Age cannot wither her, except it has.

So earlier I posted a review (oh fine, ‘rave’) of The Good Son, which I enjoyed writing so much that I’m considering actually paying more regard to the title of this blog in future and doing a few more ‘Books I bloody love’ entries. Especially at the moment, while I’m somewhat nostalgic and rereading the Asimov Dragon Books series, and reciting the Thunder poem from Thunderwith on a loop in my head, like it’s an earworm. Meantime, though, this has been a week of Happenings, the biggest one being that I turned 33. I admit to dreading it. 33 marks the first birthday where I’ve actually felt a lot older – as in I am physically noticing the getting-older changes day to day, rather than occasionally looking up going ‘oh, hey, I’m growing up’. My hair, for a start, is going grey. Really going grey, since it started growing back. Used to be I’d dye my hair for a change of shade, and the roots would grow in slightly darker or slightly lighter, but still basically brown. Now those same roots are all kinds of streaky silver and I’m dying my hair in earnest rather than for fun. The lines are lining up. The chin hairs are sprouting. My body is mushier and more difficult to unmush with exercise. And that’s just the physical stuff. So, yes, I was sort of dreading it, especially being in a new place for this one. But it turned out to be a good day. There was a slightly overwhelming number of messages from people (friends old and new) across social media and direct to phone and whatnot (thank you all). It was really nice, as were the cards and food and flowers from work, and the unexpected loveliness of my mum-in-law dropping in that evening with cards and presents and sticking around for cake. It felt more like an actual birthday than one has in a very long time.

Yeah, bring it on! Let the good times roll!

Yeah, bring it on! Let the good times roll!

I suspect I was also dreading it automatically – but the past year has been one of such a huge amount of change and so many little steps forward that the usual ‘where is my life going?’ feeling didn’t really settle. I mean, the question is still there, but there’s been a change of tone from despair to… I don’t know. Excitement is a bit strong, but perky interest, certainly. And there’s a lot going on in the next year. In the next week, even, since the stars aligned and CM and I managed to bag a couple of not-too-extortionate tickets to Amsterdam to visit a friend we’ve not seen in ages. I had my week off work pretty much outlined to finish the freelance work I had lined up and focus on Big Writing Projects 1 & 2, but I think I’ll be able to write in Amsterdam and the freelance stuff will be finished before we go. It feels like ages since CM and I went away together, so I’m pretty excited. In the next month: For my birthday, CM got me a ticket to see Neil Gaiman at the Word Factory next month (I actually booked the ticket, but it’s a gift from him), which I am stupidly excited about (as well as seeing friends, briefly). His mum got me a copy of Trigger Warning, which I’ll be reading before I go, and hopefully getting signed. In the next year: me, J and B – wordfactory friends – finally fired the start pistol on an anthology project that we had outlined and been tweaking for ages (this is Big Writing Project 1, btw). We came up with the concept a long time ago but between work and broken internet, took a while to get going on it. As of now, it’s officially underway, with the next big deadline at the end of June. I can’t speak for the others, but I am both nervous and excited to see how this turns out. Hopefully it’s going to be the starting point of many more collaborations. This is all deliberately vague, but in the future I hope I’ll be happier to give more info. Speaking of writing, I mentioned months and months ago that I’d had four poems accepted by a journal that I didn’t name at the time – my first experience of a) chasing to check my work had made it somewhere and b) being asked to send more.  I think I didn’t name the journal because I thought that it might fall through in the months before publication. But that didn’t happen. So, I’m pleased to say that I’m one of the printed Broadsheet poets in the most recent issue of Agenda Magazine (Callings) – I’m not sure it’s on the website yet, but my copies have arrived and I think my poems will be in the broadsheet section of the website as well as on paper. The four poems included are some of my favourites, and include ‘At Canada Water’, which I cleaned up before sending, but which will forever be the Duck Fucker poem to me. Aaand, that’s it for now. I might get more blog-happy this week, because I have time and head- space and a game plan. This is the springboard for the summer – I’m a leaf on the wind etc etc.

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