THE TEN MONTH YEAR

For reasons of oddness, we proclaimed 2006 as a 15 month year: we started on the 1st october 2005, and finished yesterday. In a week’s time, Lyn flies out to Clarion South, and doesn’t return until the end of February.

So 2007, for the Triffbats, is hereby the Ten Month year. All our plans start on the 1st of March.

I’m not setting any resolutions this year. But I do have some goals, and, you know, they’re vague enough that I’ll find a way to paint them as a success come next January, if I have to 🙂

  • I exhibited genuine growth as a writer during 2006. I want to make the jump, this year, from a mainly Australian sales record to selling mainly in the US and Europe. I want to continue to grow: creatively, artistically, and commercially.
  • I want to sell my first novel, and complete my second.
  • I want to write a short, mainstream novel.
  • I want to finish establishing the gardens around the house, and to eat the first harvest from a vegetable garden
  • I want to create a webcomic
  • I want to set up a Cafe Press shop and offer at least half a dozen designs for sale
  • I want to sign with an agent
  • I want to establish enough financial security that I can purchase my first share portfolio
  • I want a measurable percentage of my income to come from alternative source to a 9-5 day job
  • I want to feel happy at the level to which I have created self-sufficiency and independence from traditional, mainstream methods of living (Ya know: veggie garden, rainwater tank, chicken run, that sort of thang)
  • I want to be thinner, weigh less, and be healthier
  • I want to establish my online world in one cohesive, homogeneous whole, bringing together my website, blog, LJ, mailing lists, shops, writings and so forth into a single, recognisable, easy to follow ‘brand’
  • I want to discover at least half a dozen musical artists I haven’t previously heard

That’ll do for starters

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE WE STAY WHERE WE ARE

So, after our big walloping announcement a couple of months ago, the world has changed around us.

To be more precise, Blake has changed our world.

If we went to Brisbane, he wasn’t coming with us. He was going to stay here with his Dad, and we would fly him over every school holiday to spend them with us. And that was fine, we thought, because he lives with his Dad full-time and we’ve become reconciled to making the most of what time we get with him. It’s become a routine. Not the ideal routine, not the one we want, but it makes him happy and that’s what counts. And we knew that we’d make the new routine work too, as much as we could.

And then he changed it.

On Boxing Day, as we were all scattered about the house doing our own thing, he quietly came into the bedroom where Lyn and I were lying on the bed reading. He sat down between us, curled into his Mum, and without any fuss, calmly told us that he loved us, and wanted to change his care arrangement to shared care: two weeks with his Dad, two weeks with us. He misses his brothers and sister when he’s not with them. He misses us. He’s happy when he’s with us and he’s happy with his Dad, and he wants to share it equally.

What do you say to that? What can you say except We love you. We’re happy you love us. Of course you can. We’ll do everything we can to make it happen.

Then, on the 28th, while I was at work, he climbed a tree at the park across the road from us, attempting to retrieve his new boomerang from its perch. The tree was high, the branch was weak, the fall stopped suddenly. And broke his arm.

Lyn rushed him to the doctor: there were x-rays, and pain killers, and a cast, and now he’s happily playing the Playstation one-handed and counting the days until his cast is dry enough to write on.

But I was a wreck: I was stuck at work, an hour’s drive away, while it all happened. I was so far away. And Lyn was at home, and she coped beautifully, because she’s a brilliant mother and knows how to hide her fear and heartache from her children.

But later that night, when everyone was asleep, and we lay in our bed debriefing the day, she cried over her son’s pain, and told me what Blake had said when he was in the doctor’s surgery: I wish Lee was here. He could make me laugh. And then I cried, and we talked some more, and we realised—

We can’t do it. We can’t go to Brisbane. No matter how much we rationalise it to ourselves, and to anyone else, we can’t leave any of our children behind. We’re a family, all seven of us. The moment we leave Blake or Cassie, we’re not a family anymore. I can’t handle being an hour’s drive from them when bad things happen. How could I handle being a continent away? And how could Lyn live, knowing her child was hurt or in trouble and she was on the other side of the country and couldn’t be there?

