Six Impossible Things

AliceLewis Carroll via Alice told us we should do six impossible things before breakfast. I do that – every single day.

[1] I wake up. Not impossible, you say? Ever since I got put on insulin, this has become a chancy business. The same dinner, the same amount of insulin, the same midnight snack, and the same midnight medication can have three very different results. One is that I wake up in the middle of the night with a hypo ranging from a BGL reading  between 2 and 4, and have to force feed myself enough jelly lollies to make it through to the morning. To this end, before going to bed I traipse up the stairs carrying the lolly container, my BGL reader, my current reading matter and a glass of water. I feel like I’m going camping as I juggle all these items upwards. Another possibility is that I wake up with a BGL of 5, having slept all the way through the night. The other possibility doesn’t bear thinking of. The impossible thing is that that possibility has never occurred, and I do wake up in the morning.

[2] I stand and walk. Or rather I stagger, gripping any hard surface I find on the way. Between the arthritis and the bursitis, I can barely move, and I cannot put any weight on my right hip. Somehow I struggle through the pain and make it to the bathroom, the toilet, and then into the shower, where I stand for three whole minutes – longer if I’m washing my hair. My arthritis likes this but the bursitis hates me. Every 5th day I manage to overcome the bursitis long enough to wash my hair. Why don’t I have a bath instead? Because the bath is downstairs, and I cannot walk, let alone climb into it.

[3] I weigh myself. And pretend the scales are not telling me I am liable to drop dead from fatal obesity in the next 24 hours. Impossible, but I succeed.

[4] I get dressed, and hobble down the stairs. At this point in time every step is still painful and I need to put weight on the banisters. Impossibly, they still take my weight, and I make it into the kitchen.

[5] I feed the cats. Impossibly, given their eagerness, and my continued  clumsiness, we manage to avoid each other. Also impossible, I manage to bend over and feed and pet the floor cat as well as the bench cats.

[6] I get the canary up. Not a big task. I change her water, check her seed tray, stagger outside and pick some dandelions for her. Then I, who cannot yet stand, manage to raise up on tippy toes and with a steady hand hook her cage to the ceiling out of the way of the cats for the day.

[7] Breakfast. With breakfast, I take 8 little miracles. Chemical concoctions which control the diabetes, the cholesterol, the blood pressure, the migraines, a blood thinner, AND a pain killer. Just one. Addiction is not permitted. Sometimes I relax my rigid control and allow myself a mild anti-inflammatory. The impossible thing is that after more than 10 years these are still all I take.

[8] Then I ‘sit’. On an ice pack. And a miracle occurs. 15 minutes later, the painkiller has kicked in and the bursitis is expelled for the day.

Alice and Chesire Cat

I arise and walk like a normal human being. The Great Daily Impossible has been achieved.

 

And finally
– I hear you ask – why do I not do my ‘sit’ first?

Because, I have found if I ‘sit’ before getting the canary up, I tend to forget about her. (Bad me, I know, but it happens.) If I ‘sit’ before feeding the cats, they pester me, and make me feel guilty and restless. Restlessness destroys the efficacy of the ‘sit’. If I ‘sit’ before eating, I am too hungry to have the patience to complete the 15 minutes. The ice pack lives downstairs in the freezer in a communal area, therefore I must dress before collecting it. If I’m going to dress, then I may as well shower first, otherwise I would have to go back up the stairs, undress, shower, then re-dress after the ‘sit’. And why do I go to the toilet before anything else? Well I defy anyone to try to do all that before emptying their bladder. That would indeed be an impossible thing!

Review of Grievous Harm by Sandy Curtis

My review is published here: https://narrellemharris.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/the-books-of-love-grievous-harm-by-sandy-curtis/

Emerging Writers’ Festival 2015

As an author who has only published one novel, I still qualify as an ‘Emerging’ writer, as opposed to an ‘Established’ one with many items of writing under their belts. This year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) also incorporated the National Writers’ Conference (NWC), an event I’d never heard of before but was quite happy to go along to on my ‘Gold Ticket’ which paid for most EWF activities. At the EWF I spent a day listening to staff from Hachette (pr. Hashay) talking about what actually happens inside a publishing house, taking us from ‘The Pitch’ to actual publication and post publication marketing.

I had a fun night listening to various translators attempting to translate a very colloquially Australian piece from the Author Liam Pieper (who turned out to be a lovely self effacing chap who was somewhat bemused at being thrust into the limelight). Everyone who has ever done any serious translating or language study knows that a people’s thoughts are set by what can be expressed in their language. Spanish appeared to have little difficulty with Liam’s piece but the Indonesian and the Japanese both struggled with profanity.

Have also been to workshops on ‘Voice’, ‘Place’, and ‘Copywriting’.  I knew a little about the first two and nothing about the last, but I believe I got something useful out of all of them, which is what the festival is about.CritnRev Panel 002

The NWC introduced me to a writer I knew nothing about, Sulari Gentill, among other people. I have now bought all her 1930’s detective series based around the black sheep of a grazier family – Rowland Sinclair. Have read the first and am now having difficulty forcing myself to do other things before picking up the second. The conference had panels on specialist writing such as reviewing (Just write what you think), blogging (Just write), TV shows (Just get out there and do it), Podcasting (missed that one), and writing in general (Just do it). Seeing a theme here?  Someone on the EWF panel ‘The Pitch’ actually came out and said it, ‘If you want to publish, you have to have something to publish.’ (It think it was the lady from Allen and Unwin, but can’t be sure.)

