Archive for me

Things to which I have been up

I think building her a snow throne may have given her ideas above her station.

I haven’t been making blog posts as often this year as I did last year. Partly because last year I had a baby who slept a lot, whereas this year I have a toddler with very firm beliefs about how often Mummy is allowed to sit at the computer before she gets to have a go too. Resulting in the very real possibility that anything I write will accidentally end up with ‘dfjgoehodnvlos!!!!’ in the middle of a sentence. Soon she will learn to type and I’ll probably have to implant a virtual iPad in her head or something, but for the moment, she’s mainly of use as an agent of chaos.

And partly because I’ve kept half-writing posts, then having a crisis of confidence about whether they’re too dull, controversial, niche, obvious, or all of the above. (All of the above would be quite a feat, admittedly.)

However, I have done a few things that you wouldn’t immediately be aware of from this page, so here they are:

- My eight-year-old has written some more stories for her bit of this site. I’m pleased I set this up for her, because it’s motivating her to finish stories rather than getting halfway through and then wandering off to kick trees. (Don’t ask.) I particularly like ‘Friday‘, which features grape-eating cutlery.

- I wrote some ebook reviews, and am in the middle of writing some more (but it’s taking a while – the good books are hard to write about and the bad ones are hard to read).

- I did a guest blogging stint for The F-Word and wrote three posts for them about musicals, porn genies and why I can, in fact, take a joke.

- I wrote a guest post for Choler speculating on whether David Cameron saw himself as a plucky maverick or as a Bond villain.

- I wrote a post on Sherlock Holmes and genderswitching for Bookshelf Bombshells, as part of their blog bonanza for the start of Sherlock series 2 in the US.

- I had my novel reviewed by The Future Fire!

- I created a Pinterest board of all the things you’d have had to own in the 1980s to equal one smartphone.

-  I started using tumblr, which turns out to be fun, although I may be reaching my social media threshold soon.

- I created The Almost Art Project: photos of found-around-the-house art accidentally designed by my children.

I’m trying to write a second novel in theory, but – well, see my first paragraph: it’s hard to find the time. So while I wait for my children to get older and less needy*, I’m working on a couple more genderswitching projects – an illustrated ebook of genderswitched Grimms fairy tales, and an ebook anthology of genderswitched extracts from classics including James Eyre, June the Obscure and The Picture of Daria Grey. To be continued…


*Sometimes people take things I say very literally. I would like to clarify that I am not spending my time resenting my children and waiting for them to get older. Well, not all of my time. Sometimes I sleep.  


Unexpected items in bragging area

Hello! I should really update about what I’ve been doing elsewhere, as it’s all got quite busy. (And also, I was desperate to use this title.)

In December I was accepted into a Guardian writers’ workshop, and a result of that I’ve written three articles for them – two are linked from my Guardian profile, and the third, on genderswitching the classics, is here.

I’m also guest blogging for The F-Word in January and have written one post for them so far, called “Can’t you take a joke?”

So life is busy (particularly since I have a job and two children and technically no free time) but fun. My most recent Guardian article, about the concept of Twitter as a virtual literary salon, led to a Twitter conversation with Neil Gaiman – which, admittedly, involved him very nicely letting me know that I’d got one of my facts wrong, but he was also sweet about the article itself.

It’s been interesting writing for the Guardian, the Huffington Post and the F-Word (and Choler, of course) as well as my own site. The nature of the comments has varied wildly depending on the site: the F-Word has been lovely, the Huffington has frequently involved people rather missing my point (which is the risk involved in trying to be funny on the internet). I have largely avoided reading the Guardian comments altogether because the commentators there are notoriously often very harsh (and also often miss the point), as I know from years of watching people take Charlie Brooker’s articles utterly literally.

In fiction-related news, I shall soon have some print copies of my novel for sale at £6.50 plus postage: please email fausterella at gmail if interested! The e-book remains available on Amazon etc.

Oh, and you can currently get 25% off my short stories or my genderswitched Austen book at with code LULUBOOKUK305.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I think 2012 is going to be exciting.


A Skyrim Widow Speaks Out

First published at the Huffington Post.

I wish I liked computer games. I want to. I used to like some of them, the ones where you just solved silly puzzles while exploring an island with a weremonkey sitting on your shoulder telling jokes about pirates. (I may be conflating a few different games here).

