Thursday, January 29, 2009

radio silence

The current communications blackout is due to the 100 year heatwave currently kicking Australia's posterior. Computers are a source of heat in this unairconditioned, wooden, tin-roofed and poorly insulated house, and therefore not to be toyed with. I'm also refraining from turning Eddie on due to the not unfounded fear of giving him heat damage.

It is 4:51am, and the BOM site indicates a current temperature of 24 degrees, which is a LOT cooler than expected, and if tomorrow ONLY reaches 38 we shall be well pleased.

Until the heat buggers off or I return to work, silence shall continue.

ETA: Wait, I read the wrong district for the BOM. Forecast maximum temperature for tomorrow is 43.

Peas and rice just shoot me now. I'm not cut out for a hot desert Mad Max post-apocalypse.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Kung Hei Fat Choi

This year is the Year of the Ox. Apparently ox years are good to roosters. I wish happy oxen upon you all.

I'm frustrated at the lack of middle ground between being too uncomfortable to write and being too drugged up to write. There isn't much that needs doing, but I can't do it.

Am watching a lot of DVDs though. Reacquainting myself with Hornblower right now. Yay! Captain Pellew!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"You can swallow a pint of blood before you get sick."


That was a total non-event.

Where's the pain and grogginess and pain and disorientation and pain and distress and pain and pain? I feel fine! I was apprehensive about waking up all druggy in a strange place, but to be honest, it wasn't any different to any other time I wake up. I really am just that bad in the mornings. I'm shocking, I'm dumb, dopey, off-balance, incoherent and pretty much a primordial mass, and as unattractive as that is, it's great practice for waking up after surgery. The guy beside me wasn't nearly as calm. Apparently waking up freaked him out.

Am not in pain. Some bits of the jaw are bruised and sore, and only when I poke them. So I'm not poking them. Easy. Have a totally square head from the swelling, which is hilarious.

Unfortunately, I missed out on a great photo. I had a nap in the afternoon, and the gauze in my mouth soaked through with blood. When I got up, I had blood all over my tongue, through my gums, in my teeth, clots in the gauze and had dribbled blood out the side of my numb mouth. The just-woken up dumbs meant I cleaned up before thinking of my camera. Dammit! Such a wasted opportunity!

I also forgot to ask if I could keep my teeth. Bugger.

There's no grogginess going on. The pain-killers are non-drowsy, and what with the nap, that means I'll probably have a right shit time getting to sleep tonight. Part of my lower lip is still numb, but everything else is awake. Something in the meds is messing with my joints though. Weirdly enough, my wrists are tingling. Full on and hard out, like they're pumping lemonade. My knees started too. Nothing else is doing so.

No nausea or delicate stomach either. Dad made up some congee yesterday, and I ran it through the blender to make it smooth. Tasty stuff. Ice cream didn't trip anything either. Clearly, I have guts of steeeeel. The bleeding has stopped too.

My secret identity is Wolverine. I have mad regenerative skills.

But I must still make the most of this, and pretend I'm much worse off than I am, and vege in front of the TV. STAR WARS MARATHON GOGOGO.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 18:51 @emoeeyore OMFG GTFO :D #
  • 19:15 @emoeeyore @miiru eeeeeeeee! I've a ticket to her upcoming show, but am not so brave as to sneak a hug. #
  • 19:18 @miiru ze hermit crab usually wins, but we shall seeeee. #
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Getting my teeth pulled tomorrow. I imagine it will be not at all like this.

May try to blog coming off the drugs, just for the hell of it. Or, may be out of commission for a while.

Never you fear, sweet readers, Le Red Fin will take care of you. I will not allow her to indulge in asshattery whilst medicated. I stake my honor upon it, much as I would enjoy seeing her make an asshat out of herself, but oh, it is a shallow joy, since it comes so naturally to her...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Total Fire Ban Day

I think I think yes I think maybe possibly I think the story works now.


Daylight may indicate otherwise. I've reached that point where I can honestly make no call as to the story's quality, but it no longer sets off my THIS PIECE IS UNBALANCED DANGER DANGER DANGER alarms. That, quite frankly, is enough for me.

