363. Four Months Later

Um. Hi.

I’m back.

I promise, I have a good reason for my mysterious disappearance four months ago.

See, in January I accidentally got myself into a job; which sucked at first, but turned out to be actually quite bearable towards the end – until I got university troubles and had to resign at the end of March.

I went through April without much event. But by the end of the month I realized that I have to find money somehow. You know, Stayin’ Alive. I had to get a job.

So from a contact I got from Sue, I got myself into a part-time copywriting job in May. It didn’t pay a lot, but with tight budgeting and copious amounts of potato, I managed to get through the next three months, in which I worked and studied on alternate days (but still had my weekends off).

Finally in August, I started working full time.

And nothing was ever the same again.

I guess I’ve underestimated the kind of energy a full time job takes out of you. It’s not tiredness, mind – it’s more like fatigue. After a day of sitting and staring at a screen, the last thing you want to do is to get back home to sit and stare at a screen.

(or at least that’s how I think it works)

And so the posting frequency on this blog space has suffered.

But I have been writing. Not as fiercely as I did in the first half of the year, but I have been writing. A little short story here, a little feature there, send a couple of them out to magazines, get an equal number of rejections back, curl up in bed and wait for the tears that won’t come because I’m a cold-hearted bastard… You know, the works.

But it hasn’t been all bad. I wrote a short story titled “The End of the World” that some people said some really nice things about, even if it did not make it to publication in the end. I wrote some scattered scenes for stories I intend to later expand into proper novels. I started writing poems for birthdays of friends, which was nice.

(because let’s be really honest here: what are they gonna say, that it’s a shit poem and they hate it? No! They are socially obligated to smile at my half-arsed attempt at wit and say some variation of “How nice!”. Check-and-mate, social correctness)

The highlight of the four months that I’ve been away, however, must be an email that came in from a certain Mr. Wallace on a dry October night. Short, succinct, it read:

Hi Joseph, I’d like to accept this submission for The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk.

I slapped myself a couple of times just to be sure I wasn’t dreaming.

The two and a half months following that mostly consisted of waiting between emails and responses; but earlier this week the first pass came in for the publisher, and there I saw my name nestled in with other fantastic writers of science fiction.

What can a writer do?

Smile like an idiot, stare at the email for minutes too long, then close the browser.

And then get right back to writing.

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