Other panels have been the early morning talks – I attended the one on ‘Queer Writing’. Panellists were Gay, Trans, and Lesbian, and all interesting and entertaining.

I also got to see half an hour of John Marsden, before racing upstairs for a workshop. Since he almost never makes public appearances now, this was a rare treat, and even for half an hour, well worth it.

The last day was dedicated to ‘women writers’, and brief attention was paid to ‘gamergate’ and its repercussions in the community. Clementine Ford said words along the line of “It’s not an insult to call you ‘fat’, if you don’t believe it, etc, but it is an insult if what is said causes you to cower in a corner and stop writing. You can engage or ignore those people, but you cannot let them have that sort of power over you.” She also mentioned a case where it spilled into real life and the perpetrator was arrested. She pointed out that Twitter were responsive in getting people banned, but Facebook’s complaints division was manned by non English speakers from mostly misogynist countries who didn’t understand what the complaints were about. i.e. You cannot rely on FB to help you. Take support from the huge positive feedbacks you get.

Book of Kells

 

I had an opportunity in December to make a short trip across to Ireland. At least, since I was already in North Wales as part of a month long overseas trip, it was a short trip. My daughter and I took the Ferry across one afternoon, stayed the night in the Temple Bar Inn, and made our way to Trinity College the next morning.

Book of Kells Calendar 001No photos are permitted within the exhibition, so I had to rely on someone else’s photo to illustrate this. Just hope I’m not violating a commercial copyright.(If so, happy to remove picture – just let me know.)

The exhibition, firstly takes you through a long hall filled with other manuscripts, stories of the monastic life of the creators, tales of the history of THE BOOK, and museum pieces from the era. It was a true miracle anything survived, let alone anything as wonderful as THE BOOK.

And then, into the presence of THE BOOK.

A simple glass case with two folios opened up – one at a title page, with all its glorious colour still as bright as the day it was created. The other open at a random page of text. All in Latin, of course, but even so, a magnificent piece of work. Even the detail of the inline illustrations was awe inspiring.

I was in the presence of one of the greatest God inspired creations of man. Centuries old, and still perfect. A true act of worship. Months later, I am still moved to tears just remembering that moment.

From there one staggers up the stairs and into the Long Hall of Trinity College Library. This was displaying early Children’s literature, a first edition of The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien, pocket bibles for the just learning to read, early versions of the Arthurian legend and stories of Cuchulain, and much more. Awe inspiring in its own right, but nothing to compare with what had gone before.

And then, of course, into the obligatory gift shop (from whence the calendar was purchased), and from there onto the Ferry and back to North Wales. A wonderful twenty four hours.

First Edition of The Hobbit   small bibles    Brut Chronicles, Arthurian Legend

 

Awards

I have been shortlisted for not one, but two jury awards. See my NEWS Page for the details

I am Interviewed!

Galactic Chat interviewed me late October. You can hear the podcast at: – http://galactichat.podbean.com/e/galactic-chat-59-lync/

What Authors did in Days of Yore – review of a Victor Hugo Exhibition

440_victorhugofrompagetostage

In conjunction with the play being on in Melbourne, Australia, the Victorian State Library is holding an exhibition of related material. My mother, my daughter, and I took ourselves along one day. We saw lithographs of Paris in the time the events are set, we saw the first published edition, the original musical score, were given the opportunity to dress in the stage costumes (we all declined and just watched the other people). We saw videos showing us the costumes being made and the finished products. One of the wardrobe people told us about how every actor gets ‘bespoken’ shoes made for them, because when you are on the stage, dancing and running around, for that long every night, you really need something comfortable and form fitting on your feet. In the obligatory post-exhibit shop we got the chance to buy lots of paraphernalia, a catalogue of the exhibition, and multiple versions of the story, including a very recent translation which also translates the title from ‘Les Misérables’ to ‘The Wretched’. Since my mother had originally read it in the French she dipped into that and pronounced it ‘faithful’, but declined to buy it.
But for me, the absolute highlight, the real wonder in the exhibit, was the chance of a lifetime to see Victor Hugo’s original handwritten novel.
Such minute writing. Even if it had been in English I would have struggled to read it, and some poor typesetter had to transfer it from the notebook to the printed page! And he knew, as he wrote, there would be corrections. Me, in the bad old days before I started using a word processor for the first draft – I would scribble over the old text and point to the new text on another page, or slip an extra page in, or sticky tape the corrected text over the top. Victor Hugo wrote really really tiny on the right hand side of every page, and used the left for inserts and corrections. I can’t find the words to describe how tremendous seeing that was. How magnificent to see the author at work – so to speak. I just ached to reach into the glass cover and turn a page and see more.

