Back from the South

I’m still a little dazed.  Last Tuesday we headed down to Dunsborough for our first annual actual family holiday. Marianne, Jessica (9), Sophie (8), five iPods and a buttload of crap, all aimed at making sure we rested and relaxed.

And we did.  The accommodation was exactly right – kudos to Marianne for that – so we really only needed to relax and enjoy. We ate takeaway, went down a cave, up a lighthouse, swam in a freezingly cold swimming pool frequented by the local duck population, wandered up to the local bakery some mornings for almond croissants, down to the beach to watch winter take hold on some staggeringly beautiful mornings and evenings (Geographe Bay is stunning), and reconnected as a family away from the dominating influence of the online world.

Did I get away from work? No! Of course not. It’s too soon for that.  Wednesday afternoon I ducked onto the internet for 10 minutes, which allowed me to resolve an unknown editing crisis, Thursday I spent 10 minutes going over a book contract, and even went in search of a payphone so I could buy us plane tickets for Melbourne and WorldCon (we’re booked!).  But I didn’t do much. I did less.  And I felt refreshed for it.  I even read a novel (for fun!).

It was ridiculous that it took me days to unwind to the point where I could. The first two days I picked books up and put them down, fiddled, and I even listed to a third of Terry Pratchett’s Wintersmith as an audiobook, but by Friday I was relaxed enough to pick up Guy Gavriel Kay’s staggeringly good UNDER HEAVEN – a historical fantasy set in 8th Century China – and when I did I adored it.  Kay is a wonderful, wonderful writer and this is his best book.  For three days I simply drank it down, and was sad to get to the end of it.  I was given a proof by my dear friend Theresa at HarperCollins, but will be making a point of buying a final copy because it’s so awesome.

We got home on Tuesday afternoon to a beautifully clean house (thanks mum!) and have spent the last couple days spinning our wheels, playing with friends and not quite getting ready for back to school (and work). The girls are back at school next Tuesday and I’m off till the end of the month. I’ll pick up the editing in earnest next week, but for now I’m happy to putter.  There’s taxes to finish, two books to work on, but also some gardening to do and we might even take on the ‘book problem’.

One odd thing is that I’ve been toying with the idea of podcasting. There’s no doubt in my mind this has to do with my close encounters with both Tony C. Smith and with the Galactic Suburbia triumvirate, but it could be fun. I’m not up to date with the mechanics of it, and I’m not sure I really want to host something, but if I could get some Locus chums to chat about SF, with maybe a few guests, it could be swell. Yes?