Friday, August 04, 2006

Thank goodness

I've finished! I am a fully qualified Massage Therapist (Cert 4) as of 3:30 yesterday afternoon. We went out for drinks and dinner last night to celebrate. I'm just so glad it's all over and I can get back to life.

Talking of which.

It's not often I put faith in television, but one programme recently had me reassessing our family situation. The other night Aiden and I watched "Honey, We're Killing The Kids". Flawed? yes. Sensationalistic? Absolutely. But...they took a very chaotic family (6 unruly brats under 10), changed their eating habits, their sleeping arrangements, exercise routine and paternal involvement. They brought in 3 simple rules a week for three weeks for the family to follow in an effort to bring routine and health back into the family's life/lives.

And it worked. At the end of the three weeks the children and parents were much happier and healthier. I couldn't get over the change. The children didn't lose spirit. They still ran around making noise, but they also knew when it was time to settle down to dinner/sleep/exercise. In fact, noticeable changes were present by the end of the first day, with all children falling into bed at a reasonable time, due to the lack of sugar and caffeine.

I was inspired!

Yesterday morning I called a family meeting and announced that I was implimenting three rules as of Tuesday (shopping day) although some are starting this afternoon.

They're nothing dramatic but they will get us back on track.

1. No lollies, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol. Lee and Aiden were rather smug over the caffeine part of the rule until I reminded them that Pepsi Max and Diet Coke are full of the stuff. Their faces fell about a foot, but I believe it'll be worth it.

2. Erin and Aiden are to go for a walk everyday after school. At this point I've told them it will be 2 laps around the oval but it will change as the habit kicks in.

3. We, as a family, will spend 20 minutes after dinner cleaning. Even Connor is able to take some things from the dishwasher in the laundry to the kitchen, so I see this as being good for family togetherness. Twenty minutes isn't a lot of time, but when we're all pitching in, it adds up to at least an hour of cleaning time, more when Casi and Blake are here.

I'm really excited. It's the first positive reaction I've had to anything in months and I can't wait to start.

Well, it's time to crank the music up and clean the house.

Have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My two cents worth

I haven't felt a whole lot like blogging or LJing lately. Life has been somewhat difficult and I have wanted to keep to myself.


There's quite a discussion going on in various forums at the moment as to who should take responsibility for an author's career. Is it up to the author or the editor to further a work and push it for consideration within Year's Bests, Awards etc.

Opinion tends to be that it is up to the author to take care of the interests of the work. If the editor doesn't, then maybe the author should take control and get the story under the eye of the people that matter.

I agree.

But, I have to add another opinion as to why certain stories weren't picked up by a certain editor for a certain Year's Best. Maybe the editor simply didn't think the stories were of high enough quality. While the editor made her own comments regarding submission practice, at no time did she say she hadn't read the stories.

Most of us being published in the Australian market are earning a reputation, virtually overnight. We go to Cons, we hang out together, read each others' works, pat each other on the back. We take a certain level of success for granted.

However, we are competing in a world-wide market. I know Ellen Datlow keeps tabs on what's going on. If a story of Exceptional Quality had appeared in Shadowed Realms, I doubt she would have let it slip by.

So maybe we're arguing from the wrong corner. Maybe we should just accept that our work isn't world standard and try that little bit harder.

Just my opinion.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Catch up time

God, don't you just hate it when you spend half an hour on a blog only to have it disappear just as you come to the end?

So, here we go again.

On Conflux.

I had no great expectations for Conflux. Everything went wrong from the moment we decided to go, and I mean EVERYTHING! Our money ran out, we found out that our flights had been booked differently to how we’d intended, my 1 day off from my course turned into 3, my ex kicked up a bit of a stink about the extra time needed to look after Aiden, we found we couldn’t cancel our flights without losing our money, we had no money for food let alone books or drinks and well, it was all turning to crap.

But we had to go anyway. We boarded our flight, comfortable in our knowledge that we were about to have the worst holiday ever and there was nothing we could do about it. I took my drugs (I can no longer fly without being knocked out) and woke up four hours later as the wheels descended. Best Flight Eva!
That was the first thing to go right for us.

And from there it escalated.

We found out, to our joy, that breakfast was included in the price of our hotel room. Yay! We were ensured of at least one filling meal a day. And fill up we did. And thank god for pastries. This tasty delights could so easily be folded up within napkins and deposited into my handbag for lunch. One pastry each kept the hunger at bay until dinner time. Thanks to our little breakfast win, we were now able to use our $20 a day complete food budget solely for dinner.

Then there was Lee’s book launch. While we didn’t sell out, we did sell enough each day to allow for a couple of drinks back at the bar each night. By the time the dead-dog came, we had enough to buy a drink for a couple of friends.

On friends.

I met up with Llyn Triffitt and found my long-lost Siamese twin. Not only did we share the same name (Triffitt being my former married name), but we’re the same height, have very short hair, were born 2 days apart (making us both Cancerians) (okay 2 days and 3 years, but you get what I mean) and have the same fertility problems. We found we’d both lost ovaries due to cysts and had a largely depleted chance of falling pregnant. Finding out about my 5 pregnancies must have given her some hope. Now I just have to find her a new husband named Lee Battersby and our duel lives will be complete! Oh, and her husband’s name is Iain, which is, of course, the Scottish form of John. So, there you go.

