I guess this is an end-of-year post? Or maybe just a general catch-up that is long overdue. I had a new book come out this year, Sweet Dreams, and a story in Haunted Futures in which the ghost of Richard Feynman has a cameo. I finished my MSc in Astrophysics with Distinction. Two weeks after submitting my thesis I started a PhD at LIV.DAT, a joint venture between the Astrophysics Research Institute and Liverpool University that receives funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council to train data scientists in the UK.
It took me five years to get an honours degree from the OU; I did it part time alongside kids and business and writing. But the PhD program is full-time and the commute to Liverpool from Shropshire is kinda hardcore. I am being paid to learn. It is a huge opportunity for me and my family, and I’m ecstatic about being in this position. I won’t do anything to jeopardise my progress. Obviously, writing will be sidelined for a long time, and I’ve turned down a few public appearances for the same reason.
Friends occasionally express disappointment or worry about the not-writing part in the nicest possible way, but the truth is: I can’t do both and do them well. The other truth is that I’ve been writing professionally since 1993, and the longest I’ve ever gone without working on anything was maybe two-three months during exam season. Those breaks ended up being immensely powerful and resulting in better work when I came back. After all, creativity is cyclical; sometimes the best thing you can do is let the cycle reach bottom. So I’ll be interested to see what happens here.