she was quickly obscured from view. 

“Sort of,” said Paul. 

“Can I have some chestnuts?” asked Maggie. 

Steve held out his packet of chestnuts. Maggie took two. 

“Can we play with your squirrel?” asked Paul. 

Steve looked at Nutbuster. 

Nutbuster chittered, and Steve said, “She’d like that. I’ll check on your mother.”

Nutbuster made the “come on” motion again and led Paul and Maggie toward the skate rental area. Steve watched as the kids obtained skates, put them on, and started wobbling around the skating rink. 
Sighing, Steve decided he had waited long enough and decided to go check on the mother. By the time he had reached where she was, he found her in the arms of an EMT, dramatically flourishing and asking for oxygen. 

“You don’t need oxygen, ma’am”, the EMT was saying. He looked pained. 

Mrs. McGee coughed and pretended to faint. The EMT awkwardly tried catch her and she slid to the ground, and screamed. 

“There’s nothing wrong with you, ma’am. I’m here to treat people who actually are in some sort of distress.”

On the ground, Mrs. McGee rolled and groaned. 

Steve wondered if he should mention that her children were safe. He checked over one shoulder- Paul and Maggie were fine, circling the skating rink while Nutbuster jumped from one’s shoulders to the other’s. He decided not to get involved. Let the kids enjoy their afternoon skating, he decided. 

He retreated to his bench with a new cup of hot chocolate and sat and watched the children skating. 

About an hour later, Mrs. McGee remembered her children and rose from her apparent deathbed to look for them. 

Steve whistled a warning, and Nutbuster signaled to the kids that they should get off the ice. She led them to Steve, bowed, and burrowed into Steve’s jacket pocket just in time to avoid being seen by Mrs. McGee, who came barreling down on them.

“What are you doing with my children?” she demanded. 

“Nothing at all, ma’am, these kids were just out skating and came over here, I had nothing to do with it,” said Steve. 

“We thought he was selling nuts,” said Paul, quickly. Maggie nodded.
 
“Come on, we are leaving,” said Mrs. McGee. “Both of you need baths. This park is filthy. The squirrels! I was attacked! I need to see a doctor!” 

She grabbed Maggie and Paul, but each child squirmed away. 

“What are you doing?”

“We can walk on our own.”

After a moment, Mrs. McGee said, “Fine,” and the children turned and waved at Nutbuster, who emerged from Steve’s pocket to gesture flamboyantly at them. 

Steve and Nutbuster watched the McGees leave the park, and Steve looked into his pocket. 

“This is a dry clean only jacket,” he said. “There’s mustard in here.”

Nutbuster chittered at him. 

Steve sighed. 

“As you wish,” he said. “All done for today?”

Nutbuster chittered. 

“All right then, we go home and then a bath for both of us.”

Nutbuster chittered. 

“Fine, you first,” said Steve, and the superhero squirrel and her human sidekick left the park.

A Toast to Difficult Journeys

Dear readers- I’m not even sure how many of you there are as subscribers, but I want you to know I value all of you very much.

I’ve had a difficult month or so, and I’ve been focusing on important paperwork as well as self-care, now that my work for my science lab is done with (as far as I know). I did mean last weekend to work on a podcast for my series, this one about clinical trials. I just became overwhelmed with what felt a lot like traumatic memory and instead of shoving these aside to focus on something else, I decided to sit quietly with this information, and just listen to what sorts of ideas or memories would come surfacing.

I’ve gotten a lot of information. A LOT. And it was very useful. I have a ton of ideas all layered like an onion, and I can’t really give away the basic premise but it’s just brilliant and now I have a season finale for my possible series October 6th. I had one but this one might be better. I am just brimming with ideas for new slants to stories.

I also have come to terms with some personal growth, and I for one feel very much like the exercises I went through (focusing on what my psyche was trying to tell me, sitting quietly with my thoughts many times, and just paying attention to clues from my subconscious- images, impressions, phrases, just instead of imprinting meaning on them, trying on a variety of meanings and then letting them percolate; and also, musing over what seemed to me to be an ever-evolving storyline about my past and my family) were useful. I have realized a few things about my family, and my place in it.

