In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Saturday, 23 January 2016

A Little Time

 Still waiting for Izzy.

 Caz had to stay overnight in hospital a week ago, because the pesky child is giving her high blood pressure. When the nurses tried to monitor Izzy's heartbeat she kept wriggling away, so the record had gaps in it. Later they did a scan and she kicked the scanner thingy right off Caz's stomach. That girl does not like to be prodded.

 Methinks an infant who can kick that hard is probably OK.

 I'm still working when I can. I mean, I work at Barnardo's all the time, not just when I feel like it, but I'm writing when I can too. I submitted The Death of Ghosts to Angry Robot a couple of days ago, with quite high hopes to be honest. I've rewritten volume one several times, because it's never seemed to me that it was quite smooth enough as a story... not quite impactful enough... I don't know. It hasn't felt right, that's all. The work has paid off, because now the opening 20 chapters feel very good indeed, among the best stuff I've ever done. There are three very strong characters in there, with clear voices of their own, and the pace is very high. There's a lot to tell in Ghosts, I don't want to spend 50,000 words wiffling about while I set the scene.

 And I have other stories to tell, too. I've mentioned some of them. Chained Dragon, about the struggle against a shadowy band of sorcerers who have wiped out whole cultures before. The Pyramids of Saqoma, which tells of an effort by a river civilisation to find out who founded their land, and built the very first pyramid out in the desert. There's The End of All Roads, set in a trading city out on the steppe where cultures meet; and The Playground of Fawns, which tells of rebellion and hope in a culture ruled by god-Emperors. Just those stories could run to nine volumes, and that's not the whole list. I need more hands to type with and above all I need more time, if I'm to get these tales written down.

 [Please buy my novels, Angry Robot, so I can quit work and write for you instead]

 In a couple of weeks I'll be a daddy and time will be even shorter. I can't wait. I think of how my life has changed since I met Caz, how much better it is, how full of love and laughter like I've never known. It's terrific. All I had to give up was a little time.

 I wouldn't change that.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Waiting for Izzy

 Well, here we go, then. Into the last 4 weeks of my wife's pregnancy, which means that from here, we're on alert.

 Everything else has sort of faded into the background. Whenever my phone rings I snatch at it, in case it's Caz ringing to say her waters have broken. If the baby kicks and she lets out an oof I leap off the sofa (and that baby can kick. I'm starting to think she might be a centaur). In my nervousness I talk to the baby a lot. Also, any mother unwise enough to bring her infant/baby into my shop had better be prepared to spend a long time listening to me blather on about how great my daughter is going to be.

 I doubt they enjoy this.

 But I can't stop doing it. Waiting for Izzy has become my life. People say she'll take over once she's born, and I think, what's different? She's taken over already. The bloody child already owns more clothes than I do. On my day off we found the car seat doesn't fit, so we went and bought another one, which meant ages wiffling about in Mothercare, and then more ages finding a stroller that will fit the new car seat. So much for a relaxing rest day. And the devil of it is.... I want my days off to all be like that. I'm trapped. No prison is as secure as the one you build yourself.

 I've been working extra hours for Barnardo's, because I was on my own over Christmas and New Year and fell behind. Got to do the job well because we need the money for Izzy. I hardly ever go out now because the money needs to be spent on Izzy. We don't have alcohol at home, and soon won't have pop either, because we're making a healthy environment for Izzy. Caz uses steam cleaners and bleach scrubs to make the house safe for Izzy. It's ridiculous, you'd think she was the Queen of Sheba.

 All of this comes as a culture shock. I'm used to living on my own, choosing my own hours, making my own decisions. Now? If I get permission to sleep I'm doing well. And this is just the start, this is nothing, compared to what I know is coming down the road... and can't wait for, so I can take the last scrap of my independence and throw it cheerily away. Told you. A prison I built myself.

 Caz and I went to see The Force Awakens the other day. We're not Star Wars fans, but we thought we'd give it a try, and it's the best movie in the franchise by a distance. I mention it because I don't have a clue when we'll next be able to mosey out for the evening. Maybe in the summer. The summer of 2030, that is.

 Got to go now. Caz has gone awful quiet and I'm worried...