TALK CRAP THE BATTERSBY WAY
You can tell how old the interview is by Connor’s age: he turned one on the 26th of November…. It’s all still relevant, though.
TALK CRAP THE BATTERSBY WAY
You can tell how old the interview is by Connor’s age: he turned one on the 26th of November…. It’s all still relevant, though.
I was going to save this until the 31st, but Luscious and Connor have gone out, Erin’s happily watching Pete’s Dragon, and I’ve got little to do before I make dinner and settle into some line editing, so what the hell:
1. What did you do in 2005 that you’d never done before? Go away on holiday with the full Triffbatt family. Attend the Aurealis Awards.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, and no.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Callisto Shampoo and Cheshire had a baby boy, Vincent.
4. Did anyone close to you die? No.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? A feeling of achievement. A copy of my short story collection in my hands. An agent. A completed novel. Another completed novel. A contract for one or both of them.
7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 26th March, our wedding date.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Marrying Luscious. Seeing a (protracted) end to the court case.
9. What was your biggest failure? How long have you got? Let’s keep it to a couple of the biggies: having to go back to a day job, and failing to have Napoleone’s Land completely edited and finished. It’s finished, but I’m still fiddling with it, so it doesn’t count as ‘past project’ in my mind.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? No, just the usual constant pain and discomfort I’ve grown used to over the last 4 years. Although I did have my first real back spasm during the year. That was tops.
11. What was the best thing you bought? The holiday to Brisbane for the family. An iPod for Lyn.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Luscious, as always. I could have no better partner to take through my life. Without her, all would be dust.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? At times, almost everybody. I’ve had a low year, as goes other people.
14. Where did most of your money go? Didn’t have enough of it to keep count 🙂
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My wedding. Erin and Connor’s birthdays. The move to the new house.
16. What song will always remind you of 2005? Chicago by Sufjan Stevens.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:i. happier or sadder? ii. thinner or fatter? iii. richer or poorer? About the same, although perhaps more reconciled to my life; fatter; richer, but making plans to change all that.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Writing, as always. Being with my family, especially as the current day job means over an hour’s travel each way.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Travelling to my day job. Having my day job. Wasting time. Relying on others.
20. How will you be spending Christmas? With Luscious, Erin and Connor, hanging around the house and relaxing. Boxing Day we have relatives coming over for lunch.
21. Who did you meet for the first time? Anna Tambour, online. Zoran Zivkovic and Jeff Vandermeer, ditto. The cool and froody Matt Farrer, in the flesh. Other than that, I can’t remember if I met any new faces. Apologies if I did, and it was you. I’m not having a good time for memory at the moment. Ask… you know… my wife… wossname…
22. Did you fall in love in 2005? Stayed in love. Much better.
23. What was your favourite TV program? I watched surprisingly little TV, for a guy with cable. The English Premier League, as usual. Lots of documentaries.
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, but there are a few colleagues I think a lot less of.
25. What was the best book you read? Hmm, hard to say. Read some damn good ones, and some bloody awful ones. Right now I’m halfway through Tim Powers’ Drawing Of The Dark and Gregory Frost’s collection Attack of The Jazz Giants. That’ll do.
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Sufjan Stevens. Also Tom Waites, who I first heard twelve years ago and hated. Stumbled across him again this year, and took the time to really listen. Loving it.
27. What was your favorite film of this year? Charlie and The Chocolate Factory goes close. The Corpse Bride, perhaps. Finding Neverland.
28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 35. Spent it at the day job, for the first time ever. Sums up my year, really.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Spending it writing, at home, with Luscious. More time with the kids. Less time dealing with arseholes who have it in their mind to disrupt my life.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? Same as usual. Sartorial dyslexia. Barefoot as often as possible.
31. What kept you sane? Having Luscious, Erin, and Connor to come home to.
32. What political issue stirred you the most? I hate politics, I hate politicians, and people who bang on about it have no concept of how boring they are.
33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005. Pick who you trust, and don’t pick too many. Do not let those who don’t matter distract you: they won’t be there to hear you regret things on your deathbed. Friends are only friendsa while they want to be: once they decide you don’t suit them they’ll issue ultimata or simply leave you to hang.
34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness
While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you
While the chief, puts sunshine on Leith
I’ll thank him for his work
And your birth and my birth.
– The Proclaimers, Sunshine on Leith (For Lyn, from our wedding)
And, scanning the posts from this time last year, I noticed I’d set myself some goals. Let’s see how they went, shall we?
1. Finish Nouvelle Hollande and sell: Nope
2. Write and sell my second novel: Nope.
3. Sell a short story collection, just in case the current publisher doesn’t pick it up: Nope. The current publisher picked it up, they just haven’t, well, published it.
4. 500 words every day of the year: Nope.
5. Sell 10 short stories: Nope.
6. Hey, remember those comic book ideas you had?: Nope.
So, the verdict: FAILURE.
Ah well, onto bigger and better failures next year.
Song of the moment: Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis Tom Waites
It is a meme. I must do it.