So: we’re staying here, in Perth, with our family.

Pick your nose again and see what happens, boy!

MEET THE NEW YEAR, SAME AS THE OLD YEAR

Let’s hope so, anyway.

See, I’ve been wandering around, carrying the impression that 2006 sucked the farts out of dead pigeons. I blogged about this a few posts ago, but the gist is: I was wrong. I fell into the habit of thinking negatively about the year, as a result of my underlying depressive nature and a few acts of ne’er-do-well by the Universe. When I actually sat down and thought about it objectively, the truth is, I had a damn good year.

In no particular order, I:

  • Won the Aurealis Award for Best Horror Short Story and the Australian Shadows Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Horror genre.
  • Released my short story collection Through Soft Air and had a sold-out launch at Swancon
  • Was commissioned and wrote the first two drafts of the film version of Lyn’s story The Memory of Breathing
  • Was commissioned and wrote a Doctor Who short story
  • Wrote and sold a story to a project called Monster Noir, which was the single most enjoyable writing experience of my career
  • Was approached by a State Writing Centre to discuss the possibility of being involved in the establishment of an online writing school
  • Was commissioned to conduct two writing workshops in another state
  • Bought and moved into a new house, and discovered a love of gardening that I’d previously only dabbled with
  • Started my second novel and received positive feedback from a number of agents regarding my first.
  • Saw publication in a number of magazines
  • Had a story selected for the Datlow/Link/Grant-edited Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror #20
  • Was nominated for 2 Aurealis Awards for 2006: Best SF Short Story & Best Fantasy Short Story

And my family, who always fill me with pride and love, enriched my life in so many ways throughout the year.

  • My beautiful son Connor survived an operation to correct his crossed eyes, and blossomed into an excitable, lively, intelligent, wonderful two year old.
  • Erin completed a year of kindy, becoming the world’s most devoted drawer, colouring-in-erer, and dancer to Mummy’s music in the process
  • Aiden finally won out over his father and came to live with us on a full-time basis, as well as completing his first year of high school; attending his first Con; appearing on his first panel and acquitting himself with aplomb; and generally grew into a funny, self-confident, articulate and capable young man.
  • Blake announced, just before Christmas, that he wants to change his living arrangements so that he lives with us on a shared care basis. He also graduated primary school; saw the publication of my short story that bears his name; and developed a spiritual steel to go with the sensitivity he has always borne, showing us a maturity that bodes well for his development into an incredible young man.
  • Cassie, struggling with the demands of peers, family, and the approach of full adulthood, still gave us a glimpse of the artist she denies, gifting us with several beautiful paintings, and inspiring the creation of a new local convention, Femmeconne, dedicated to the female side of Perth fandom and family life; remained a devoted and caring big sister to Erin and Connor; took the first steps into the workforce; and maintained the opinionaoted and passionate heart which defines her strength of character.

And Lyn, my wonderful and magnificent wife, was accepted into Clarion South; won a Tin Duck for Best Short Story published by a Western Australian author in 2005; saw the publication of two stories that represented a quantum leap in her craft as writer (Edges in Shadowed Realms #9 and The Hanging Tree in Borderlands #6), was Guest of Honour at Fandomedia and handled the role with such assurance that she garnered a whole slew of new fans and reminded her friends and peers of just what a talented, beautiful soul she carries with her; returned to full time work; gained a Certificate IV in Massage Therapy; broke the silence to her children about the terrible acts perpetrated upon her during her childhood; and in every way made me sit back in awe and pride at just what an amazing woman I married.

And we moved into our new house, and renovated a run down, worst house in the street until it became a warm, colourful, comfortable sanctuary for our family. And we flew to Canberra for the National Convention and reconnected with old friends as well as finally matching faces to online friends. And on, and on, and on…….

I’ve got such plans for 2007. Life is good.