And we clicked like long lost friends.

My other great find as far as friends go was finally meeting the wonderful Dirk Flinthart. I’d say it was love at first sight, but that distinction goes to my beloved. I bought a story from Dirk for issue 11 of ASIM (Corpus Christi) so knew him to be a talented writer, but nobody told me that is also A) one of the finest human beings you’ll ever meet and B) taller than anyone else EVER! I met Dirk as I was walking into a panel. He grabbed me by the arm and said “Lyn Battersby! I’ve been wanting to meet you.” There’s this guy holding my whole arm just with the tips of his fingers. Rather than panicking, I looked for the name tag so I could mention it to security.

“Dirk Flinthart! Hello!” I hugged him, then he stood up for a better hug. I looked up, and up and up. Yes, I’m short. I’m shorter than just about any adult I’ve ever met. So you can imagine how intimidating it must have felt to look up at a virtual giant. And yet, you’d be wrong. Dirk wasn’t intimidating at all and I immediately felt very safe with him. If you know me, you know that doesn’t happen all that often. The last time I felt that safe with a stranger, I ended up marrying him. How long do you have to actually know someone before you can consider them one of your closest friends? I don’t know how it works for other people, but I now think of Dirk as being in that category.

Matt Farrer

I met Matt the day Fandomedia 1 started. I’d heard of him and Lee had started an on-line correspondence with him, but Fandomedia was the first time I met him and Conflux the second.

Matt was kept busy throughout the Con, but he always managed to stop for a quick chat on his way to the next crisis. However, once the Con was over, he gave the whole of Tuesday over to showing us the Canberra you don’t see. This is country Australia as you imagine it for Queensland or the NT or even WA, but not our nations capital.

Thank you, Matt for one of the best days I’ve ever had. Lee and I will always treasure those hours we spent with you.


I’ve become a big Lisa fan. Formerly known as “Simono’s girlfriend” Lee and I both got to know Lisa as a friend in her own right over the four days. We were not disappointed.

There were others, too, who made their mark. John Robertson and his girlfriend Jo, Wuffie and of course Lily Chrywenstrom who I’ve known for a few years now and get to know better each time we meet up.

Ellen Datlow was a fabulous guest and one of the highlights for Lee and I was splitting a bottle or two with Ellen, Dirk, Kate Eltham and Rob Hoge one night.

Yes, Conflux worked out for the best. I know there were problems, but they didn’t effect me and I had a wonderful time.

And now onto the everyday stuff.

I took Aiden to see the Dead People exhibition at the Convention Centre. A fair amount of controversy has surrounded this exhibition but as a massage therapist I decided to go as it gives you a rare look at muscle structure and function. Usually I consider myself to be a person of strong constitution, and both Aiden and I enjoy the gore aspect of shows like CSI and the Crime Channel. This was different. Aiden looked at two bodies then went to watch a DVD about evolution. I looked at all the bodies, but came away feeling quite upset by it all. Two years ago these people were alive. The details surrounding their deaths are hazy. They may or may not have been executed for their political leanings. They may or may not have been criminals. They may or may not have given their bodies voluntarily. Going into the exhibition I decided not to let my judgement be affected by the past. Once inside, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the future.

I once decided to give my body to science. I still think I will. I do not, however, want to give it for art.

Casi is currently studying some obscure world event thing for Society and Environment. As a result she needed to watch Forrest Gump, so she could see the impact one man can have on his family, his country and the world.

Casi and I had a huge fight on Friday after school. We had both reached the stage of declaring we never wanted to see each other again. Harsh words were said. We didn’t know how to retract them. We glowered each other and wondered what to do next.

Casi said she had to watch the DVD. I said she was grounded. She apologised. I relented and drove her down to the video store. We watched Forrest Gump together. We sat side by side and talked over all the implications of Forrest and Jennie’s lives, their hopes, their expectations, society’s expectations and their outcomes. In the end, we decided, life comes down to parental love.

You had to be there. It was beautiful.

And the connection continued.

Lee is heavily into the World Cup right now.

I’m not.

I did, however, find the first season of Footballer’s Wives the other night. Last night Lee sat down in the lounge-room to watch some obscure game. I disappeared into the bedroom to watch an episode or two of Footballer’s Wives. Casi followed me, grumbling about the inequality of it all and why did Lee have to watch his stupid sport, and doesn’t he know that it’s not real football and that only Aussie Rules is real and why can’t she use the computer and why don’t I go back to watching Neighbours if I want to watch a soap, and how long will this go on for and…

By the end of the first episode we were both hooked. We watched all four episodes of the first disk and Lee was made to wait in the office until we’d finished.


He has football. I have Footballer’s Wives. It’s almost the same thing.

And that, as they say, is that.

If you want to catch up with what Lee is up to, jump on over to ASif and read the ongoing interview with him there. Ask questions, offer opinions, be friendly.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Eagerly anticipated...

Despite my recent (unannounced) decision not to blog and/or LJ anymore, I will be posting my version of Conflux here soon. I will blog it rather than LJ it, so it will go through the Battblush LJ feed. This, of course, means it won't contain any cuts.

