Catching Up

I’ve not posted for a while. Today I’m catching-up with a miscellany of stuff, good and bad.

I spent a week in the UK visiting my mother and returned depressed at the toll late-stage Alzheimer’s is having on that wonderful woman. Then I heard that my 11 year old nephew had succumbed to cancer. It was the tragic loss of a bright and cheery child, much loved by his classmates and well-known to the other residents of the small Scottish village, as demonstrated by the full church. It was a sensitive service, taking account of the age and confusion of the many young attendees. My thoughts continue to linger with his parents and younger siblings.

Grumpy Old man

I mentioned in an earlier post how the construction work on the land next to mine was disruptive to my life, my creativity and my whole universe. My neighbors tell me that the builders thought I was a grumpy old man. Me?

Yes, I complained when their trucks blocked my drive and parked on my garden. Also when they ran heavy machinery outside of legal hours (early mornings and late nights), and again when they knocked down my garden fence. Pointing-out the anti-social aspects of such behavior sounds perfectly reasonable to me. But that’s only my own perspective. Maybe I am too self-centered?

SciFi Conventions

Attended my first Convention briefly last weekend – LuxCon 2015.  Scores of cosplayers (people dressed as fictional characters in exotic costumes) and collectibles’ vendors, an assemblage of authors and a mass of happy attendees. A huge success for such a small host country (Luxembourg), running only its second such event. Well done, organisers, and sorry I couldn’t stick around for the whole weekend.

Next weekend, I’m attending “Dysprosium“, the 2015 event in the UK’s Eastercon series. It’s a well-established and huge affair in a massive market, so the comparison with the Luxembourg event will be interesting. I was lucky enough to score places in three of the writing workshops, so they will be the “icing on the cake” of the long weekend. I’ll also be meeting-up with my best friend from University days, whom I haven’t seen for far too long.

Writing Progress

Ah, yes, the writing stuff… Not a lot of progress in recent weeks.

I mostly write hard-ish SciFi and wander into Fantasy at times, in my short stories. My Work-In-Progress had been a far-future SciFi series. But late in 2014, I had the urge to try my hand at a 1950’s detective mystery with hints of the paranormal. Don’t ask me why. It took over from my other projects and I really enjoyed myself, taking a break from my usual genres.

Anyway, it’s nearing completion and alpha-readers have responded well. I’ll be posting sections during April, to test for a wider reaction. I’ll announce updates as they appear.

Meanwhile, in the words of another person lost to us last month, may you all “Live Long and Prosper”.

11 comments on “Catching Up

  1. So sorry for your losses, Andy. Losing a child is one of the worst of tragedies. But Alzheimer’s is equally tragic for the protracted cruelty that it imposes upon both the patient and those who care for and about that person. I wish you and your Mother well.

    • Thank you, James.

      Losing a child feels so “wrong”, so ultimately contrary to the order of things. In our high-tech society, we have become used to our children outliving us. In many ways it is even more overwhelming than the loss of older relatives and friends who have lived out a “fairer” span of years.

      And yet, at the other end of that span, to watch a parent’s memories and shared experiences fade away is a slow torture for those close to them. Again, it feels so “wrong”. We feel that our later years are a time to reflect on how we came to be who we are, to bask in the treasury of memory, to cherish the golden times and to pass on the wisdom we hope we have gained from our experiences both good and bad. Alzheimer’s plucks those ripe fruits and tramples them underfoot, leaving confusion and frustration – bitter fruit.

      “…Last scene of all,
      That ends this strange eventful history,
      Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
      Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”
      William Shakespeare

  2. Andy, first I am so sorry for your loss. y deepest sympathy to you and your family.And the best of everything in regards to your mother. Sounds like you have been extra busy with all your writing projects and I wish you te best with your detective story! Let us know how the progress on that goes with your readers.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts, Jacqui.
      I saw “Still Alice” last night and it made me weep. A well-deserved Oscar for Julianne Moore in a timely and sensitive consideration of how Alzheimer’s erodes a person and affects those close to the sufferer. As a writer and (sometime) actor, whose raw materials are words and communication skills, it carries a particular horror for me. We can only hope that human ingenuity will discover a prevention, although a cure for the advanced stages – a recovery of lost memories – will remain unachievable.

  3. Pingback: Dysprosium : SciFi Convention | Andy McKell

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