But I get stressed when I have to do things within a certain time. And I get stressed when I have to talk to strangers, even imaginary and/or virtual ones. And I get stressed when I feel responsible for other people. And I don’t want to kill anyone, even if they’re a gangster, vampire, zombie ghoul, or evil prostitute who’s nicked all my beer and betrayed me to the mafia boss who’s also my mother. (I don’t know if that actually happens, but that’s what I imagine computer games to be like.)

So that’s almost all computer games out. I tried to play the Sims once and had to stop after five minutes, exhausted with the power. Having control of an entire world of tiny two-dimensional people was terrifying. What if they rebelled and rose up against me? What if I left them for too long and they all died from starvation? This is exactly why I didn’t like playing with dolls as a child.

I blame the graphics. They’re too good: my brain cannot understand that this is a game, not reality. A lifetime of being culturally indoctrinated not to shoot anyone in the kneecaps has meant that I can’t even pretend to do it to something that looks vaguely sentient. Which is silly, because I can watch violence on TV or at the cinema. (Well, I can if I squint a bit and think about happy things). I can even write characters that bad things happen to – there are two major deaths in my novel, and they’re both characters I liked. Did I care? No. I laughed like a bouncy serial killer as I sent them to be murdered. And those are people from inside my own head. So there’s no logic to it at all, really.

But logic or not, I find that modern computer games mainly seem designed to give me a nervous breakdown, and I don’t really need them for that – I have children.

Anyway. One of the reasons why I wish I liked computer games is that I have currently lost my partner to one. Well, not lost. I know where he is. He’s in his room, killing people in order to steal their souls and sell them so he can buy soft furnishings for his house. Only it’s not ‘his’ house, because – I recently discovered – in every computer game he plays, his character is a lesbian elf. Even in games where that’s technically not possible. It’s probably very meaningful.

I have in the past been a GTA widow, an Assassin’s Creed widow and a Portal widow, so this is not new. I am used to finding that once the children are in bed, my partner slinks upstairs muttering something about the goblins getting lonely. Sometimes they are space goblins, sometimes they are undead goblins, but they always seem to need a lot of attention. I’ve started to feel quite motherly towards them, although I’m keeping that emotion under control since the attention they mainly seem to need is having machetes aimed at their heads.

There is a Skyrim fraternity too, I notice. We went to a child’s birthday party last weekend and the father greeted my partner with the words: “Wood elf?” “No,” he replied. “Dark elf.” They both nodded wisely. I stared at them and ate apple crumble.

I think I just prefer my leisure time entertainment to be non-interactive, like TV. Maybe I’d like computer games better if they resembled the TV shows I like – has anyone invented one with singing and dancing in it yet? I could go for an X-Box with a pair of tiny tap shoes attached. As long as I didn’t have to use them to stamp anyone to death.


The Dilemma Habit

[This was the original, and totally different, version of my Huffington Post Halloween article, Eight Legs No Soul.]

I love working out the answer to imaginary dilemmas. I know you only really get them in thrillers, but you can never be sure when life will imitate art. So it’s best to be prepared for the day when a masked man will break into your home and demand you choose between undergoing a bizarre torture and sacrificing the lives of your family. Otherwise you might be taken unawares and just stare at him going “What? Why? What’s in this for you? Don’t you just want to steal my TV?”

So, in a spirit of mental preparation, I have spent some time pondering the issue of whether I would I spend a day trapped in a coffin with spiders in order to save my children from being murdered. Well, yes, I would. (Parental love has a lot to answer for.)

But would I do it in order to save my partner from being murdered? Sure, although I’d need absolute proof, in writing, that he would definitely die if I didn’t do it and definitely wouldn’t if I did.

Down one notch: would I do it in order to save my partner from being beaten up? Well.. maybe. How severe would the beating be, exactly? He’s robust, he’d probably recover from most things. And anyway, maybe he’d volunteer to be beaten up in order to save me from being trapped in a coffin, in which case I think I’d accept his sacrifice (reluctantly but definitely). I’d stock up on Savlon and bandages, of course, and be prepared for a lifetime of guilt, but I’d probably cope.

Would I do it to save a friend from being murdered? Not a close friend, a friendly acquaintance, one of the people I see once a year or so and follow on Facebook but I probably couldn’t tell you the names of their children and/or pets, or what they do for a living. Um… well, I suppose so. I wouldn’t want it on my conscience that I’d got someone killed because I wouldn’t spend a day doing something that wasn’t actually going to cause me damage. But I might suggest some form of financial compensation at that point, because while saving people from death is obviously very motivating, so is money. And I’d probably need some therapy to recover from that cosy spider-infested darkness.