My efforts at avoidance took me to such depths that I googled my name, and so came, you know, nearly a month later, upon Joanne Anderton hooraying as a story she selected for ASIM #34 - Bitter Elsie Mae - featured on the 2008 Dark Fiction Recommended Reading List from Horrorscope. Elsie's in fine company there. And some seriously disturbing and fucked up company. I've read some of those. Ewwwwww.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 11:16 @miiru Yes! (I dunno what that is.) #
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

insert immature giggling here

This is why I try to keep my surname off this blog;

If, poor googler, you meant to spell that with a 'c', then the answer is: put the sheets in the wash. If immediate washing is not possible, then wipe it off with, I dunno, tissues or dirty socks or whatever is lying around. It'll dry out. And go crusty. You can sort of scrub it off then. Or pick off flakes. Whichever you prefer. Probably not a good idea to use dark sheets if this is a common occurrence. Sloppy or dried, there is no state in which spooge is anything other than kinda sorta gross. And funny. Heh. Heheheh. Heh.

If, poor googler, you spelt that correctly, then apply lemon, lime & bitters, pizza, and episodes of Spaced at once.

That is not funny, mon cherie. You are being very childish. Remove me from your finger at once.

From Lake Baikal, With Love

There are degrees of insomnia, as any who've brushed with sleep deprivation well know. Sometimes sleep won't come because it (quite rightly) does not wish to inhabit a head full of stress and anxiety. Sometimes it won't come because you ate too much sugar during the day. Sometimes it won't come because you're not done thinking yet. Sometimes it won't come because you're not done crying yet. Sometimes it won't come because you (stupidly) read a scary book in bed and gave yourself the willies. Sometimes it just won't come, end of story.

For those cases in which the root of insomnia is purely thought related, I keep a well-stocked pile of munitions, each used with the sole purpose of distracting me long enough to calm the fuck down and get my unconscious on.

A movie generally does the trick, but occasionally I'm so worn out even the act of watching is asking too much effort of me. In those instances I fire off set of podcasts. They're not on my iPod. They live only on the laptop. No headphones, no visualizer, nothing to do with me. They read to me, and I do nothing.

Reading, in these instances, doesn't work. Ever. I spend a lot of my energy keeping other people's voices out of my head, for my own sanity. I suppose occasionally I go too far, and stagnate without external input, and the only cure is to have some outside voice feeding words in my ears that I couldn't have strung together myself, that have no source in my life. The differing presence of self lying in active reading requiring my mind's voice overlaying the prose and passive listening in which the narrative overlays my mind.

As a result, I've come to associate Jeff VanderMeer's story Logorrhea, as read by Jason Erik Jundberg, with extremes. It only comes out when I'm too far gone, and never fails to reel me back in. I hate and fear being in such a state, but if that means I'm granted permission to listen to the story, well then I kinda don't mind it. It wouldn't work as insomnia salvation if it wasn't an exceptional piece of work.

These are the things the masses do with your stories.

As of yeserday, Jeff VanderMeer's novelette Errata has been posted on, as both eyes-only and podcast.

Given my irrational apprehensions, I opted for the podcast.

There's another form of insomnia, which I forgot to mention as usually I'm smart enough to avoid it: getting sucked into a story you love too much to voluntarily break free of.

I'm tired. Fuck you.

That was just fucking brilliant. It hops gaily between the absurd and the surreal, and I want to use the word 'subversive', yet I don't believe it is so tricksy and sneaky and fixated on revenge as to subvert. Why would it, when it can take off and do its own thing? Which is what it has done, and without apology.

There's also a penguin in it.

I ask Juliette for advice sometimes. “Juliette,” I say. “Is Ed for real? Is the Book for real? Is James for real? Is this really going to work? Or is it a form of madness?”

“I dunno,” Juliette says. “I’m just a penguin. But I can bring you some fish, if you’d like.”

