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Fighting through the dog days of summer

“Nature demands compensation,” Robert E. Howard told H. P. Lovecraft in December of 1932, and his sentiment rings just as true now as then. This centennial year has been a blast for me so far, with two Howard-themed trips to Texas, a weird fiction one to San Francisco, and at least two more to make before I’m through. Howard Days seriously rocked, lots of new Howard publications are appearing, this blog has finally turned into a going concern, The Cimmerian website is being revamped, and most importantly the monthly schedule of The Cimmerian has been, against all odds, largely a success.

But even so, nature demands compensation, and my bill came due in July. Throughout June I was feeling the onset of centennial exhaustion, with the telling moment occurring in Cross Plains when I stepped into the gift shop and pulled out the June Cimmerians I had feverishly worked on getting ready in time for the weekend — only to discover that I had put green covers on all of the Limiteds instead of the usual gold! In careless moments I have made such mistakes before, but usually they are caught and corrected forthwith. Never have I slept-walked through the construction of a hundred issues with incorrect covers without ever gleaning my colossal blunder! I had to destroy all of the June Limiteds I brought down to Cross Plains and remake them again when I returned to LA. That should have been a hint that the summer was going to be a rough one, but there was no time for worrying — before I knew it, July was upon me.

In that month, I had the pleasure of hosting TC reader Al Lane while he visited Los Angeles, as well as finally finishing up and releasing a project for REHupa that I had been working on for five years: a complete digital archive of the a.p.a., all 30,000+ pages of its thirty-four-year output, scanned, cleaned, and assembled into hyperlinked PDFs for the membership. I was glad to finally get that done with, but combined with my day job and other assorted duties (not to mention the record-breaking heat that had Los Angeles in a stupor), that left precious little time for anything else. With August closing in, I realized that the July issue wasn’t going to get out by the end of the month.

So, rather than skip an issue and break the monthly cycle, I decided to finish the July ish as soon as I could, hold onto it while doing the August ish, then send them both out together. This would save on shipping for subscribers — and more importantly, it would save the extra few days it would have taken to pack and ship out two separate batches of parcels. With a monthly schedule I find myself increasingly forced to save minutes wherever I can; it’s a primal fight that offers no mercy.

Therefore, for all the readers wondering what the hell happened to their summer Cimmerian reading, know that the usual hermetically sealed packages are just about ready to rocket towards your respective abodes. Sometime next week I expect you to have two mighty issues of The Cimmerian in your grubby little hands, and we’ll be well positioned to make it through the rest of the year and complete the 2006 centennial series. I always thought it would be a miracle if I didn’t have to skip a few issues along the way, but although I’m still wary of burnout settling in, I do believe there is a light at the end of this particular tunnel.

Stay tuned to this blog for breakdowns and excerpts from the July and August issues, which are both jam-packed with things you are bound to find interesting. And thanks for being so patient and supportive throughout the summer.