Rewrite? Well, of course you would! Kirith is over ten years old, right? you clearly learn more and more about your craft every book, so it seems to me you couldn’t possibly strain the old copy through your eyes to your typing fingertips without filtering in the improvements your more experienced brain requires you to make. I don’t think that creativity is like spoons, is it? Does improving one work make it impossible to work on another?
Sigh. I evidently can’t strain the old copy through my eyes to my fingers without . . . jerking it around a little. The point was supposed to be that I could. That KIRITH is lying in a box in a dark cupboard and not doing anyone any good and that in my eternal quest for blog entries, especially less labour intensive blog entries*, I could lasso two hellhounds with one loop and have a dozen or so free entries and make some use of all that wasted sweat, screaming, and well-thumbed thesaurus pages, KIRITH being of the days not only of typewriters–which is part of where the trouble began now–but also the paper Roget’s under the elbow.
But I wrote about this a little when I posted the first fragment: that if I start rewriting it then I have to stop posting it, because presumably I am trying to turn it into a publishable novel after all, instead of hoicking out the good bits for your delectation here. Arrrrrgh. Not to mention that the queue of stuff waiting urgently to be written** is presently quite long enough without KIRITH adding herself in.
The current plan is? would be? might be? that I’ll finish posting through the first chapter (as I get around to it) and see if I go on rewriting. If I do then [heavy sigh] I will start actively thinking about it as a novel again. I guess. I dunno, as I stand poised somewhat reluctantly here to do so I realise I’ve got rather fond of it as the mythic Failed Novel. A romantic tragedy, like a bad love affair: desperately traumatic at the time but lending colour to the daily grind of the present. It had become the perfect opportunity to beat my breast and tear my pixels and not have to do anything. And no, working on one thing doesn’t prevent you from working on another, but given hour/energy constraints and Middle Aged Brain, it’s quite a good idea to concentrate on one thing or you find yourself making beautiful segues where fairy smiths make the best charms against the really bad Others who are all Northerners, of course, and President Eleanor Singh revealing that she had been a regular at Charlie’s coffeehouse when she was doing grad work at City University in New Arcadia.
Meanwhile, the reason I was trying to escape my obligations here last night . . .
There is a thing in the change ringing world called a mini ring. This means that some bozo, I mean dedicated ringing enthusiast, has strung a bunch of buckets upside down above or below the ceiling, if there is a ceiling, usually in his garage, punched holes in the bottoms and hung long screws down the middles of them and wound nuts up the ends to serve as clappers, tied bits of clothesline to them, and called them bells. Colin, I admit, did it a little more comprehensively than that–for one thing there are a variety of nuts screwed on the ends of the clapper-bolts to try to adjust both striking and tone–and the bells are proper cast bells, they’re like really enormous handbells, like the size of your two hands cupped together–well, like my two hands cupped together, I have big hands.*** And they’re on proper full-circle frames (they’re also in a box to preserve relations with the neighbours). And they even have sallies–proper woven ropes with the fuzzy striped handgrips. In miniature.
They’re still tin cans. Tinkle tinkle tinkle tinkle tink tunk tank.
And they are the weirdest things to ring. There’s absolutely no weight to them and of course since they’re little they make little circles so they go like the very devil. . . . While at the same time there’s so little happening that there’s like this pause between one stroke and the next.
I knew about Colin’s mini ring but I’d never rung there. For one thing, Colin is seriously one of the big boys, and practises in Colin’s garage tend to feature touches of Gotterdammerung Whapdoodle Spliced Surprise† and suchlike and Stedman is a warm up. But this is as much about who shows up to ring as it is about who’s welcome, and now we’re ringing handbells with Colin both Niall and I have been to Colin’s Monday practises at the tower–and Niall has rung the buckets too, on days when I’ve been home nursing my ME††, although Niall is himself a big boy and Gotterdammerung holds no terrors for him. This Monday practise was at the garage, and the ME and I were going.
And then Monday afternoon I got one of Niall’s bright casual little throwaway phone calls. Like the bright casual little throwaway conversation when I found out I was going to be ringing handbells for a wedding.††† Niall does this. Niall is Niall, but Niall has also got me sussed out, unfortunately. I panic easily, and one way to short-circuit the system is to mention the thing I’m going to kick and scream about as a given and keep on going. So yesterday there was a message on my phone machine at the cottage from Niall saying (brightly) that Colin had talked Daniel into coming early to ring handbells so he–Niall–would swing by to pick me up an hour early.
I was there, nonetheless, (quivering) by the side of the road when Niall drove up. And the four of us rang major, which is to say eight working bells, which is a whole galaxy of complications beyond minor on six bells, which is Colin and Niall and I (nearly) every Thursday, and I was not the least among equals, although I had bagged the easiest pair by declaring that they were the only pair I was even willing to try to stay right on.‡
The result of all this superfluous method-wrangling however is that all of our brains were in a semi-liquid state before we even started on the official practise on the mini-ring. I made a diversion with trying to learn to handle the little monsters–TINGLE TINK TWANG TWANK–and then Colin, being a ratbag, launched us on Stedman. . . .
So I was very tired last night. And then I came home and inadvertently started a new rewrite on an old novel. . . .
* * *
* I know this is my own fault. It’s just the way it keeps happening. 1000-1500-or-so-word entries once a day. This works for me. This is, when I sit down to write an entry, what comes out. Which would be fine if the days were forty hours long. And meanwhile if I read one more clever, witty, engaging blog entry from someone who has been effortlessly keeping a blog for years which refers to the fact that he/she has more sense than to try and write an entry every day^ I am going to track them down and kidnap their collection of commemorative teapots/ sequined hoodies/ Victorian hedgehog brasses/ scale models of Machu Picchu made out of matchsticks^^ and leave little ransom notes about sacred promises never to snark about frequency of blog entries again.
^ The implication being that those of us who do are sad, obsessive control freak nutters with no lives. I plead guilty to all but the last. I wish I had fewer lives. Just one life would be nice.
^^ Or pebbles. Pebbles are probably better.
** Which now I fear includes music, whether what I write is ever worth anything to anybody but me^ and the closest it gets to performance is/are a few animated exchanges on the forum. And poor Oisin, of course.
^ Bizarre factoid of the day: The composer Bohuslav Martinu was born in a bell tower in Bohemia where his father was a watchman. (He studied briefly at the Prague Conservatory but was dismissed for “incorrigible negligence.” Hee. He then went on to write nearly 400 compositions, including symphonies, operas, etc. School doesn’t mean anything except that you were good–or bad–at doing school.) I know it must be true, I read it on wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martinu But Radio Three has just been playing his bizarre, speaking of bizarre, opera Julietta, and so I was looking him up and . . .
*** Me and Rachmaninoff.
† Can’t remember if I’ve mentioned that in THE BELLS OF MAZAHAN, which is one of the Third Damar Novels on the official active list, I have a lot of fun with bell-method names. Of course these are change ringing bells. You have to keep the borders rung, don’t you know anything?
†† And a grudge
††† In June. I think it’s too late to organise a book tour so I can be out of the country.
‡ Let’s put this into a little perspective. I’ve been change ringing four and a half years. Niall has been ringing seventeen or eighteen years. Colin has been ringing forty. Daniel has been ringing fifty–and Daniel has been ringing handbells much of that time too. Colin admittedly is new to handbells, but he’s a very experienced tower captain, which means he’s used to keeping all the frelling lines in his head so if a bell goes wrong he can tell it how to go right. If I want to whinge a little and pounce on the pair of bells that have the easiest lines through the method, I’m allowed.
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