Just in case a glitch occurs, a general summary would be:

Conflux ROCKED!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

General updatey goodness

My Certificate Four in Massage course has started. In three months time I should be a fully qualified Massage Therapist. Three months after that (or maybe six, depending on whether I go full or part time) I should also have my Diploma in Remedial Massage which will qualify me to do, well, Remedial Massage. After that I'll decide whether to branch into a Physiotherapy degree on a part-time basis.

The course is so much harder than I expected it to be, simply because a lot of it involves Human Biology, a subject I pretty much failed at High School. Still, I'm always up for a challenge. I may have to study twice as hard as everyone else in the course just to understand anatomical theory but the effort I'm making is paying off. I now know a Popliteal Fossa from a Cubital Fossa and the Anterior Triangle from the Posterior Triangle from the Inguinal Triangle and can point out all the no-go spots of massage (namely, all those above, plus the kidneys, eye sockets, elbow indentations, lymph nodes and armpits as well as breasts on a woman).

I'm loving the course and enjoy the learning environment. One week in and I'm already enjoying giving massage more than receiving it. I'm now quite proficient at the back and legs and have it on good authority that I'm the Queen of the Gluteus Maximus. Apparently nobody does the lower butt like I do. Yay me!

So here's an invitation. For the duration of my Cert 4 course I'm happy to practice on willing guinea pigs for nix. Anyone who does take advantage of this automatically qualifies for my 'mates rates' after I'm qualified, ie, they'll receive the full massage experience for half price. The only thing is, you'll have to come to my house in Clarkson. The price of petrol is so high, it's not worth my while to give away both a massage and petrol. I will be available on Saturdays and Sundays. The other thing you'll have to keep in mind is that as I'm not qualified, I may not YET be as good as your regular therapist. I'm still learning and practising, but the upside is, the more I practice on you, the better I'll be.

At the moment my practice sessions will run for half an hour. As my skills and knowledge base grow, so will the time I take. At the moment I will be concentrating on back and legs. The massage will be for relaxation, not deep tissue manipulation. This will change as I'm taught new skills. I will only be taking on three clients per day, one morning and two afternoon, so you can email me at to make a booking.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sorry sorry sorry

Get in line

This week has been quite eventful for Battboy and I. Individually we've managed to majorly annoy friends. While mine resulted in a bit of a rant in a public forum, Lee had the privilege of receiving hate mail.

I'd like to be able to report that this is a totally new incident but, well, I can't. Lee's received such letters before (on at least two other occasions) but this was particularly depressing and distressing. We came home and I gave Lee a back massage while we chatted about what we want from our lives. In the end we decided that life was about us and the kids and no one else. If it ends up making us hermits, then we'll be happy hermits together.

In other news, today we went to the KSP centre open day. Lee and I were asked to give a reading of our works. Lee chose "The Dark Ages", a story featured in "Through Soft Air" while I read the first third of "The Hanging Tree" which can be read in Borderlands 6. We both received positive feedback about our stories which was one of the few good things about the experience.

Gaelan sucks!

Big Brother is back. Yay! And that's all I have to say about that. For now.

The best bit

My kids are with me for the holidays. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Aiden is back with me full time as of this week, so I'm over the moon.

Growing up (Please don't be offended by what I write, but I'm still learning)

I went out to my friend Kellene's 25th birthday on Friday night. She decided to hold it at The Court, which was fine, I've been there before, and well, it was fine.

Now, I've spent the better part of my life as a good little Witness girl, so there were some streams of life from which I was cocooned. Since leaving the religion I've had the opportunity to meet and befriend quite a few gay and lesbian people and thought I'd come a long way in my ideologies.

Turns out I wasn't quite as tuned in as I thought I was. On Friday night I realised:
1) I've never met an actual man in drag before (Madison Square and Vogue were gorgeous and were a delight to meet)
2) I've never seen two real men kissing before. (By real I mean not on tv)

So that's two more experiences I can tick off.

And yes, I blushed.

I took Sheldon with me, so at least I had someone to share my insights with on the way home. Sheldon was a lot of fun and we had some amazing conversations. Everyone loved him and I mingled a lot because of him. I'm very claustrophobic in crowds and tend to hide in corners or behind Lee, but Sheldon kept it all light and fun and I hardly felt uncomfortable at all.

So cute

Connor has reached a whole new level of cuteness this week. He loves nothing more than to slide down Lee's legs, yelling 'weee' as he goes. He's also learnt to climb into and out of his high chair by himself and pull his trousers/shorts off while I'm putting his t-shirt/jumper on. His other new trick is two fold. I say 'bed' and he either runs into his room and stands by his cot, or he turns tail and heads towards the other end of the house while shaking his head and yelling 'no'. They don't get much more adorable than this.

I'm off to bed now. Have a fabulous week.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stick with me baby and I'll make you a star

I woke up to the most fabliest email today...

My name is (name withheld cos it seems the right thing to do), and I would like to introduce myself and firstly say how much I enjoyed reading "The Memory of Breathing". I am an independent film producer, and I think that "The Memory of Breathing" would make a great short film, and so I am interested in optioning the film rights for "The Memory of Breathing".