This is why he's been my favourite author for years, and I stalk his publications like a stalking thing. I'll never fear of reading the same thing twice under different titles. I hope there's a dead tree version of this, as I don't particularly want to condemn it to 4am visits.

In some weird synchronicity, the two stories podcast revolve around Lake Baikal, the largest fresh-water body on Earth. I fear now that I can no longer dream of travelling to Syberia to visit the lake, as with every listen its character solidifies, and this fictional lake cannot exist if I stand on the shores of its reality.

And throughout it all, a question on the cellular level rising slowly in the communal, generational penguin mind: Why?

Friday, January 16, 2009

I've slept in this room more than anywhere else in the world. Of twenty-seven years, I'd guess maybe six years of accumulated sleep has occurred outside these walls. I don't know what I do when I sleep or how the space I sleep in affects me, but I can't help believing that means something.

I haven't stayed the night back home for a while. There was a pattern emerging, or, I saw what I wanted to see to find a pattern. Lying in this bed, in this room I've slept and dreamed and breathed most of my life in, I'd fall down a hole. No matter what my state of mind, no matter what the events of the day, closing the door and turning the light out guaranteed me a tearstorm and no sleep.

Half believe in the idea of the memory that space keeps of us.

I don't believe this room holds good memories of me.

I'm turning the light out now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 08:21 The Daystar is risen. Any second now I expect Melbourne will spontaneously combust and just get it over with. #
  • 08:44 @pauljessup time to start your break-away career in quantuum kitten breeding! #
  • 10:57 @deepeight Dear Staggasaurus, Polar Bear noses are easily put off by careful placement of chocolate cupcakes. #
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

I'm thinking 'Molotov' again.

Sometimes, revision has all the symptoms of a dead-end relationship going through its death throes. Nothing I do brings any sort of satisfaction, let alone joy. My story sits there in tears, milking those tears for all they're worth, going on and on about oh, you don't love me, why do you want to change me into something I'm not? And I'm sitting here, frustrated as rabbit with no dick, going on and on about how oh, if you loved me you'd change your goddamn ways and stop being such a rancid piece of suck. And we both sit here, cutting away at each other because there isn't any other way forward. Things only ever go downhill from here. I can't break up with the story. That's more hassle than I can stomach.

This is fury. I need to fuck or fight.

Right. Cup of tea then.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weird Tales & Hugo, sitting in a tree...

Currently at the parental unit, watching Dad prepare a roast. It's a tad warm for roast, it'll heat the house up unpleasantly, but these are the sacrifices one must make when there's a hunk of dead animal to be had.

Taking a moment to draw your attention to this tidy little list of STUFF that Weird Tales has produced in the last year and is eligible for the current round of Hugo nominations.

Best Editor, Short Form: Ann VanderMeer

Best Semiprozine: Weird Tales, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Stephen H. Segal

Best Novella: “Black Petals,” by Michael Moorcock

Best Novelette:
Renovations,” by Matthew Pridham

Best Short Story:

  • “The House of Idiot Children,” by W.H. Pugmire & M.K. Snyder
  • Landscape, With Fish,” by Karen Heuler
  • “Events at Fort Plentitude,” by Cat Rambo
  • “The Stone & Bone Boy,” by Calvin Mills
  • “The Heart of Ice,” by Tanith Lee
  • Creature,” by Ramsey Shehadeh
  • “The Yellow Dressing Gown,” by Sarah Monette
  • “The Talion Moth,” by John Kirk
  • Detours on the Way to Nothing,” by Rachel Swirsky
  • “All In,” by Peter Atwood
  • “How I Got Here,” by Ramsey Shehadeh
  • “Belair Plaza,” by Adam Corbin Fusco
  • “An Invitation Via Email,” by Mike Allen
  • “Mainevermontnewhampshiremass,” by Nick Mamatas
  • “The Stone-Hearted Queen,” by Kelly Barnhill
  • “Ganaranok,” by Rory Steves
  • The Difficulties of Evolution,” by Karen Heuler
  • “Right You Are If You Say You Are,” by Norman Spinrad
  • First Photograph,” by Zoran Živković
  • “The Gong,” by Sara Genge
  • “The Dream of the Blue Man,” by Nir Yaniv
  • “The Wordeaters,” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
  • “Out of Sacred Water,” by Juraj Červenák
  • Time and the Orpheus,” by chiles samaniego
  • “BleakWarrior Meets the Sons of Brawl,” by Alistair Rennie
  • “How to Play With Dolls,” by Matthew Cheney
  • “Far & Wee,” by Kathe Koja
  • The Last Great Clown Hunt,” by Chris Furst
  • “A Lake of Spaces,” by Tim Pratt
  • “Catastrophe,” by Felix Gilman
  • “The Matching Pair,” by Mark Budman
  • “Ms Ito’s Bird,” by Chris Ward
  • Wendigo,” by Michaela Morrissette
  • “Purr,” by Michael Bishop
  • “My True Lovecraft Gave to Me,” by Eric Lis
  • “The Man With the Myriad Scars,” by Ben Thomas

