December 4, 2011

Some of the Usual Brain Death Suspects


The auction winner of IMAGINARY LANDS requested a doodle:  ‘author’s choice’.  EEEEEEEEEP.  This sort of thing makes my mind spin out of control.  A symphony orchestra dressed as Santa Clauses!  The flat earth balanced on the back of an infinity of turtles!*  Gotterdammerung!   However, after clawing myself off the ceiling, I decided on a sheepdog.  But then (I believe the winner to be a blog reader) I thought it might be a good idea to pin it up here and say IT’S A SHEEPDOG.  You know, from The Stone Fey.  Well, maybe you don’t know, if you haven’t read the story.  Anyway.  I was originally going to draw the whole serious, head-down sheepdog in full focussed herd mode, but it occurred to me that if you don’t know that’s what sheepdogs look like on the job you might think it was a mad wolf.  So we did lying down and looking harmless but alert.

non-traditional sheepdog.

Narknon. With breakfast.


The request was for an ELEGANT hellhound. I'm not sure I do elegant. This will have to suffice.

I’ve been doodling and I am BRAIN DEAD (again).  SHADOWS.  Gaah.  Blog post.  Gaaah.  Sing . . . VOICE LESSON TOMORROWAAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE**. 


Believe me, of the few students I’ve wanted to kick out of my studio, none of them had ever doubted their own talent. Not liking what’s coming out of your instrument is the foundation of being able to change it. 

. . . Wait, wait, are you SERIOUS?  Not about the foundation for change—that makes sense***, but about the undesirable students??  Really?  I totally understand the lack of charm of a lazy egoist†, with or without talent, but what about the PATHETIC?††  —I have to keep reminding myself that all I’m aiming at is to get into a slightly better choir than the Muddles†††, which means sight-singing and surviving an audition.  And I make a perfectly adequate choir ‡ noise so long as I’m not trying to get into The Sixteen or the Tallis Scholars or something.  And Nadia needs to eat.  So okay, no, she’s probably not going to fire me.  . . . But are you serious?  It’s thinking Your Talent Is Enough that pushes patient teachers over the edge?  I know that Oisin fires people who don’t practise.‡‡

Some purling. I hope.


. . . It didn’t help that I was wrapping the yarn backwards on purl rows for the first, oh, two years I knit. And I wondered why my knitting looked funny. 


SAME. Not with the purls, but knits. I wrapped my yarn the other way, so all my knits looked like “through the back loop” knits. I was always really confused why, when I followed the instructions to knit through the back loop, it looked like my normal knitting. And why my purls and my knits looked SO different on the knit side of stockinette.  

I love you.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  I am so grateful.  I feel so much better.  And I’m not sure it shows in the photo, but I am getting the little ‘v’s so I ASSUME I’m purling.  You will notice that I can’t count worth stale peanuts however—this was supposed to be two rows, switch, two rows, switch, two rows.  The gleeps are ad hoc.  


I like ribbing! Well, ok, maybe it’s not my favorite thing to do ever, but I don’t mind it at all. 

Sigh.  I’m planning not to mind ribbing.  But then I was planning not to mind sewing up.  Very slightly in my defense, I don’t think it’s the sewing up per se that’s the problem—it’s the SPACE to lay the freller out and, even more, what you see when you lay it out‡‡‡, ie, it’s NOT supposed to look like THAT.  I will probably have a similar reaction to ribbing.  Siiiiiigh.  But both Penelope§ and Fiona have said that you only have to pay attention, as in ATTENTION attention, for the first few rows, and then you can do it either by feel or at least by looking at it.  Penelope is knitting AN ENTIRE SWEATER in ribbing§§ which she does WHILE SHE WATCHES FILMS.§§§ 


As one of the people who won an auction square, I have to say that a small but significant part of bidding on it was to have something that was going to hang over your head for a good while.

Books are good. Doodles are awesome. Having something owed me by one of my favourite authors? Priceless. This is a state of affairs that can continue indefinitely.  

I may love you even more than I love blondviolinist and jmeadows.  I am delighted to indulge you in this matter.  . . . . Maybe I’ll learn to do edging to make the situation last even longer. . . . 


Now I desperately want Robin to have a pink motorcycle with sidecar for the hellhounds. 

Oh, so do I.  You can run the charity auction this time.  Vikkik will help

* * *

* Hawking, not Pratchett 

** Not in a good way. 

*** Even to me 

† These are, I guess, the same people who come up to a professional writer at a party and say with a smirk, Oh yes, I’ve always wanted to write a novel, I just don’t have time.  Urge.  To.  Kill.^ 

^ If they got that ‘jury of your peers’ right, I would be shot out of the courtroom and back onto the street so fast the speed of my passage would blow out the windows.   

†† And possibly neurotic 

††† Eventually.  First I have to get back to the poor Muddles.  But believe it or not I’m still having throat problems and I really really really don’t want to have to start all over after I go to choir practise and promptly oversing myself to splinters.  Last few days—since, ahem, Wednesday—I’ve been breaking up practise time into two official whacks^.  I found out some time ago if I warm up and then go away and come back later to sing properly, it works a whole lot better.  But I’ve been kind of pushing it since Wednesday—I AM GOING TO SING DOVE SEI^^ TOMORROW AND IT IS NOT GOING TO BE ANY MORE EMBARRASSING THAN MY SINGING EVER IS—and intelligent pushing means not much more than about half an hour at a time.  I can do an hour with Nadia because there’s always a lot of talking and I don’t talk to myself ( . . . much.  When I sing).  

^ Ah, the joys of working at home, six feet from your piano. 

^^ The first two pages.  I’ve started learning the third and last, but I want Nadia to go over it with me before I do anything too . . . daft.  

‡ I want to respond to some of what you’ve said about Rodelinda, but I did want to say . . . that was a joke, about Blythe being the best alto your little local choir ever had.  She’s not my cup of overcaffeinated beverage, but if I sounded one sixteenth that good I would probably die of joy, so maybe it’s just as well I don’t.  The truth is merely that I don’t find her voice all that interesting when compared to the Mezzos of Yore.  

‡‡ Or, alternatively, plays the organ for them, and then gives them cups of tea.  Sigh.  SOME DAY when . . . gods, when they perfect the life-extension thing and/or the thirty-six hours in a day thing . . . I’m going to get back to the piano properly.  It’s just . . . there’s no POINT to performing music if you can’t perform it with other people somehow, and a choir is a better bet for those of us with more nerves than talent. 


§ Who was clearly trying not to laugh when I was telling her my purling problems.  

§§ It’s even two kinds of ribbing:  it’s fitted through the body and then flares out in a sort of peplum.  It’s really cute.  In twenty years or so I may ask her where she got the pattern. 

§§§ I might have liked AKIRA better if I’d been knitting.  Of course, I have to look at what I’m knitting . . .



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