Panadeine Forte e Molto Forte

I went to a buck’s party the other day which involved weird sports-type activities. Mostly of the scavenger hunt variety, but we were also assigned colours to go with our teams. Each team got a balloon in their colour and were told to defend it because if it got popped, it would cost us points.

Of course, this led to people running after each other trying to pop each other’s balloons. Some with scissors, thus breaking the immortal rule about …well… running with scissors.

I ended up plucking my team’s balloon from the hands of my friend Simon when I saw him disappearing under the arms of two other participants. I took that yellow ballon (we dubbed our team ‘the cowards’) and I ran like hell. I weaved across roads and back again and around trees and felt that I was making some headway when  I found myself jump-tackled from behind. I managed to land hard onto my fist with my full body weight and as my fist was under my ribs, I completely winded myself.

The rest of the day was spent in pain, mostly in my wrist. I was genuinely really worried I had maybe strained it. The next day I found that, luckily, my wrist was completely fine. However, I couldn’t breathe properly. The doctor told me I probably fractured a rib so I got x-rays and discovered that I ‘merely’ had severe muscle damage.

This has led to me being prescribed Panadeine Forte, a mixture of paracetamol and codeine. The first couple of days the tablets allowed me to stand and sit without yelling out in pain. Today I took my tablets in the morning and found myself floating in a sea of half-imagined thoughts with a mouth full of cotton wool. It has been very hard to construct thoughts, but at the same time it means that I can’t risk driving so have actually been able to rest my injuries. Yesterday the pain spread to my left arm somehow, probably because I drive a manual and so had to put extra stress on that arm every time I changed gear to avoid stressing the chest muscles.

So please excuse this entry not being very funny or well – written… my mind isn’t cooperating with my cognitive anything. I feel a little like I stayed up for two days then smoked a joint. And got someone to hit me in the head with a rubber hammer. All I want right now is choc-mint ice cream. I think everything is related. In other news, still no contract offer for my book! I’ll give it three more weeks…

The 7 Day revision. Easy steps to insanity.

I have had a managing editor from Simon & Schuster request my manuscript after a successful pitch, which I’m pretty excited about. I have until the end of September to submit it, which I’m not as thrilled about.

My main concern is making it match my amazing and tight pitch! Obviously it’s nearly there but it also needs a lot of tweaking and a few missing scenes thrown in. For the last few weeks I’ve been revising at a pretty leisurely pace, marking down errors, problems with scenes and characters and generally making sure my tone is on-point.

Now however, it’s crunch time. I have 7 days to get this baby up to standard. I started this process at my local library yesterday but today I’ve realised I need to be able to wake up and start work immediately, without having to worry about anything else. My lovely wife is preparing my meals (that I don’t get delivered) and putting up with me generally being grumpy and unavailable.

Here is a look at my process :

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That was at the library anyway. You can see the mish mash of slow revision and fast revision there. The scene cards are from the slow revision, the structural edit to the side is from months ago, the big pile of loose leaf manuscript I printed out that day and the other books are a copy of my manuscript with markings leading to my ‘slow’ revision notes and workbooks guiding me through my fast revision. Later tonight I’ll be starting my writing, going through both my fast post-its and my slow revision notes to get it ‘right’ on the fly.

Oh yeah, last nano I started writing the book again from scratch. That’s the printout with the yellow bulldog clip on it. I’ll be using that as I need it while doing my write-in. Everything until the last two days will be done in pen, after that it all gets typed up! Then my wife gets to read it and make notes, and I get to read her notes and alter the manuscript again based on her insights (where I agree that I was being stupid).

Here is my setup today, now that I’ve moved everything to my bed:

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As you can see, it’s a little more cramped but I also have my cat with me (trying to stay out of shot in the upper right corner). Plus I get to annoy my wife by constantly brainstorming with her and getting her to reassure me I’m a creative genius.

It hasn’t been easy this past few weeks anyway, what with a hail storm partly flooding our lounge room and office causing the lounge to smell of mud and dry rot and our electricity to cut out for a day. My poor cat, who my book is about, got side-swiped by a car as well, and I couldn’t write a thing for the two days he was at the cat hospital and we were unsure if he would make it. Here he is being brave with his little bandage:

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And here he is back home soon after being an absolute sook on anti inflammatory medicine and methadone patches:

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He has the bandages and patches off now and is actually eating so I don’t need to feed him food with a syringe anymore. This has helped my ability to write greatly!

I’d better get back to marking up my manuscript; I only have sixty pages to go and then I can really begin to go crazy with the rewrite. With luck I’ll get it all finished on deadline and without being arrested for streaking down my street screaming about plot holes.

