Not health. I’m still struggling to crawl out from under this relapse. There are some hopeful signs, but they’ve tricked me before so I won’t try to run before I can walk.

No, this is far more important than horrible health stuff. It’s about my WIP!

First thing is, I’ve given it a new title. Molly is still a storywalker, but this epic fantasy is as much Connor’s story as it is hers, so I’m replacing the working title STORYWALKER with THE ORPHAN AGE.

And the second thing is that a new character leapt almost fully formed into my consciousness today. He’s sixteen, his name is Chaka, and he’s an awesome young Zulu warrior. He’s also Connor’s cousin and will provide a shedload of much needed conflict for our boy.

See why I have to be careful with those encouraging health signs? When I get a story breakthrough like this one it’s always dangerous because I’m so eager to get up and at it. Soon, I hope. Please.

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What do you do all day? (part 2)

Here’s a slice of my reality.

I’m in bits. Not emotionally. Physically. Pain and exhaustion have been building for weeks and now I’m wrecked.

Got up at 4am today, in too much pain to stay in bed and hoping to write, but couldn’t. Breakfast at 7 then back to bed for a sweaty sleep. Up again at 11 for a shower. Going to grab a light lunch now, at 12, then it’ll be back to bed again for the afternoon.

If the day goes according to my recent routine I’ll get up for dinner with the family, although not eating the same thing as them because my stomach isn’t playing the game lately and it looks likely I’ll have to go unwillingly vegan again – last time it went on for 5 years – then into bed from about 6 to about 9, then back up for an hour or two online until I can’t sit upright.

No words written.

Trust me: when I can, I bloody will. This story is burning a hole in my brain because it can’t get out past the pain and the brain fog. You should see my dreams!

I’m not whining about this. It is what it is. I’m recording it for my own benefit as much as to let you know what’s happening, because long experience says when I surface from this relapse I won’t remember a lot of it. Not that I need to remember. Just helps me see the big picture, which is nice when your horizon is never more than about 20 feet away in domestic space or 30 minutes in time.

What do you do all day?

Someone asked me this last week.

Not in a judgmental way. I was asked this same question by several action men from my old life after I got hurt and stayed too ill to even move for a long time, never mind to be an action man anymore. Their voices always carried varying degrees of horror and fear. I didn’t feel badly towards them. Already felt bad enough, and had sufficient fears of my own without taking on the weight of theirs too.

Anyway, the person who asked this question last week on a forum I frequent was coming from the opposite direction. It was a general question for everyone there, and he was genuinely interested in our answers.

I’m not going to give an hour-by-hour account of my days here, partly because my health condition means there is no routine day for me and it would be too exhausting to type out the many variations on a theme. And also because my days contain an awful lot of pain-bastard-pain and I don’t want this to be a whine session.

So here’s a snapshot of the sort of day when, in between the writing of novels and maybe dealing the business side of being a novelist, I lie in my hammock slung beneath the big old eucalyptus tree and let the silences of summer take me.

hanging beneath teasing breezing
washing through paper leaves
twinkling dappling strobing light
on violet eyelids
stroking warm skin
almost awakening libido
inhaling sunskinsmell
remembering another silent summer
pretending to read course notes while
studying bikini lines
to the tinny tunes of Young and Cohen
remembering I still have those albums somewhere
is that a record
good to listen again
without having to explain
that sad isn’t necessarily depressed
supposing that nostalgia really is a thing of the past
and when half-thoughts start to half-rhyme
it might be time to let the memories lift me

How about you? What do you do all day? :)

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Me, that is. Relapse level 1. Zero spoons. Big pain and big digestive problems. Lost 7lbs of weight in the past 2 weeks by accident.

One of our daughters gave me a Harry Potter box set for Father’s Day. The original Bloomsbury paperback first edition for children, because there are no americanisations in it and the print is big and clear. It’s beautiful.

I’m reading it through this relapse, outside on our front terrace until the sun comes around the side of the house some days, but mostly in bed. Because in bed is where I am mostly. Reading speed is slow because, well, everything is slow. (Except my digestive system. TMI. Sorry.) First time I’ve returned to Harry Potter books since I read them when they were first released. This time the characters are merged with the film characters, but that’s okay. I expected it to happen.

Can only get online on my desktop, which is fine normally but right now I can’t sit upright at the desk for long or very often. This post has taken me 20 minutes to type and now I’m done.

I miss you.

Love and hugs.