The report of my death was an exaggeration. — Mark Twain
Hey there, fellow Malcolm followers! (Yes, I am a follower of myself! That makes sure SOMEBODY reads these blog posts, aside from the FBI.) Been a while, huh? Like, March, almost two (count ’em, 2) years ago? Deux ains? Dos años?
I haven’t updated this blog since then, and doubtless both of you are wondering, “What the hell happened to Malcolm? Did he fall off the edge of the world, or get eaten by a Bigg’s orca whose echolocation mistakenly identified him as a nice, plump seal?
“Was he abducted by the good aliens, the bad aliens, or the aliens we just don’t know about? Shanghai’d into the white slave trade, chained to a desk, churning out cheap porno novels for the Yakuza or the Sinaloa Cartel? Did he take some drugs and go mad, because, you know, drugs (the bad ones, anyway) do that? Or did the dolphins carry him off to some deserted island, to study him in greater detail?
“Alas, we’ll never know! R.I.P., you crazy motherfucker! You wrote the best sex-with-a-dolphin novel I ever read!” — Anonymous Hipster in San Francisco
It is tempting to envisage such improbably romantic scenarios, but sadly, it is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! What REALLY happened was… I got sick. Real sick! And I couldn’t write to save my life.
I suffer from vertigo, which is a VERY debilitating condition, and CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), which is more of the same. CFS feels like crushing tiredness and the absolute imperative to sleep, but when you awaken you don’t feel any more rested than you did before you nodded off! And my vertigo, which has so far defied diagnosis despite a brain scan, is so bad sometimes that it nauseates me. If I sit on the rotating office chair at my desk, I’m unstable. It’s easier, and safer, to slouch on the couch.
Then there is also the Perugia nodularis that afflicts my skin, but that’s so gross, let’s not go there. I use a lot of gentamicin ointment and adhesive bandages, leave it at that. What does the name mean? It’s Latin for “itchy bumps.” You had to ask, didn’t you?
These maladies make it very difficult to organize and focus my thoughts in a way that promotes the kind of easy, clear writing I like to produce. It’s been this way since 2016, and in the spring of 2020, with COVID-19 stalking us like a hungry predator, I simply couldn’t write anything anymore. I felt crushed, isolated and depressed.
In short, I felt just like everybody else! My attention span was shorter than a goldfish’s, my balance was all in my ankles and often the room would spin like I was riding some demonic merry-go-round. Other days, I felt more energy, pretty normal! But if I exerted myself, like I wanted to to get some freakin’ things done around here, I paid for it in spades for days afterward.
Recently, in order to cope with this condition, I’ve had to learn how to not tax myself, how to pace my efforts, and not to expect too much out of me.
The good news, health-wise, is that aside from these annoyances, I don’t seem to have any of the really deadly or debilitating diseases of old age. No cancer, heart disease, senility, Alzheimer’s, emphesyma, liver problems… the list of things I DON’T have is probably a lot longer than the list of things I do!
So I count my blessings and offer prayers of thanks to Fortuna, the Roman goddess of Chance, who appears to me as a magnificent serpent with a purple Mohawk (no, I don’t know how that happens!). And she tells me I’m a fool to make any offerings to her, because she’s merely a mask on the macro qualities of the inherent quantum instability of the Universe at the sub-micron level.
“Below 10 to the minus 23 centimeters, everything is random.” — Dr. John C. Lilly
And Wet Goddess? I sold out at Christmas! My remaining stock wasn’t that huge; fortunately, demand was only a fraction of last year. I now have another 48 copies on hand (sold one, sending one to Thea, who gave hers away to a friend), ready to go. I have been especially gladdened by readers who are ordering additional copies to share with somebody else! That’s great!
I really don’t care if I sell a lot of books, or make a lot of money at this self-publishing game. What I really care about is that the ideas I am promoting — that we humans are not alone ON THIS PLANET in possessing self-awareness, deep thought and curiosity about the other inhabitants of the world — become more widespread in society at large, and more acceptable to the (sometimes) rational minds of scientists.
How much time I have left in this world, I do not know, and I’m pretty sure I won’t live to see the changes I would like to bring about come to pass. It should be enough to ignite the torch, and leave it to my daughter’s generation to carry it forward. Think peace, and a happy New Year to all my readers.