Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kind of in a slump since Armadillocon

I've had to deal with a backlog of chores after taking the time off, but I'm getting caught up, and I'm also organizing my notes for the next outburst of short fiction. There are times when I come off a writing hiatus and write three or four stories at a quick pace, maybe in a month.

This is the time of the year when my allergies are the worst. Two years ago, due to exhaustion and inattention, they exploded into an inner-ear infection that sent me to the emergency room while attending NASFIC. Last year, I kept better control pf things, but the fluid on the ear got to the point where a boil developed externally.

This year has been less severe, although by Monday there was so much pressure on my ears they felt like they were bleeding. There have been times in the past when I have so much drainage down my Eustachian Tube at night while I sleep that my wife can hear the dripping. This year hasn't been that bad; but I have to keep constantly after it, with Claritin, nose spray, and - for immediate relief - cough drops.

We've also had an especially wet summer, so that probably also helped keep the schmutz down.

Oh, when my ears get congested my hearing suffers, but I can still hear. Thankfully I never develop tinnitus. I'm hardly alone in having these allergies and effects in East Texas; in fact, the speaker at a luncheon meeting of a senior citizens' group here in Mount Pleasant talked about the subject a few months ago.

I didn't realize that some senior citizens who move to East Texas from other parts of the countries don't realize they get fluid on the ear from the allergens, and they assume they are just getting geriatric deafness.

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"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

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- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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