Hold my jacket

Image by the incredibly talented Stuart F Taylor

“You’re such a fucking weirdo,” he tells me, in that deeply affectionate tone which is the only one you can legitimately use when you’re calling someone a fucking weirdo. “You spend all your time either nostalgic for the past, or panicking about the future.”

He’s right, of course. It’s just that no one had ever put it like that before. My life is measured by looking at the things that have been, or the things still to come. I very rarely pay attention to what’s happening right now.

And I’m working on that. Really hard. Because all the time I’m like this, the world keeps rushing by, and I’m too busy worrying about what might go past next to appreciate the things that are happening today.

In this moment, I am writing. And I am happy.

In this moment, I am drinking whiskey and lemonade, listening out for the sound of him unlocking the front door. When he comes in I’ll run downstairs and…


Right now, I’m drinking whiskey and lemonade, and writing these words right here.

I worry too much about the future, and I wallow too much in the past.

Tomorrow I head into town to start the prep for this year’s Eroticon. So forgive me if I’m a bit scatty on Twitter or AWOL on Facebook or absent from the comments on this blog – I have an amazing guest blog lined up for you tomorrow, but other than that I’ll be quiet. Since last year’s Eroticon a lot has changed.

I have changed.

I’m frightened by things which used to excite me. I walk on eggshells for no reason other than I’ve forgotten how to stride like I used to. Physically I’m the same, but in every other way I am smaller than I was. One year ago when I…


Looking around me, there are piles and piles of paper and wires and notes and ideas. Projects long abandoned and exciting plans half-made. And above my desk, there’s a note that does its best to remind me to think about the here and now.

‘Hold my jacket, I’m going in for a swim.’

It’s a quote from a song that only means something because of the person who introduced me to it. It’s meant to remind me that life shouldn’t be about sitting behind my desk, planning and working and writing in the hope of staving off all the worries that lurk in the future. Sometimes life is about just doing things. Right now. Taking off your jacket and leaping into the lake like some kind of happy, hippy dickhead. Or in my case maybe just closing the fucking laptop and hopping on a tube and going drinking with someone you love.

‘Hold my jacket, I’m going in for a swim.’

It’s really hard to focus on right now. But I’m drinking whiskey and reading that note and trying my very best.

It’s Eroticon tomorrow. And for the last couple of days I’ve been trying to think of a blog I can write that says something more than ‘GOTN is away’. This post is it. I’m a tangle of nerves about the future, wrapped round a knot of worry that there’ll be things I’ve forgotten or got wrong or not rehearsed. I’m a ball of gratitude because this monstrously unwieldy thing managed, last year, to make people happy. And it’s made me happy, throughout the year, because it’s given me the chance to work with Molly and Michael who are just the kindest people I’ve ever known, and an absolute force of nature.

But when I think too hard about Eroticon I end up doing the same thing I always do: wallowing in the past, and what last year was like, or worrying about the future, and what is still to come.

I am a fucking weirdo.

But I’m sitting in my office, with bags packed and notes ready and a glass of whiskey and lemonade, and in the here and now I am so, so ready. I am ready to smile and greet old friends and enjoy the snatched moments between tasks. Ready to say a nervous ‘hi’ to people I’ve admired online for ages, and write copious notes and future plans to write about the talks I love. I’m ready to make new friends, see old ones, and clink glasses with people who are enjoying the here and now.

And I am so much more frightened than I was this time last year, and so much more worried about the future. But this isn’t last year, and it isn’t next week: it’s right fucking now and I want to enjoy it.

Hold my jacket.





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