It's Australian and it's indy. Therefore it has serious cred. I've always felt 'Memory' would make a great little movie. And here's my chance to see it in that new fangled gizmo called Technicolour that we've all been hearing about. Okay, it's more likely it'll be shown at the Uni sausage sizzle next summer, but hey! TMOB will be accessible to more people than ever before.

Am I stoked? Hell, yes!

But I'm just gonna wait to see what Peter Jackson offers :)

In other good news, it seems we can't get a refund on our flights, so it looks like we're both going to Conflux after all.

I have to say I'm pleased.

In other writing news:

LJ user Cassiphone had this to say about "Edges" (Shadow Box 9 - Redback issue)

3. Edges, Lyn Battersby, Shadowed Realms 9 - Despite the disorientation at seeing my baby's name attached to a sexually aggressive character, I thought this was a really effective piece of horror about multiple personality syndrome - shows the amount of story you can actually pack into flash fiction.

and about "The Hanging Tree" (Borderlands 6)

17. The Hanging Tree, Lyn Battersby, Borderlands 6 I'll be reviewing this issue for AS if - but this is one of the two standout stories in the issue, an angry but controlled story with strong characters and a sense of Australian history. It's based on a premise that could easily turn ugly (or, at least, trite) in the hands of a less accomplished writer, but the fierceness of the narrative transcends the story's gimmick. Where "The Memory of Breathing" was restrained and tense, this story is wild and raw and emotionally violent (though, I believe, less actually disturbing than TMOB - but I don't particularly want to imagine a story that's *more* emotionally disturbing).

It's funny how these things turn up when you least feel like a writer.

Had a very enjoyable lunch with my friend Jen yesterday followed by a relaxed evening with LJ users PRK, Mynxii and Cupid's Bow. Much wine was consumed and by the time I got home I was feeling rather light headed. After an emotionally draining month I started my day/evening feeling rather hands offish, but I soon mellowed and rather enjoyed the 'touchy-feely' aspect of sitting on the couch, snuggled up with three lovely people, chatting as we watched the world go by.

Fuche, I have to say, was rather noisy, but seated as we were, there was a sense of removal from what was going on behind us. At one stage they turned the music up to rather a disagreeable volume (from my father's mouth to you) but Mynxii politely asked them to turn it down again and they complied. The venue itself wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but the waitress was lovely and accomodating and the converation was both easy-going and intellectualy. I've not spent a lot of time with Cathy (or should I say, Dr Cathy now?), but I do always enjoy those moments I do get with her. She's intelligent and witty and sweet. She's not had the easiest time of it, but she's a strong person and I really admire her.

A fun weekend ahead. Looking forward to a bbq lunch tomorrow with Calli and Chesh, Sarah Xu and her husband Andrew and of course the various accompanying babies, then another bbq lunch with Lee's family and my mum and step-dad on Saturday. I'm can't wait.

And then there are the Ditmars. I'm not sure which day they're on, but I think it's Saturday. I'm up for two awards, 'Best Short Story' for TMOB and 'Best New Talent'. Lee won BNT three years ago, so it would be nice to have a 'hisnhers' matching pair :) So, if you're voting...

Have a lovely holiday break. Out of all the holidays, Easter is generally the one I least get into. It's just so wrong on so many accounts, and usually I have Swancon to hide behind, but I am looking forward to the chance to be sociable over the next few days.

Enjoy Conjure those of you who are going. Have a drink for me :)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Can I start this week over, please?

Well, I think we can definitely write last week off. It sucked big time, baby!

Lee and I made the decision to swap roles. He'd stay at home and look after the kids while I returned to work.

A job was advertised with a temping agency. I applied, then realised that I was going to be underpaid by rather a lot, simply because they didn't cover sick leave or holiday pay. I could handle the holiday pay part, but not the sick leave. I'm not the healthiest person on the planet. I need my 8-10 days. So when offered the job, I refused.

They phoned me back and offered me another job. With an extra 80c per hour! Worried about our disappearing funds, I took it.

I hate it! I'm handling mortgage discharges. This means, the customer for whatever reason, decides they want their title deeds. Maybe they paid off their house or sold it or died or...


ummm, where was I? Oh yeah, mortgage discharges. So they want their certificate of title, so I have to track it down and the mortgage and the contract ...




Ever wonder why the word mortgage has the word MORT in it. Cos talking about it will bore you to death!

So anyway. I start on Monday. And I hate it. The woman who's training me is flicking from screen to screen saying "and do this, and do this, and don't forget this. And you simply must do that. But you don't need to do that if the customer doesn't have..."

(1 sheep. 2 sheep. 3 sheep)

"Now, you sit at this computer and do it." Do what? Flick pointless screens around? I don't understand. What do they want from me?

I go back on Tuesday.

And I'm hating it. I'm still flicking screens around, trying to add useless bits of information in, trying to find that "must do" screen (which doesn't seem to exist in Lynland) and trying to find some sense in this dreary world I've stumbled into.

About lunchtime I decide enough's enough. I sit at my trainer's desk and say "I'm not moving until I understand what you're doing. Don't teach me. Just do your job and I'll follow along. I'll ask questions if I need to but other than that, ignore me."

And it works. An hour later I walk back to my desk and find the 'must do' screen.

And it's not so bad.

