I’ve been meaning to do a post for a while but keep forgetting. Then today I got yet another Hey, you haven’t blogged for a while, are you okay? ping and realised it really has been a while.
So. What’s going on? Many things, none of them particularly terrible or wonderful. But since I turned in two books at once, then did a series of edits, I’ve just been loafing about. And it turns out that loafing becomes addictive; I’ve found I just can’t be bothered to do much of anything.
Having said all that, of course, it’s not the whole story. Part of the reason I can’t be bothered with stuff is that I’m extremely tired. This is the result of a combination of factors.
First of all, the vaccine. I am now more than a month past my second Moderna shot and, coincidentally (or not—channel Leonard Nimoy), after the first shot my energy levels dropped noticeably. After the second, they crashed. I also developed shocking muscle weakness that is only just now beginning to fade, and—O Joy!—suffered the Very Special Migraine* that usually hits me only once every two or three years. This time, though, I had 2 bouts in 10 days. By Very Special I mean I become temporarily blind, confused, and aphasic; that phase lasts about 40 minutes. It’s terrifying, because usually I have them so rarely I forget their existence and it takes a while to recognise what’s going on. So I’m in the middle of a conversation, or just getting myself a cup of tea, or taking a Zoom call, or some damn thing, and suddenly a sparkling, spiky anemone appears in the middle of someone’s face, the screen seems to burn from the top right corner, and I’m thinking, Wait, what? and just as I realise what’s happening I lose the power of coherent speech and can’t even tell people that, hey, I can’t see and words have no meaning. The second time it happened this time I recognised it instantly, had time to say, Sorry, migraine, gotta go and find the End Meeting button before I was stuck, unable to see or speak, on my office chair for half an hour while Charlie yowled and wanted to know where his food was. Then second phase is the headache and noise and ight sensitivity which lasts about four hours, followed by the third phase, which is at least 18 hours of exhaustion. No one really knows what causes them—the usual list of suspects includes bright light, caffeine, lack of sleep, weather, stress, and ‘some medications’—but given that I’ve never before had 2 of them in 10 days, or 2 jabs in 28 days, and then got them both at the same time, then, well, screw Correlation Is Not Causation: I blame the jab.
But here’s the thing: DESPITE MY REACTION I WOULD TOTALLY GET THE JAB AGAIN. Migraine sucks, and exhaustion sucks, but death sucks harder. And perhaps being responsible for a loved one’s death would suck hardest of all. All this reaction shit passes; death does not. So if you’re dithering, stop it; go get your shot.
So, yeah, anyway, there’s that.
The second factor is something that occurs to some degree every year at this time: tree pollen and its attendant allergies. Some years are worse than others. To be clear, when I talk about allergies in this context I don’t mean itchy eyes or runny nose—though of course I get those too—I mean a serious system upset. My blood oxygen can fall (92 is not unusual), my heartbeat becomes disordered (I can faint). My blood pressure doesn’t seem to know whether it should shoot up or fall down, or, hey, maybe both in the space of 15 seconds. I can’t regulate my body temperature. Over the years and after a series of doctors, the most likely explanation is that my histamine/mast cell response mechanisms don’t work properly. Most of the time it’s just irritating, inconvenient, and immiserating, but, with care and attention, mostly controllable. Occasionally, though, it’s disabling. And this year, of course, a very high pollen count just happened to coincide with vaccine season.
So, yeah, there’s that.
The third factor is a whole bunch of family stuff but that’s not my story to tell, except to say I’m feeling a bit worn down.
And yet: The sun is shining! Birds are singing! Charlie and George are in fine form! (I’ll probably do a post about their birthday next month.) I cashed a very tasty option cheque a week or two ago! (I can’t talk about that, though.) The fridge is groaning with delicious food, the counter is loaded with wine, we (still, mostly) have grownups in charge of the country! (Y’know, when they’re allowed to get anything done, of course—but, oh, don’t get me started on that.)
When you combine those with the fact that both Kelley and I are fully vaccinated and in this part of the country at least vaccination is accelerating, I am feeling hopeful that we could be on track to something resembling normal life by autumn. (I’ll be writing about that soon, too.)
Basically, right now is pretty fabulous in many ways, I’m just not focused on talking to the outside world.
So what have I been doing? Well, I haven’t been writing, and it feels odd. But I’m beginning to consider two projects (which, again, I might talk about soon in another blog post).
I’ve been doing the occasional appearance/reading/authorly thing, most recently at ICFA where I read from Spear. I’ve already posted a tiny snippet of one reading, and at some point I’ll get around to uploading and captioning the rest of it, plus another, longer reading. Again, that will be another blog post.
One thing I’ve started to do is experiment with various image and art apps, and I’ve been playing around with making some Hild-related images. That, too, will be a future blog post.
And finally I’ve been reading. Mostly it’s been research that I couldn’t get to during my galloping productivity last year, but also some fiction. And that will be yet another blog post: a handful of books to look for in the next month.
So basically: I’ve been tired, I’m feeling better, and lots of blog posts will be coming soon.
*Migraine with Brainstem Aura, formerly known as Basilar Artery Migraines
7 thoughts on “Catching up”
I just read your novel Ammonite and wanted to say: Thank you for it! It’s phenomenal 👍😍
Every time I feel like whining about my own migraines which bring on nausea and sight sensitivity, I read about someone else’s migraines which are much worse. (wry grin) I’m sorry you’re having to put up with this on top of terrible affect effects from your shot. You’re a trooper and an inspiration to the rest of us. Sometimes we all need a break to take care of ourselves. You are the source of your own writing. To continue writing, you need to take care of yourself and take breaks. I’m glad to hear you’re doing so. Take care of yourself.
@Andreas: You are so welcome. And I’m delighted that a book wrote so long ago still works for readers today.
@rhodry Oh, I am! I have so much more to write…
That’s why it’s important that Gollancz‘s SF Masterworks keeps such works accessible for readers. Keep healthy and enjoy a warm-hearted review ☺️
I, too, recently reread Ammonite. Loved it again, and also really enjoyed the resonance with the virus theme. It helped me shift my feelings about this past year in a more optimistic direction. So thank you!
Looking forward to Spear and Menewood so much!
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