It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster week for me. Last weekend I was at the Fantasy Convention, an annual get-together for fantasy and horror writers, editors, and fans, held this year in Scarborough. It was great. Writing is a lonely profession and the chance to go from writing blog posts about Mike Carey to actually meeting him doesn’t come round that often. I met up with old friends and made some new ones. I saw some fascinating panels on topics like magic in fiction and the apocalypse (time until first mention of Donald Trump: less than five minutes). I went to some great sessions with publishers, and I got to meet some of my favourite authors including Scott Lynch and Elizabeth Bear. I also sat near Zen Cho at the banquet and cheered loudly when her excellent book Sorcerer to the Crown won the Best Newcomer prize at the British Fantasy Awards ceremony. Two other prizes were won at my table and I basked in reflected glory for a brief time. The weather was glorious and Scarborough was beautiful.
Then on Monday I drove back to Derby in the rain, and on Tuesday I was washing dishes in a cafe to try and help make ends meet. Talk about returning to normality with a bump.
On top of this, I’ve had the everyday stresses of our kitchen refit, familiar to anyone who’s ever had work done on the house: the noise and disruption, the schedule over-runs and extra costs, the annoyances when something goes wrong, having to live off microwave ready-meals for weeks on end. By yesterday morning, I was feeling pretty frazzled.
It is, of course, all very First World Problems. We’ll shortly have an awesome new kitchen complete with a Rangemaster cooker and one of those American-style giganto-fridges, so whingeing about how long it’s taken us to get there is – at best – a pointless self-indulgence. Which is partly why I enjoy doing voluntary work – helping out with some decidedly more third-world problems at the refugee centre really puts my own issues in perspective.
And the great thing about being a writer is that any unpleasant experiences can go straight into the story-pot. Which I’ll then stir up and transform into a tasty stew with the help of my new cooker.