Fill it out. Add one. Pass it on.
Four jobs you’ve had in your life: Cinema usher, tennis coach, salesperson in a jewellery store, stand-up comedian.
Four movies you could watch over and over: The Crow, Dark City, Princess Mononoke, The Magnificent Seven.
Four places you’ve lived: Nottingham, Kambalda, Narrogin, Cooloongup.
Four TV shows you love to watch: The English Premier League, The Prisoner, Doctor Who, Writers on Writing.
Four places you’ve been on vacation: Brisbane, Phuket, Melbourne, Dunsborough.
Four of your favorite foods: croissants, licorice, canneloni, profiteroles. Not on the same plate, obviously…
Four places you’d rather be: the swimming pool on the South Bank in Brisbane, the spa in the hotel room at the Motor Inn at Albany, our house in Clarkson, on a panel at a convention.
Four things you have to get done before the weekend: clean up the patio, finish line editing Napoleone’s Land, pack up a bunch of boxes, watch Bubba Ho-Tep.
Four things you’ve learnt about yourself this year: Few peers take me seriously, and none of my friends; nothing counts for anything in comparison to my wife and children; I must redouble my dedication to writing if I hope to achieve my goals; there isn’t a day job in the world besides writing that wouldn’t make me miserable.
And now, my turn to add one:
Four people who inspired you throughout the year: Stephen Dedman, Anna Tambour, Grant and Sonia Watson, and Luscious. Always Luscious.
Song of the moment: Time Pink Floyd
AMIDST EVERYTHING ELSE, HE GETS STORIES OUT…
Two stories sent out this last week: one to Europe, and a hard SF story called Amygdala, My Love to Cosmos.
Bit chuffed with myself, given how much Real Life TM is clogging up my days at the moment. I’ve even managed to line-edit half a dozen chapters of Napoleone’s Land in the last 2 days. I’m on track to have it completely finished and ready for the agent by Boxing Day, which is great, because I’ve promised myself that I’ll start life in the new house by beginning the next novel.
There’s a lot of sucking going on in Real Life, so a little bubble of satisfaction is a good thing.
Song of the moment: TNT AC/DC
I AM BINKY THE CHRISTMAS SHEEP
You know, everyone else is doing it. Baaaaaa……
1. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree? Fake. And seven feet tall, a foot taller than the one which finally gave out this year. That foot makes a hell of a difference.
2. Do you put up Christmas lights on the exterior of your home? Yes, and I also give apples to the homeless and run through the streets singing ‘Ave Maria’ in my cotton night-shift. Are you kidding me?
3. What’s your favourite Christmas song/carol? Apocalypso by Mental as Anything. Santa gets boozed up and listens to the end of the world on his radio. Snurk.
4. What do you like better: turkey or ham? I have to choose? Isn’t the plate big enough?
5. Do you open up any Christmas presents on Christmas Eve? Nah. I’m not the point at Christmas: it’s watching the kids get excited (by kids, I mean ‘including Lyn…’) as they see my reaction to what they got me that’s the big fun. All together on Christmas morning.
6. Have you ever been Christmas carolling? I haven’t met anyone I hate that much yet.
7. What was your most memorable Christmas gift(s) that you received? Every year Lyn and the kids go out of their way to find me something froody and weird: the whole ‘perfect gift’ scenario. They’re always brilliant.
I remember my brother getting a red vinyl copy of the Ghostbusters soundtrack when we were kids. Boy, I coveted that album.
8. What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Scrooged is great. A double bill with Nightmare Before Christmas would be just about perfect Christmas fare.
9. Have you ever built a real snowman? Yup, when I was 4, the Christmas before I left the snows of Nottingham for December in Kalgoorlie… Hello, I’m Lee, I’ll be your culture shock today…
10. Have you ever peeked into a present and found out what it was before Christmas? Yeah, and got caught, and was made by my Mum to wait until Christmas day and go through the whole charade of opening the presents and thanking everybody, all of whom knew I’d known what I was getting for weeks… only did it once, mind.
11. What is on the top of your Christmas tree? A Santa hat. A friend of a friend in Britain offered to make and send us a TARDIS a couple of years ago, but it seems to have got lost on the way. Still, TARDII have a tendency to do that. We really need to get something cool next year.
12. Do you own a Santa hat? Only so our tree doesn’t get a cold. Next year, something cool. Promise.
13. When was the last time you had your picture taken with Santa Claus? Legally, I’m not allowed to answer that question at the moment. Fucking paparazzi…..
14. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? Done and dusted, man.
15. Do you put candy canes on your Christmas tree? Not until we found some cool fruit ones this morning while shopping for turkey.
16. Who is hardest person to buy for? This year? Luscious. The kids have got her something really cool, and it’s a bitch to top.