I think the above may potentially be the basis for some kind of reality game show, by the way. Not one I’d willingly take part in, but then there aren’t any reality TV shows I’d willingly take part in.

Now I’ve thought about reality TV shows, I find myself wondering if I’d take part in a reality TV show in order to save my children from being mildly inconvenienced in some way. Maybe… Oh, damn it, I’ve fallen into the Dilemma Habit. This happens when you start turning every situation into a moral exercise. Would you drink gone-off milk in order to avoid a day of data entry at work? (No, for the record. Old milk makes me feel sick and I quite like data entry.) Would you walk a mile in uncomfortable shoes if it meant a stranger in Australia recovered from her kidney stone? (Sure.) Would you strip to your underwear in a tube train so that your sister-in-law would pass her accountancy exams? (Um…) Would you dye your hair an unflattering colour if it ensured that a colleague’s dad’s cat didn’t go blind? (What?)

After a while, you start to regret spending all this time and energy on decisions you’ll probably never have to make. You begin to yearn for some strange and interesting circumstances to arise that will force you to use your now finely calibrated sense of ethics. Perhaps what we need is a Dilemmas Agency. You pay them a retainer, and every now and then, they turn up on your doorstep or desk and make you choose between things. Not things involving death, obviously. Just small choices. And then, after you’ve opted for your next-door-neighbour to be shouted at by religious fundamentalists so you don’t have to hold a spider for three minutes, you realise that it’s the small choices that show you who you really are. But at least you didn’t have to hold a spider. God, I hate spiders.


Let Me Eat Cake! Being Suddenly Coeliac

Originally published by the Huffington Post. Who made a few minor changes before publication, including lengthening the title and adding a typo; this is my original version.


I am standing in Marks and Spencers, glaring at a chocolate éclair.

I have to admit, in the back of my brain, I know that the éclair hasn’t actually done anything wrong. Its only problem is that a month ago I would have bought it and eaten it, and now I can’t. And frankly, I resent that. What right do chocolate éclairs have to be unavailable to me? How dare my body acquire a non-éclair-eating disease? What are M&S thinking, selling éclairs with wheat flour in? Don’t they know that stuff is poisonous? Should I complain to someone?

I had been gluten free for about a week at this point, and the reality of it was starting to sink in.

At first I didn’t mind being diagnosed with coeliac disease. It was nice having a proper diagnosis rather than just unidentified stomach pains (like a UFO, but with fewer aliens, unless you’re very unlucky). People were sympathetic. And it’s a controllable disease; you don’t suffer from it, provided you can manage never to eat gluten again. Any of it. Ever.

So gluten and I were through, like a partner you think is tasty and delicious, but then it turns out they were secretly poisoning you all along. It’s not literally a case of never eating bread, cereal, pasta, pizza, cakes or pastry again, because you can get gluten-free equivalents of all of those. But you can’t walk into most shops and get them. Those cupcake cafes around London have become forbidden fruit. (Though luckily, fruit itself is not forbidden. But if you’re craving the squishy fluffiness of a cupcake, apples just don’t satisfy. I suppose I could coat them in bright pink butter icing.)

But the thing I hadn’t quite realised is how wheat gets into everything. Like chips.

I had friends who were openly sceptical about this. Chips are potato, they pointed out, and potato is fine. But I’d joined the Coeliac Society and read up on this, and I knew that some chips were fine and some weren’t – for example if they’d been fried in the same fryer as onion rings. So now I have to be someone who goes up to the bar in a pub and says, “excuse me, are your chips gluten free?”

I hate the idea of being that person. In fact, I hate it so much that I haven’t actually done it yet, I’ve just eaten the chips and hoped.

But I’ll have to get over that hurdle, because if I eat gluten-contaminated things I will damage my intestines and increase my risk of getting various cancers, all of which seem to have terrifyingly high mortality rates. I will do a lot of things to avoid dying of bowel cancer, and if one of those things is going to have to be sounding like a fussy eater in public, then so be it. Picky wins over dead.

I do wonder how it’s going to be, never eating a Double Decker again, or a bowl of Ricicles, or a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. (For those who are worrying about my appalling diet, don’t worry – it also features food that is not composed mainly of sugar.)

On the other hand, there are always Twirls. And as I discovered the other day, I live in a world where Tesco will sell me a gluten-free, raspberry-jam-doughnut-flavoured milkshake. Frankly, that’s a world I’m okay with.

Gluten-free cake! From the WAG cafe in Brixton Market.