I've been sitting here for some time, trying to pick favourites, and I'm failing. Reading over the list is one long string of "oh yeah, that was good, oh and that! yeah! and-" etc etc etc. And not being at home, I can't flip through the magazines to reacquaint myself with any of the stories. Any recommendations I make, then, are based on those that made enough of an impression to linger in memory.


Okay, here we go.

"The Stone & Bone Boy" by Calvin Mills, "Creature" by Ramsey Shehadeh, and "BleakWarrior Meets the Sons of Brawl" by Alistair Rennie, if you were to put pliers to my toes and force me to choose on pain of toenail extraction.

I haven't read the latest issue, so can't comment on those stories unfortunately. EXCEPT, "Ms Ito's Bird" by Chris Ward. That was, I think, the second story I was asked to read. HOLY CRAP. PROOF OF INTERFERENCE. Any anomaly in quality from here on in is pure coincidence.

What I'd like to draw particular attention to is the novelette "Renovations" by Matthew Pridham.

This has nothing to do with Hugo nominations. That link is to an online version, free to read. READ IT. It is incredible. Ironically, I read it when my apartment was open for inspection, with people tromping in and out and the real estate agent doing what sounded like a lousy job of selling the place. In that story I realised that this tiny grasshopper was now minorly involved in the mechanics of the magazine, a magazine that finds and publishes brilliant, challenging stuff, and I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy, and damn proud.

I've read another of Pridham's stories, and it was even more gob-smackingly excellent. Keep an eye out for him. (On the off chance Pridham reads this, WRITE FASTER DAMMIT need moar nao.) Read "Renovations" and if you can vote, do vote! And if you can't vote, read it anyway!

Apparently the semi-pro zine category isn't going to live much longer, so if you love on Weird Tales as much as I do and are attending, please make an effort to nominate and vote.

I just noticed my name is now listed among the staff. I hereby give up being coy about my last name. For the record, there is not one original joke you can make with it.

Finally, nominate Ann. For an idea of all the amazing stuff she's edited recently, peek here. It feels redundant, stating how awesome she is, as the magnitude of her awesomimity goes without saying. Sometimes the things that go without saying get forgotten among the things that need saying, so I shall take this opportunity to remind you. Editors are the ones finding and bringing you the stories you love. Now is your chance to recognise and respect, yo.

Damn, that hunk of dead animal smells great. Think I'm going to loiter in the kitchen and get in the way now. Excuse me.

Friday, January 09, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 21:02 @timsterne Oh, I plan on it. My zombie skills are well-honed, as demonstrated every morning. Why do survival at all? Move with the times. #
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Thursday, January 08, 2009

for archiving and propaganda purposes

  • 05:41 is not the droid you're looking for. #
  • 20:38 sits in this chair, at this desk, gorged on piano and cello, and is spun away from the sun. #
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The upside to being awake long before my alarm goes off is indulging in a luxurious morning with a cup of tea, instead of wash/dress/teeth/GO. Well, it's luxurious for me. I've seen some lovely dawns too.

