December 27, 2010



[Am attempting to eat a turkey drumstick with one hand.  It is making typing . . . interesting.] 

I. AM. NEVER. DOING. THIS. TWO-BOOK. STORY. THING. AGAIN. *   If PEG II were a proper sequel—which is to say, for the purposes of this argument, a separate book with the same characters, carrying on from the previous but not necessary to prevent said previous from falling over like a pogo stick with no one pogoing, I would not be sweating it quite as hard as indeed I am.**  But I am deeply not to say nervously aware of rather a number of readers fixing me with beady little eyes—not unlike hellhounds expecting a hurtle, as I think about it—in, you know, expectation.  Eeeeep.  I have never been a fast writer and this isn’t the first time that every paragraph has had to be chipped from granite . . . but I do think it is UNKIND of the Story Fairy to be doing this to me over the second half of a story that is already OUT THERE.  Between covers.  Making other people crazy.  And with a deadline that in this case means something.  Like that my life will not be worth tuppence if I miss it.

            Fortunately there is email.***  This came in a few days ago and yes I did ask her if I could quote it here. 

I am a big fan of your books and writing style.  So when I heard about Pegasus I put in an order and waited, and waited, with I will admit not the best patience.  So as soon as I received the book I gave it as much time as I could squeeze out of my crazy days (my 3 daughters are my own personal hellhounds – which I say with the greatest of Motherly Love & Pride) and I must say I LOVED every minute .  It is now my favorite of your works.  You have created a truly beautiful and captivating world.  And I compliment your master ability to relay this world to the reader.  I have been re-reading your earlier books (Beauty, Hero & Crown, Blue Sword) in introduction to my 13 year old who is just now getting the reading bug.  And I enjoyed seeing the increase of your skills from these books to Pegasus.  It is nice to see a writer grow in ability and versatility.  I always feel sorry for the authors of that “great novel” you love and then the poor shadow of the original which follows, and follows, and follows.  I have never found any of your books to be this.  Each has seemed to me new, fresh, and exciting, yet familiar and comfortable like a dear friend with whom you are reconnecting and catching up. 
            As for Pegasus… I honestly really looked at my hands and felt uncomfortable in my own human skin imagining Sylvi in Rhiandomeer surrounded by such eloquent grace as you describe.  It was like being a teenager all over again walking down the halls at high school and watching other girls as they just seem to glide.  I must say I was greatly relieved by the notice on your web site of Pegasus II in 2012.  I was shocked by the “non-ending” at the end, even thought for a moment that the publisher had accidentally printed & bound my copy without the final chapters.  All of your other books that I have read (which is a lot if not all of your published works) have a resolution but plenty of room for the novels world to continue on in the readers imagination.  So thank you in advance for Pegasus II.  I did mention that I don’t have the best patience but I will try to wait… after all 2011 is just around the corner.  Please just make sure that you release it before the so called “2012 end of the world”, because what if they are right? Then I would really be left wondering how Sylvi and Ebon kick Fthoom in the ass, how far he goes, and just how much he liked flying, LOL.

Thank you.  I will sit up straighter and sharpen the trowel—er—dinosaur bone—er—reed—stylus—er—peacock feather—er—pointy end of the Story Fairy—with better heart and confidence in appreciation of your words.

As it happens Black Bear sent me this link on the same day, on the subject of the ratbaggery of cliffhangers: 


. . . . And at this point our regularly scheduled programme, or rather, our prospectively scheduled programme, since I was going to spend some time blethering about the wonders of the Hampshire countryside in company of hellhounds in an expanded version of my morning tweets, has been HIJACKED BY THE ANTI-WONDERS OF TECHNOLOGY.