The rest of the week is still boring and I, unlike my colleagues, can't find it in me to be excited by this stuff, but on the positive side I am handling a new mortgage at an average of one per hour and this in turn reminds me why I'm doing this job.

Then Friday comes. Thank god. I do my tour of duty and leave. I'm on my way home, walking down City Arcade, when it happens. My weak ankle collapses. It just folds under me taking the rest of my body with it. The pain flowers from my ankle to my toes through to my knee. It's so bad I can barely breathe, let alone cry. One guy stops to help me. He offers me his arm. I, being the ultra-phobe I am, refuse. "Trust me," he says, trying to take my bag. I shake my head and point to Miss Maud's. "I'll sit here and wait for my husband."

He shrugs and walks off. Now I cry. I wait until he's out of sight then hobble to the train station. It takes 25 minutes, but finally I make it. Fortunately I'm able to get a seat, virtually unheard of at that time of day.

By the time I arrive home the ankle is the size of a football and my foot is tingling. Lee pushes SuperCodeine into me along with two glasses of wine. My body finally does the decent thing and I pass out.

The weekend is spent in a haze of drugs and pain but by Sunday afternoon I'm feeling somewhat better.


Battboy and I celebrated our first anniversary on Sunday. One whole year as husband and wife. He bought me a beautiful ring. His present is waiting for my foot to recover so I can go and buy it.

Back at the story.

So this morning I decide I'm going to work. Remember, I'm paid by the hour. I don't get sick leave. I have to go into work.

I take the train.

I get off the train.

I walk maybe twenty metres when my foot, my left foot, my dickie foot, finds the only slippery patch in the entire station. Over I go, my foot folding and sliding away from me. The pain causes me to react in instinct and I shift all my weight to the other side of my body. And land heavily on my right hip.

I cried like a baby. A guard filled out an incident report while I called Lee. An hour later I was at the doctors and being x-rayed. It's not broken, but it looks like it should be. Chronically sprained, the left side of my foot is black and swollen and the doctor doesn't want me to walk on it for the rest of the week.

That's over $800 gone.

I am going to use this week productively, though. I'm going to a Border's Book Store career day on Thursday. I need a real job with real benefits.

Like sick leave.

And holidays.

And books.

And real people. Who talk to each other. About real stuff. Like books.

Wish me luck.

Pack up and go home.

I've just finished Chuck Palahniuk's "Lullaby" (he's the guy who wrote "Fight Club"). There are some authors you read and think "Why do I bother? He's said it all." The man is a jeen-yoos. I can't wait to read the next one. Chuckie P is brilliant!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And another thing...

After a month of various illnesses, both sinus and stomach related, I've decided to give vegetarianism a try. I'm not missing meat at all. Unlike no-carb diets, a no-meat diet is very easy to keep to when going out for dinner, coffee, breakfast etc. I'm loving it. I'm strictly not having any red meat, nor chicken, nor eggs. I'm undecided about seafood so am still having it for now until I decide not to. I do get asthma, so will probably keep tuna and salmon in my diet anyway.

I'm also eating cheese and milk until my body says "No." I am already substituting my milk with soy in my cereal and cooking, but I still prefer moo-milk in my coffee.

If you have a favourite vegetarian recipe you'd like to share, send it to me at

Thanks to Mouse for the recipe books. They're great!

Good morning, sunshine...

Or not.

It's 3.30am and I woke up about half an hour ago. You know how some nights you wake up, go to the toilet, have a drink and fall back into bed without barely registering it? Not this time. My eyes popped open with a snap and I've been alert ever since. I've put a load of washing in the dryer, put another load in the machine, checked on my beautiful teenage boy and read my friends LJs. I am sooooo awake!

I needed to check on A because he went to bed rather scared last night. We watched "Last Days of Planet Earth" and it left him feeling rather nervous.

Sidebar: There's a reason we don't normally watch Free To Air TV. LDOPE is one of the worst tele-movies I've ever seen. Sort of a cross between V and They Live, it's awful, awful, awful beyond belief.

Aiden has always had difficulty coping with horror/suspense. I should have known there'd be a problem. He still refuses to watch the Wizard of Oz because of the tornado scene and the witch. He is more like me than any of my other children :)

Writing writing writing

I've been a writing-demon lately. Lee's got quite a few projects coming up, so all his activity is having an impact upon me. My Tin Duck success has also re-energised the writing part of my brain and I've finished three short stories this week alone. The latest is a 567 word flash horror that I wrote this afternoon. I was sitting in the car waiting for Aiden to finish school. My laptop was next to me, a line popped into my head, then another one, followed by a third. By the time Aiden got in the car I'd written the first 430 words. I drove us down to Whitfords library and asked Aiden to watch Connor in the baby section while I finished it off and gave it its first edit. In all the first draft and first edit took 30 minutes total. And I'm loving this story.

Now for a title. So far it's called "Honour and Obey" but that's so not right. I need to find another.

I gave it to Lee to read last night while I gave his Monster story its first read through. It took Lee about two minutes to read, after which he declared: "The last line is perfect. I love that last line. Oh, and the rest of the story is fantastic."

