23rd October 2012: The anthology ‘real: Pure Slush Vol. 3’ containing my first ever published piece entitled “A Curious Fellow” is released.

1st November 2012: NaNoWriMo kicks off, I have a partial seizure type episode at 3AM

14th November 2012: I have a second partial seizure type episode, at approximately 3:30AM

Months of emailing, editing and writing went into the piece, finally titled “A Curious Fellow”, before it was finally published through Pure Slush. I got an email just before I went to bed one night that said it was available to buy through lulu.com and I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement! I ordered it there and then, ecstatic but still cynical and disbelieving enough to only go ahead and announce it’s arrival once a real copy was in my hands. And sure enough it arrived a few days later, and I opened it to the pages where  my story sat and finally believed it had happened.

I said my thanks openly, to fellow writer Gill Hoffs, for pointing me in the direction of Matt Potter. Matt Potter deserved a heap of thanks for the time taken and the sheer volume of emails sent and received in the process of getting the piece shipshape. It was a huge learning curve and I’d just ridden it like a rollercoaster. And last but not least, Nicholas, my partner, who suffered all the endless ups and downs with me along the way. And to anyone else that had a finger in getting me to that point. It was a buzz and a half. The kind of buzz that had been missing since the last days of strapping on a guitar and playing to live, breathing people, in dingy, dark venues all those years ago.

When NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was coming up, I’d already made the conscious decision not to do it. I’d tried writing a novel draft for the last, oh I don’t know, four years? Maybe five. Each time scrapping it and starting again, and in all honesty, this one novel idea inside me has been a heavy anchor around my neck, keeping me at port and stopping me moving out into different seas. I’m not ready to tackle it.

But in the literal minutes leading up to the first of November I quickly signed up. I figured, “Hey, just because I’m not going to pen a novel doesn’t mean I can’t take part. Yes, yes, I know it’s called National NOVEL Writing Month. But I don’t really care!”
It seemed like a good excuse to attempt to write every day and blast out some short stories and flash. I’m stupidly undisciplined, and need to work more on bite-size chunks rather than Lord of the Rings sized tomes in the ridiculous quest to write ‘serious LGBT fiction’. Pah, that can wait.

And I started a piece, then went to bed. Then I woke up at 3AM in the midst of an ‘episode’. I don’t know what to call them, I don’t know what they are, and talking about them makes parts of my brain shrivel up in fear and panic. Besides, it had been years since I’d had one of ‘those’. I really hoped that they would fuck off for another few years, at the very least.

I started and completed some first draft flash/short pieces. I enjoyed dabbling with the idea of creating a collection of whatever came out of this month of jotting, and it would be nothing more than a vanity exercise. I designed the cover, gave it a title, it all looked quite nice (these are the bits I enjoyed doing the most…). It would’ve helped if more ideas and pieces flowed forth, but I’m used to playing with what naturally comes out when it wants to, which is usually on the bus ride to work, and hastily typed on my mobile phone. One good and lasting thing that has come from this is a better approach to instantly jotting down what comes to mind, rather than thinking “Hey, that sounds nice, remember that for later” and five minutes later, poof, gone, forever.

Around 3:30AM, a couple of weeks after the last nocturnal ‘episode’, I woke up again. The same fully conscious, out-of-control brain frazzles. This time I went to hospital. They did blood tests and released me hours later, not much wiser to just what had happened. I just desperately needed to go to sleep. If there’s no physical and visible symptoms there’s so little doctors seem to be able to do. When things go wrong inside the brain, well, how do you ‘show’ that to the person asking you questions?

Nevertheless, a GP appointment has been made, I’ll take a bet that I’ll need to up the dose for my epilepsy medication. But I really hope that’s not all that the GP suggests. Surely there are more tests, anything, they can do to figure out just what the hell is going on. Having not had major problems with epilepsy for many years, the main issue that these episodes have left me with is that I’m so annoyed that this has started to happen, and I’m annoyed because I’m scared.

And the writing has slowed down to a halt. There’s days in between the very little output currently occurring. But I can’t really stress over that, not just now. The last ‘episode’ has, admittedly, put me on a big downer.

We will see where the GP visit at the end of the week leaves me. Hopefully with some follow up appointments and maybe a visit to a consultant at a hospital. But in all probability the next time I type here I might just be even further doped up to my eyeballs on Carbamazepine! If I’m slow now goodness knows where that might leave me… ten words every other day? I expect my novel first draft will be completed by the age of 99. And I’m definitely not going to make 99!