Today I fought two losing battles.

Trying to lodge the family passport applications was a bust – they would only accept mine for identification reasons, leaving Ange and Hayley to lodge their own. Ange now needs a State Marriage Certificate from Tasmania, and we have only 14 working days until the trip. Eek!

This was immediately backed up by a trip to the family doctor, who for some malicious reason specialises in high-speed injections and pain-ignoring techniques. My psychosomatic pre-needle reaction reached the dizzy heights of potential Oscar nomination for a craven performance in the face of glistening sharpness. Fortunately the actual shots were reasonably pain-free, but still induced a severe pathetic reaction afterward. Now all that remains is a slightly unpleasant sensation in my right arm.

The upside is I am impervious to the depredations of typhoid! IMPERVIOUS I say! *maniacal laugh* I’m also pretty damn resistant to Hepatitis (and small children, but that’s a separate issue …)

I have another double-mix of Hepatitis due in about three weeks (just before we leave). The doctor was making ready to jam the Tetanus needle into my leg (MY LEG? what the hell!???!? my mind screamed as I reeled from two needles in my arms), but I chickened out, opting for that one with the next Hep injection. It was either that, or another limb. Having ruled out shots in the legs and butt (yes, if I took a shot in the bum, the serum would take weeks to get out, and well, that just wasn’t an option), the doctor started looking at me funny. An invasive, I-feel-like-a-turkey-about-to-be-stuffed look. Needless to say, I refused to comtemplate any further options at that point. I also started edging toward the door…

In and around this mayhem, I achieved precious little writing (well, no writing at all actually). I did however complete my edit of Firewall v1.1 and sent it off to Ticonderoga Online. More fingers crossed with this. I also received my fastest ever rejection, from Chiaroscuro webzine for Song of the Infernal Machine. Unperturbed, I bundled it off to Black October magazine instead. Even so, the quick rejection prompted further investigation, so I headed over to Chizine for the scoop on the competition.

Reading the stories on their site, I just don’t GET the American style of Horror. The stories they had were certainly odd. Yes, there was character development, but what the? Some pretty weird stuff is accepted into print these days. Perhaps I am too much into my descriptive passages and lyrical verse. I feel my character building has improved, as well as dialogue, but I am on the other side of the spectrum from these US writers. Not better, or worse, just very different.

This could lead me onto a huge debate on the use of articulate language, readability and most importantly, the quality of the idea that forms the basis of the story one tells. Stephen King had it right in the 80s. He reinvented horror with well-written but straightforward tales of psychic and supernatural terror. The stuff that has become a natural evolution from classic pulp fiction roots. His success is justification in its simplest form.

Literary stuff bugs me. Literary attitudes bug me. Time and again, I see literary stuff, including literary genre stuff, that is just awful. I’m doing my best to avoid this trend. But I leave you Dear Reader (to borrow again from Stephen King), with this sentiment: Is it any wonder that works of written Horror declined in sales so dramatically during the 1990s? Writers tried to become ‘literary’, perhaps through shame of their pulp roots. Gone are your Lovecrafts; fading are your Kings. We have the likes of Piccirilli and Brite leading the way these days.