Another sidebar. Lee's Monster story is part of shared-world type anthology that he's been invited to contribute to. The idea is a brilliant one and I'm happy to see Lee so excited about a project. He finished the story yesterday and I've been aching to read it. On the whole the story is excellent but the first part, in particular, is perfect. I think it's as good as anything I've ever read by a pro. Lee and I tend to be very critical of each other's work. We are harder on each other than we are on ourselves, so when we praise each other, it's not spousal-related. My thoughts as I read the first section were: "Wow, the man who takes out my garbage wrote this!"
The second and third sections need tightening and pulling together, but as a complete work, the piece, well, works.

My baby

Connor is doing well. His eyes are still rather red, but at least they look in the same direction now. I still find this rather disturbing, but the doctor did warn us that it could take a week or two for us to get used to the new look. Connor, on the other hand, has adapted perfectly. He had about 36 hours of wobbliness which could have had as much to do with the Painstop as the operation.

The worst part is the eyedrops. Theoretically he shouldn't need them after today, but I took him out for the day yesterday, causing him to miss two doses, so I'm adding another day, just to be sure.

Welcome to my world

Darth Barbie and I have signed up for Femmeconne. I'm looking forward to spending some time with my little girl, introducing her to the world of Adult Women. I think she really needs this as she's finding the road that leads from childhood to adulthood to be a rather rocky one. She really needs guidance at this time, and patience, and I just have to let some arguments go.

Jobs and job hunting

I'm still job-hunting and applied for three yesterday, two with the government and one with a company in Bayswater. The two gov jobs would be great as they're good money and dead easy, but the one in Bayswater is excellent money and job-share so I'd only be working Wed-Fri, giving me Monday and Tuesday at home. Erin and Connor are at kindy/childcare on those days, so Battboy and I would have the whole day to ourselves.

I went for an interview for a job with the ANZ last week. First I was interviewed by an agency, then I was put forward for this job with ANZ. It's new work for me and a step away from Telling which would be fantastic. The woman at ANZ loved me and was really eager to have me join her team. Then I found out that although the pay rate I'd been quoted was the same as what everyone else in her team was receiving, it wouldn't include sick leave or holiday pay, never mind public holidays. I worked out that for every sick day I had, I'd lose $147 dollars. Now, I'm not the healthiest person in the world. I need those 8-10 days that everyone else uses for beach purposes. Suddenly my reasonable pay rate didn't seem so fair. The lady at ANZ pointed this out and told me to ask for more money.

The agency woman phoned me on Thursday and offered me the position (while Connor was in the middle of his operation). I told her that, as the main bread winner, I couldn't afford to take a job that offered so little and that the pay rate offered wasn't a true reflection of what the position was worth.

"I can maybe go another 30 cents higher. It's the best I can do."
"Then I can't accept. Sorry."
She tried to make me see her point of view. I continued to turn the job down. It just wasn't worth it for my family. I wanted to be able to cover at least 4 sick days. For the experience I was willing to overlook the holiday pay and public holidays, but that was it.

We finally agreed that we couldn't come to a reasonable arrangement over this. We hung up and I shrugged it off to experience. Don't go through an agency.

Then this morning Lee phoned and said that the lady from the agency had called yesterday and could I call her back. She wasn't in when I phoned but her secretary said she'd call me today.

Here's hoping the ANZ changed her mind.

I laughed, I cried, I wrote...

I finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveller's Wife" last week. Lee bought it for me two Christmases ago and this was my second reading. I don't normally return to books after I've read them. I have about 5 book cases of unread books, begging me to read them, so usually I read a book then send it back into the world (generally through my mum).

TTTW is the only book that meets this exception. I love it so much, and with all the stress I've been under lately, I wanted a story I could rely on.

I wasn't disappointed. Because of the chopped up effect of the story, I knew roughly how the story ran, but not exactly when. The book still held surprises for me and, once again, proved itself to be unputdownable. I turned to it during Connor's operation and it kept my mind focussed on being the strong parent.

On the weekend we decided to drive an hour and a half out of Perth and pay my mum a surprise visit. I had a heap of books to give her and figured it would be cheaper than posting them. I handed them over and said, "You can keep all of them except one." I pointed to TTTW with a firm "Mine. I want it back." She nodded and went to write my name in it, only to be confronted with the inscription: "I belong to Lyn Battersby. You may read me, but please look after me and give me back."

I love the book that much.

But...A note to writers

The correct term is "would have..." not "would of..." Grrrr.

Yawning now. Back to bed.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Battbaby is home...

...and apart from looking like the leading actor from "Rosemary's Toddler" he doing well.

Having arrived at the hospital at 6:45 (as per instructions) we were told he was first on the list and would go in at 8:30. Battboy grumbled about the delay in transmission, but I wasn't worried. Connor charmed the pants off everyone, even those who were too sick to do much more than gaze at him from over the top of their oxygen masks. There were about 10 other people waiting and Connor made sure to visit every one of them for a chat. He was his usual adorable self and he left those in the waiting area a lot happier than they would have been other wise.

At 7:45 the anaesthetist dropped by to explain his role and to recommend a dose of pre-med Painstop. We nodded and it was given.

By 8:05 he (Battbaby) was fast asleep in my arms and I was ready to walk out with him then and there. He just looked so peaceful, it was breaking my heart to think of what he faced.

