Sleep, short of, very
I am Very Short of Sleep. I tried to print out the first 1,000,000,000,000* words of SHADOWS yesterday evening. I knew it was going to be a less than happy, joyful experience, because my printer is POSSESSED BY DEMONS as SO MANY TECHNOLOGICAL APPURTENANCES BUT ESPECIALLY PRINTERS ARE. I cast my mind back, and I think I’ve always hated my printers, which live** to find reasons to refuse to print, but of course the current incumbent is most on my mind so I am convinced I HATE IT WORSE THAN I’VE EVER HATED ANY OTHER PRINTER.
Last night I got one—that’s one, that’s COUNT IT ONE page out of said printer before it jammed. ONE. ONE PAGE. ONE. Well, before it claimed to jam, which is one of its little jokes. So I opened all its stupid, sticky-catched doors and couldn’t find anything wrong of course (it very, very, very rarely has a paper jam, it just likes the attention), and hit ‘print’ again. Now it’s telling me there’s a Paper Mismatch in Tray, which is its default non-printing position.*** Usually if you yank the paper tray in and out a few times it will sullenly (and temporarily) accept its fate and print out a few pages. Not last night. I think the prospect of printing out lots of pages was giving it a more drastic than its usual case of the megrims . . . and so when I resorted to turning the bloody thing off, knitting a row†, and turning it back on again . . . there was a pause for warming up and contemplating its options before it shouted: TONER INVALID! . . . Which is a new one. I haven’t seen toner invalid before. New experiences are so refreshing. And then it ran through all the different toners individually: toner black INVALID! toner cyan INVALID! toner magenta INVALID! toner yellow INVAAAAAAAAAALID!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA GOTCHA!!!!!!!!
Whereupon I had a nervous breakdown and emailed Raphael. Who is an insane person, and checks his business emails even at 8 o’clock at night. I’ll ask Gabriel to get on it tomorrow, he replied.
Hellhounds and I hurtled back to the mews for dinner. And then—despite Peter warning me about the weather—we went home at our usual rrggmmph o’clock except, as you may recall, we are presently on foot, and hellhounds were TRAUMATISED, that’s TRAUMATISED by having to walk home in the RAIN. Now, granted, it was heavy rain, and if hellhounds were in the habit of listening to either husbands or weather reports they might have been feeling a little testy about my having ignored both these excellent sources of advice, but I’m pretty convinced they came up with the whole TRAUMATISED thing all on their own.
And they wouldn’t eat their supper. No, no, we couldn’t touch a morsel, they said, shuddering delicately, we’re so TRAUMATISED.
. . . And then Gabriel, bless him, rang first thing this morning.
I am very short of sleep.
Okay… so the dwarf doesn’t appear to be the landlord…
Well, if he is, Cathy and I need to have a more complex conversation than I realised. As I’ve told you I’m trying to stay about ten eps ahead of what I’m posting so I have some clue where I may be headed, and every now and then, while she gets on with her life, I send Cathy some new fragment of story info which has only just emerged . . . and I mean fragment. These tend to be so fragmentary that she would be forgiven for saying, um, you’re telling me this why?, except that they come with that charge, like putting your finger in a live socket, that says SOMETHING HERE.
Anyway. So far as I know Ron is not the landlord.
Do authors hate their characters enough to make them realtors? Oh, wait.
Hey. I have a friend who’s a realtor.†† Remember that KES is also a parody. I will send up anyone I can get my little hands on, Kes herself in particular of course, but everyone, and the horse they rode in on, and the street names of New Iceland, and . . . I’ve already told you that I’m really looking forward to writing the first scene/chapter of FLOWERHAIR THE INVINCIBLE—which you get a peek at, I think it’s next ep—but that doesn’t negate that somewhere down the line she has some trouble with attack mushrooms.