The Stormageddon Effect, and Other Parenting Emotions

(First published at the Huffington Post)

When you tell people that becoming a parent has introduced you to a whole new range of emotions, they probably expect you to start going on about loving your child in a way you’d never loved anyone before, that kind of thing. But that’s not what I mean – to be honest, no love can ever compare with the way I felt about the sharp glittery cheekbones of David Bowie when I was 15. Everything since has been downhill.

However, it’s certainly true that being a new mum introduced me to new emotions. If I had to name them I would call them:

1. The Responsibility Brick.
It’s such a sensible word, “responsibility” – calm, down-to-earth. But for me it conjures up vivid memories of the first day I was left alone with my baby. She was a month old. There was a small and virtually helpless human being in my flat, and nobody else. Just her, and me, in sole charge of her. I was 29 but I felt 14. Who on earth had thought this was a good idea? (Answer: me, about a year earlier. But what did I know?)

2. The Doormat Syndrome.
The parent-baby relationship wasn’t a give-and-take relationship, I realised: it was a give-and-give one. At a month old, you don’t even get a smile as a reward. The best reaction you can hope for is Not Crying. My reward for sleep deprivation, endless anxiety, and the attempt to make my body feed another person when it really didn’t want to (breastfeeding was not a success) was that a baby just stared blankly at me as opposed to screaming? It didn’t feel like enough. In a partner, this level of being taken for granted would have been a dealbreaker. In a baby, I discovered, there wasn’t really anything I could do about it except wait till she was old enough to lisp the sentence, “Thank you, Mummy, for everything you’ve ever done for me. I’m so sorry I didn’t mention this before.”

(She’s seven. I’m still waiting. But at least I get smiles now.)

3. The Can’t-Can.
As the (endless, fleeting, endless) time went on, I discovered another emotion, or rather a specific fusion of two emotions: the feeling that you absolutely can’t do something, coupled with the certain knowledge that you are going to do it. It’s the Can’t-Can: a dance in which you drag yourself out of bed and breastfeed at 3am, or don’t eat for hours because you can’t put the baby down for long enough, or pack a changing bag and put the buggy together and get on the bus and go out, and all the time you’re doing these things your entire being is demanding that you stop, please please just stop and go and lie down far away from the baby where it’s peaceful and you can clear your head. But you don’t. You know exactly what you need and what’s best you for you, for your mental health, for your physical health, and you do something different, because you have to.

It was a new experience for me. It was character-building, and I don’t think that part of my character would have got built if I hadn’t become a parent, so that’s a good thing. But I can’t say I really appreciated that at the time. I didn’t want to have my character built. I wanted to sleep, preferably in a hotel in a different country with no children within a designated 100-mile radius.

4. The Stormageddon Effect
This one is named after a recent episode of Dr Who in which the Doctor claims to speak Baby (and apparently the baby in question liked to be called Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All, which is totally believable.)

The books I read when I was pregnant claimed that you’d know what your baby needed, you’d learn to recognise the different types of cries. It worked with my second child, but not with my first; I had no intuition. I’d pace up and down for hours trying to work out if the baby was crying because she wanted sleep, food or medicine – or something else more complicated that I hadn’t thought of yet and she couldn’t articulate. The keys to my car, maybe? A doctorate in particle physics? A pot of bacon-flavoured jam? By the time she was old enough to tell me what it was she needed, she’d be too old to remember. In the meantime, like most parents, I’d just try things until something worked.

Luckily I never needed to get as far as the bacon-flavoured jam, so things can’t have gone too badly. But I remember that feeling, that attempt to understand someone who was clearly trying to communicate something, but couldn’t because the language barrier was too high. If anyone ever does learn to speak Baby, I swear I will change the names of both my daughters to Stormageddon in gratitude.

It Gets Better
There’s a video project called It Gets Better, for LBGT teenagers. It’s admirable, and someone should do one for new parents. It did get better. It got better enough that eventually I did it all over again, and it turned out the second time was brilliant, because I’d been broken in by the first time. I had been comprehensively taken apart and put back together by my unwitting engineer of a baby, and the resulting construction was still me, but a me who could parent.

(Of course, there’s still a part of me that just wants not to be responsible for anyone. But then, in seventeen years’ time both the kids will have left home (probably) and my partner and I can spend my time lying around the house drinking cocktails, or whatever it is people without children do with their time. I don’t remember. But it will be fun to find out.)

Of course, you do get to dress your babies up however you like. That's a plus.


