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,
John* "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.