My 3-month challenge at 6 months

This post may be shameless self-promotion.

Or perhaps this post is a best-practices memo disguised as shameless self-promotion, or vice versa.

In any case, today marks the end of six months since I challenged myself to write a blog post every day for three months, through the end of October. Something new has appeared on this website for 184 consecutive days, twice my original intention.

The purpose of the blog, like all of my writing, is to encourage, entertain and enlighten you, my readers. I hope every day that you come away from this place encouraged, entertained, enlightened, or a combination of those things.

Of course, its purpose also is to give you a free sample of the kind of material you may also purchase collected in book form. It’s a gentle reminder that I’ve written those books and would be very pleased to sell you one or more.

The purposes of the challenge were to give you a reason to keep checking back to see what that rascal Bluhm has produced lately, and of course to motivate me to produce something more consistently than I had been.

Continuing the challenge for twice as many months as I planned was a not-unexpected result. I’ve always wanted to blog daily, and I saw the challenge as a way to jumpstart that desire into reality.

There was, however, a second result that I did not expect. It has to do with those books I was hoping to sell you.

Simply put, I have significantly more to sell than I had before. While writing blog posts every day, I’ve also produced additional books, more accessible print-to-demand versions of several of my earlier works, and a couple of extremely short ebooks.

Here’s a list of what is available that was not available when I challenged myself to write every day for three months:

Gladness is Infectious: A Book of Celebrations (print and ebook)

24 flashes, a collection of two dozen flash-fiction pieces and short stories (print and ebook)

Emerging from Dystopia, four short essays on that topic (ebook)

de Neuvillette’s Confession, a standalone short story (ebook)

And updated print editions with expanded distribution of:

Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes

A Bridge at Crossroads: 101 Encouragements

Resistance to Civil Government by Henry David Thoreau

Letters to the Citizens of the United States by Thomas Paine

A Little Volume of Secrets (As A Man Thinketh, Acres of Diamonds, and The Science of Getting Rich)

Last but not least, I’m finding time nearly every day to add words to a novel-in-progress and dabble in a little extra short-story writing. And by the way, I still have two part-time day jobs, one working for somebody else and one small local news business.

This may be bragging on myself — I always feel self-conscious writing stuff like this — but I want the would-be writers among my readers especially to take note: By challenging myself to one specific bit of writing (the blog) every day, as a side effect I somewhat dramatically increased my output in the other bits of my writing-and-publishing adventure.

And so I encourage you to challenge yourself to write a little something every day, in hopes your results enlighten and entertain you as much as mine have these past six months.

More wisdom of Will Rogers

“The first thing a despot does is to stifle and throttle laughter. A dictator in this country would have a hard time with Rogers present.” — author Rupert Hughes, at Will Rogers’ funeral

A handful of gems from the master:

If a fellow doesn’t have a good time once in a while and get a good laugh out of the serious side of life, he doesn’t half live.

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A holding company is where you hand an accomplice the goods while a policeman searches you.

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I honestly believe there is people so excited over this election that they think the president has something to do with running the country.

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(Interview with himself)
Q. What’s the best way to start being a humorist?
A. Recovery from a mule kick is one way that’s used a lot. Being dropped head downward on a pavement in youth has been responsible for a lot. But a discharge from an asylum for mental cases is almost sure fire.
Q. Is the field of humor crowded?
A. Only when Congress is in session.


© Leremy |


Enough shouting in anger and indignation and oh so outrage. Enough, sez I.

Enough woe is me I wish life were easier.

Enough crying how dark it is out there.

Enough, enough, enough.

Yep, we’ve all heard enough angry partisans to last us a lifetime. I’ve heard enough indignant mutterings to know you’re indignant. I’ve heard enough outrage to understand some people would rather be perpetually outraged. Enough crying in the dark to see some people are more comfortable in the dark than doing something to turn on a light.

It’s too tiring and draining to be angry and outraged all the time.

I’m going to break out in pursuit of peaceful voices, acceptance, understanding, and laughing. Definitely more laughing needed around here.

