Thanks to everyone who entered the Silly Signing Clothing Contest. I’m afraid it’ll probably be Friday before I can cope with the counting and the random number generator, but . . . THANK YOU. A copy of the UK PEGASUS will be coming toward one of you soon.
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OH GODS THE FRELLING SIGNING IS TOMORROW. ISN’T THERE A NICE ANONYMOUS EMERGENCY IN HARROGATE OR MIDLOTHIAN OR SOMEWHERE WHERE MY PRESENCE COULD BE CRUCIAL TO SUCCESS?
No, no, wait, I didn’t mean that, of course not, what was I thinking?, I mean, OH! YAAY! THE LOVELY SIGNING IS TOMORROW! I’M GOING TO LONDON TOMORROW FOR A LOVELY SIGNING! I WILL SIGN LOTS OF COPIES* OF PEGASUS** AND I WILL HAVE A LOVELY TIME CHATTING TO ALL THE NICE PEOPLE! I LOVE PEOPLE! I’M SO GOOD AT CHATTING, ESPECIALLY TO STRANGERS!***
I don’t think I can keep this up for long. . . .
As I think I tweeted to someone recently, the only real attraction of public appearances for me is the excuse to wear silly clothing. I’ve always loved dressing up, it’s just that having got dressed up and made my entrance I’m ready to go home again and put my jeans back on. Parties. Shudder. One of the additional problems with parties is that generally speaking you’re trying to look your best at a party, rather than like a raging loony, and my idea of fun threads tends toward the raging loony end.† At least with an author gig I know what I’m there for††, which is to Engage Directly with Some Small Portion of My Audience—aside from the nightmarish possibility that no one will come†††—and so long as whatever you’re wearing doesn’t restrict your mouth or your writing arm you can answer questions and sign books dressed as the Lambton Worm‡ or the Houses of Parliament as well as in a twinset and a modest tweed skirt. I suppose you shouldn’t frighten your publicist.‡‡ In my experience your audience can usually swing with whatever is on offer, although that may be due to the flexibility of the fantasy-reading intellect.
I’m at the never mind, it’ll be over soon stage. As I was also tweeting to someone recently (I think), the vast VAST majority of my readers are lovely. They are both polite and enthusiastic, they buy books, they form a queue to the right when someone tells them that’s where the queue forms and they are generally either articulate or have pleasant giggles. . . . But I, of course, remember the ones who have travelled five hundred miles to tell me how much they hate my books‡‡‡, the ones that feel that my feminism distorts my view of reality, the ones who think my books would be pretty good if I’d only had the benefit of their insight sooner, and that my next books could be better if I’d keep their advice in mind . . . and the ones that have brought a specially printed out copy of their 1000-page manuscript (the first of a series) so I can take it home with me and read it.§ I am short on people skills! I can blow you off by email much more efficiently! I also am a terrible wuss. Unless you piss me off—which, granted, is perhaps not that hard to do—I hate hurting people’s feelings. I’ve been wrong-footed so frelling many times simply by giving way when I should’ve grimly held my line like the Greeks at Thermopylae.
But tomorrow is going to be great, right?
It’ll be over soon . . .
* * *
There were no bats last night. At least I think there weren’t any. I did turn my light out and promptly dive under a carefully prior-arranged rampart of pillows, having also spent what energy I had in telling myself they were only little bats, they were not a big deal even in the bedroom with me, and if it came to that I could just sleep through the beating of tiny wings and the ambling of tiny bodies over the hummock under the bedclothes that is me. And if I believed that I had a nice bridge I could sell myself later. I lay there under my pillows straining to pretend I wasn’t straining for any sound of tiny beating wings. . . . And there wasn’t any such sound. I think. Maybe I’m just deafer than I realise.§§ Eventually I fell asleep . . . And Atlas has now spent two more days sealing up anything that REMOTELY resembles a hole§§§, and we wait upon events.
Also, it’s raining. Fiona mentioned this yesterday#, but I’d been thinking about it. It’s already been put forward as a theory that one reason my bats may have broken through into the house this year is because of the drought. A lot of their usual sources have dried up, and they can smell the water in my tank—and to a bat smaller than the palm of my hand, the splashes in the sink may count as a good drink.## Atlas plugged a lot of the obvious holes . . . and it started raining. I didn’t have bats for several weeks, and we had a fair amount of rain, off and on, for several weeks. Then it stopped raining again. I started having to water my garden again. And the bats returned. I still want TO FINISH BLOCKING ENTRY HOLES. I DO NOT WANT BATS IN THE HOUSE EVEN IF IT’S A DESERT OUT THERE. But it is a bit suggestive. It rained yesterday and today too. Not a lot—my monarda is still moaning that it’s thirsty, it’s always thirsty—but what I hope might be enough for bats no bigger than the palm of my hand. Even four hundred and ten of them.
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* Okay, the ‘lots’ would be good.
** And possibly a few others
*** ::Whining noises:: —Who, me? It’s the hellhounds. Who are, for the moment, eating.
† An additional reason why I am loath to give up the black leather mini is because it’s such good theatre. One of the major drawbacks of the SUNSHINE tour, aside from the simple fact of it being a tour, is that I did not want to get into the vampire chic thing—I am so not dangerous or Goth, you know?—so I regretfully left the sillier end of my leather collection at home. But PEGASUS? Totally the moment for a black leather mini. Never mind my age.
†† Unlike at a party. What am I here for? Is there champagne? Is it properly cold?
††† ::Suppressed rant on the subject of advertising:: Sometimes you’re just not J K Rowling and that’s all there is to it. But the occasions that have left marks on my soul have been totally frelling frelled by the shop in question. Grrrrr.
‡ They deserved to be cursed to nine generations for killing the dog.
‡‡ The Houses of Parliament may be over that line.
‡‡‡ Or anyway have travelled 500 miles to attend the convention partly so they could come to my panel and tell me what a festering pustule on the face of literature I am. Eeep.
§ And the junior high track one English lit teachers who have assigned SUNSHINE to their seventh graders without having read it first.
§§ Any of you other middle-aged and growing deaf out there, have you noticed the way you only go deaf for stuff you want to be able to hear? The idiot conversation at the next table or the sound of tiny wings you hear as clearly as a twelve-year-old.
§§§ And I bet the Bat Conservation Trust does not allocate grants to beleaguered householders paying for weeks of a professional carpenter’s time.
# Possibly while we were in the car on our way to the yarn store. I needed cheering up, okay?
## And yes, I’m aware that my saucers of water strategy may not be in my own best interests, but if I must have bats I prefer live frisky bats rather than sad dehydrated dying bats.
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