Before the show…

Saturday went fairly easy, here on Coode Street. I was up early, got a five km walk in before breakfast, then packed, kissed the family goodbye and headed out to the airport to fly to Sydney to see Springsteen. The flight – the first trip outside of WA with my brother since we stepped off a boat in 1968 – was fine. We chatted, I watched Searching for Sugarman on my iPad, tried not to be annoyed that the inflight entertainment didn’t work at my seat, and arrived in Sydney fairly fresh. We were met at the airport and before I knew it I was at Garth and Anna’s, sitting outside, eating curry and enjoying the wonderful conversation of G&A, Alison, Melina, James and Mardie.  It was a great evening, and when everyone drifted off Garth and I chatted into the small hours.

Sunday I was up fairly early, even allowing for time differences. I got to chat with Anna over pancakes, then with Garth over coffee. They were kind, wonderful hosts, but before I knew it I was in a cab and headed for the city. I got to the hotel in time to drop off a bag and then grab yum cha with my dear travel buddy, Deb, where we talked of all sorts of things over steamed morsels and jasmine tea.  Hours drifted by and before I knew it we’d finished coffee back at the hotel, said goodbye, and I headed to the 37th Floor to crash for a little while. Stephen arrived around 6pm and we had what proved to be a relaxing time over drinks in the Excecutive Lounge, before grabbing dinner at Glass.   All in all a fine day.

Sleep, though, as it has of late proved a little elusive, though I didn’t put the waking hours to much use. Today should be a day to chill and wander around town a bit before heading out to Allphone Arena for the show. It should be something special.


Just as a young man’s thoughts turn to certain things in spring, in these latter days of summer this man’s thoughts turn to Bruce Springsteen and the Wrecking Ball tour, which will be hitting Sydney next week. Due to planning, kindness and good fortune, I’ll be there at Allphones Arena and I’m finally near the point where it’s getting exciting. Flights are booked, hotels arranged, and a very quiet social schedule has been laid out. It should be relaxing and fun.

2012 is almost done

I’m delighted 2012 is over. The past month has made the year feel like a real ordeal, and I confess that I’m looking forward to 2013 with some fear and trepidation.

That said, looking back at 2012 I had a lovely time with family relaxing in the south west back in April, a fantastic trip to Melbourne in June (the sojourn in Foster was a highlight I’ll always treasure), and a good trip to Toronto (Alisa was a great travel buddy and I had a good time).

Health-wise, while my hearing/balance issues are a concern, I actually started to get fit. After a wake-up call from my doctor in September, I lost 15kgs pretty quickly and have plans to lose a lot more over the coming year. Hopefully, when it’s time to write the next of these brief updates, all of my health issues will be either gone or understood and under control.

Career-wise, I edited what I think are two of my best books, Edge of Infinity and Under My Hat, which was enormously satisfying. I also started work on Eclipse Online, my online magazine, which is being well received, and made what I hope is a solid contribution to Locus as Reviews Editor. I  co-hosted and produced fifty-plus episodes of The Coode Street Podcast with Gary K Wolfe and did a smattering of other podcast appearances.  I was also nominated for Best Editor for the Hugo again, which was an enormous honour and feels like a nod from the community that the work I’m doing is worthwhile. While there remains lots to do, I’m content.

Day job-wise things were a bit more mixed.  A lot of stress and concern over the uncertainty there, but I completed a year acting as the manager of a team of really dedicated people. We had about seven months of real productivity, before losing a staff member and dropping back into getting by mode. The year will start with significant challenges, including shifting two long delayed major projects, and probably applying for the job I’ve been acting in for two years. That won’t be fun, but it has to be done. Hopefully it will all work out.

What am I looking forward to in 2013? Well, there’s a trip to Sydney in March to see Bruce Springsteen with Stephen. Some “Bro bonding time” and hopefully a great show. There’s a trip to the UK with my eleven year old daughter in October that should be fantastic, and there should be lots of time with family, loved ones, and colleagues to make the year worthwhile. Along the way, I hope there’ll be a glass or two of something special, some wonderful conversations, a memorable story or two, and all of those moments that make life worth living.

May your year be filled with all that and more.

Of hearing, work, and oceans…

When I last reported in here, dear readers, it was mid-November, and I was recovering from jet lag and trying to come to terms with the pre-Christmas workload. I anticipated that the next few weeks would involve an increase in fitness activity, some reading, the completion of work to be done, and preparation for Christmas. The days since then have not gone to plan, though there may be hope for the restoration of normalcy.

There was a great dinner with friends at a local Himalayan restaurant, a screening of Skyfall, a big special needs Christmas event and some other stuff, which were fun. There was surprisingly little reading, and no exercise (I have to get that happening again), but above all there was hearing. Somewhere around ten days ago my ears became blocked, tinnitus roared, and my left ear especially lost a chunk of sensitivity. I saw my GP about it, had a hearing test, and pursued an appointment with my specialist.

I had an explained hearing loss in my right ear in February and was extremely concerned I was facing more permanent hearing loss. It threw me off completely. I did finish the Best of the Year, but I lost and had to rewrite the intro, and mostly worried. The hearing test showed that my right ear had recovered somewhat, and that my left was at approx. the same level as the right. Yesterday I spoke to the specialist who, given the tests, feels appointments can wait till after Christmas. The hearing may recover, but the tests show it’s nothing serious. I am vaguely relieved, though still concerned. This morning I see a dentist, just to be sure a tender tooth isn’t involved, and I shall hope for recovery.

Am I depressed? No. I wondered about that. I’d be depressed if my hearing deteriorated, but there is hope. There is also Christmas, family, a Bruce Springsteen tour and other good things go look forward to. I do have work to do before Christmas that I’d still prefer to avoid, but that too will pass. I read Neil’s new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, this week. Unexpectedly, it proved to be the balm I needed.

Pondering, again…

So, I’m trying to work out where I’m at, two years into the 2010s. Back in 2002 I was a parent of two very young children, three years married, was a new homeowner, working a day job that I enjoyed and tinkering around with working at Locus. Ten years later I have two near teenage daughters, am thirteen years married, am living in the same house which now needs maintenance, have been acting in a job for 18 months that I don’t enjoy but feel I can’t escape, have been reviews editor at Locus for a decade, have edited over 50 books in one capacity or another, have been podcasting for two years, and am pretty tired out and stressed.

I’ve touched on this before, but I’m not really listening to much new music, not getting to do things I enjoy, and am even struggling to focus on reading because of my commitments.  I know I need to change, but I can’t work out how I want to/need to restructure what I do to make things work out.