July 16, 2011



So, about this auction.

            New Arcadia’s bells need £10,000* worth of restoration work.  We’ve raised about £1800** so far.

            We need money.  We need a lot more money.  We have a couple of small grants coming, and at least one more promised;  and a few ideas about how to squeeze some more change out of the locals;  and one promise of a splashy charity do.***  But we need money.  This is not polishing-up-the-brasswork restoration:  this is crucial, necessary keeping the bells ringing work.  We’re ringing on borrowed time now. 

            So Days in the Life is having an auction. 

            I’ve been meaning to get this auction off the ground for . . . um . . . months.  But it takes, you know, DECISIONS, as well as the sheer frelling nuisance of finding copies of books I want to have in it.†  As well as the courage to fess up to the sillier items.

            So here is a rough guide to most of what’s going to be in it—there will be a surprise or two in the finished list—so you can sharpen your expectations and your bank balances†† and then I have to get the photos and the list together to send to Blogmom, and she’s going to create the actual machinery to do the thing. 

 * * *

First a few of Peter’s books.  These are all OP in these editions and the sad truth is that most of them are OP generally, although you can (mostly) find them on Abebooks and so on.  All books—mine and Peter’s—will be signed.  Of course.

UK hardback of THE ROPEMAKER and its sequel ANGEL ISLE, as one item.  This is Peter’s, ahem, epic fantasy.  (ROPEMAKER is dedicated to MEEEEEEEEEE.)

American hardback of CHUCK AND DANIELLE, which is about a whippet who is scared of everything.  It’s based on our smallest whippet—AKA wimpet—of the previous generation of hellish sighthounds.  It’s adorable.  Trust me. 

UK hardback of TULKU, which might be my favourite of Peter’s books.  Might.  But it is the one I’d just read and been totally bowled over by when I met him for the first time.  ::Swoon:: 

THE KIN, the big gorgeous American hardback single-volume edition of the four short books.  The introduction begins:  ‘It is Africa, about two hundred thousand years ago.’  And the numbers of homo sapiens sapiens are increasing, and they need to find more places to live.  (And between chapters of the adventure there are the Oldtales, which are the stories the Kin tell each other about where they came from and why things happen the way they do.) 

The UK hardback of TIME AND THE CLOCKMICE ETCETERA.  Possibly Peter’s most criminally underknown, undersold and neglected book.  (Grrrrr.)  Illustrated by Emma Chichester-Clark and funny and clever and charming and very Peter, and Emma’s illustrations are perfect.   Lovelovelovelove.

 The UK Paper Tiger reprint of THE FLIGHT OF DRAGONS.  A cult book and, as is almost the definition of cult books, drifts frustratingly in and out of print.  Illustrated by Wayne Anderson.

 * * *

And now mine.  These are all American editions;  most of them didn’t have British eds: 

One hardback of THE DOOR IN THE HEDGE and one original paperback ed of the same.  That first paperback cover—black, with some of the Twelve Dancing Princesses’ boats visible on their way to the ominous-looking castle in the middle of the lake—is still my favourite of its incarnations. 

One hardback of IMAGINARY LANDS and again one paperback of the same.  (The paperback’s cover art is by Thomas Canty, for any collectors out there.)  This was the anthology I edited and I enjoyed the writing-letters-to-authors part but I am a rotten businesswoman.  It’s probably just as well it never earned out.  I’d’ve had to figure out how to pay everyone royalties.  (It contains a story by Peter Dickinson.  It also won the World Fantasy Award for best anthology that year, and I’m pretty sure James Blaylock won for best short story.) 

One each of my two picture books, MY FATHER IS IN THE NAVY and ROWAN.  While my father was in the Navy, the story is not autobiographical.  ROWAN, as I’m fond of saying, is the only true piece of autobiography I’ve ever written†††.  Except for the fact that it all happened when I was in my thirties and not when I was a little girl, it’s exactly how I bought my first whippet, Rowan.  

A pre-Newbery first edition, first printing of THE HERO AND THE CROWN.  (If you want an ordinary hardback reading copy of HERO, it’s still in print.)  

And a first edition, first printing of the original hardback of SUNSHINE.  With the dark-red background and the chandelier, and the embossed gold type.  Still my favourite art.  

* * *

A few non-auction, simply-for-sale items:  Peter will donate to the bell fund any money from sales of THE WEIR, his book of poetry, made during the course of the auction.  The limited edition hardback is £40 [US$63.33];  the paperback is £8 [US$12.66]. 

I have a small hoard of the original, long version of the ROSE DAUGHTER afterword;  Greenwillow printed them off as booklets with the hardback cover art.  The text is still on my website, but I’ll sell a few copies of the booklet if anyone would like them. 

I’m also thinking that for anyone who would like to contribute to my and New Arcadia’s continued campanological happiness but doesn’t really have the disposable cash to get into bidding for a book, I’ll offer a small cartoon of a bell, and best wishes from the bells and the signature of the famous author/hellgoddess/artist manqué Robin McKinley.  I’ll draw one of these and post a photo . . . when I get around to posting photos . . . so you can see what absurdity I’m talking about.  But I can draw/write as many of these as anyone wants.

* * * 

And, speaking of silly things . . . it gets sillier from here on.  If this were Peter, he’d be writing snippets of poetry.  But it’s not.  I can’t write poetry to order—except bad haiku, which is going to be a contest some day, but not today—but I can draw, if you’re not too exacting about the definition of draw.  I think I’ve told you that I thought the non-writing art form I’d get back into some day was drawing, not music.‡   So I’m thinking I might offer slightly—very slightly—illustrated copies of, say, one each DRAGONHAVEN, CHALICE and PEGASUS, which usefully feature a critter each suitable for mad rendering.  These would, I can assure you, be unique.  

Now we’re into the territory of stuff that I’m going to put discouraging bottom bid limits on because I’m half hoping no one will bid.  First:  a more elaborate sketch of a critter or critters, and while I will to a limited extent Take a Request from whoever pays the top bid, if you’re going to be too hard on me I’ll revert to the hellhounds.  So, offered for your bidding:  one cartoon of hellhounds/sundry critters. 

Second:  knitting.  One square/potholder/faceflannel/washcloth with a ROSE in bas relief.  What-you-call-it in knitting. 

One square/potholder/faceflannel/washcloth with a PAWPRINT in it as above.  I’ve downloaded patterns for both these from Ravelry, and I’ll post links when I put the photos up.  The only remaining question is if I can follow simple directions without stabbing myself to death with my own needles.

And. third, the ultimate silliness:  I’ll write you a piece of music.  Details somewhat negotiable.  I’ll write you a canon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_(music) or fugue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fugue starting with your name, for example—again, somewhat depending on how strict you are about your musical definitions—or I’ll set a couple of lines of poetry, or if you play an instrument I might conceivably have a teeny tiny clue about, I’ll write something for you and it.  The bottom bid limit on this one is going to be extreme, because it would be a lot of work—even though I’d enjoy the flapdoodle out of having the excuse.  But there’s nothing stopping several of you getting together and . . .

 * * *

* Call it $16,000 American. 

** About $2850 American. 

*** Which we are going to be expected to sell tickets to.  We’ve already had one pep talk, not to say exhortation, from Vicky about this.  Since I can think of few things I could be worse at than hustling ticket sales, I suspect that everybody on my Christmas list is going to get charity revue tickets.  You don’t want to know me this year. 

† You may remember that Fiona was a heroine in this arena last time she was here. 

†† We’re probably doing this by PayPal as the least harrowing for me.  

††† . . . as fiction.  The blog doesn’t count here.  

‡ Life’s a freller.  We knew that.


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