Now we are sick

Has it really been a month since my last post? Yes, yes I believe it has. I’ve been on the road for most of that month, travelling to Adelaide, Noosa, Brisbane and Sydney, with a stop back in Melbourne for WorldCon somewhere in the middle of all that. And I am sick with one of the worst cases of flu I’ve ever had. Three visits to three different GPs in three different cities and my ears are still blocked with fluid. Seriously, it’s been like living underwater for the last couple of weeks, except without the wrinkly fingers and toes. But enough talk of illness.  Instead, let’s have a whirlwind catch-me-up for all that’s happened in the past month combined with a mammoth Closing of Tabs Session. Buckle up, dearhearts, I shall be using bullet points . . .

  • Adelaide. Flew over, drove back with a couple carloads of friends through the Barossa and along the Great Ocean Road. Bought and drank lots of wine. My beloved started to get ill somewhere in the middle. Hmm, pre-WorldConFlu?
  • Melbourne, WorldCon. Lots and lots of fun, for the most part. Spoke on scheduled panels about horror, Australian Gothic, vampires and 3D cinema. Was shanghaied onto a very cool panel about gender and sexuality by innocently asking a question from the audience. Sat in on other panels of varying interest, attended a few delightful book launches, swanked around at a couple of parties (thanks Voyager and Orbit!), drank far too much with lots of lovely people in the Hilton Bar. Was hit by The Flu Truck on the Monday morning of the Con, and have been struggling through various degrees of ickiness ever since. Thus ends my Con Report. It’s not much of a Con Report, but hell. I’m in not much of a state for reportage right now. Other people have been far more fluent and effusive than I would be. Google them.
  • Noosa. Supposed writers retreat with a swag of clever and talented people, including Jack Dann and Rob Shearman in the role of Tutors Extraordinaire. Spent three days in spent instead, curled up with antibiotics, tissues, codral and neurofen (yes, yes, I know about the risk of strokes associated with that latter, conveniently announced just when I needed it most; do not email me). Managed to drag myself from the plague house long enough to socialise a little and have a novella critted. For extra special fun, spent one day with conjunctivitis. Not. Pretty. Have never been so Not Pretty in my life. Bought a new black dress as we were leaving Noosa to cheer myself up. Partially worked.
  • Brisbane. Signed some books for folks at Pulp Fiction, left more signed copies in Dymocks in the Queen Street Mall (just in case anyone’s interested). Sick and mostly still deaf with ongoing tinnitus. Caught up with some lovely people for dinner and did not drink alcohol. Apparently, this is possible.
  • Sydney. Very worried about how ears would cope with flight so procured EarPlanes to help equalise pressure.  Amazing little things. No pain at all. Considered having a first born just so I can call her/him EarPlane. Lunch with my publisher and editor. Was assured that extension of deadline for Novel the Second would not be a big deal. Was told that the creative process should not be rushed. I heart my publisher. Very, very much. Caught up with other writerly friends at my agent’s annual seminar and dinner event. Managed to give a brief scheduled talk without coughing up a lung, although it was touch and go there for a bit. It was a fun trip, in a weird, too-sick-too-care-about-being-too-sick kind of way.

Now I’m back home. Still sick, as is my beloved. But we’re getting slowly better and hopefully the latest round of medication prescribed by our Melbourne GP will finally kick this thing in the guts once and for all. And I’ve just realised that this post has gone on for far too long, and that it’s been pretty much all about being sick, and that I’m yet to close a single tab. Blurgh, redux. My apologies if you actually made it this far — my next post will contain something a bit more substantial. Promise.

Toil and Travel

Did I say I would keep this blog updated regularly? And you believed me?

Some lovely news today: my story “Painlessness”, which won the Aurealis Award, the Ditmar Award, and the Chronos Award this past year, has now received an Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror (for 2008) to be published by Nightshade Press.  That little story is doing very well for itself indeed!

I’m away from home at the moment, toiling away in the wordmines at a writing retreat on Bribie Island. Well, not so much toiling as thinking and plotting and getting rid of my second novel’s flabby midsection. Which is toil of its own kind.

On Friday, I leave Australia for my first real holiday in years. New Orleans, Mexico and San Francisco, with a grand finale being attending the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. Bliss!

Of course, once I’m back home in November, the real writing work begins. Editing the first novel, polishing away all the rough edges, beating my head against the screen in frustration … I’m genuinely looking forward to it. I’m guessing at that point, this whole Getting Published thing will finally sink in and start to feel real.

Okay, back to the toil. This is my last full day on Bribie and it’s glorious. But I shall lock myself in my room for a few hours and get some serious plotting done. Then maybe I can have one last walk on the beach.

Dark Ages

Tomorrow, I’m leaving for a week away in Newcastle. It’s where I grew up and most of my family is still there so I try to go back at least once or twice a year to visit. It’s always strange. It doesn’t feel like going back home – it hasn’t been my home for well over a decade now, and I don’t have any particularly fond memories tied too closely to place or locale – but there is a certain inevitable nostalgia about any time spent there. Stuff that’s changed, stuff that hasn’t. Stuff about me that’s changed, and stuff that really hasn’t. For better or worse.

Anyway. For practical purposes, a visit to Newcastle for me means very limited internet access. This is primarily because I’m staying with my mother and she does not have an internet account at home (“I can do anything I need to from work, Kirstyn.”) She also lives in Maitland (about 40 minutes further up the Hunter River from Newcastle) and at last check there is still no local internet cafe. Five billion and one “antique” shops, but no bloody public broadband. So I take my laptop with its cruddy 56K inbuilt modem that only gets used in desperate times such as these, and dial up every couple of days to check my email which is about all my patience can stand.

Usually, I try to view the whole thing as one of those fabled retreats from technology which are meant to be so good for the soul. Usually it sort of works. I realise that I don’t actually *need* to have the internet at my beck and call, and I do feel a little clearer of mind after being unplugged for a week or so.

But right now, for various reasons, I do not want to leave the internet behind. I’m dreading being cut off from certain things, certain people. I’m already having withdrawal symptoms and minor pangs of anxiety. It’s not good. Last week, I seriously considered buying an iPhone. Cause, you know, I need to have 24/7 access. To everything. And everyone. Need it.

*sigh*

Welcome to the 21st Century, McDermott. Now, when do we get those implants?