Coffee heat rising

Time flies…damn fast!

Woo HOO! There’s a book hiding in this pile of pills!

Tempus fidgets, as my mother used to say. She and about a million others in the Greatest Generation, I’m sure. True that, though: time passes so fast you don’t even notice it going by.

Yesterday, for example, I didn’t notice it was Wednesday. Thought it was Tuesday. Along about sundown it happened to occur to me that a whole day had disappeared. 😀 Tossed a blurb from Asked up online, but never did much else, partly because we had another sharp storm in the evening that threatened to blow down trees and power poles.

Just wrote that little piece on Quora — “Did You Ever Walk Out on a Doctor (because he was disrespectful…).” And right off the bat, it attracted something over 200 “likes” — a kind of a record. Since it went over so well there, I decided to add it to the Asked collection.

Another essay — on getting out of an abusive relationship — is closing in on 1,000 likes. Can you imagine?

In the middle of this, up pops a message from a client: did I receive the paper he’d sent me to edit?

Uhmmmm…well, nooooooo….

Turns out the damn MacMail decided out of the blue to route messages from this guy into “Junk Mail.” This was several days ago. He sent me a new copy before I could find the original among the 105 unread messages in “Junk,” the 174 derailed to “Trash,” and the 415 (!!!!) in  the “Facebook” folder.

Holy shit! There is simply NO way anyone could possibly keep up with that tsunami.

Tuesday was one long struggle through the heat and humidity to stay focused on writing the proposal for the Drugging of America book. On reflection, I realized Chapter 1 covered way too much ground, and that I needed to break it into three chapters. That took most of the day.

So I now have three new chapters — for a total of 17, plus the introduction, plus the references section, plus a resources section. And now I have to revise the chapter outline. Whee!

But by the end of today, most of the proposal was drafted. Still have to write a self-aggrandizing bio, but otherwise the most difficult parts of that thing are done. Tomorrow I’ll finish the body of the proposal, revise the chapter outline, and get the thing ready to send off. I hope.

My plan is to send one proposal to one university press — the one I think most likely to publish this book. Then when (which is usually the case: when not if) they reject, I’ll send out a half-dozen at a time until someone bites.

And I think they will. This really is a great idea for a book, one whose time has arrived. And there isn’t much competition. Other than Barbara Ehrenreich’s latest eloquent rant, that is.

But the advantage I think mine has is that it isn’t an eloquent piece of creative nonfiction cum seat-of-the-pants reporting. This is a book that could be — easily — used as a reading in a number of college courses. And not just in pharmacy or nursing. The proposal will suggest courses — real courses that I’ve tracked down at universities — in public policy, nursing, and pharmacy, plus a combined program that leads to an MD and a master’s in journalism.

Texts that sell in college courses, as you can imagine, are the sine qua non of academic publishing. Sell a book to one professor, and you sell upwards of a dozen copies a semester. If it’s a decent undergraduate course — as you can bet will be the case in colleges of nursing — you’ll unload upwards of 30 copies per section. A required lower-division course? Hundreds of copies. Every semester. At a stiff price.

I was still getting substantial royalties from The Essential Feature 10 years after the thing went to press…because every professor who ordered it for a course spawned 30 or 60 sales. Per semester.

So…that’s how I hope to sell this book.

However it flies, the thing is not going on the trash-heap that is Amazon.

Selling your squibs on Amazon is fine as a hobby. That’s essentially what my little scribbles are — the FireRider series and the diet/cookbook thing and the various other stuff. Taken together, they generate about $5 a month. When the weather’s  good. But pretend as much as you would like that you’re “in business” to sell the stuff: it’s still self-published. You can’t get a newspaper or magazine to review it for love nor money, nor do you have much chance of persuading a bookstore or a library to pick it up. And it certainly is not going to end up on some professor’s syllabus!

Another day has slipped by. I’m exhausted! Going to bed, before it starts to rain again…


So today’s “If You’d Asked Me” post managed to get up before the crack of dawn: short, to the point, and guaranteed to enrage my two friends (that I know of) who are anti-vaxxers. This, after the mile-long doggy walk and before the pool guy showed up to provide an estimate for replastering the crumbling pool. Proposed price range: $7,000 to $10,000.

One could knock something off that by opting for plain old-fashioned plaster, which in the past had a life expectancy of around 10 years. But — wouldncha know it — my guy reports that manufacturers have cheapied down the product so it no longer lasts as long as it used to. The so-called “premium” plaster is said by its maker to last about 7 years; he said it would last around 10 if cared for properly. The regular plaster is now estimated to last 4 years(!!); his guess was it could last 7 years with proper care. Premium plaster is $4,970, which is a savings…but not if you have to replace it in 8 or 10 years. For comparison, what I have out there now is plaster that was expected to last 10 years but has survived 14 years. The PebbleTec and PebbleSheen products, he said, last 15 to 20 years, which is about as long as I expect to be in this house before I croak over or am dragged off to the nursing home.

So I’m opting for the PebbleSheen, a finer, slightly smoother version of PebbleTec. The price, we’re told, is the same.

There’s a fair amount of cash lurking in Fidelity, which I guess we’ll have to withdraw to cover this little exploit. Depending on how bad the damage behind the cracked tile is and whether I decide to try to reinstall the pipeline that would let me plug Harvey the Hayward Pool Cleaner into a dedicated port rather than sticking his tail into the skimmer basket, price could waver by as much as three grand. Oh, whee.

I’m having to take the next RMD before the usual September date, because I’m out of money as of…just about now. This is because I paid off the damn car loan…never did recover from that hit. For at least the next year, I’m going to have to maintain an ascetic lifestyle. No clothing purchases, no new shoes, no meals out, no travel, no driving from one end of the Valley to the other, no indulgences…  Blech.

Having the laptop off in Apple’s precincts is a real inconvenience. Thank the heavens for DropBox! All the projects I’m working on are easy to access. But sitting on an office chair in front of a desk still does make the back hurt. A lot. So that puts the eefus on getting much done. Hence, I’m putting off converting the “Asked” page to the same PDF offerings that now grace Ella and Writer.

That notwithstanding, this afternoon I managed to write about a third of Drugging’s chapter 3. Converting the stuff from Bloggish to more formal English replete with citation & documentation is quite the little job. The Drugging of America posts can only serve as rough outlines from which to spin upwards of 2,000 words per chapter.

Figure it’ll take about two more days to finish the draft of that chapter. At that point I’ll be ready to write the proposal. Meanwhile, my friend La Bethulia, who’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner, agreed to read chapter 1, the weightiest of the three chapters that will go out with the proposal. Actually, the NNT chapter is a little bracing, but I think it will be OK. I actually may contact the NNT website and ask if someone there would review that chapter, since I take their project’s name in vain repeatedly. If I can get them to vet it for facts — and do so promptly, not an easy trick for an academic during the summertime — I think I’ll have a lot better shot at selling the thing to a real publisher.

I hope.