Weeknote, 30th April 2023

I missed out on my week note last week because I was incredibly tired, and when I’m too tired to write you know it’s really something. I was trying to contain a lot of work-related stress: Sunday night, I slept until 3 am and woke up with my head spinning, and the same on Monday night.

Fortunately I know enough about how that pans out to immediately put up the emergency bat-signal at work and talk to my team about it, which of course helped, and then we worked out what it was I was fretting about and sorted that out. Cue solid seven hour nights from then on, and a much happier Ian.

I have been through this kind of thing a couple of times before and it always happens when for one reason or another I lose focus. I do not thrive when I try and take on too much – I end up circling around a bunch of thing and trying to do them all at once, which of course means I don’t actually do any of them to be best of my ability. That creates a nasty little feedback loop, and what clears it is always sitting down, getting my focus back on one thing per day, and breaking that cycle.

One Saturday night we had a trip into town to go to the Free Range open mic night, where one of our friends was doing a performance involving sculpture and inviting the audience up to interact with them and, if they wanted, read from the texts on them. It was a lot of fun and involved three whole pints which is an event rare enough to be fun and get me quite drunk. The days when I could drink all night are long, long gone.

I’m trying to consolidate all the online storage I have into less places. My subscription to Office 365 is up soon and I’m almost certainly going to give it up: I have access to the Office suite through work if I need it, and I prefer using Nisus Writer as a word processor and Scrivener or Ulysses for writing more generally. Dropbox is also going, as I don’t need it either – I’ll probably consolidate all my cloud storage into iCloud. I’ve been testing Nextcloud and it’s good, but unless I’m migrating away from everything else it’s just another thing to keep track of.

This week I have been reading…

A swift canter through Ken MacLeod’s Beyond the reach of Earth, which was OK. I often find the second volume of a trilogy is the low point, as you never find out whatever the “big reveal” is likely to be and quite often the series seems to be treading water.

I also finished Neal Asher’s Jack Four, and am half way through it. It was a bit Asher-by-numbers, with that blend of hard SF and horror which makes him a fun read, but I saw the twist at the end coming when I had read about 50 pages which made it more than a bit unsatisfying. It would have been more fun had that twist been something entirely different.

Neal’s an interesting character. We used to chat a bit on social media (back in the days when social media was a bit move conversational and a bit less performative) and although our politics are worlds apart I always liked him. His beloved wife passed away a few years ago and it really seemed to hit him hard. I hope that he’s in a better place now.

I finished Claire Keegan’s Foster which was an absolute delight. It’s a long short story, not even long enough to call it a novella, but it’s just a beautiful piece of writing. Highly recommended.

All that has taken me to five books this month and twelve for the year so far. Next up is Julia Armfield’s Our wives under the sea which I’m looking forward to as I loved her short story collection Salt Slow. I have booked myself on to another Arvon writing course later in the year and Julia is one of the tutors, so it will be interesting to learn more about how she writes.

This week I have been writing…

I worked a bit on the Shaye and La Muerte stories, but I’m feeling a yen to go back to something which isn’t fantastical for a while. Also I should just complete something. That would be nice.


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