On to the next chapter

On Wednesday the 23rd of July I ceased full-time paid work. I will miss my colleagues, many of whom I consider to be friends over and above working side by side, but I will NOT miss the place I worked, the politics, the petty power plays, the indifference to the importance of some of the work we do, and the general belittling and demoralising of anyone who tries to change things for the better.

After much research I decided to take out what Superannuation call a ‘pension’. This works out to be a pittance with conditions, but I don’t care. At least I don’t care until I need money for a medical bill for one of the kids or the cats or something else I really care about.

Of course, the real hope is that I manage to publish enough of my writings to dispense with the pension till much later. But first I’ve got to find time to do some editing, some writing, a business card, this web site (thanks Jean Weber), and some publisher hunting! 🙂

farewell 001 farewell 002
farewell 003 farewell 004

Natcon/Continuum X

This was the tenth Victorian Science Fiction Convention in the Continuum series. It was also the 2014 Australian Science Fiction National Convention which hosts the national awards. Apart from the technical and annoying problem of not having a central screen in the big room which left the audience and the presenters relying on two small screens to either side during the plenary sessions, I enjoyed yet another Continuum.

My enjoyment of this con was greatly enhanced by three factors:

Jim C Hines[1] The Guests of Honours were all lovely people – Danny OZ and Sharon Mosely, Ambelin Kwaymullina, and Jim C Hines (photo – hamming it up for the Kaffe Klatsch with non-alcoholic Ginger beer). The Australian Science Fiction Foundation also awarded the A Bertram Chandler award for contributions to Australian SF to Danny Oz. He was so gob smacked!

Continuum X[2] It was the tenth Continuum, and after talking with one of the event organisers and sending her a photo of all my T-shirts, they realised that there were people out there, like me, who had been supporting the con since the beginning. I have never actually been on a panel or ‘done’ anything, but I have paid my money and come along to every single one of them. Because of me they decided to reward us. I have never been rewarded for things like that before, and I’m thrilled both at getting the badge, but also at making it happen for other people.

[3] AND I launched my very own novel! NIL BY MOUTH is now available from Amazon or direct from the publisher – www.Satalyte.com.au

I had an absolute ball. People were soo kind and encouraging and actually seemed to like it. George Ivanoff, an author I really admire, was asked to present it, and he genuinely seemed to love it. The people in the pictures are in order: George, Me, Stephen Ormsby (publisher). Photos were taken for me by Jean Weber (who also set up my web site).

LynC book launch LynC book launch


Apart from those three things, I got to spend time with lots of my friends, although – as usual – not as much as I’d have liked. I spent far too much at both the auction and in the dealer’s room. I would have spent more on food, except Paul Collins very generously shouted me a meal when the place we found ourselves at wouldn’t take credit card for the small amount I wanted to eat. I’d had a very large afternoon tea on that day – a High Tea at the Windsor, compliments of David Russell – and only needed a small amount of food to have my medication with, but by this time I was down to a few dollars in cash.

One of the things Jim C Hines and I share is our diabetes, but unlike me, he has a terrible time controlling his BGL at cons, and I’m at my best there. I really enjoyed the small amount of time I was able to snatch with him. I didn’t really get to any panels till after my launch, which wasn’t till the Monday morning, but those I did get to – apart from the technical hitch I’ve already mentioned – were well prepared, and ranged from the hilarious to the seriously esoteric and interesting.

I have, as usual, already signed up for next year.

I will only say one thing about the actual awards ceremony – not the results – there are plenty of places for you to get those, but about something which I think should go down in fannish legend.

There were over 300 eligible works for the Short Story category of the Chronos Awards, only one of which received more than the minimum number of nominations (4). This was George Ivanoff’s story “Fairy Pie”. It was really hard to get hold of, and in an anthology with a pink cover featuring two little girls in party dress. This did not fill me with a great desire to read, quite the opposite, in fact. I was surprised. All the stories were of a high quality, and George’s was not girly at all, being the story of an ogre with a penchant for fairy pie. I did actually vote for it, but the great voting public decided with a choice of only one story or ‘No Award’ to give it to ‘No Award’. George as one of the MCs for the award ceremony (the other was Narelle Harris – another great Australian Author) had the task of handling this slap in the face. He and Narelle came up with a brilliant expose of the useless ‘No Award’ failing to make the ceremony because he was in hospital in Barcelona suffering from acute sunburn. What could have been very awkward became the running joke of the night. They were brilliant and George was so magnanimous in defeat.

And this is the guy who loved my book and enthusiastically presented it!! I just can’t get over it.

Book launch

LynC’s first published novel, Nil by Mouth, was officially launched on 9 June 2014 at Continuum, the 53rd Australian National Science Fiction Convention, by George Ivanoff.

Photos from Nil by Mouth launch by Jean Weber, who apologises for the poor quality of her phone’s efforts.

LynC book launch

LynC and publisher Stephen Ormsby

LynC book launch

George Ivanoff launching LynC’s book


LynC book launch

George Ivanoff and Stephen Ormsby with LynC at book launch

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