Gout! Gout! That’s what it’s about!

So . . . yeah, it’s been a loooong time since my last update. And though there might appear to be some fairly obvious reasons for my absence, up to and including (a) I’ve just been really, you know, slammed with, like, life and stuff, or (b) the whole social media/self promotion shebang doesn’t come naturally to me, so I let it slide in spite of the fact that I actually have (sort of? maybe?) interesting stuff to offer . . . that’s not it at all.

My absence from this site can easily be explained. I have, believe it or not, been on a journey through time and space to visit the 18th century, where I have acquired a powdered wig, a taste for blood pudding, and gout.

One of these claims is, in fact, true.

Yes: I have gout.


I bet you didn’t know anyone in the 21st century still got gout. It’s one of those afflictions you read about in history books, as in, “Oh, sure, sure, Martin Van Buren (or whomever) had terrible gout,” all the while hoping no one would challenge you to explain exactly what gout is. Personally, I had gout up there with rickets and scurvy among ailments I never imagined I would suffer. But suffering I am.

(BTW: if you don’t know what gout is, it’s an inflammation of the joints, usually manifesting in and around the big toe. In layman’s terms, it feels like someone smashed my right foot with a sledgehammer. It’s been a day of hopping about on one foot and cursing profligately.)

Turns out my grandfather was regularly afflicted with the gout, making this yet another token of my glorious familial inheritance. I wish old Ed Cowan (yep, I”m his namesake) was around today so we could joke bitterly about gout’s street name–”the rich man’s malady”–which owes itself to the fact that, historically, only the wealthiest jerks, those who gorged on red meat and fine alcohol while the peasants ate gruel, were afflicted.

There were some righteous souls, however, who did not fit that mold! Those were the poor sonsofbitches who just had the wrong combination of genes, like we Cowans. I’d really like to see the look on my sharecropper grandfather’s face when we talked about suffering from the “rich man’s malady.” I imagine he’d say something along the lines of what I’m thinking right now:

Someone owes me a shit ton of money.

I would have attached a gross picture if there was a gross picture to be taken. Unfortunately, my foot is just a little swollen, nothing too flashy. The pain is deep inside, in the shape of what I’m sure are beautiful crystals formed by the accretion of uric acid in the joint behind my big toe. So, sorry, no pics. (Besides, you know the foot fetishist community has been after me for pictures of my gorgeous feet for years. Even in my afflicted state, I won’t give them the satisfaction. You will not pleasure yourselves to visions of my immaculate feet!)

Maybe it’s the drugs talking, but–

Wait. Before we go, I need to talk about the drugs. They’re serious shit. One of them has an ALL CAPS warning on the bottle stating that, basically, if you eat grapefruit while taking it, YOU WILL DIE. Luckily, I have the god-given sense not to eat grapefruit. But still. Gout medicine is no joke. Probably because rich people get the drugs they actually need. So I’m drafting on the bumper of the high and mighty for once. Huzzah!

–Ahem. Back to the message at hand. Maybe it’s the drugs talking, but I promise to actually update this website regularly in the future. And I’m hard at work, as always, on the next volume of Unfated. (Book Seven! Seven! Can you believe it?) Cheers, everyone, and thank your god or gods, sincerely or ironically, that you don’t have the rich man’s/two guys named Ed Cowans’ malady.