17. Who is the easiest person to buy for? Me, but they don’t let me…
18. How old were you when you realized Santa was imaginary? He still answers my letters.
19. What does your morning of Christmas routine consist of? Ugh, wha, okay, shush, don’t let the kids hear, oh damn they’re knocking, wait, wait, wait, ooooooohhhhhhh, okay, Come innnnnnn! What presents? Oh, those presents? No, they’re for some other set of kids. No, come back Erin, it’s okay, they’re really for you. (20 minutes of furious paper shredding, water pistol fights and the occasional ‘thank you’) What’s for breakfast?
20. Egg nog? No, I always walk like this.
21. What do you want for Christmas this year? An email from the agent saying “Sounds good, we’ll represent you”. The collection actually having a real release date that actually exists in the actual real universe. This universe. A convention asking me if I’d like to be their Guest of Honour. Failing that, food, drink, cool stuff. I’m easy.
WOOHOO FOR TWO
The shortlist of nominations for this year’s Aurealis Awards are out, and both Luscious and I have scored mentions!
Lyn is up for Best Science Fiction Short Story with The Memory of Breathing, from ASIM 17. Personally, I think it’s the best story I read by an Australian this year. It’s her first nomination, and I’m so proud of her for producing such an extraordinary piece of work.
Pater Familias, my story from Shadowed Realms Issue 3, has been nominated for Best Horror Short Story.
Another trip to Brisbane for the awards ceremony early next year? You bet.
Happy birthday to our darling Erin, who turned 4 on Monday, and who made out like a bandit! Although we might have to revisit how often we eat out: when asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, the immediate reply was “Sizzlers!”, so out we trooped on Sunday for massive plates of serve-yourself, ice-cream, and all the cool drink we could imbibe.
What stops Luscious and I in our mental tracks sometimes is the knowledge of the individual ways in which each of our children are special in our lives: in Erin’s case, she is the thread that brought our two families together and made them one. It was the love she showed to Lyn & the Triffkids, and the love she engendered in return, that gave us the platform to become the family we are. She may be a typically stroppy, headstrong and frustrating 4 year old sometimes, but she deserves all the love and goodness that comes her way.
And she even does a good job of cleaning up her room…
All her dreams come true: a present bigger than her entire body.
ON A HIGH
It was a week for being proud of children. Aiden graduated primary school, and we went along to his graduating ceremony on a bitterly cold and windy evening to see him accept his memorial cup and photo. Now every time he drinks hot chocolate he’ll think of his former classmates….
The differences between the boy I met almost 3 years ago and the young man he is rapidly becoming are palpable. Aiden is only 12, but he is a man in the making: strong in his opinions; unique in his likes and dislikes; with a gentleness and maturity I find rare in the adult world, never mind in the milieu of the pre-teen, where such qualities are as often derided as rewarded.
I was overwhelmed with pride to see him take the next step along his path, and Luscious was teary the whole night. My only disappointment was in not being able to souvenir a poster of the boy himself, created by his Year One ‘buddy’ (the school has a great little system where the older kids take responsibility for a teensy person, and help them adjust). Still, we managed a photo, so here ’tis:
Do the right things and one day you may be immortalised in cut-outs
TWO YEARS COUNTS AS A TRADITION
So last year I bullied the wholefamily into sitting down together and creating a Christmas decoration to hang on the tree. This year I got as far as “Shall we make ou….” and they’d started.
Here’s a hint: if you buy a new tree, make sure you take notice of the size. Seven feet is significantly higher than six, especially if you have trouble refraining from singing “Hi Ho Hi Ho” every time you see your family standing together. Guess who got all the high jobs?
The tree is up, it looks brill, and I love watching everyone gather round and put the decorations up. Last year’s stars and this year’s bon bons define what Christmas should be about for me: a sense of reward for seeing your family through another year, and the knowledge that whatever happens, you are together.
But boy we had to move a bunch of furniture to fit the sodding tree in. Thank god the new house is bigger…
Attack of the Christmas Midgets!
EVERYTHING IS MOVING UPWARDS
Walking has been achieved. Walking a lot has been achieved. The C-Train is mobile!
THE WAY THINGS CHANGE
Was a time that paying off my mortgage would have been a big thing. It was the one thing I had pencilled in from the day we started the compensation case. Well, the money came in, we dumped it on the mortgage, the next day all trace of it was gone from our bank records, and….. nothing. No sense of achievement, no satisfaction, nowt.
Things have moved on too far, too fast. This house is a relic of a past from which I am dedicated to removing myself. A new house, and a new chapter of my life, awaits. All my energies, hopes, and desires are aimed towards the future. It’s a good future, damn it, and I want to be there, with my family, my writing, and with all the baggage left in the past where it belongs.
SSSSHHHHH: SECRET SQUIRREL
This is weird: I made a sale the other day, and I can’t tell you about it. It’s my first sale under a pseudonym, and I’ve got a damn good cone of silence going over this name, so I plan to keep it.
Maybe some clues when it’s published….
BRAZIL, CROATIA AND JAPAN
Oh crap. We’re screwed. At least we won’t have to beat Uruguay to get to 2010.
Song of the moment: The Piano Has Been Drinking Tom Waites