8:30 came and the nurse arrived to take him to theatre. I have never seen a baby look so vulnerable and tiny. My little boy lay prone on the bed with a yellow sheet tucked around him, his large eyes taking in everything as he was wheeled from the waiting room to theatre. It was a twenty second trip, yet we must have had at least fifteen nurses, doctors, cleaners, tea ladies and general passers-by commenting on how lovely he was.

We arrived, only to be turned away as the team wasn't ready yet. We went back to the waiting room and settled, with Connor falling asleep once again.

At 8:50 we received the nod and it was on again, this time for real. I gowned up and went with him into the theatre and then held his tiny hands still as they applied the mask. My terrified baby struggled for hours (about 30 seconds) but finally he fell asleep. I then left.

Lee and I chatted, read, worried, and read some more, before a nurse appeared asking for me to accompany her to recovery. Connor was in some distress, but a quick cuddle from his mummy put him straight back to sleep and he stayed that way for the next hour.

Finally, at about 11:00, he woke up, drained a bottle and fell back asleep. No sickness, no temp. He was fine. He slept for another twenty minutes before waking for a vegemite sandwich, a container of icecream and half a container of jelly. Then he became very interested in the workings of his drip. The nurse removed it and pronounced him ready to go home.

And here we are. He's asleep. His eyes are huge and red, but they're safe. He's safe.

He's safe.

Now I just have to convince Lee.
Connor goes in for his operation in about an hour or so. Will post either tonight or tomorrow morning and let everyone know how it went.

I'm worried for Connor and I'm worried for Lee.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Short and sweet

I will blog about the awards, but Lee is after the computer, so I'm going to quickly throw down some of my quickest impressions.

I was thoroughly drugged by the time we boarded the plane in Perth. My lovely doctor understood my phobia and gave me knock out drugs. This meant I slept for most of the four and a half hours. I did awake for the turbulence, but settled again quickly.

We arrived at 6am and I don't remember much at all. Kate Eltham and Rob Hoge took us back to their place. I made polite conversation for about 2 minutes then took myself off to bed. I don't actually remember leaving the loungeroom.

I don't remember Lee coming with me but he must have because I woke up next to him at about 10am. We went exploring and I bought HEAPS (I'll post about it later).

We arrived back about 6ish with 2 bottles of wine. Kate was there. Lots of other people turned up. Kate cooks a fabbo lasagne.

I flirted with Sean Williams. He's lovely. He's gorgeous. I love him.

There was the news I'd been nominated in 2 (TWO!) Ditmar categories.

I started to feel unwell, but put it down to still being drugged.

I went to bed. I don't remember Lee coming with me but he must have because I woke up next to him at about 7am.

I woke up on Saturday and realised I was SICK! Really sick. I am allergic to Brisbane. My slight sniffles from the night before had turned into a raging sinus infection.

By Saturday night I was totally ill, but got dressed into my super-sexy dress and stepped out with my beloved.

The awards:

Did I mention how ill I was? "Please let me win" I prayed. "If I win I can go home to die and no-one will think anything of it."

I didn't win.

Bugger. I had to stay where I was and be all cheery or else I was going to appear as the world's worst loser.

Lee won! Yay! At least half my smile was real. I am so proud of Lee and was happy he won.

Garth Nix told me he'd read my blog.

But I was still sick and not getting any better. By 9:30 I'd decided my smile had done the trick and we could head home.

Some lovely friends of Rob and Kate's could see how sick I was and offered a lift home.

I went to bed. I don't remember Lee coming with me but he must have because I woke up next to him at about 6am.

There was a bar-be-que, there were people, there was food. There were congratulations and commisserations all round. The name Ben Peek came up. I shrugged it off. I don't know the guy. I don't care. Memory has garnered me 7 nominations. Not bad for such an terrible story.

I went to bed. I do remember Lee coming with me because we chatted for hours about our weekend and confessed that we missed our kids and couldn't wait to get home to them.

By the next morning the Claratyne had kicked in and I could breathe again. My head was still pounding, but that's why God invented Panadol. Between all the drugs I mustered the strength to do another walking tour of Brisbane. We lunched at Toscani's, usually our fave Brissie place. This time we were rather disappointed. Then we drugged me up again and got on the plane to Perth.

And now we're home. Yes, I'm still drugged, but no longer sick.

Fave people this weekend were:
Rob H
Robert D (he's so funny)
Rjurik. I fell big time for Rjurik. He is so sweet. And cute. And talented. All that, and he plays the piano too.
Ben Payne
Karen Miller
Trevor Stafford
Chris Lawson.

I met a lot of sweet and lovely people and it was nice to be surrounded by such good will.

Friday, February 17, 2006

My memory of Memory

Well, it's been a year (or there abouts) since The Memory of Breathing was published in ASIM 17. Now, if you believe one source, you'd agree that I should be ashamed of producing such rubbish.

But I'm not.

Memory has been very kind to me.

I'm a new author. Prior to Memory, I only had one publishing credit to my name. I'm sure that if you asked anyone what that story was, only about 4 people would be able to tell you, and two of them published it for me. Memory entered the public consciousness and there it has stayed.
TMOB was written as a coping mechanism. I'd just lost three of my children in a terrible custody dispute and I couldn't face a life lived without them. I had two choices. Put my head in the oven, or work out my grief through the process of writing. Our oven turned out to be an electric one, so I turned to my laptop instead.

