Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Both woo and hoo


I have rather exciting news, and frustratingly, no real way to tell it. This is the situation.

In my spare time I write. I've been doing it from the pre-teen years, if you count the "Shangar the Black" stories*. It started out as mostly science fiction, fantasy, horror, That Sort Of Thing, but lately it's been more mainstream. It's been mostly short stories, because that's what I grew up on, but there's also been this blog, and several uncompleted novels (one autobiographical, one large-scale SF, one rather meandering attempt at erotica, and one in progress), and a great ream of poems and a few plays.

It's been mostly for my own enjoyment. Other people do weirder things.

Anyway, I applied for one of those hard-to-get-into boot camp things, those intensive "couple of weeks in the wilderness" hot-housing courses where they drop you in the desert with only a thesurus and you have to be able to construct a simile using only what you can find in the natural environment, and start a fire using only an aphorism and a lump of anapestic tetrameter... I applied and the other day they rang me and told me I was in.

This is serious good news for me, serious good news. It's happening this summer. I spent the rest of the night running up and down across the ceiling shrieking in a high-piched voice until Sarah coaxed me down with a glass of expensive (i.e.: more than five dollars a bottle) red wine, and I have not shut up about it since. Six weeks in the north Australian jungle with only other writers for company.

It is a bit terrifying. I haven't written short stories for ages. I don't know any of these people with whom I will be spending sixish weeks. I suspect, as I suspect many people do who succeed in anything, that any success I have had in this area has been due to the combined effects of luck, universal background weirdness and typographical errors in administration - my inadequacies may be found out. I may get writer's block, I may get manic or depressed, I not have anything to say. I may turn out to be allergic to semicolons.

But I am going. Pretty much the only thing that could stop me would be something medical happening to Sarah. I have commenced discussions with my boss, where I said I was going to go, and he said that other people wanted holidays around that time and it may not be easy, and I said that wouldn't be a problem, because I would resign and reapply for my own job when I came back, and given that they've been advertising for someone to do a similar job in a nicer area for two years without any real success, and that they would have a maximum of two months to find a qualified medical practitioner mad enough to want to come to the South but sane enough to work here who would out-interview and out-perform me, I reckoned I'd be right.

All calm and collected, but I've almost never disagreed with a senior doctor before, and it went relatively well.

So - I don't know how I'll blog from there, because of the whole confidentiality thing. The writers camp is called Greystoke, it's over a thousand kilometres away, on the grounds of Mangani University in Opar**. It's summer in the tropics. I have it on good authority that the air will be like treacle, that there will be honey-moths and sugar-cane and mango juice, and that there are people who will leave you alone, and there are rivers full of crocodiles.

We shall see. I had best get on with this. Thanks for listening - to be honest, this was written more out of "I want to tell people" rather than any thought that what I have to write will be interesting to others. Next post should be better.

Thanks for listening, will speak soon,


* "Black" in the way that black metal music is black - i.e. anaemically white but wanting to be scary.

** No, it's not. But until I come up with a better idea of getting around this whole confidentiality thing, that's what I'm going to be calling it.


Blogger Karen said...

So cool. Congratulations. I'll add to your paragraph of things that may happen while you are at camp: you may find out you write very well (something your readers already know).

Please avoid the crocs. I enjoy reading this blog.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Milo said...

BJ, you would not believe how i fantasize about this confidentiality thing! In my head i have made this town, with trains and all the places you talk about. I just wished one day i could test myself about how right i have been. it is just so much fun. it always keeps me in suspense and makes my heart beat just a bit faster. loving your writings and you take care of yourself alright? lots of love to sara too wishing her good health...

10:09 PM  
Anonymous s said...

Congratulations! I am oh-so-jealous! Tell us all the details.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

I am so, so thrilled for you :D I hope you have a wonderful time and come back all tanned and relaxed in the literary sense (i.e. with a bag full of pages).


ps I was running up and down on the ceiling for a while after you told me!

12:06 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

This is wonderful news and you deserve it. Enjoy.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Juanita said...

Major congratulations to you!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous kirsetn said...

This is great news John. I've been following your blog for yonks, but have tended to drop in only sporadically in the past while. Am always surprised and delighted all over again by your writing. You are a born storyteller and I hope you continue to write in one form or another...at least to satisfy us, your faithful followers!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous kirsten said...

Oops -- managed to spell my own name wrong. Excellent...

10:41 AM  
Blogger Milo said...

BJ, would you write here ever again?

5:15 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Not to be threatening or psychotic or anything, but really, please, I can't afford a ticket to Oz to harass you (although I will start emailing his eminence to find out wtf is going on and to make sure you're okay and doing well (you and Ms. TduCN, of course) and that the writing thingamabobby went well (if it didn't, they're just batshit insane, okay?) and that all the cats, chooks and other victims of animal husbandry are doing well) so post again someday? Thank you.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Ladyk73 said...

Poke poke poke...hello????? Anybody there?

4:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2am, I'm rearranging things in my feed reader, and suddenly realise it's been a very long time since an update at Stranger's Fever.

I hope you're okay, Bronze John. Any news (from BJ, or anyone)?

- Deirdre

1:33 AM  
Blogger The Girl said...

I'll join the chorus - I hope that all is okay.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Deirdre said...

I hope all is well, but thought I'd post this link in case it's of interest:

"I feel like quitting writing"

It's from an advice column in Salon by Cary Tennis, a writer himself, so I figure he probably knows what he's talking about.

Best wishes.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Deirdre said...

And again! Now with actual linkification! (I hope.)

I feel like quitting writing by Cary Tennis, Salon, 19 May 2009.

12:45 PM  

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