The future becomes present becomes past

Destination Moon (1950)

“We’re going to party like it’s 1999” was the answer to Final Jeopardy the other night — Prince’s song was released and hit the pop music charts in 1982, re-released and charted again 17 years later, and a third time 17 years after that.

Of course the song was popular again in 1999, and then after Prince died in 2016.

Each time the song was the same but meant different things — the future in 1982, today in 1999, and memories in 2016.

Today’s future becomes tomorrow’s nostalgia.

Among the songs that were popular when I was a tadpole:

“Gonna save all my money and buy a GTO …”

“Come back when you grow up, girl …”

“We can work it out …”

… I wonder if they did.

The future is upon us before we realize, and most of the time it’s not quite what we expected. (The 1950 movie Destination Moon imagines a moon landing by private-sector scientists in 1962.) Sometimes it’s more than we expect, sometimes it’s less — “What a beautiful wedding,” I imagine, means it was even more sweet than expected.

We all have our expectations, and they shape our reactions.

I suspect the best way to approach the future is with no expectations and accept what happens at face value. Oh, one may (and should) plan for the future, but we need to be ever vigilant to ensure that other people’s plans mesh with ours as gently as possible.

We are all interested in the future

“We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.”

— The Amazing Criswell, in Plan Nine From Outer Space

Ed Wood’s most famous film is one of my guiltiest pleasures, and the opening monologue by The Amazing Criswell is one of my favorite moments, and the first line of the movie is best of all.

It sounds so profound, and maybe it is, but it’s so flaming obvious that it’s hysterically funny. And it’s hysterically funny because it’s absolutely true.

You and I are going to spend the rest of our lives in the future. Look out, now: Here it comes! Aren’t you interested? Of course you are!

Sometimes I think about my dad, who was a teenager in the 1930s, working with a homebuilt radio, listening to the world in a way unimaginable to his own father — and I wonder at the astounding changes that happened during his 96-plus years of living in the future.

Computers the size of auditoriums were refined and reduced until they fit in the palm of our hand. We have access to not just sounds a world away but live television images so clear we could be looking through a window at them.

Heck, a lot of the astonishing stuff happened after he had his middle son just shy of 30: heart transplants, moon landings, a worldwide communications web.

We are all interested in the future, because that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.

Let’s do what we can to ensure the miracles keep on coming and aren’t foiled by grave robbers from outer space.

Go For It Day

What could be different about today if you could make it so? Because, of course, you can make it so!

Do you jump out of the rut today? Is it time to commit to the future? Want to dream your biggest dream?

Look up and out at the sky — find a view where you can see it all. There’s your limit.

This is a big life: Find your biggest expression of it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

This is what freedom of speech sounds like

Circling back to something I wrote the other day.

I’m not afraid to give voice to idiots with addled brains, because I believe in a marketplace of ideas the idiots will be seen for what they are, no matter how loudly they shout.

To go a step further, sometimes someone who appears to be an addle-brained idiot will make a point worth considering, if I give it a fair thought and don’t dismiss it because of who thought it first.

My main point, however, is that I was taught that freedom of speech means you’re entitled to speak your piece, and so is everyone else. That means you might make people angry or hurt, but you still have the right to say it. And it means they have the right to reply with words that might anger or hurt you.

In a perfect world, this back-and-forth goes back and forth until some understanding or compromise or perhaps even agreement takes place. More often lately, it ends with “Let’s just agree to disagree,” which is a civilized way of saying, “You’re an addle-brained idiot and I’m tired of trying to fix you.”

In this less-than-perfect world, the disagreement goes even further, to efforts to shut people up, deny them the same soapbox you offer people who agree with you, and do your best to proclaim them unpersons.

To phrase it less ironically than John Mellencamp did, that ain’t America, land of the free.

When you lobby to deny a guest speaker their podium, when you applaud silencing opponents, when you let someone decide for you what is appropriate speech, then you give aid and comfort to tyranny, plain and simple.

Twenty years ago, there was a lot of talk after the Sept. 11 attacks that terrorists “hate our freedoms.”

What word should we use to describe the censors who hate our freedoms?