Sleep Deprivation Delirium

Last night I needed to bang through about 6,000 words for The Rough Guide to Science Fiction. The good news is that I did it; the bad news is that now I’ve been up for 36 hours. The even worse news is that my brain is momentarily locked into one of the fatigue feedback loops in which you’re genuinely tired and yet when you lie down you can’t get to sleep, so I think I’ll just blab here until my brain stem actually implodes and I can get some rest.

* Yes, I actually did write 6,000 words last night, most of them pretty good. This isn’t a number record; the record there is the 12,000 or so words I slammed through in an all-night when I finished up The Android’s Dream. However, I think comparing fiction and non-fiction writing is to some extent comparing apples to oranges; the non-fiction is usually more structured (and requires more actual research). Functionally speaking I think writing 6,000 words of non-fiction is close to equivalent to writing twice that in fiction. At least it is for me; your mileage (and writing) may vary. In any event, it felt good to power through that much work — now all I need are about eight more nights like that and I’ll be done. Or I’ll be dead. But then I guess that way I’d be done too. Either way.

* Very pleased to see that the Holidays special piece has been met with such enthusiasm; it’s nice to write stuff people like. And thank you to everyone who linked — I hoped people would enjoy it enough to share it with others, and I love having new readers from time to time. Welcome, new folks! Feel free to put your feet anywhere; the entire site’s been rubberized for easy washing.

However, I’ve been interested (and by “interested” I mean to say “mildly terrified”) to discover that a small but significant percentage of readers appear to have managed to get through the entire thing and believed that it was piece of reportage — and not only that, but I’ve seen at least a few comments from people apparently indicating that they remember seeing one or more of the holiday specials.

While it’s nice to know I can write in a trustworthy declarative style that has the frank ring of veracity to it (definitely a plus for any government press secretary job I might take in the future), the fact is they’re all fake. I made them up in my little head to amuse people who paid me money last year that I then turned over to Reading is Fundamental. I thought it was a reasonably good deal for everyone involved.

Now, if you remember actually seeing one of these specials, you’ve clearly entered this local universe from an alternate and somewhat more interesting universe. The inter-dimensional portal was probably disguised as Wal-Mart sliding door. They’re sneaky that way. You should probably head back to your own universe as soon as you can, because the way this particular universe is going, you won’t want to stay here much longer. Go — and send back a copy of that Algonquin Round Table special. I’m dying to hear it.

Related to this, I’ve seen at least one comment elsewhere which bagged on me for writing up a bunch of fake holiday specials and then not explicitly telling people they were fake. Clearly I was being tricksy and false, precious. Well, you know. It didn’t occur to me to put a disclaimer on the piece because I figured that no one could get through the whole thing believing it was actually true. I think the Algonquin Round Table piece is actually all too believable, but after that things get kind of hinky fast. But I suppose that being the writer, I may have been too close to the piece. So to those few of you who feel betrayed by the piece’s lack of disclaimer, please accept my sincere apology and also my suggestion that you need both a few more nights out and perhaps a bigger metaphorical plate for your next hungry meander down the Great Cultural Smörgåsbord of these here United States.

* Having now freely published one of the pieces I wrote for last year’s RIF fund raiser, I’ve been asked if I’m going to publish the other two as well. I figure that I probably will, although I should warn y’all that they are substantially different than the “Holiday Specials” one. One of them is a Christmas poem meant to be read to children, like this one I wrote a number of years ago, and which I posted on my AOL blog By the Way earlier today. The other one is a short story that I specifically designed to make the readers cry like little babies as they tried to get through it. Since I personally devolve in a big sobbing ball every time I read, I guess it works on at least one person. All I’m saying is that if you’re expecting more of the same from the other Christmas stuff, you may be disappointed.

Of course, it’s not as if I won’t be snarky on my own over the next month. If it’s snark you’ve come for, I expect you’ll be amply entertained.

All right, time to try sleeping again. See y’all tomorrow.

5 Comments on “Sleep Deprivation Delirium”

  1. Yeah so I have this 6,000 word essay due in a week in my Computer Ethics class, and I was feeling really daunted by that level of work. Guess you just put me in my place John ;) I’d sure better get it done now…

  2. In “The Santaland Diaries” David Sedaris wrote a scathing “review” of a school Christmas pagent which was apparently taken seriously by quite a few people.

    Long live Crumpet!

  3. The “Algonquin Round Table Christmas” almost got me. But I was reading it first thing in the morning and I hadn’t had enough coffee yet. So there.

  4. I have to admit I was down to the Star Trek episode before my WTF moment, but that was all part of the fun. The only reason I knew for sure it was a hoax was because I am a Trek nerd and I knew there was no such Star Trek episode. For anyone who was fooled completely I can only say “watch more TV, dammit!”

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