Eight Weeks of Bells

Eight weeks in and recovery is remarkably slow – but I was told to expect this. I reckon I have another couple of months at least until I’m recovered enough that it doesn’t annoy me.  But my eye no longer hurts, and my tear duct has started working again, and there’s nothing more delightful than an eye that isn’t sore, and being able to walk around in the daylight even when you forget your sunglasses!

Still, in that time I’ve finished a draft of a book – more on that in the next few months, I guess – and am nearly finished a new Death Works story (more on that when it finds a home).

Other books are starting to take shape and vie for attention so I think this is going to be a productive year. One can hope anyway.

This is my favourite time of the year. The light’s changing, the morning’s are gorgeous, and I always seem to get so much more done. Winter’s coming which means camping and coats, more writing, and time curled up beneath blankets reading. Things don’t get much better than that.


Two Weeks In

Two weeks of Bell’s Palsy has been a curious thing. I can almost forget I have it until I need to speak, or eat, or drink – there’s been a few spills. Fortunately writing is a relatively solitary activity, so I’ve not had to push it too hard other than at Avid, and people can still understand what I’m saying (except, when I try and say Bell’s Palsy, hah!).

As far as medical conditions go it has been very mild. Other than not being able to close my eye (but drops and gel seem to be keeping discomfort and dryness at bay). Though that said, I’d still rather not have it.

On the writing front, the new book is coming along rather nicely. This draft looks like it should be finished in the next month, which pleases me greatly. I’m very happy with this, and the next book I’m working on*, and writing, consistently writing always makes me a happier person – even if what I’m writing is dark or even depressing.

I don’t think there is a better way to play for me. And I’m lucky that I’ve had it almost all my life as comfort, challenge, and therapy.

Have decided to revisit the Death Works and Night Bound Land books here, too. Partly because I think there’s still plenty of stories left in those worlds (seriously, one way or another there’s another six books worth of Death Works and the NBL has some stories fore and aft of the novels that I’d really like to play with) and partly to build a little scaffolding around them. And hey, I reckon they’re actually good little books. So if there’s anything you’d like me to expand upon let me know. I’ll work it out as we go along.

Finally, here’s a little sketch of our house guest of the last month – and who has just headed home.





*yeah, I’m always looking ahead.

Bell’s Palsy – What I Got up to on My Holidays

So, what did you all do on your holidays?

Me, I’ve gone and gotten Bell’s Palsy, which is a very difficult word to say when you have Bell’s Palsy (those hard B and P sounds are too hard for my half paralyzed face to produce).  It’s one of those weird conditions where no-one is quite sure of the cause and it’s very benign (unless it’s not, but we won’t think about that, yet!). You tend to wake up in the morning (sometimes after an ear ache, sometimes not) with half your face not doing what it’s supposed to be doing (moving).

Me, not being a doctor, and having never heard of Bell’s Palsy assumed I’d had a stroke. Except, of course, it was only my face that was affected – in fact Diana had to talk me out of doing push-ups to “prove” that it wasn’t, though how that was going to prove anything, I don’t know.

The moment the doctor saw me he said: you’ve got Bell’s Palsy, Kid. (He may not have said kid, kid is there simply for dramatic effect, or something).

The nerve (the 7th cranial nerve, don’t you know) that controls the right side of my face is no longer talking to my brain (maybe they had a bit of fight, it tends to happen, my brain and body rarely agree on anything). Which means I can’t smile, well, I can but it’s very lopsided, I can’t raise my eyebrow (and we all know how MUCH I like to do that), and I can’t say the words Bell’s Palsy.

I’m on a short course of steroids – apparently hitting it early with steroids is quite effective – and the paralysis should clear up in the next few weeks (or months, but fingers crossed it’s only weeks). But when you work in retail it’s rather inescapable. For a man who’s just turned forty and who is used to a certain level of eloquence, and possessed of a certain level of vanity (who isn’t) it’s been quite an eye opener (literally in the case of my right eye which can’t quite close). People aren’t sure what to say about the lopsided face, and actually explaining about Bell’s Palsy means I have to say  “Bell’s Palsy” so we all end up looking confused.

Hopefully this will be all gone in a few weeks, but I can’t help but wonder how this must be for people who have to put up with similar conditions for their whole life (actually, I don’t need to wonder, I’ve had a pretty good glimpse). So, to anyone that I’ve ever looked at oddly, or seemed awkward around (hopefully never deliberately) please accept my apologies. I can do better, and I will.

And thanks to everyone (particularly Diana, my family, and workmates at Avid – my second family) that has helped make me feel a lot less sorry for myself over the past few days. Friends, laughter, and people willing to listen to me moan have been invaluable.

So that’s been my interesting little holiday. I guess, if you’re going to get a relatively benign condition, and you’re a Fantasy writer, something as odd as Bell’s Palsy isn’t too bad. I’m putting it down as research (though I don’t think I can get away with claiming it on my tax return) and appreciating that it’s paralysis of the face, not fingers, because my holiday’s over, I have lots of writing to do.