It is about time I came out of the hole where I've been hiding the last couple of weeks and explained the reason for my silence.
I've been suffering from a hard-to-diagnose case of shingles which necessitated a couple of trips to the ER, two treks to a distant medical center, and treatment with an antiviral that I couldn't tolerate.
The pain is mostly gone now, but I feel like I've been hit by a fleet of UPS trucks. I hope to be able to resume writing soon, and to find that you're still there when I do.
P.S. For those of you who are wondering: I did have the shingles vaccine a few years ago. It does not guarantee that one won't get the disease, but supposedly makes it less virulent. (I cannot imagine what the virulent version must be like.)