Seafood Allergy

“You do realise we’ll have to take off the whole leg?” The doctor looked at me with his concerned eyes. I looked back, then off to the side, then focussed on a little onyx Ganesha on the side table.
“Yeah. Um, yeah I know. But I’ll die if I don’t, isn’t that right?”
The doctor leaned back in his chair and sighed. He took off his glasses and began to clean them diligently with a cloth he seemingly produced out of nowhere.
“There is a high chance of fatality if we don’t proceed with the operation, yes.” He kept his eyes on his glasses now. I watched as he used his fingernail to trace along the edges where the lens met the frame. They must really get filthy in here.
“So that’s that then.” I said. The doctor looked up.
“Alright then.” He stood, using my bed as a balance as he got up from his chair. I felt myself tip to the side as he did so, and winced as a new bolt of pain shot down my leg. The doctor didn’t seem to notice. He checked the tightness of my straps and then sauntered out of there.
I tried to make myself comfortable. The room smelled like disinfectant, which I preferred to the other prominent smell in this place, excrement. I think I was happier to see the cleaners than the nurses, even though the cleaners weren’t dispensing my pain medication.
“Amputation”, I thought to myself, and couldn’t become comfortable with the idea. I knew it was for the best. I knew that if I didn’t go through with it, I’d probably die. I knew that before the doctor had even told me. “It’s worth it,” I thought to myself resolutely, “It’s worth it for this to finally be over.”
A horrible gurgling noise erupted down near the end of my bed. I bent my head up to try and see what it was but all I saw were the white lines of the bed linen over my legs. The noise calmed down into a series of what sounded like barks, then erupted again in gurgling that sounded a lot like… laughter. I began to sweat. No. The medication was supposed to prevent this. It was supposed to take away this part, the part that wasn’t real.
“This is real”, a horribly wet voice intoned, down where the gurgling laugh had come from. I strained to see and saw a dark patch appear over my right shin. It rapidly spread down till it was covering my foot, then darkened to a dull green. It was like the covers had caught leprosy. Caught it from me. I heard a soft thumping sound come from the end of the bed. It was constant, and rhythmic. Thumph, thumph, thumph, thumph. I saw the sheets move with every one and, after thirty seconds or so, the tail end of my bed sheet partially fly out of place.
A few seconds passed, then I saw movement. A slithering sound as a small object moved under the sheet to the new exit. I could feel a tugging on my hip. It was a little uncomfortable but somehow not as painful as the doctor getting up. The end of the sheet fell away slightly, and I saw a small eye looking at me. It had another eye to the left of it. In fact, upon closer inspection there were a full five eyes looking at me, each attached to a little green tentacle. They rose themselves up higher on their stalks and a larger mass appeared under the tentacles, also green, with a slit along it that stretched to a smile.
“Don’t look so surprised,” it said, still in that horrible wet voice, the voice of a deep sea diver with his foot trapped under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, “you’ve seen me before. You’ll see me again. I can’t just be cut away.”
“Have I gone…”
“Crazy? No.”
“The doctor said what I had was a gangrenous buildup caused by… caused by the veins.. umm.. a blockage which…”
“He saw what he wanted to. He saw the effects of our… co-habitation and drew his own medical conclusions.”
“He said I would die.”
“You will.”
I felt my mouth fill with acid. I swallowed it down and my head swam. The tentacle host smiled again. “Oh you misunderstand. Not from this. Later. From something else. You can’t avoid it. No human can.”
I swallowed, then swallowed again. I took a deep breath of the disinfectant and it made me feel like I would throw up for real. “Do you mean of na…natural causes?” I stammered. The horrible gurgling laugh began again, the five tentacle eyes squinting and curling with glee.
“No, I’ll still be the one to kill you. It just won’t be because of bad circulation.”
“Did I do something to you?”
“Not really. You’re just the start. You’ll be kicking off a mass infection of the human race. You should be happy. That makes you very special.”
“Lucky me” I said.
“Very. You should fill out that food form I saw them bring you before. You might as well enjoy your normal human pleasures like eating things. That’s something you get pleasure from, right? The absorption of fuel? We don’t quite understand it but there’s a comfort element I take it?”
“Not with hospital food. Not normally.”
“Do it anyway.” The tentacle mass grinned now, displaying a disconcerting lack of teeth. Normally this would be a good thing, but there was actually a lack of anything in that gaping maw. The abyss stared back at me from within the deliriously happy five-eyed calamari sadist.
I reached over to my side table, being careful not to roll onto my bad (evil, possessed, whatever) leg. I grabbed the menu and read over it. Sandwiches. Generic roast. Fruit cup. All things I just couldn’t stomach right now. Sometimes they had pasta though, I could do with some empty carbs. I optimistically turned the sheet over but no such luck. I screwed up the sheet in frustration. I couldn’t possibly see this week getting any worse.