I also have realized a few things about some of the cruelty I endured as a child, both real cruelty and other forms that seem unreal and occurred later in my life, but are not out of the realms of possibility. I have realized that there was always an unspoken message in much of it, an assumption of knowledge on my part about certain events that I lacked.

I’m making inquiries about that. I feel very much like the process of sitting with and listening to my thoughts, particularly the more traumatic ones, and following chains of thought and then analyzing logically what they may mean in terms of real world events, has paid off.

In the meantime, for fiction, I’ve been inspired by some of the writing advice of Stephen King, and also writing advice from Chuck Wendig. Both these guys have a lot of great things to say about the process of writing, and in particular, one major idea: get your butt in the chair and write. Just do it, write. Stop procrastinating.

I’ve got a lot of writing ahead of me. My stories will not write themselves. And I now have a new slant on an entry into what I am calling the Diamond Series, a set of quasi-autobiographical stories loosely based on my life, and it’s a doozy. Title TBA. I am tempted to call this one The Child from Omelas, an homage to Ursula LeGuin.

2016?

I’m feeling a little better than I had been, but I’m plagued by a recurring notion that people calling me right around now (or in the past weeks) have been getting me in 2016. I can’t explain this. I just seem to remember phone calls from 2016 that I didn’t understand then that are relevant to things happening now. Around August, so I didn’t even know anything about Trump being elected, let alone the current pandemic.

Time travel features prominently in my work, and so this sort of thing is probably something I’ll write about- I’m feeling better than I had been (I think I went through a slightly manic phase, then a slightly depressed phase, and am only now resuming what I hope is normalcy). I might be able to write it today, if I can get some quiet time. I don’t have anything pressing to do once I scan and email some paperwork.

It’s frustrating to tell yourself “just rest and do nothing for a while,” but apparently that has worked in my case, because this morning (aside from wondering about misdirected phone calls) I feel a lot more like myself.

Dear readers, this pandemic is hard on everyone’s mental health, and you yourself might need some time away from a busy schedule or pressing worries- however you handle your forms of stress, I hope you make time for yourself, for self-care, and remember that you are just as important as everybody else you might be taking care of.

Morning thoughts

There are times I really hate being bipolar. Sometimes it’s like being given 10,000 small weird gifts all at once by someone insisting you open them NOW, and you spend all your time unwrapping and trying to figure them out so you can get on with the rest of your life.

In fictioneering news, the past few weeks have gifted me with several rather bizarre entire novel plots, some of which have some similarities to things I’ve already written, and some of which are very new. Given that I have upwards of 60 story ideas already, I might write down these new ones in case they are useful, but I’m getting tired of having ideas but not enough energy to do actual writing.

I’m trying to follow advice and rest and do self-care for at least a few days so I can shut off the pipeline of weird thoughts that generated these new ideas; I don’t know what triggered this particular episode- I think just contemplating my time in one department on my campus was enough! I had a really bad time then and worked in a very hostile environment that I found intellectually stifling and psychologically almost abusive. I never had a specific thing I could pin down that was outright abuse, though. Anyway, just remembering that building and those people might have triggered some very paranoid thoughts, and I’m trying to let all the dust kicked up by my psyche settle.

In the meantime, sifting through the ideas this particular spate of paranoid thinking has provided, I’ve possibly considered something that might work as part of my series October 6th, though I have to figure out how the creepy new character I thought of would fit, and I’ve dreamed up some major points in a sequel to Infinity. I meant Infinity to be a standalone book, but I guess it won’t be. I thought of a crime drama plot as well. Plus I’m thinking of turning my entire “Hamlet’s play” series of blog posts into something more substantial. There’s a lot to unpack there and much of what I’ve written for them falls into different stories already, but I like the idea of a writer who has no proof of crimes, only hunches, using fiction to trap criminals.

Here’s hoping my next post will be from a more psychologically well frame of mind.

A small update

Hello, readers! I plan to release my second episode of Solving the Pandemic (described in my last post) next week- I have been too busy to get to researching and writing it, but this might actually be fine since I have been circulating information about it to people and if there are two episodes, they might miss the first, possibly more important episode.

I’ve also resurrected some ideas of mine laying dormant which deal with microbial soil ecology, and I’m pleased that I picked them up again because I think they might lead to an interesting finding. I spent several hours today figuring out an analytical method I had used years ago for a somewhat new purpose, and everything works fine, so that’s good.

