Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

One Stitch for Every Year He’s Been Alive

Last week was drama-tastic. On Monday River had a mid-playground head-on collision with another kid at preschool. He got a pretty bad gash, possibly from the frame of his glasses cutting into his flesh. I had to pick him up and take him to the hospital so his head wound could be treated. The pediatrician initially thought she could glue the cut over his eye closed, but, nope, they deemed it too deep, so we were sent to the Emergency Room. He got three stitches. Poor kid. He was a trouper, though. The doctor and nurse were prepared for a problem child. I tried to tell them, “No, he’ll be fine, he had his first surgery at four months old and many since, he’s not scared of doctors or medical procedures.” But the doctor said, “He’s going to kick and writhe like crazy when I inject the local anesthetic,” and they swaddled him in a sheet and had the nurse and I hold him down. All unnecessary, of course, as he was hardly bothered a bit. He actually fell asleep while the doctor was stitching up the wound. Tough little guy!

Then on Tuesday night he got an upset stomach and puked a lot, so I stayed home with him on Wednesday to make sure he was better. Not fun, but it was even less fun for him than it was for me. Fortunately by the weekend he was our usual happy guy again, and he got the stitches out on Friday. He’ll have a small scar. I told him to tell everyone he got it saving a puppy from bikers.

***

I’m a bit over 10,000 words into my Pathfinder Tales novel City of the Fallen Sky, most of that written over the weekend, and it’s going well. Writing from a detailed outline is odd, and contrary to my usual make-it-up-as-I-go approach, but it’s working out. I had a couple of false starts on this book, but I’ve settled into a voice that seems to work. And now it’s a tenth of the way done! (Maybe even a ninth.) I’m a lot less panicked now. Indeed, I’m a fairly cheerful guy in most respects. (This probably means something awful will happen soon.)

***

The weekend wasn’t all spent writing. David Moles came over for dinner one night, and Heather made an awesome pasta dish with leeks and eggs and bacon, yum. We drank beer and wine and chatted about life and books and other good things. I’m seldom social these days — both busy and reclusive, but it was nice to have a friend over.

During dinner a guy knocked on the door to tell me he was going to be renting the upstairs apartment and using it as a halfway house for a rotating cast of homeless men, and wanted to make sure I’d be okay with that, and that if I had any problems, I’d talk to him, and not bother the landlord. (This worried me, as it seems like the kind of thing you say when you’re anticipating problems, and don’t want word of said problems getting back to the landlord.) I responded with a resounding, “Uhhhh….” I talked to the landlord later, and he said the guy hadn’t even put in an application yet, and had made no mention during their conversation about using the place in such a way, and that he wasn’t interested in renting the place out for such a purpose.

I felt kind of bad for my reaction — I don’t want to be all “not in my backyard,” and finding housing for the homeless is a noble thing, but I do have a very trusting three-year-old who spends a lot of time running around literally in my backyard, and the prospect of a shifting group of strangers coming in and out of the place upstairs — with which we share that yard — would have given me a lot of stress and worry and anxiety. (A homeless guy, or a homeless family, no problem — but the halfway house aspect, with new people coming in and out, was troubling.)

I’m selfishly glad it’s not something I’ll have to deal with, but I’m also reminded how lucky I am to be able to worry about stuff like that instead of, say, having a place to sleep at night.

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