Working for Ribbons

I keep thinking about that Mark Twain quote: “work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do”, and trying to decide which of my activities is work and which is play. Examples from this week:

- I wrote a guest post for Choler, ranting about the idea that it should be unacceptable to be unhealthy in the workplace. Work or play? I didn’t have to do it and I didn’t get paid, but putting it in the ‘play’ column feels slightly wrong too; I did work to write it, and it gave me exposure. (In fact I achieved a personal ambition with this one and got it listed in one of Shakesville’s blog link posts.)

- I wrote my third blog for the Huffington Post. Famously, HP bloggers don’t get paid; again, you do it for the exposure. (Although the downside to that is the feeling of being exposed: I should write about that sometime.) Play, then? Or work, because I’m partly blogging in order to try to drive sales of my novel? Undecided.

- I tried to start writing a short story for a book and a non-fiction submission to a literary agent. Is that work? There’s a whole other post to be made about writing and its work/play status, so I’ll come back to that.

- An easier one: I went to my job, my actual paid job in an NHS IT department. It’s complicated though, because I don’t make any money from it; the cost of childcare plus travel almost exactly equals my net pay. I could leave and it wouldn’t affect our household income, provided I also gave up all childcare. So I’m not obliged to be there; I’m there for various reasons, one of which is that being a full-time mother is not good for my mental health, another of which is that I like it there. But my job is surely work, not play, no matter what the circumstances around it. I think.

- I did childcare. I looked after my one-year-old and my seven-year-old for various bits of the week. Work or play? Well, you’re not obliged to have kids, but once you have them, you more or less are obliged to look after them, so… work? I don’t get paid though. Does it feel like work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

- I did laundry, tidying, household admin, shopping and so on. Work? Yes, though some of the shopping was buying my one-year-old a Halloween outfit, which felt like play. And again, there’s no direct income from it; in fact it costs money.

- The bits of my week that I can categorically count as not-work: I spent time with my partner, I watched TV, I saw my friends.

Overall, the quote that best summarises how I feel at the moment isn’t that Mark Twain one. It’s from F Scott Fitzgerald’s slightly-autobiographical first novel, This Side of Paradise. Toward the end, the narrator Amory Blaine gets into an argument with an older man who believes that people are only really motivated by money. Amory believes that most people will do a surprising amount of work for non-financial reasons – for badges, memberships, honour.

“Let me tell you” – Amory became emphatic – “if there were ten men insured against either wealth or starvation, and offered a green ribbon for five hours’ work a day and a blue ribbon for ten hours’ work a day, nine out of ten of them would be trying for the blue ribbon.”

The internet has proved Amory to be right: people are capable of doing enormous amounts of work for ribbons. Ribbons of honour, ribbons of recognition, ribbons of personal satisfaction, ribbons of some kind of internal need. Sometimes work you do on the internet leads to money – Charlie Brooker came from the internet and ended up a Guardian columnist and satirical TV pundit – but mostly when someone writes a blog, makes a YouTube video replicating a film in Lego, or rewrites the bible in lolspeak, or spends hours transcribing their conversations with the angel in their head, then they’re working for ribbons. And so am I. And at the moment, I’m fine with that.


Fausterella and other stories

Katy’s Brief Guide To Writing and Publishing:

- Have ideas in your head

- Convert them into words

- Realise they are not the right words.

- Repeat step 2 until they become the right words.

- Realise that you now have all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order.

- Move the words around until they feel better.

- Become cautiously happy, or at least not actively unhappy, with the outcome.

- Take the collection of words (or ‘story’ as we in the trade call it) and turn it into a book via Amazon, Lulu, Smashwords,  a PDF file, ora dog-eared pile of paper held together with staples and hope.

- Sell it to people.

Some of the above steps are easier than others.

Still, here I am, somewhere near the end of the process, and I present to you:

book cover

Fausterella and other stories

There are nine in the collection, of which four have been previously published by ezines/magazines. The title story, Fausterella, is the story of a girl who sells her soul to go to the ball (well, what did you expect?) and the others include the perils of adopting a pet zombie, a village which commits a misguided ritual sacrifice, a puppet shop with a secret, a Yorkshire trip with horrifying consequences, and what happens when your dead relatives just won’t go away.

This is the Smashwords edition – HTML, EPUB, PDF, RTF, any way you want it. And this is the Amazon Kindle edition: Fausterella and other stories. Cost: $1.99, roughly the price of a large chocolate bar (one of the slightly more upmarket chocolate bars, but not anything really posh).