            ARRRRRGH!!!!!!!.  MORE ARRGGGGGH!  MORE!!!  ARRRRRGH!!!  Have been attempting not only to eat turkey drumstick with one hand but also to load up Pooka with more music.  Er.  With the other hand.†  I had a hissy fit recently and ripped every multiple-disc set back off the Walkperson again because I was TIRED of playing hide and seek with what its database wanted to file different discs in the same set under.  So SWEENEY TODD was under Original Cast and Various, neither of which is exactly the first thing you think of when you want to listen to SWEENEY TODD and, furthermore, having managed to remember Original Cast and Various, the playlist only appears after you’ve hit the ‘play’ button, so if you’ve guessed wrong about which is disc one, you have to start all over, and the ‘library’ function on the Walkperson is not the finest at the best of times, and the best of times does not include juggling two hellhound leads, especially in the winter with gloves on.  And if furthermore you’re post menopausal and memory challenged and perhaps you played disc one but not disc two a few days ago you may have TO GO THROUGH ALL THIS AGAIN TO FIND DISC TWO.

            So I decided to move the multi-discs to Pooka, my iPhone, who is generally saner about these things.  I loaded THE MIKADO with no trouble and moved directly on to SWEENEY, since SWEENEY, after all, is necessary to my mental health†† while Gilbert and Sullivan are mere pleasant fripperies.  It loaded, so far as I know now, without trouble.  The trouble began when I asked it to ‘import artwork’.  It imported the wrong artwork—from another SWEENEY recording.  I stared at it in dismay and then tried to figure out how to delete it by poking around in the little info folders you’re offered.  I didn’t touch anything, I swear.  There didn’t seem to be any options for ‘have downloaded wrong thing because I am fathead/was programmed by fathead/am tired/hung over/wasn’t paying attention/who does this kind of thing the day after Christmas anyway? Wetware, spare me, next time I want to be on an unpersonned probe to Hoag’s Object’.   And when I came back out of the series of useless nesting-doll folders I discovered that Pooka’s ‘music library’ had had a nervous breakdown AND PRODUCED TWO COPIES OF EACH INDIVIDUAL SONG . . . AND DISPLAYED EACH INDIVIDUAL SONG AS A   S E P A R A T E   F O L D E R.    Would you like to know how many songs there are on disc one of SWEENEY TODD?  Twenty-one.  That means I suddenly had FORTY TWO NEW FOLDERS.

            I deleted them.  Painfully.  There may be a way to do a global sweep-up of proliferating folders, but I don’t know what it is.  And I want my SWEENEY.  While I was catching my breath, I loaded disc two.  It loaded.  I did not do anything provocative like ask for artwork . . . and it slid quietly into the library as disc two.  Encouraged, I reloaded disc one . . .

            AND THE SAME THING HAPPENED AS THE FIRST TIME.  No, not quite the same thing.  This time there was only one copy of each song.  Progress.

            Not enough progress.  I deleted the f****** again.  I also emptied the recycle bin, just in case there was some kind of demonic loop thing going on, although I’ve deleted other albums without their zombies rising from the grave to chomp me. 

            I loaded it again.  This time there are only twelve different folders . . . but I’m getting tired.  So I created a new playlist and started dragging the little sods in . . . and discovered that with all the other mayhem going on, the twelve folders actually add up to more than twenty one songs:  the library gremlin is suddenly trying to be helpful, and kept doing the pop-up box trick and saying, there is more than one copy of blithery bligh, do you wish to duplicate?  NO I DO NOT WISH TO FRELLING DUPLICATE.

            So, with the aid of the CD playlist I have recreated disc one—and copied the freller to my desktop in case of accidents.  But . . . why?  And is there Any Hope of One Day Having A Single Folder for SWEENEY TODD disc one?  As questions for the ages go I don’t suppose that’s in the top ten . . . but it looms in my life.

            Meanwhile, under the stress of the moment I have not only finished the turkey drumstick and a mince pie, but an entire bar of Green & Black’s.  Oops.  

* * *

* As if I had any say in the matter.  Sigh. 

** Would that this translated into the burning of more calories and the positive NEED for more chocolate, but unfortunately this is not the case.

*** Occasionally not so fortunately.  But I try not to quote those since the annotations would inevitably break the Language Suitable for the Entire Frelling Family rule.

† Am now typing with prehensile hellhound. 

†† I am aware this is not flattering to my mental health


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