Fuck the upside. I want to sleep. More than two hours. You hear that, body? Stop that shit, or I'll put out your eyes. And eat them. With raspberry jam on toast. Then you'll be sorry, oh, you'll be sorry.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Job; The Prelude

Ah! Mon dieu! What is this?

This is two hours sleep.

Why is there no pants? This is not proper!

This is two hours sleep.

Pants! The sun is risen, it is pants time!

Yeah. Today is gonna rock the kazbar.

Specimen Days - Michael Cunningham

buy - author site

Le Red Fin is not having a little apoplexy this time.

I have mixed feelings about this book. This is seeded mostly in the author's note prefacing the story, in which he discusses accuracy. After touching on both writers who remain slaves to proven fact and those who take fact as being a guideline and 'make things up' he states the following;
Specimen Days falls somewhere between those two poles. It's semi-accurate. To the best of my ability, I've been true to historic particulars in the scenes I've set in the past. But it would be a mistake on the reader's part to accept any of it as literal fact.

It felt needless and patronising, to say the least. Of course it would be a mistake for the reader to take this book as literal fact: it's fiction. Is this capital L Literature at work, that they assume their readers need this pointed out to them? Is it simply because I've mucked about in genre I can distinguish between fact and fiction?

Nevermind. Now, read on.

The story is broken into three stages, - In the Machine, The Children's Crusade, and Like Beauty - three periods, three sets of events and characters. The character names, and to a lesser extent, the roles they play in relation to each other and the world around them, remain the same. It's a sort of memetic reincarnation, which I've seen before, the first example that comes to mind being Kim Stanley Robinson's Years of Rice and Salt.

The thread that ties these three stages together is the poetry of Walt Whitman. I can't claim to be familiar with his work, but that didn't hamper immersion in the story. He's quoted liberally, where necessary, when needed, and his voice adds a lovely otherworldliness to the text.

'In the Machine' follows Lucas during the industrial revolution. His father cannot work, his mother is bed-ridden, his brother is dead and it falls on him, small strange Whitman-quoting boy, to provide for his family. He wanders around New York like keys on a kite, and lightning finds him, although others would be pressed to see it. It's a beautiful and surreal piece, and I loved it.

'The Children's Crusade' follows Cat during some present day New York. She takes calls from attention-seeking nutters threatening to blow things up and kill people. Due to chance or fate, one call she takes is legitimate, from a boy who sees the world through Whitman's words. His entry into her life sees her take apart her life without much fuss.

'Like Beauty' follows Simon, a not quite cyborg, through some future New York. Whitman seems to have been implanted in his brain, along with some impulse to go here, on this date. As an outlaw, with slave alien lizard and young boy, only human, they go, shaking off all the bonds civilisation would lay on them.

Yah. 'In the Machine' and a couple of paragraphs of 'The Children's Crusade' are the only sections requiring historical research and verification. And not much, at that.

It's beautifully written, and does have a delicate scent of the strange to it. Not the other, that is too great a distance. Strange is a word like nice, used so often we forget what it means. It's an overlay across an ordinary world, made strange because we choose to perceive strangeness. The characters are fast-drawn and fast-embedded, I'm still enamored of Catareen, the lizard woman of so few words.

And yet...I don't know why the book was written. When such a structure is set up, an arc within an arc stretching a theme across time and lives, I expect...I don't know. Perhaps some final revelation, maybe the greater secret, or maybe even better, a greater mystery. Yet when I finished, and closed the book, I felt nothing. No elation, no satisfaction, no melancholy, no disappointment. The layers that were added, carefully, building higher and higher, added no further message than that which was revealed in the first few pages. And so, while I loved the book while reading it, I do not know why the book was written.

I suppose, if I were to take a not-particularly-well-thought-through stab at it, I'd say it hinges on Whitman's ideal, that of transcendence. In each stage, the characters come a little closer to transcendence, in their own ways. Their individual fates, however, do not speak of hope, and transcendence has never been an ideal that has spoken to me.