Memory is raw grief. It is about having someone else make the big decisions regarding the life of your child. It's about standing by and watching a third party take them over and tell you they can't be with you anymore. It's about doing the best to hold on to the people you love, and losing.
Memory was written at a time when my belief in myself as a mother had hit an all time low. I'm not going to explain why I lost my children. It no longer matters. What matters is that, because of Memory, I survived the ordeal.

A lot has happened since I wrote Memory. I recovered my self-esteem enough to decide to have another baby. I recovered my self-esteem enough to decide to adopt Lee's child (I can start proceedings in November). I recovered my self-esteem enough to fight my ex-husband for Aiden's return AND I won! I recovered my self-esteem enough not to bother retaliating to the recent bad review (which I saw only an hour after I'd been called a bad mother by my daughter). I still suffer from terrible depression and panic attacks, but I no longer feel that I want to die.

I'm glad I wrote Memory. Good press or bad, it's still being talked about one year after publication. It has been nominated for multiple awards and has received excellent reviews. Rich Horton has mentioned it on his 'favourite stories' list. Twice! He also put it on his recommended reading list when it appeared.

Yes, Memory has been wonderful for me.

I just hope the next story I write does even better.

While we're on the subject, Borderlands Issue 6 is out and Lee and I are in it. My story "The Hanging Tree" was actually written and submitted to Borderlands before I'd even thought of writing TMOB, so don't even think of making comparisons :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Something Positive

I have to pull something good from this day. Came home this afternoon to find this waiting on my desktop, courtesy of Rich Horton's annual review of ASIM:

There were three particularly strong novelettes this year. Lyn Triffit's "The Memory of Breathing" may be the best, about executed criminals who have been reanimated to provide labor as restitution.

This story has done such good business for me. It still amazes me just how popular it's been.

The whole review is here, by the way.

Look at me, mummy

About three days before Christmas, Connor fell over and hit his head on the dishwasher door. I applied a bandaid and hugs and kisses and after a few minutes, he toddled off, secure in the knowledge there was still mischief to be found. I, however, was a mess. What if it had been worse? The possibilities of what could have happened ran through my mind. A couple of days later the bandaid came off and the incident was forgotten.

Yesterday I took him to the eye specialist to see what he thought of Connor's 'cross eyes'. Sometimes it's quite obvious, other times you can barely notice it, but lately it's been more of the former than the latter. There was some concern over his ability to look directly at an object. This meant that he no longer relied on both eyes and that it may already be too late.

The doctor ran the appropriate tests and gave me the good news. He still uses both eyes and his vision is clear. But it won't remain that way for long. We have to act now in order to make sure he keeps his eyesight. This means an operation. Yes, they want to put a knife into both my baby's eyes. The dishwasher incident is nothing in comparison.

My thanks to Calli for letting me talk through events this afternoon. I know the family is really feeling the strain, but we'll get through this together.

The thing is this. Ever since it became apparent that Connor had a problem (at about 4 months old) I've been asking myself if it's my fault. Did I do something wrong in labour that destroyed his nerves. Did I not push when I should have pushed, did I bear down when I should have panted? The simple answer is "no" he was born this way. But even knowing this, I still feel guilty. He's my beautiful baby and I shouldn't have let this happen to him.

They're going to do what?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Here comes another one just like the other one

Last Things of 2005 meme
cribbed from cassiphone

Last Book Read: Spotted Lily by Anna Tambour. This is also my book of the year.

Last Live Music Show Seen: The closest I could come to this was when we were all sitting around after Fandomedia singing popular songs set to a Rammstein theme. John Robertson, Lee, Chuckie and myself were particularly biosterous that night

Last CD Purchased: I'm a 21st Century girl. I have emule. If I was going to purchase a CD, it would be Robbie Williams. The man is HOT!

Last Thing Cooked: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Eggs to make a Potato Salads for Perky's New Year's Eve Party. It was bloody good.

Last New Thing Eaten: Homemade Baileys and Fruit icecream. Made by my sister in law.

Last Thing Bought: Clothes. A new skirt (gyspy style, black, tiered, with a coin chain running around the waist) and three new tops (two sheer cos I wear sexy underwear and one plain but classy to go with jeans)

Last Gift Received: An esky from Lee's former mother in law.

Last Piece of Clothing Bought or Received as a Gift: See two above. I felt so good about these purchases (bought yesterday afternoon) that I went home and told Lee we were going to Perky's after all.

Last Embarrassing Experience: Having a panic attack after assisting Chuckie on his alien panel.

Last Totally New Experience: Cooking turkey for Christmas lunch. It was dry, but the stuffing rocked.

Last Foreign Country Visited, if any: Nil

Last New Bird Seen (feel free to substitute enthusiasm of your own if not a birder): birds are nature. I don't do nature. My own enthusiasms runs to my hair and buying handbags. Last new hair colour bought: Blueberry Hill (it borders on purple. I can't wait to apply it). Last hanbag bought: Lee bought me a Nightmare Before Christmas bag for - wait for it - Christmas. It carries my new art supplies.

Last Big Achievement: Part of me says "the Aurealis Award nomination" but that's not it. Getting my ex to finally agree that Aiden can come and live with me wins, hands down.