I’m working on some of Britten’s arias right now (Titania’s two big ones, from his version of “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and one from “The Turn of the Screw”) – he certainly does like to torture musicians. But it’s a good sort of torturing.
Wowie zowie honey, you’re in at the deep end. I think if your head will bend in that direction††† Britten is an absolutely fabulous education all by himself. One of my fantasies is to sing his setting of Auden’s Tell Me the Truth about Love but . . . not this week.
. . . this house is basically my dream home. Grottiness and out-of-datedness and possible Cthulhu and/or Yog-Sothoth in the cellar included.
Oh, me too. If I asked for a show of forum hands I suspect we’re in the majority. But that’s part of the fun (I hope). Parody and riffing on a favourite trope are very nearly the same thing.
I can’t help but wonder if Hayley is just a fan and doing her best not to totally fan-girl geek-out. Matching accessories notwithstanding.
Mother pin a rose on you.‡ I did wonder how many of you were silently having your suspicions. I didn’t know till, um, I think the second ep Hayley appears. I had the same initial reaction to her that Kes herself did. (No, damn it, we are not interchangeable, even metaphorically. There’s just a lot of overlap.) I still want to remonstrate with her about her footgear however.
As someone who normally bolts through a book, this sort of drip-feeding is….. causing me no end of anguish. (And then the author chuckles evilly…?)
Well, yes, I never turn down an opportunity to chuckle evilly, but . . .
I love this whole thing so much. But it really is torture, only getting a tiny bit at a time.
. . . tell yourselves that the only way you will have KES at all is like this. While I admit I hope she turns out to have some kind of long term, comprehensive, something-or-other future, I would, for example NEVER have written last night’s ep for a story that, you know, started life as a contracted book. KES is more work than I was, um, hoping, but she’s also even more fun than I was hoping. And I’ll take all the fun I can get. Especially when there are things like printers in my life.
::reads Kes 20:: ::reaches end of excerpt:: ::dies laughing::
‘dies laughing’?‡‡ You churl. Wait . . . wait . . . a new storyline is just coming into view. I can’t see it clearly yet . . . hang on . . . yes . . . it’s something about a violinist. Something . . . something awful happens to a violinist.
* * *
* I keep dwelling on how slowly this final draft and tidy-up and yank-together is going but as I organised the first lump for printing out I realised that one reason is because it has got long. It’s not in the PEGASUS category but . . . it’s not short. It’s not a cheerful little 75,000-word throw-off that it started life as. Well of course not. Who do I think I am. IT’S NOT LIKE THIS IS UNDER MY CONTROL, YOU KNOW.
** And caper and dance and laugh maniacally as soon as you’re out of your office.
*** It has paper size SETTINGS. It ignores these. You can carefully select the paper you’re using, and during the exciting hey-presto of PAPER JAM and PAPER TRAY MISMATCH it will have reset them. It will have reset them to a paper size that has never existed in the history of the world so that you don’t have opportunity to give it the paper it claims to want, to see if this makes any difference. I comfort myself with the thought that it wouldn’t.
† Waaaaaaaay better than that flimsy old counting-to-ten thing. I have no problem merely counting to ten and then committing murder. Knitting a row has an actual tranquillizing effect.^
^ Unless of course I make a horrible error.
†† And, if we’re counting, three friends who are accountants.
††† And no shame if it doesn’t, EMoon,^ everyone’s different, give me a minute and I’ll think of three major composers I can’t stick on any account.^^
[ep 20] is SO VERY MUCH what I needed tonight!!!
Oh good. ::Beams::
^^ You can take 90% of John Adams, Harrison Birtwhistle and Pierre Boulez, and 80% of Stravinsky and Ravel, and bury them in the back garden, for example.
‡ This is a common phrase, yes? It’s not just me?
My shout of laughter on the ending of Kes #20 just brought my office mates to my door. I believe they’re thinking that I’m the madwoman in the attic.
I think you might have a legal case for unacceptable working conditions. You might want to look into this.
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