Verdict: I loved it while I was reading it, and large portions of it remain with in me, but it didn't leave a strong impression. Perhaps the message was outshone by the characters. Perhaps it's a sleeper text, and will rise up to occupy me months from now.

MISSING: Spirited Away - Gakuto Coda (translation - Andrew Cunningham)


Le Red Fin did not wish to be in this photo. Le Red Fin is having a little apoplexy. Like Kermit. Only red.

I picked this up because I was on nightshift, and it was small, in both the physical and mental sense. It did the job; kept me awake on the train without asking anything of a mind that had nothing to give. Aaaand, that's about it.

Story is simple; school kid gets abducted by ghoulies into spirit world, his friends work to get him back. They're of that breed of japanese school kid that is rife in pop culture, with nothing to set them apart from any other japanese school kid in extraordinary circumstances I've read about. Prose was lack-luster, revelation of secrets so-so. A lot of time is spent talking about how awesome and amazing and brilliant the missing student is - at least, I assume that's what the intent is. Despite only being spoken of in admiring terms, the impression I received was that he's kind of a prick, as such, I didn't really care if they found him or not.

It did have the odd nice moment, especially with Miss Cranky-pants (as I came to think of her), but not enough to make the book worth it.

The series continues, but I don't really feel the need to continue with it.

Have to say, though, Tokyopop make really nice little books. They fit beautifully in the hand, nice paper, and nice interior designs. More books need pretty margins, sez I. I keep buying these novels because I know that there will always be an appetite for small books, when the brain is done with big ones.

Verdict: Meh.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Learning Curve : Straight Line

What is less intelligent than printing 100 double-sided pages without numbers?
Printing 223 double-sided pages without numbers.

Have I ceased writing indecipherable comments in the margins?
No. I wrote this last night. I can't read it.

Clearly, I suck at revision.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Year of Decaying Orbits

Crossing into 2008, I wrote; You don’t matter. Might as well go out and live.

It’s something of a quandary, living out that philosophy. There’s a freedom that only comes with being utterly irrelevant in every context, and a solace that only comes with being invisible. Yet even as I seek out such anonymity, I rebel against it, some ingrained streak of contrariness a mile wide and a mile deep sees me unconsciously, instinctively and habitually distance myself from any given norm. As the act of differentiating myself from my surroundings brings me attention, so I flee that attention and hide away in being an ordinary person leading an ordinary life, unremarkable and with nothing to set me apart from the faceless masses. But I don't fit in. I won't fit in. I'll never fit in. It's a well-worn groove, this cycle. It’s frustrating. Exasperating. Infuriating. Exhausting. Never been single-minded about anything.

Passing out of 2008, I would like to add: Just because you don’t matter doesn’t mean you won’t hurt.

I’ve written about it all enough. I don’t want to write about it any more. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to revisit those memories. Whenever I do, I just fall back into that trap of trying to find a way to undo it all, make it better, make it a trial that was worth going through. It wasn’t. I can’t. I fool myself, endlessly, going over this one instance or that moment or this conversation and telling myself I could have dealt with it better. Much better. And perhaps if it was each was an isolated event, I would have, but the stresses of this, and this, and that, and these, and them, they fold in on each other and feed each other, an incestuous knot of anxiety so heavy it’s practically a singularity, drawing ever more panic towards it, warping all perceptions until everything I said was wrong, everything I did was wrong, and knowing, somehow, that I was making mistakes, I’d fumble around trying to correct them and find the right thing to do, whatever that thing was, and miss it completely and propagate more wrongs in the process, and that won’t ever change. It’s past tense. I don’t want to think about it. Are you sick of hearing about it? I am.

I guess I haven’t yet forgiven myself for not being a stronger person.

This year broke me. I lost my self-respect, dignity, certainty, equilibrium, hope, all perspective and balance. I gained shame, anxiety, regret, fear, and doubt, amplified paranoia and endless extra doubt. All my avenues of self-preservation were used, and used, and then used up. There wasn't anything left. It won, I lost.