So! If you harbour a deep-seated distaste of or resentment towards me and don’t think I should be encouraged in any of my creative endeavours, I urge you not to do any of the following:

- Buy my book

- Read my book

- Write reviews of my book on Amazon etc (if you like it)

- Post links to my book on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, someone else’s blog, or other social media of choice.

If not, and if you can cope with buying a self-published book (and if not, no problem - hang on and buy my novel instead later this year) then I refer you to the list above for ways you can make me really, really happy. You want me to be really, really happy, don’t you? Don’t you? I thought so.


the bubble and the waves

wavesWhen I try to visualise my emotional landscape – and I assume I’m not the only person who tries to do that – what I see, what I feel, is the sea.

I’m bobbing among the waves, and all I can feel is the movement; I can’t see beyond the wave I’m experiencing. Sometimes one wave is joy and the next anger and the next nostalgia and the next excitement; it can be tempestuous. Sometimes the waves are small and calm and consistent, and so am I. Sometimes I surf my waves, sometimes I am overwhelmed by them and sink, but the wave always passes and I always rise back up, above the surface.

What I need now and then is to rise above the waves, say in a large and robust bubble, so that I can have a break from the incessent bobbing up and down and look at the sea as a whole. From this perspective the waves look much more manageable, and I can rest for a while, even if I only rise a little way up and still feel the motion. Sleep can provide a bubble; so can meditation; so can alcohol, though the alcoholic bubble is unstable and prone to bursting.

Essentially I’m a sea creature, and I regard the waves as my fundamental reality. That time in the sky is necessary, though. Sometimes I can even look down at where I am, and chart a course for the horizon.


Time and the letter E

Like many of the people reading this,I was born in the mid 1970s.* It’s a very confusing fact. The 1970s seems like such a long time ago, but I’m only 36, and that’s still… sort of young, isn’t it? Or am I middle aged? Is 40 middle aged? Is 30 young? I have friends who were born in the 1990s: how can that be, when the 1990s were only a handful of years ago? What, in summary, has happened to time?

I think a lot of my generation feels weird about this. I’m not saying this makes us unique or anything, you understand, but we do have some justification in feeling a little unsettled. Many of my friends have careers that our school careers advisors wouldn’t have even known existed. I was a website editor for a while, in 2001. When I was doing my A-Levels, that phrase would have meant so little to me or anyone in my school that we’d have assumed it was perhaps someone who investigated the location of spiders. (A job, incidentally, that would be very very low on my list of career options.)


I remember these

There is technology not yet invented when I was born, that is now obsolete. My parents first used a video recorder when I was 14; my daughters will never have used one. (Although I do still have a cassette player and have taught my older daughter how to use it, so some of the old ways survive.) There is an MP3 player in a drawer in my house somewhere, like a forgotten high-tech fossil, and if either my parents or my children ever come across it, none of them will have any idea what it is or how to make it work. (I can’t remember how to make it work either, to be fair.)

So we have a responsibility. We are the custodians of our technology, our fleeting, new, antiquated technology, pressed like a flower between the black-and-white TV of the 1960s and the mind-controlled multidimensional virtual reality software that is doubtless going to be implanted in my children’s brains when they reach the age of 16, and we must guard and remember it, because it may define us.**


The information superhighway - another obsolete term I quite liked

Possibly the reason all this is on my mind is that I have just achieved my lifetime ambition, but not in a way my younger self would have recognised. My first novel*** is going to be published as an e-book, by Ghostwoods Books. Not only did e-books not exist when I was born, they didn’t exist (as far as I know) when my seven-year-old daughter was born. But here they are, e-books, in that weird space that isn’t physical but isn’t just in your mind either, cyberspace – an old-fashioned term in itself – and I’m going to be e-published as an e-author and tell people about it on email and be for sale on eBay (maybe). It may be the most common letter in the alphabet, but I could never have guessed that the letter E would become so important to my life. Here’s to being an e-person.

* This isn’t a comment about the median age of internet users or anything, just that the vast majority of my readers are people I know, and a lot of the people I know are roughly my age. In case anyone was wondering.

** And also because a lot of it was quite good, to be honest. I liked cassette recorders. You could stop playing music, and when you started again they would carry on playing from where they had stopped. (This feature is of course returning now we’ve stopped using CDs and started playing music on our phones instead, so I don’t really have any excuse for missing cassette tapes except nostalgia, but never mind.)

*** My only finished novel, in fact, although this will change.