What this means for my fiction writing is that it’s on hiatus. I have my most recently finished novel out for critique from friends, but I haven’t made progress on any of my creative writing projects recently. I don’t know about you, but I am finding sustained productivity to be difficult with the pandemic looming over us all. I also have my own personal issues- trauma, which manifests in my “Hamlet’s play” series of accusatory and strange mini-stories that I’ve sprinkled throughout this blog, and bipolar disorder. I might compile the “Hamlet’s play” thoughts into a single narrative, and if I feel especially emboldened, I’ll perform it as a fiction podcast.

In the meantime, stay tuned for next week’s podcast episode on how clinical trials are conducted (I’m focusing on the USA in this instance). Thanks for reading.

Been busy: new podcast!

Hello, readers- I’ve been busy trying to advertise a science idea I had on March 28th, and it is actually pretty difficult to do this. I have always had a pretty hard time being taken seriously as a scientist, and being bipolar doesn’t make this easier. I am not entirely sure why, although I rather suspect it’s because I do not think the same way everyone else does 100% of the time. I seem suspiciously creative, perhaps- maybe “too out there”. And my gender might make me seem less authoritative, even when I actually know more of what I am talking about than my audience.

In any case, I am trying a variety of avenues to bring attention to my idea- I find this rather grating because it requires me to promote myself at the same time, and I hate doing this. I started a podcast, and the first episode is here:

The science blog post where I describe the idea I had as well as the difficulties I face trying to get it to the right people is here. I also describe these somewhat in the episode. And I’ve also managed to create video content (a static image plus audio which I managed to record in my closet and cobble together, editing out clicks from my phone and the odd cat meow). My YouTube channel is SolvingThePandemic, and the first video is here.

What this all means in terms of my fiction writing is that it’s temporarily on hold. I do have ambitious plans, or at least they seem ambitious when I add them to the load of other things I am currently working on (some of which, like trying to spread this idea, seem a little more important than others).

This podcast has been teaching me valuable skills, so even if I fail completely at reaching an audience aside from a few friends and relatives, I feel very much like it’s not a wasted effort. And in a month or two when someone better-connected has this same idea, perhaps an internet sleuth will find my work and bring it up. This seems defeatist, and perhaps it is- I’m tired, I still haven’t 100% recovered my equilibrium from dealing with bipolar symptoms not so long ago, and I know I lack a platform. I also don’t know if just having a good idea is enough to get it taken seriously. So much of whether we listen to someone depends on whether we think that person can have something useful or important to say, and unfortunately I’ve struck out many times on that basis even though the ideas I was sharing were, eventually, proven by others to be valuable. It doesn’t matter if you’re right, if no one is prepared to listen, no one will.

In my science blog I mention putting together a hypothesis and companion proposal paper relevant to the pandemic for public archives- I am still turning these over in my mind, only since the archives won’t take short speculative papers I have to submit them to a journal that will take something like a hypothesis. I can reformat my work to be shorter and have fewer references, but this kind of impairs readability, so I’m considering what options are offered by different venues, and what I can afford (scientists usually have to pay to publish their work, for which they are never financially compensated later, and if you think that is a giant ripoff, you are right).

I’m no longer in much of a rush to publish my thoughts formally in a written document- the one idea I really need to circulate rapidly is the one about leveraging clinical trials to try to find solutions to the pandemic in a more rapid fashion, and I laid out all my thinking both in my science blog and in my podcast episode. So I figure if I can reach someone with pull in the clinical research community, that’s all I need- I just need one fairly well-connected person to listen just long enough to understand my point and then my part in this is over.

So while I consider what publishing options I have for my hypothesis paper and associated thoughts relevant to the pandemic, such as how dysbiosis (imbalanced intestinal microflora) might contribute, I will put out as many little podcast episodes as I can (the first is under 12 minutes, and none will be very long). I figure at least I can help inspire and provide hope to the general listener that things will some day go back to normal, and I can hone my skills while I do so. Maybe in time I’ll offer fiction in this audio format, so attempting a podcast is definitely not a waste of time.

In the meantime, please listen to my podcast, and share the first episode if you can.