Over the next several days I’m going to share posts written during my recent trip to UAE and Oman.
The opulence in these two recently built, oil-rich countries is astonishing. Their precarious location in the Persian Gulf gives one pause. And the interactions between my travel group (mostly retired women from the Washington DC area) and the locals who dealt with us (mostly young Muslim men) provided material for dozens of posts. Most remain unwritten. I hope over the weeks ahead that will change.
Imagine what a US city would be like if it had been built from the ground up after 1960, and had an unprecedented amount of wealth poured into its creation?
World class public transportation, all fully automated? Wide, well designed streets? Sparkling tall buildings?
You’re describing Dubai, and Abu Dhabi as well.
Read the full post at I’ve Seen the Future, and It’s 8 Time Zones Away.
Find my other posts about this trip at Having Lunch in Dubai for World Peace, We All Just Want to Have Fun, and Not a Country of Immigrants. I hope more will follow.
Then my husband, supporter of my writing and all around good-guy, decides he’s going to read my books aloud so I can have audio books and he’s starting today. Wow. At first blush, this seems great. He knows the books. He has this deep, rich voice, honed from years in a classroom. And, he’s free. I mean, he has the time, but more importantly, he doesn’t cost anything. Narrators are expensive.
Read more at The Sound of a Story.
There are no trees out here. Hell, there are hardly even bushes. We marvel at the wide expanse of nothing as we take turns driving, and treating ourselves to coffee, sodas and coconut water purchased at each gas stop as we whittle down the miles.
After a while though, all those liquid treats begin to catch up with us. An eager look at the map shows the next town is, well, quite a few miles a way.
“We can make it,” my husband declares. But after about twenty more minutes he is squirming in his seat, and finally he pulls over.
“Sorry,” he says. “I’ve got to go.” He steps off to the ditch and does what he needs to do.
Now, have you ever really, really had to pee and listened to somebody else take a leak that goes on and on and on? If you have, you’ll understand. There may be no bushes to hide in, but at that point, I don’t care. I join him on the side of the road, doing my thing the way I have to do it.
“That was kind of embarrassing,” he mumbles. I agree. But nobody passes us from either direction, so there are some advantages to a lonely stretch of highway.
Read how this ended, and enjoy the song of the day at Day 20. Someone to Help Me Get Home
I spend about half an hour trying to find the henna tattoos, located at 4:00 in center camp. Hot and cranky, I finally give up. This has certainly turned into a shitty day.
Then I stumble upon friends and next thing I know I’m on an art car with some sort of south seas theme. It takes us to a memorabilia-filled tiki bar tucked into a bus and I’m drinking rum drinks and talking to a psychiatrist about phobias when I meet an older burner at the bar who’s been doing this since the early 90’s and he kisses my hand and suddenly I feel so welcome here.
Read more, see more photos and enjoy the song of the day at Day 16. What Rules? What Road?
So if the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step, does the journey of 6000 miles begin with 6 steps? Just wondering ….
This morning I left for a 28 day trip, the longest I’ve attempted in decades. The first 12 days will involve me driving over 3000 miles by myself, in a car loaded down with a bicycle, tent, air mattress, camping and cooking supplies, food, and all the clothing and necessities of life for four weeks. Oh, and lots of music stored on four different devices with three different ways to play it. I may be foolish, but I’m not stupid….
During these first 12 days I’ll be staying with 7 different Airbnb hosts, and if tonight’s lodging gives any clue, it’s that this will be interesting. I’ll also be retracing significant places from my past , something it is time for me to do.
Read more at Day 1. The Journey of 6000 miles.
Galen Surlak-Ramsey has written a book that is great fun to read, and certain to delight those with an understanding of computers. The overall tone of the book is fun, funny and self-deprecating. The narrator/main character has a shrewd self-awareness that keeps him from becoming obnoxious, even when he does outrageous things like compare himself to God.
Read my full review at Little Computer People
Today, I face the fact that one of the reasons I write is to leave something behind.
“Oh, so you want to be immortal?” you ask. No. I’ve studied too much astrophysics to think anything in this universe will last forever, and enough history to know that few humans leave a noticeable footprint more than a few generations into the future.
The key word to me is noticeable.
Somewhere in my heart, I think if you leave something of value behind, it will affect others who will do the same and so on. Yes, I’m enough of a realist to expect the effect to diminish with time, and to recognize our life expectancy as a species probably isn’t all that long, anyway.
So? It’s not an influence that lasts forever I’m after. However, the idea of leaving a little of me here for awhile is something I’m driven to do. Like I said, individual tastes do vary.
Read more at Remember My Name.
(Read more posts about why I write at The Number One Reason I Write Books, My Eye-opening Second Reason for Writing , I write because it’s cheaper than therapy, Nothing cool about modest ambitions, I love to be loved and What’s the Point?)
