Sorry for my silence the last couple days. I actually have been writing, but I haven’t had time to do blog posts, because I’ve been buried in a rotating gamut of five things:
- ‘Rithmatic — Well, not arithmetic especially, but compliance. Lots of verifying records for taxes, doing bookkeeping, all the fun stuff that goes into being a small business person.
- Landscaping — I honestly tried to find an “r” word for this, but came up empty. Sorry to break up the set.
So, to take them in order, I’ve been recording a fun and fascinating cold war thriller (that, alas, I did not write–it’s for a client), I did the audiobook for The Open Source Woman, this week’s Free Fiction featured story, which you can read here for the rest of this week. I also did the full record for The Every Day Novelist: Business 101, and the audiobook should be out in a few weeks. And, of course, there’s the ongoing recording for The Every Day Novelist podcast (some fun guests this week!), and for the Antithesis Progression podcast (making some good progress on it, too–more news on this one in the coming days and weeks).
And yeah, I do spend a lot of time with iced drinks and trying not to get into conversations, so that I can preserve my vocal cords. I’m moving at a sustained recording rate of just over 15-18k words/day, which is between three and four solid hours of recording per day depending on how often I flub.
On the reading front, I’ve been picking over the bones of Peter Zeihan’s new book The Absent Superpower and making copious notes. Much as I enjoy geopolitics as a spectator sport, this is a research book. The reason? The latter two-thirds of the book is an explanation of the cascade of disruptive events that follow naturally from the current unrest in Europe and the current isolationist tendencies in America–and it follows, almost beat-for-beat, the trajectory of the future history that my Antithesis/Kabrakan series relies on.
In my future history, I posited the collapse of the EU and renewed Russian aggression leading to a new Persian empire which sparks a nuclear war that devastates East Asia while the American continents are largely left alone to their own thing because the whole scenario seemed seriously loopy and unlikely to me. Well, sometimes even a broken clock hits the jackpot of mixed metaphors. Zeihan’s book lays out, in considerable depth, the actual mechanics of how this scenario could (and probably will) unfold, and what some of the contingencies are that could either mitigate, radically change, improve, or terribly worsen the disorder that will follow–along with an exploration of the ways in which the disorder could settle out to a new and stable “normal.” (This scenario, in broad strokes–and not including the “nuclear” part–is now the consensus view in the foreign policy community).
The first third of the book is an in-depth explanation of how the petroleum industry works, from the technical processes (and economic and ecological impacts) of fracking vs. conventional drilling vs. tar sands harvesting, through the complex web of economic and military relationships that the extraction drives–which is a lot less relevant to my future history, but still very interesting nonetheless.
This book–especially when taken together with its predecessor The Accidental Superpower–is utterly astounding, and I highly recommend it. The first book (particularly the first half of it) in the series should be required reading for High School history class. This book should be required for Foreign Policy, Ecology, and Political Science majors (as well as any voter who wishes to be well-informed on the underlying dynamics which drive the headlines, or anyone who’s ever wondered why the world works the way it does). Be prepared, though; it’s a bracing read.
On the writing front, well, what can I say? It’s all Kabrakan all the time. The writing-out-of-order problem I was battling last week is gone, the pieces are all sliding nicely into place and I’m starting to fly now. Joss Kyle is on the freight train of doom, and it’s so much fun! You’ll find word counts and damage assessment at the end of this post.
As far as the ‘Rithmatic? Well, like I said earlier, it’s tax and compliance season. Along those lines, I have another book recommendation for you if you are in any way a small business owner–whether that small business involves selling cookies at the county fair, or writing books, or running a publishing company, and regardless of which legal structure you’ve chosen (sole proprietor, partnership, LLC/LLP, S-Corp, C-Corp), I highly recommend that you pick up NoLo Press’s Tax Savvy for Small Business–the most comprehensive and end-user digestible (and referenceable!) explanation and explication of the tax code as it applies to businesses. All the deduction rules are here, along with explanations of the related case law and of how IRS enforcement procedures work. My accountant recommended it to me, and oh man am I glad he did! (Learned a lot–both in terms of what NOT to do and in terms of what TO do). This book works best if read straight through once, then used as a reference book. You’ll get a depth of understanding reading straight through–it teaches you how to think about tax strategy–that you could never get just from using it as a reference.
And the Landscaping? Well, I don’t have pictures yet, cause I haven’t had time to pull them off the card and get them sized properly for the web. Mostly, at this stage, I’m shoveling a lot of old river rocks out of the way so I can put down new French drains, before I start in on the earthworks and the new river/fountain setup. Good exercise, both for the heart and for the back muscles 🙂
Hmm…I seem to have gotten a bit long winded, so I’ll shut up now, except to leave you with the final damage to The Briggs Defection manuscript over the last few days:
April 9: 1035
April 10: 2046
April 11: 2262
April 12: 2057
The Briggs Defection — 74.7%
67,233 / 90000 words