Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007


Sent: two stories.

Rabbit to Chizine, and the piece I wrote on the plane back from Clarion, Invaded By An Intimate Storyline to Strange Horizons.

Goddamn, it feels like a very long time since I've done that.

And in very good news, for me at least, Producer Matt has come to the good with the draft notes and script copy for the The Memory of Breathing film, so I'm back in harness with the third draft.

Feels good to be a writer again.


There's an old (and sadly, accurate) joke about the Scottish football team always arriving home from the World Cup before their postcards.

Guess what arrived in the mail today? The Valentine's Day present Luscious sent me from Brisbane :)

Mind you, it was damn well worth waiting for. I wish I'd been in the shop when she explained that she was buying a book called The Sociopath Next Door for her husband for Valentine's......


Walking With Dinosaurs: The Live Experience was un-be-lievable. Beautifully realised, engaging, astonishing in its scope and prentation, just a magical and awe-inspiring evening that made me want to weep in dino-geekboy rapture. I'd post some pictures, but right now picture-posting is still one of the things I need to reintroduce to my hard drive. Soon.

But what does it say about the human psyche, or at least, about the way we allow ourselves to be trained, that several thousand people issued a loving awwwwwwwwww at the sight of a 'baby' brachiosaur tall enough to look the upper rows of the stadium in the eye, and that so many of us cheered when the T-Rex made its appearance. Cheered. As in Here comes the Hero!

And yes, I was one of them.

The show was as close as I can ever expect to seeing a live dinosaur. And whilst I'm a grown-up, rational man on the outside, there's a large part of me that wants to meet aliens, dinosaurs, and Gandalf in the flesh, just once, just to believe in real magic. For a couple of hours, at least, I could close down that rational part of my brain that saw the wires and animatronics and puppeteers no matter how well-hidden they were, and revel in the magic-wielding side of my imagination. What a rush.


Lyn and I have gathered a small band of fellows about us, all with the same set of goals vis-a-vis our careers, in order to share information, critique each others' work, and bitch about everybody else discuss what measures we need to take to work our way up the writing food chain.

As is the way of such things, we've also cobbled together a group blog. Jerry Jarvis' Wig is online, and if you're interested in the strange interior workings of myself, Lyn, Paul Haines, Geoffrey Maloney and Brendan Duffy, wander along every now and again and say hola.

Currently the posting is somewhat infrequent, due to the very recent creation of the group, but I have a couple of entries I'll be getting up soon. I'll still be filling this colum with my own ridiculous brand of waffle, but I have some very different things planned for JJs: stay tooned....


Clarion is finally over for Lyn, she's back at home recovering her spirit and equanimity, and dealing with the bumps and grinds she suffered over the course of that long, fierce, and claustrophobic experience. And working. My, how she's working.

I've always made it very clear that I believe in her talent, and that all she has ever needed to create a career of worth for herself was some self-belief, and the drive to let nothing stand between her and writing time, every day, until work was completed and sent out, again and again and again. A lot of writers need guidance, education, mentoring. All Lyn has ever needed, in my honest opinion, was to create. But, you know, I'm her husband :) It took 5 relative strangers, professionals all, saying the same thing to her for her to really believe it. And now she does. And it's about time :)

And if she didn't need me to tell her she's extraordinary, how about this: how many people do you know who sold a story whilst still participating in the workshop? I don't mean to their tutor. I mean via the traditional write-send-wait route?

Believe it, peeps. This Is Not A Love Song will see light in ASIM 34, a bunch of months down the track. Needless to say, I'm astonished and proud at the ways in which my wife achieves the exceptional.

A final gift from my students, too: a Clarion '07 t-shirt, containing some of the most memorable quotes uttered by the group (my favourite: It's easy to produce a dwarf on the cheap) and an autograph book containing messages of goodwill from the students. Many thanks to all the 2007 group: you flatter me.


Many thanks to all who have contacted me after the heat-death of my durned computer. I'm slowly rebuilding my files and sundry falderal back to their former glory, but if anybody has any photographs featuring me, Luscious, or the Battfamily, could you get in touch? I'd appreciate the chance to maybe get my hands on copies.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Now, treat this is apocryphal, because I'm quoting from memory, but the story goes that by the last 60s, Robert Silverberg had developed a reputation as a pretty gun wordage-for-hire man. If you needed 5000 words of alien invasion story with a twist ending by Tuesday, RS was your man. Critical acclaim wasn't heading his way overmuch, but you know, he was making a living and it was all good.

Then he and his wife went out for dinner one night, and came home to find they didn't have one. A fire had taken the lot, including every piece of work past, present, and future that Silverberg had in his files.

Faced with the loss of his career, Silverberg decided to treat the event as a beginning, rather than an end-- an opportunity to put his mid-level days behind him and write the kind of SF art that he'd been itching for, but had never had the space to try. From that decision came the Silverberg who wrote Thorns, and Tower of Glass, and The Book of Skulls, and well, go ahead and pick your own favourite Silverberg novel of the 70s.

So why am I telling you this? Guess where I've been for the last week. No, go on: guess.

Yup. In Why-didn't-I-back-up-my-hard-drive hell.

Booted up last Friday, ready to roll on all the stuff that needs rolling upon (except Luscious, of course. She's in Brisbane until next weekend. I'll be rolling on her when she gets back) and...... nothing.

No booting. No little Microsoft dooby-doo-doo to welcome me to my desktop. Nowt.

I've lost it all. All my files, all my music, all my writing, all my photos. Everything. The Corpse-Rat King is gone. The 80 or so short stories in progress are gone. The movie script is gone. The final edited draft of Napoleone's Land is gone. 4 years of photography, almost all gone (I've got some of Connor and some of Erin and not a lot of much else). After a week of progressively harder scouring of my disc with no success, my IT people have loaded me up a fresh hard disc, a few basic programs, and what percentage of data they did manage to save.

No, I didn't back up. Yes, I deserve the angst.

I am left with: a previous draft of Napoleone's Land that I discovered while cleaning my office this week. By my best estimates, it's 2 drafts old, minimum. But hey, at least I have it. 6 short stories I had printed out to line edit. Producer Matt's email address.

Onwards and upwards, eh?


Typical: spend a week without a computer, and everybody starts having cool days. So:

Big woohoos to Aiden, who turned 14 on the 2nd. An envelope with a ticket in it doesn't look like much of a present, but a night at the Walking With Dinosaurs Live show next week is as close to the perfect gift as we could have given him. And, you know, we got him God of War as well. I'd ask him whether he likes it, but he's too busy playing to talk.

Of course, now he's 14 we'll have to sit down and have that little talk. It's about time, too. Maybe he'll be able to tell me where babies come from....

Talking of which (oh yeah, baby, they gonna call me Mister Segue!) I'm over many moons to welcome Indigo Winter Lindsay to the circus: 4th daughter of my oldest friend Seanie and his lovely wife Terri, who joined us at 2.30 on the morning of the 8th. Remember: boys are icky, horses smell like poo, and dinosaurs rock! Now go ask Daddy for a trust fund.

Soundtrack: Get Shorty, The Soundtrack
Reading: BPRD- The Universal Machine Mignola, Arcudi & Davis