It occurred to me today, while listening to a woman describe to us how she sold her first novel to HarperCollins, that much of what writers crave to know is “what do you know now, that you wish you’d known then.” We give this advice, and we ask it of others, almost endlessly…
I can’t go back in time, any more than I can see the future, no matter how often I write about characters who can. Would I have written better books if I’d only known then what I know now? Of course I would. Hell, I’d have lived a whole better life with that kind of knowledge.
Read more at If I’d only known then …
Or, this positive exuberance could be no more than the enthusiasm of a classroom full of misbehaved children who have just figured out that their substitute teacher is an idiot. Oh boy. Are we going to have fun today.
Or maybe it’s a combination of all three. What do you think?
Read more at Ah, the stock market …
On Sept. 26, 1983, Soviet computers reported the launch of five Minuteman missiles, according to the New York Times. There were only minutes to counterattack before they would strike Soviet cities. The man who was in charge that day was skeptical, partly because the attack seemed too small. So he alerted his superiors to a false alarm. He later recalled it as a 50-50 decision.
He had made the right choice. It would be discovered that a Soviet satellite had misinterpreted the sun’s reflection off clouds.
Read more about September 26 at When in doubt ….
I can tell you that I wrote these books filled with a sense of energy and purpose unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. Many days, writing wasn’t just what I wanted to do, it was all I wanted to do. It was an addiction, an obsession, and a nepenthe against all the world’s ills. I let it consume me, and I enjoyed the ride.
Read more at Why would anyone call a collection of books 46. Ascending?
I suspect that you and I have have lived through times that changed the world in large ways, but it takes years to see the effects, especially in an age with cable news shouting about the significance of everything every minute of every day. But someone like my character Ariel would know right away, finding herself overcome with dizziness as the probabilities shifted heavily one way or another.
Read the entire post at Did we just witness the dawn of America’s four party system?
I wrote a book about prescience, the ability to see into the future and understand the true likelihood that an event will or won’t occur. Constructing the plot of d4 forced me to spend quite a bit of time considering how such an ability could work. What’s more, several of my characters were attempting to use their prescient skills to make money in the stock market, so I ended up learning quite a bit more about Mr. Dow Jones and all his friends, too.
Read more at Should I hope for calm or cheer on the storm?
Cinnamon on oranges and cumin on boiled eggs. The inside of a walled city so confusing that it has spawned an entire cottage industry devoted to directing lost tourists. Surfer towns painted in hippie colors and seaside resorts caught in a 50’s time warp as they offer hospitality to a smattering of elderly Europeans.
None of this is what I expected when I came to Morocco.
This is a blog about predicting the future, and over the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about the unexpected.
Read the entire post on my d4 blog at That’s Why You Make the Trip.
We’ve been on the road nearly two weeks now and in a macro sense the vacation has gone as planned. You know, we’ve shown up where we were supposed to be, when we were supposed to be there. No glitches. But that’s sort of like the Red Sox showing up to play their games, isn’t it? Yes, being there is essential, but it is the other stuff that makes it interesting.
Read the entire on my d4 blog at And That’s Why They Play the Game.
You’ve noticed a lot of things we don’t have a word for. And, if you play word games like I do, you’ve also noticed a lot of reasonable letter combinations that don’t make a word. I mean, I get that wiqxm isn’t going to be in the dictionary. But what about lete? or dife? These would make excellent words. Why isn’t anyone working to pair these two needs together?
Well, it turns out that there are people who are.
Read the entire post on my d4 blog at Words we need.
You find the future in the oddest places. I mean if you are like me and have been reading science fiction for decades, you probably go along feeling like nothing has really changed all that much compared to the future you read about. Yes, yes, our cell phones can do all kinds of cool things but where are the Jetson cars and colonies on the moon and cute talking robots and all those other things that the future was supposed to bring?
And then, blat, along comes a piece of that science fiction that has turned real, and you find out about it in a place you least expected it.
Read the entire post on by blog about the future at Kill free meat: the future is coming?
One of the things about writing magical realism, at least the way that I do it, is that you are always trying to explain mystical, magical things in terms of believable science. I am fascinated by this fuzzy boundary between the astonishment of the enchanted and the astonishment of what modern science tells us.
Read the entire post at A radio wave is that long?
The morning went well and I was pretty proud of myself for not being intimidated, but by noon it began to change. I charged ahead even though it was in the mid thirties and raining. By mid afternoon we had dropped into the twenties and whatever you chose to call the gunk falling from the sky, there was no question that it was starting to coat the road in a most unfortunate way.
Read the entire post at Sneaky Weather Forecasters
We are back to the old issue of uncertainty, and oh if we could only see the future. Maybe the problem is minor. I should go and get this off my mind already. Maybe it is major and time is not my friend. If I get my butt in there, the outcome may be better. And maybe it is awful and my life will never be as good after Wednesday in which case I’d rather just not go. Except for this eye thing, my life is pretty good now and there is a big temptation not to mess that up.
What to do?
Read the entire post at I’ll always be glad to see you.
Who makes these forecasts? Everyone from self-proclaimed psychics to extrapolating news analysts have weighed in on what 2016 is likely to bring.
Read the entire post at The Oddest Predictions for 2016.