I just walked up these stairs and, man, I’m buggered…

Once upon a time I didn’t own a car and I lived in a city with a laughable idea of public transport. Since I was also young and broke and generally wanted to go to places buses didn’t really go, I ended up walking everywhere and got quite good at it. It became a big part of my identity. My name was Peter and I walked places; any trek that required less than an hour or two meant I didn’t really bother with public transport.

Naturally, the walking went away after I acquired my first car, even if the mental image of myself as a guy who walked didn’t. And about a year after driving everywhere I walked fifteen minutes to the shops down the street and it utterly wiped me out. I found myself huffing and puffing my way home, two liters of milk tucked under my arm, wondering what the fuck, exactly, had happened.

Because I am not terribly smart, this kind of thing happened a couple of dozen times before I made the connection. I no longer walked, and thus I was no longer a walker. Being surprised that walking now took considerable effort was kind of idiotic.

I write five thousand words over the weekend. I was utterly exhausted when I finally hit the end of the story on Sunday night. This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it seems it’s this time where I’ve finally made the connection. Two and a half thousand words a day used to be an average, not something to strive for.

So I’m no longer a guy who writes a lot either. Which shouldn’t been a surprise, because there’s been many excuses not to write over the last year, and I’ve taken almost all of them, but it still came as a surprise.

Writing a lot, incidentally, means far more to me than walking ever did.

So it appears my creative muscles have atrophied considerably. If you need me, I’ll be over here, having a startling revelation that shocks me to the core of my sense of self. After that I’ll be planning the writing equivalent of going to the gym.


According to SF Signal my short story, Say Zucchini, and Mean It, should be sent out to DailySF subscribers  on May 17th. I mention this because subscription is free and gets you all sorts of interesting stories sent to you via email every weekday, which seems a far better way of procrastinating at work than spending yet another hour on facebook.

I’m also pretty sure that Say Zucchini, and Mean It will be my last non-Flotsam story for a while. There’s nothing else waiting to be published, nothing else doing the rounds of submission, and I’m not writing any new short fiction until Flotsam is done with.

And, sure, every time I said something like this in the past, I immediately go into a mad panic and write a bunch of stories to try and correct the situation, but it’s entirely possible that this time I mean it. I have a dayjob now. More than one. I can eat without selling short fiction, and so it’s entirely possible I’m slowing down 🙂


Lest this be entirely bogged down in mournful observation, allow me to say this: we played our weekly session of Deadlands early this weekend, and it was awesome. I make no secret of the fact that I adore my Deadland’s peeps and the campaign we’re currently playing has been a cracker, so much so that it’s successfully transitioned the regular Sunday night game into Deadland’s night rather than C’thulhu night when I put it into my calendar.

Finally, after many months, we hit the scenes I’d identified as the mid-point of the campaign, which is probably best identified as “Aliens in the Old West, if the Xenomorphs wore cow skins as a disguise.”

Afterwards we feasted on roasted pork, courtesy of our hosts.

And really, when your weekend includes good company and good food and a horror-western filled with cattle mutilation, life is pretty good.

  5 comments for “I just walked up these stairs and, man, I’m buggered…

  1. 09/05/2011 at 11:49 PM

    I kept meaning to unsub from Daily SF once The Birdcage Heart was out.

    Now I guess I'd better stay subbed til May 17th, bwahaha.

    I miss walking every day heaps more than I miss being able to write thousands of words a day. Because being physically fit has so much to do with my writing stamina. It is pain in my dodgy lower back that forces me away from the computer; pain that would not be there if I lost 20kg and had stronger back muscles!

    Good luck with Flotsam 🙂

  2. 10/05/2011 at 12:24 AM

    I tend to be the opposite these days. I'm healthier when I'm writing, because after I hit the 2,500 mark for the day I'm willing to stop fretting and go do other things. If I only write 500 to 1000 words in a twenty-four hour period, I tend to feel guilty and punish myself with junk food and other unhealthyness.

    And you can read the DailySF stories at their website, btw. It does take them a week or two to put them up there, but I'm always in favour of unsubbing to email lists you're not getting anything out of.

  3. 10/05/2011 at 3:02 AM

    Well, I probably like about one-per-fortnight of the daily SF stories.

    The ones that are good are REALLY good…but, you know. I wouldn't read a novel that I didn't like most of the time. If I was using them for work-procrastinatey-goodness, it would probably be different. But here I have the magical ability to whip out print books and read them.

    Speaking of print books. Or rather, internet serials that should be print books. 'Flotsam'. (And 'Arizona Afterwards' by Chris Green.) Remind me again why you two don't have big publishers raining cash down on your heads?

    I need a free e-reader. Otherwise it's completely pointless for me to discover free fiction.

    In other news, it's not just playstation games that went down when Sony got hacked. Would you believe that "Pirates of the Burning Sea" is an SOE game?

    *hums piratey music to self*

  4. 10/05/2011 at 6:59 AM

    I largely blame it on the world being cruel, publishes not doing a great deal of the cash-raining thing these days, and me not having a novel finished that I can use to try and entice money out of them. I have no idea why they're not throwing cash at Chris Green, but I rarely understand why people aren't just throwing cash at him as a general day-to-day thing on account of Chris being awesome.

  5. Friendless
    10/05/2011 at 9:45 PM

    I have a theory, albeit with no evidence, that physical health and mental energy go together. I think this because I'm sure when I was younger and less fat I was a lot smarter and more productive too. When I finish being fat I'll let you know whether it's true or not. In the meantime, maybe just take a walk around the block when you need to ponder a plot point.

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