I spent most of the year with an eating disorder, because something had to give. Messing with my diet was better than cutting, I suppose. I only mention it now because I appear to be done with it, and I only mention it at all because it was turning into a secret, and I don't want yet another secret. Trying to shrug off a bad habit that you don’t actually want to shrug off and have absolutely no incentive to shrug off is and really does provide a whole lot of relief is…not the most heartfelt or thorough fight I’ve engaged in.

Occasionally people tell me I’m strong, but that’s all a charade. Nine parts of being strong merely involves keeping weakness out of sight. I'm not strong. If you think my TMI blog posts aren't 'out of sight', then consider the things I haven't written about, that you will never know. That I revealed as much as I did indicates how cracked up I was.

Occasionally people call me brave, too. They say this about my travels, the food I eat, the things I write, the conformations I shrug off, the activities I do on my own, the risks I take – things they wouldn't do. They're things I do. Things that cost me nothing. Things I choose to do, because I want to do them. Maybe that makes me adventurous, on occasion. Maybe that makes me daft.

Bravery means overcoming fear. Some people are brave every day. They're strong people. I can count the number of times I've been brave, properly brave, in my life on less than one hand. Perhaps I carry less fear than most. Perhaps I haven't been properly tested.

I'm afraid now.

It was a horrible place. I don't want to go back. Just thinking about it is like passing through cold water. I don't want to go back. It's dread. It's panic. I don't want to be like that again.

This equilibrium I've found, this status quo, it has nothing to do with my own ability to cope. It exists purely due to circumstances. No more storms. Nothing I did changed any thing. Enough time passed. I'm still at the mercy of chance. I'm terrified. Every day could be the day it all falls apart and I go back. I haven't been a good friend and I won't be a good friend. I'll cut you out of my life if you're sending me there. I don't want to do anything to bring it on myself.

I don't want to do anything at all.

And I don't want to be like this.

I should be okay. I am okay, and yet, not recovered. I've never had to force myself to do something I want to do. That I should want to do. That it is entirely in my power to do. There are exciting things on the horizon. New job. Tibet. Writing projects. Good things. Great things. Ridiculously amazingly oarsome things. But I perceive some challenge in them, and challenge requires effort, and effort leads to stress, and that's the avalanche begun. I'm frightened of these great things, I don't want to do them, I don't want anything to do with them.

Scary things are worth doing.

I'll just have to be brave.

I went into 2008 torn between paralysing despair and delirious hope, full of the violence of opposing forces. I've lived with the volume turned up and my head and heart howling. I'm going into 2009 without violence, small, trying not to attract attention. I write this, I admit this, and I am sad.

So much has happened, and yet, so little has changed. It's something to be ashamed of. It's something to be grateful for.

We come into the world without shape. We're perpetual works in progress. We die unfinished. I have pondered what I need to do in order to recover and regain the parts of me I have lost, but I will take no such steps. The world will do with me what it will, and make of me what it would. We're none of us given time to be whole. We'll never be whole, always being shaped by what's come, and what's yet to come.

There's more on the horizon.

There will always be more on the horizon.

The sun keeps rising, I keep breathing, and these terrible, wonderful things drag me on.

Le Red Fin: Not a Skunk

When the delicate fragrance of melancholy silken in the night air, I come to you- oh, mon dieu, it's you.

Where is that Shark Puppet? Gone? Oh good.

Oui, you are alone in the dark, I know. Hush now, all will be well. I'll take care of you. First, you need a new haircut. This straggly dog look, no wonder the seas part for you! And no more pizza, oui, you carry enough baggage already. And oh, little bird, stop listening to Shark Puppet. Shark Puppet has no taste. What can you expect of a crass selachimorphan brute? Shark Puppet has no style. Shark Puppet can only lead you astray.

You see? Your blargh is neglected. Your email is neglected. Your kitchen sink is neglected. Oh, mon dieu. Sacré bleu. The shark, the shark.

You must listen to me, mon amie.

I am Le Red Fin. I will save you from Shark Puppet.

Now give us a kiss.

...stop looking at me like that.