Achievements

Photo by Perla de los Santos

My brain is operating at slow ME speed today, and that’s no surprise, because I’ve been working it hard to meet an open call deadline.

The open call was at Tor.com, the SFF publisher who were inviting submissions of science fiction and fantasy novellas. The submission window was open from the 1st to the 15th of May, and they announced it in the middle of April.

I didn’t have anything ready to sub, but one of the titles in my ideas file jumped up and down shouting, Me, me, me! It was for an alien invasion story called Quiet Resistance.

All I had was a single-paragraph idea and a small cast of characters, so I had to start from scratch and crack it inside a month. And of course I was still (still am) recovering from a winter of scarily bad health. But I threw myself at it in a nothing ventured, nothing gained frame of mind.

And crack it I did, helped and encouraged by my friend and crit partner Deb McGowan. I submitted it last Friday, four days inside the deadline, and I’m happy with it.

Then, next day, I took part in the international ME Awareness Day. It’s held on 12th May every year, and this was the first time in several years that I was able to participate. Only online, of course. That’s where I live as far as the outside world is concerned. But I wasn’t alone in that, because so many of us #MissingMillions do exist only online for the outside world, when we exist at all.

I took that theme of invisibility and the ME meme Can You See Me? – and wrote a brief explanation beneath a nude selfie.

Eek! I can hear you thinking. WTF, David?

Don’t worry. It’s an arty rear view with my bum in strong shadow. Only my legs are on show, really. It’s still there on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, if you want to read it.

So I posted that and then spent a few hours sharing posts and photographs from other people with ME who were each participating in their own way in our day of awareness.

And then I crashed. No surprise there. It’s Monday now and I’m just surfacing. Carefully. Being as gentle with myself as I often urge my chronically ill friends to be with themselves.

You know what? I’m chuffed to bits with my achievements. The novella subbed and the day of action actioned. Chuffed to bits! 🙂

I was interviewed about life with severe ME

Photo by Rob PotterLast week, Emma over at Not Just Tired interviewed me about my life with severe ME.

“My main symptom is and has always been pain. It’s constant. The best I can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse than bad. Bad is bearable. Unfortunately it’s often worse than bad, and sometimes it’s unbearable. In February and March for example this year it was unbearable for 8 weeks without a minute’s relief. Difficult to describe what it’s like existing inside of those long episodes without getting darker than I’m comfortable sharing here.”

Interview: An insight into life with severe ME

Do no harm

Photo by Ash EdmondsMy responses to world events since Brexit in the UK and Trump’s election in the USA have brought me to a crisis of personal morality.

My growing instinct since then has been to embrace the necessity to fight violence with violence. Punch a nazi? Please do. Kill a nazi? We’re not at war yet, but when it’s declared someone give me a sniper rifle and set me up in a hide. I’m physically broken, but still the same person who served a long career in the military until I got badly wounded and retired on a medical war pension.

But there’s the problem. I’m not the same person. After a long struggle with my conscience some ten years ago, I set violence aside and became a quaker.

So now you see the crisis. In these past eighteen months, my old willingness to use violence in order to protect vulnerable people reasserted itself. Except that it hasn’t felt right any more. It hasn’t felt right for me. For the person I’ve become.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that the dreadful wrongs being done in our world shouldn’t be fought. Or that the many vulnerable people being harmed and endangered and oppressed shouldn’t be protected. What I’m saying is that there are different ways to protect them.

What I’m saying is that while I will continue to call out wrongs when and where I see them, I’m no longer someone who will smack a nazi or pick up a sniper rifle against them if and when the war is declared.

What I’m saying is that I’m a quaker. I’m a pacifist.

My WIP is already reflecting this change.

It gets easier by the day to tear our world apart. Circumstances make it scarily possible. I won’t be part of that harm. As far as I am able, I will help to heal our world.

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