Random Updates from Éric

Hello family, friends, and fans,

Some weeks are hard. This was one of those weeks. I’ve been working through a lot of emotions. Among them is the fact that I’m still in pain. I know that a new physio for two weeks isn’t going to fix everything, but I was secretly hoping.

Let’s break this down into categories:

Writing

I’m currently finishing the longest running project I’ve ever had (started in 2016) and I’m really hoping to be done by summer. It’s going slowly, mostly because of pain, and I worry it’s crap but at least I’m having fun writing it.

Family Life

I’m trying my best to be a good father and a good husband. I know that I haven’t always been perfect; I’m a little whiny and I over explain and analyze everything but I’m trying. This week I’ve felt like I’m not enough and that’s really frustrating.

Work

I have a similar issue at work. I think it’s time for me to find something new. I’m fairly certain that within a year, my position will be cut and after 15 years, it’s time to do something new. The problem with that is because of my health issues and lack of return to full time work, it’s not easy for me to convince anyone to hire me. So I feel a little trapped.

Health

I’m seeing a team consisting of a physiotherapist, kinesiologist, and occupational therapist. They are trying to help me get back to work.

While they’re doing that, I have an MRI for my head, neck, and back set up for mid July.

Dad

My father’s birthday was earlier this month. He passed away at the age of 47 from brain cancer.

He was 40 when he was diagnosed. Considering my health issues, it’s hard for me not to worry about this year. (I’m turning 40 in July.)

It’s one of the reasons I’m really glad that I got that MRI. At the very least we’ll know something. The MRI should be able to detect brain lesions from MS or brain tumours. Hopefully there’s nothing to find.

Mental Health

With all of the above I’m struggling, but my occupational therapist is helping me find coping mechanisms and to rationalize instead of spiralling. That part is helping and I’m trying to be kind to myself.

How have you been?

Be kind and stay safe,

Éric

Autumn Approaches

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Brace yourselves; autumn approaches!

In my little part of the world, the weather has turned and for the time being the 30+ Celsius temperatures are over (I live in Ottawa which means there’s a good chance we’ll get another bout of 40 before real Autumn). Pumpkin spice is just around the corner, my squash are growing in the garden (let’s hope some of them survive the cursed squirrels), and my mind turns to Halloween.

I’m looking forward to introducing Dragon to some classic monster movies this year. Maybe the original Mummy or Frankenstein. Hard to go wrong with Karloff.

Inexorably linked to fall in North America; school is starting, or started. It’s a different kind of year with many changes and a lot left up in the air. I don’t envy students and I really don’t envy teachers. We’ve decided that Dragon should be home schooled for her first year of kindergarten. See Jen’s post about that.

Because of the How I Taught my Dragon posts, we’re moving the JenEric Movie Reviews to Saturdays. So you’ll be be getting 6 days of content until I run out of Saturdays, then I’ll have to add some movies to Sundays. (I like only having one thing per day.)

I’m still struggling with my writing, but I’ve managed to write more in the past few weeks than I had in the 6 months before, so that’s a good thing. I wish I could write as fast as I come up with ideas, but unfortunately I’ve slowed down and I’m really happy I’m not a famous author right now. I’d love to be a rich author that people recognize the name, but not famous. (S.M. Carrière has a good post about this.)

This is how most of my meetings go. If I put him down, he screams to be picked up.

I need to stress less about productivity. I constantly feel like I have to be producing for work, writing, FADDS, this blog, and fixing/optimizing things around the house. I need to do what I can, relax and enjoy the time with family.

That’s about it for me.

Be Kind and Be Safe!

Éric

Dear Dragon – 1 Month

1month

Dear Dragon,

You’ve been home for a month now. You have a name, a decorated room, and more clothes than you’ll ever wear.

Your routine is pretty much to sleep in the mornings, giggle/gurgle in the afternoons, fuss in the evenings, and fall asleep by 11. A routine you’ll likely return to in post-secondary.

We still occasionally forget you exist or have waves of panic that someone was foolish enough to leave us with a child. The feeling is getting less and less common.

If I had to sum up the past month, I’d say it would be fatigue and love, punctuated by small bouts of panic and helplessness. I suppose that applies to you as much as to us.

At a month, you’ve already mastered smiling, puppy dog eyes, and a heart-wrenching whimper.

I both can’t wait and dread you growing up. I’m trying to enjoy the little moments.

By the way, you’re a fantastic cuddler and I really hope that doesn’t change.

You’ve had a constant parade of people who want to meet you. Everyone loves you and wants to be near you. You’re going to grow up loved by so many people. You have your family (Me, Mum, Grannie, Grand-dad, Great-Grand-dad, Oncle Dan, Aunt Amy, Aunt Lindsay, and Modryb Sonia), your massive list of extended family and family friends, the ever-growing geeky community in Ottawa, and Ottawa’s wonderful speculative fiction family.

As loved as I hope you feel, your mother and I feel it just as much. Our families and friends are great. We’re lucky to have found so many awesome people to surround ourselves with.

This is a little disjointed, but it reflects the past month. It’s been interesting, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. You fill me with love and wonder every time I see you or hear your little noises.

Your tired and loving Papa

The Past was like Totally Better

Nostalgia: Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, esp. one in an individual’s own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining or evocation of a period of the past. – Oxford English Dictionary

Someday we’ll look back on today and think how wonderful the world was and how horrible it has become. I can say that without exaggeration because it’s already happened. It’s happening right now. (I’m looking at you!)

I think it’s part of human nature that we idolize a time where we think we were happier, where life was simpler, where all the horrible things had yet to happen. We latch onto the horrible things in our lives now and glorify the good things of the past.

It’s not that we forget the bad things but their bite lessens with time. We can see it with less bias. There are two quotes that come to mind and I’ll say upfront that I disagree with Doctor Who.

“Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame” – 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

These two quotes define our cultures beliefs on life. Fire, turmoil, battle, horror, etcetera are what creates great people. It is what makes exciting stories but not people. We don’t define ourselves by our hardships but our successes. When we don’t, we run into trouble.

Back to nostalgia… Nostalgia is our way of whitewashing our past and making sure we mostly remember the good stuff. It’s not that we want to forget the bad but that we want to concentrate on the good. We also tend to make a big deal about stuff that we won’t find important in the future.

A good example for me is writing. When I’m writing I feel stressed to be writing, but excited. I also feel ridiculously frustrated when I first edit. When all is said and done and I have an “almost” finished book (I say almost because my mind will never let me finish. I can always do more.) I feel amazing and only remember the excitement and elation of writing.

In some cases nostalgia is right but in a lot of cases it’s not. The world isn’t worse off than it was twenty years ago. The nineties wasn’t a better time. The internet and technology isn’t leading us to a horrible brain melting doom.

Nostalgia is great, especially with a drink and an old friend, but next time you find yourself saying, “When I was a kid…” stop and try to think of the good things now.

We live in a time of wonder and excitement.

If you need proof:  At the begining of 2014 Biofabrication isn’t Science Fiction.

See you in the New Year my Imaginary Friends!

Éric