Friday, June 30, 2006

Flushed with Pride

I don't suppose you want to hear about this, but I've just had a colonic. I drove for three hours yesterday so a nice redhead could put a tube up my bottom.

In case you ever have to face something similar, I thought you might welcome details of what happens, although readers of a nervous disposition should look away now.

The fun started with a questionaire about the state of my health, which is fine except for the overgrowth of candida that sent me for the therapy in the first place. Then I had to sign a permission for a rectal examination and colonic irrigation.

After that, we got down to business. I was asked to visit the bathroom, undress from the waist down, wrap a towel around then present myself in the therapy room. There I lay on my back on a plastic-sheeted massage table while the therapist gently prodded my abdomen for signs of anything that might interfere with the procedure. Since there were none, I was instructed to lie on my side, still decently covered by the towel, while the therapist gently inserted a well-lubricated nozzle.

It was a peculiar feeling, neither painful nor unpleasant: really you just feel as if you're about to go to the loo. The nozzle only goes in an inch or two because there's a curve in the colon just before it emerges into the daylight so pushing anything too far up risks irritation of the colon wall.

Once I admitted I was comfortable -- which I was -- the therapist began to pump triple-filtered water into my intestines. That didn't feel like much of anything. You're advised to relax, not to push and let things happen. The nozzle is designed to allow water to flow in and everything else to flow out.

The 'everything else' can contain some surprises. While we chatted over the next three-quarters of an hour, the therapist told me one of her (middle-aged) clients had expelled three crayons she'd swallowed as a child in nursery school. Buttons from your romper suit and small toys consumed by babies aren't uncommon either. These bits and pieces pass through the stomach into the intestine where, typically, they lodge in one of the crevices. The body then wraps them in mucus for your protection and eventually forgets about them.

Disappointingly, I produced nothing of note except candida (which fizzes like champagne, according to my therapist) although she did congratulate me on the volume I expelled and the ease with which I did so -- a comment that brought me right back to childhood and the encouragement you get from mother while you're being potty-trained.

And that was about it. After the nozzle is removed, you go off to sit on the loo for five minutes to get rid of any residues, then you pay her and go home. Nothing to it, really.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Longest Day

The Solstice is upon us, heaven help us: longest day of the year, from now on the nights will be drawing in and it all happens faster and faster the older I grow. (Sighs deeply and gets on with it...)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fairy Country

Just back from a weekend in Yeats Country (Sligo) where I got to look at herbs growing in the rain. (My wife Jacks is training to be a master herbalist.) This is the fairy capital of Ireland whatever they try to tell you about the Boyne Valley, but it was too wet for them to come out. Met several nice Americans, however -- they come out in all weathers -- and stayed in an utterly delightful country house, Temple House, the history of which goes all the way back to the Knights Templar. Romantic or what? One of these long summer days I'll have to get to editing Faerie Lord. But not yet... not yet...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Done that then.

Just finished the fourth book of the Faerie Wars trilogy -- first draft anyway -- and plunged into my usual depression at finishing a novel. (I miss the characters.) But it was cheering this morning to discover I'm still causing problems for my translators. That's a tradition started in the 1980s when I was writing game books. Translators for the overseas editions used to go mental trying to figure our the puzzles and puns. Life got easier for them when I concentrated on non-fiction for a while, but now I'm writing fantasy, a new problem has arisen: I've developed a tendency to make up words and phrases like brindles, bubble smoke, nants, ordle and retinduculus. Translators try to look them up, then find they aren't in any dictionary and have a crisis of confidence. Great fun altogether.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

When is a book like a bus?

Advance copies are like buses. You wait around for months and nothing happens, then one day two come along at once. Happened to me yesterday when the postman staggered up the drive with a parcel of El Emperador Purpura hardbacks -- Salamandra's Spanish edition of The Purple Emperor -- plus, very much to my surprise, an early copy of Ruler of the Realm.

The Spanish book is bound with purple trim and uses a version of the cover illustration originated by DTV in Germany -- a creepy, atmospheric study of the labyrinth featured in the novel. A hefty print run is promised, so Salamandra seem to be anticipating decent sales.

Ruler of the Realm looks great. (You can see the cover on my Web site: It runs to 430 pages, one page shorter than Purple Emperor and I have a half-baked idea of printing the Prologue on my Web site as a teaser. But not yet. If I do it at all, it will be closer to the publication date in October.

Meanwhile, the first draft of Faerie Lord (the fourth book of what Orla Mellling calls an 'Irish Trilogy') should be finished, barring accidents and God willing, this week, a prospect I find terrifying.