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There Will Be Books


Curious George is a movie that can penetrate even the most noise-cancelling of headphones. Writing a novel in the same room as a four-year-old watching Curious George is not in my top 10 productivity tips.

It’s been a long time between posts here on Life With Gusto because I’ve been devoting my writing hours and, frankly, all my jokes, to this novel I’ve been working on. That seems to have paid off because a very nice fiction publisher at HarperCollins has acquired it, and its younger sibling which is currently only a gleam in its mother’s eye, for publication.

This is a dream come true, as I say in the press release they sent out today*, only slightly marred by the fact that I now have to do a huge amount of work. Now don’t get me wrong, I love hard work. Mad for it. It’s just that up until now I haven’t had to juggle a whole lot of it with those attention-sapping, disrespects of deadlines and creative process known as my children. But everyone else manages it and so will I, and I’ll complain about it extensively here on the blog.

The news of this book deal has been received with great excitement by almost all my family and friends, with the notable and vocal exception of Garnet. To be fair though, he’s been really sick the past couple of weeks with influenza, which is currently tearing through our community.

We took him up to the hospital the other night because of his uncontrollable stomach pain, and the ER was like a zombie apocalypse. I saw a man — quite a young man — who was the colour of the sea after a storm and he was walking around even though his eyes looked like marbles. His wife was flailing about like a one-woman Greek chorus, trying to get him triaged more quickly.

The crush was made worse by it being Sunday afternoon, so there were all sorts of idiots with sports injuries cluttering up the place, with their legs that had been run over by motorbikes at the track and their hockey-ball-smashed cheekbones. They should have to sit in an area marked ‘Own Fault’ and be triaged last. It’s probably for the best that I’m not in charge of an Emergency Department.

Garnet turned out to be all right (just our old friend mesenteric adenines, otherwise known as swollen lymph nodes in the abdomen) and with some very serious painkillers he has slowly come right again. The pain has subsided, leaving in its place some lingering fury about random things that cannot be predicted or explained. Yesterday May Blossom asked a question, and he burst into tears because ‘she always asks so many questions, and why do you all hate me?” I will be very pleased when the post-viral self-pitying non-sequiturs clear up.

Until then, I will keep on with the writing and the reading of the lovely, supportive things all my friends have said about the announcement.

Sincerely, readers of Life With Gusto, thank you for reading. This is not a big or popular blog, by anyone’s standards, so you are a special and treasured group, you who click here and read what I post. It’s because of your support that I’ve become a writer, and down to you that I’ve now got a book contract. To quote the great Jeff Fenech — who I do think isn’t quoted enough on parenting blogs generally — I love youse all.

*Be warned that there is a seriously big picture of my face on this press release. It’s the best of about nine thousand selfies taken over a five-minute period two days ago while Garnet lay howling on the sofa. I tried to get my best eyebrow forward and give the illusion of bone structure. I think I just came off looking very wary and if you look very closely you can see in my eyes that I’m calculating nurofen dosages.

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