The weight of satisfaction

I’m not sure of the exact weight, but a manuscript of 17 stories/44500 words/209 A4 pages definately feels like satisfaction. The Disparate Whispers manuscript is now ready to be sent to Fremantle Arts Centre Press in all its speculative fiction glory. I’m still remarkably cautious about its potential success – FACP is notoriously literary.

The final layout looks like this:

The Rustle of Autumnal Leaves

Hear No Evil

Room Three

Song of the Infernal Machine

Firewall v1.1

Practical Joke

Blasphemy on Eight Wheels


Midnight on the Jetty


Plan Ni

Bump in the Night

Alley of Dead Whores

The Black Door

The Raid

On Dark Clouds Borne

Sobek’s Tears

To get the collection finished, I went through Alley of Dead Whores and gave it a moderate edit – adding a few passages and changing some dialogue. I’m happy enough with it that I sent it to US pro-mag Brutarian (and at US 5-10c/word, if I land that deal, I can look forward to US$300-600).

Aside from the weighty considerations of Disparate Whispers, I didn’t write much today. Ange forced me into Domestic mode. Despite an early ‘freak out’ over time, the Domestic avatar appeared, and not only finished the mounting, greasy washine up (from my inspirational home-made pizza cooked the night before), but also tackled the fast declining pool.

Our pool is an interesting challenge – with a little elbow grease, we have kept it sparkling all summer. A few years ago, our neglect was that bad, the pool turn green and semi-solid, and spawned about 80,000 mutant tadpoles. We had to drain the pool completely, and carry multiple bucket loads of tennis-ball sized tadpoles down to the lake in the midst of a windy night time storm, but that’s another story…

The reason the pool is a challenge this time is because it is rapidly draining for no obvious reason. There are no cracks, flaws or otherwise. Ange suspects the pool light – we removed it when the bulb blew and had to get a new bracket, which had one screw socket less. This meant we installed a new bracket while leaving a small, unplugged screw hole in the pool. Even though the cover is fastened over the bracket (and hopefully the unplugged hole), she suspects the water is leaking out through that hole. Regardless of whether it’s through there, or my suspicion of the filter, the pool has dropped half a metre in a few short weeks. We’re waiting to see if it stops when it dips below the light, then we’ll nab the culprit.

In the meantime, we have no filter to clean the damn thing, so I spent an hour dealing with the autumn remains of leaf litter, annoying little pink shits of flowers that drop by the bucketload, and the seed of a dozen trees spilling into the water and actually blanketing the yard with sickly yellow-green microbuds. While the pool was overwhelming, a handy scoop and a huge container of liquid chlorine did the job.

After settling back into the writing chair, I checked the Flashshot website and to my intense satisfaction found my name posted in the upcoming stories section. Being a natural ego-maniac, I emailed the link to all my family and friends. My flash story (if it’s long enough to be called a story) is Hell, and is due for circulation on 7 June 2004. If anyone’s keen, check it out here. Seeing the ole monicker up there makes me feel like a real, actual, not-making-crap-up writer. I can’t begin to imagine what I’ll be like in bookstores when my first hardback is on the stands (actually, I’d probably be one of those really obnoxious guys who asks the sales assistant about the book and accidentally opens the back cover that has my glamourised promo photo on it and says ‘oops’, while pretending to blush – not that I’ve thought about this at all mind you…).

P. Bloody. S. I still haven’t received any writing related emails. STILL! I have received words of encouragement from Damien and Tracey about my not-so-subtle Flashshot email, but have any magazine editors deigned to contact me? Nay! Geez, even the Peter Cowan Writers Centre could get their newsletter out, just to tell me my story failed to win a competition from a total pool of four people.