The boy is back in town

So, here I am, back in the bosom of Velcro City. The physical act of moving house went pretty well, all told, though I’ve been paying for it in aches and bruises, most of which have faded to the level of background noise by this point. Mark’s van just about managed to inhale all my worldly goods (except the sofabed, which went to the astonishingly convenient charity shop two doors down, and the better portion of my book collection, which is currently glowering from the corner of a spare room at my mother’s place in deepest darkest East Yorkshire), but there was nary a cubic inch to spare, and the poor old thing managed a peak speed of around 65mph on the journey back… downhill, with a tailwind and a certain amount of luck. Those old Transits have proper workhorse engines, though, and Mark made the very best of an extremely fortunate run of road conditions – we rolled out of central Stockport at half eleven and were pulling up in Southsea by 5pm. Kudos and many many thanks to Mark, without whom I’d have been in a much stickier situation; you’re a brother, and – once again – I owe you big-time.

Princess Katie-Jane maintained her uncanny calmness when travelling, too; apart from a half-hour of plaintive miaows at the start, she pretty much just lay sleeping in her kitty-carrier the whole way, and is now cheerfully claiming ownership of the majority of the house in which I’m crashing until something more permanent can be sorted out. Frankly, I think she’s adapted more swiftly than I have to the change of geography… but then she doesn’t have a business that depends on a stable internet connection! The good news there is that, as should be obvious, I’ve managed to kludge my way to a tentatively online state by way of the hideously-priced dial-up-paced bandwidth available from BT FON/Openworld; it’s not all that and a bag of chips, but it’ll see me through until the nice people from Virgin come next week to run some optical fibre into this household. Just in time for the R*yal W*dding, in fact, which I shall probably celebrate by going and doing something staunchly atheistic and republican, like going and seeing some loud bands murder old Sex Pistols songs. When in Rome, and all that… 🙂

For them as is wondering, yes, it feels absolutely brilliant to be back – like slipping into an old and well-worn pair of shoes and wondering why you ever replaced them. And a person couldn’t ask for more perfect weather to return to a South coast seaside town gone somewhat to seed; the last week has felt more like mid-June than late April, with hardly a cloud in the clear blue skies. Perfect weather for rolling around the backstreets on a silly bicycle, and for catching up with friends one hasn’t seen for a long time… both of which have been big features of the last five days, as I’ve eased my way back into my new old town. Summer employment is looking settled, and the long-range prospects of my life are looking better than they’ve looked in a long time; just get me a permanent address, and I can take on the world! (Well, a reasonable percentage of the world at any one given time; the whole thing would take something of a run-up, I suspect.)

So, next on the agenda is one last jag back up to Stockport to do all the final closure bits on my tenancy, which will take up tomorrow and Friday. Then it’s a weekend of vicarious digital convention snooping (would really love to be at Eastercon, but sadly not a practical option given the circumstances), vicarious holidaying in famous nuclear disaster areas (my friends do some odd stuff, which may explain why we’re friends), a first shift at the summer job… and who knows what else? The town is my seafood-intolerant oyster alternative!

Right, my stomach’s saying we’re getting near supper time, so that’s enough wordwaffle. Stay funky, folks.

On the road again

OK, folks, just a quick one: yours truly is about to move house again, clambering down the country’s backbone and returning to the dubious but familiar bosom of this blog’s namesake, Velcro City.

Problem being that I’ve not yet managed to nail down a new place to live on a permanent basis. Luckily, Velcro City is full of good friends, so I’ve places to stay in the interim… but the backswing of the situation is that access to the intermatubes is going to be a little patchy for the next week, and quite possibly scarce for a few weeks following that. Which won’t make a huge difference to the admittedly patchy blogging schedule here, of course, though it’ll be more noticeable over at Futurismic (where I’ve scheduled a similar announcement for later today).

For those readers among you with whom my relationship has elements of business included, an email will be forthcoming later today explaining what’s going on.

For those readers among you wondering about where I might be found in terms of public events in meatspace: I’ll not be at Eastercon this year (have to do the final paperwork/handover stuff on this flat that weekend), but if you’re at the Clarke Awards ceremony on the 27th of this month, you’ve got a very good chance of bumping into me there.

And before I drop the shutters here for a brief period, I’ll take the opportunity to re-crow yesterday’s excellent news: I placed an essay with the Culture Lab blog at New Scientist, and I am pretty bloody stoked about it, thankyouverymuch. This year is shaping up to be full of exciting changes in my life, of which this is – I hope – just one early harbinger.

So watch this space. 🙂

A masthead statement for my life thus far

Courtesy of Locus Magazine‘s short fiction critic Lois Tilton, reviewing the stories in Fables from the Fountain [preorders available now OMFG!]:

“A lot of arcane trivia in a complex tangle that isn’t too credible.”

I’m getting that printed on a T-shirt. SRSLY. 🙂

Related: the signing sheets from the hardback edition came and went earlier this week. Sign your name a few hundred times in rapid succession, and watch the resulting scrawl lose all meaning. It’s a bit like chanting a short sentence aloud over and over again; meaning dissolves in repetition, leaving only a looped pattern dissociated from its original purpose. A reminder that meaning is created on the fly. Maybe.

Anatomy of the writing process

Via the Double-Boing, Ed Yong of Discover‘s Not Exactly Rocket Science blog presents a graphical representation of his writing process, which is so incredibly similar to my own experience of writing reviews and essays that it’s almost scary… right down to the querulous “maybe pissing around on the internet would help?” (It never has yet, but I refuse to deny it the chance.)

An anatomy of the writing process by Ed Yong