Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Z" is for "Zero Hour"

"I packed my bags last night pre-flight
Zero hour nine a.m."
- Elton John and Bernie Taupin

In a strange way I never thought this moment would come.  Intellectually, yes, when I agreed to take on this 26 Week Blog Challenge some five-odd months ago, I knew that July 29th would be my final post.  There was even a point in time where I was planning posts well in advance.  I knew, for instance, that for R I would want to cover "Red Adept" and for F I would talk about "Fat Zombie" and so forth.  But Z?  Z seemed like a cipher.

Z is a cipher.  Not quite the cipher that X is.  X is the great unknown, the variable.  The X-Factor.  The X-Files.  But Z is similarly odd.  Stationed at the end of the alphabet, rarely used (except, like its pluckier, cruciform brother, in algebra) Z is kind of a strange animal.  It's not useless.  Z is a distinctive sound, unlike, say, its bastard cousin C who serves literally no purpose.  All the heavy lifting that C does could be done by S and K, without the added confusion of having to guess which it is.  So, in a way, C is a liability to the alphabet rather than an asset.

Not so with Z.  Z is distinct, albeit, rarely used.  Maybe that's for the best.


I suppose I'm getting off track.  Not that there really is a track for blogposts.  Sometimes you want them to be short and concise.  Sometimes you want them to be endless and rambling.  That's part of their beauty and their mystique, I suppose.  Sometimes I click on a link and get hit with a one-two punch.  Other times I get slowly drawn in to a lengthy, morphia-laden argument.  Other times I don't get drawn in and give up after a paragraph or two.

But this post is supposed to be about endings.  Zero hour.  Launch day.  It's a beginning and an ending.  The 26 Week Blog Challenge is at an end.  I am, as far as I can tell, the only survivor.  I have been for quite some time now.  By rights, I suppose I could have just thrown in the towel once I was the last participant left and claimed my "prize" (which I assume to be a Highlander-style super-Quickening.)  But I really liked having this challenge to keep me on track for my blogging this year, as I've talked about ad nauseum in the past.

Now it's kind of like there will be a hole in my schedule.  What am I supposed to do on Wednesdays from now on?  I mean, sure, it's nice that if I feel like throwing in a laughing chicken meme or something, I don't have to worry about cranking out 500 words on the meaning of humor.  But on the other hand, I'll have no structure.  Structure is constricting but it's also freeing in a way.  I never had to worry about, "What post will I do on Wednesday?" I just had to worry about "What will I write about for the challenge this week?"


I suppose I'm getting maudlin.  That's the way I get at the conclusion to things.  Thanks for sticking with me for these past 26 weeks, everybody.  We'll be back next week of course, but with something...different.  And as for me, I'm off back to Hobbiton.  Take care!


  1. Two things: You had been doing so well on your its/it's. But you slipped in the second paragraph. (Reminder: its = possessive, it's = contraction of "it is.")

    Also, to quibble with your vilification of 'c' as useless, can either 's' or 'k' help to create the sound of 'ch'?

    1. Corrected.

      "Ch" is a different sound. It has nothing to do with the "c" or the "h," that's just how we represent it in the Latin alphabet. Just like a glottal stop isn't really the sound of an apostrophe. And if a glottal stop IS the sound of an apostrophe why don't we pronounce every apostrophe?

      Consider Cyrillic. 32 letters, because there are 32 basic sounds. "Ch" is represented by "Ч ." Their "S" is always an "S" sound. Their "K" is always a "K" sound. Weirdly elegant, no?

      Meanwhile, we combine our letters will-nilly because we only have 26. So we have to create our "sh" and "ch" and etc. to get up to 32 sounds. "C" is a bastard letter. Now, if you proposed to remove "C" and replace it with a "Ch" symbol, I'd be on board.


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