Life in the (Very) Slow Lane
I darned a sock this morning. I’m trying to remember the last time I darned a frelling sock.* There are advantages to staying home all the time.** At the moment I’m actually reading*** books faster than I’m buying them. This won’t last. But I have TWO NEW BOOK RECS to add to the list just in this last week, and you will remember I am a Very Cranky Reader. I periodically have fantasies of doing a book rec a week for the blog. That would press pretty hard on my fundamental CRANKINESS—two rec-able titles in seven days is perhaps not unheard of but supremely unlikely—but it might be an interesting experiment.
After the monsoon, the Nor’easter. We had a no-nonsense hard frost last night, according to my minimum-maximum thermometer down to 28°(F) and the tropical jungle is all huddled anxiously on the Winter Table indoors. And it’s slithery outdoors. I hadn’t tried to go to my monks last night after I got a last-minute email from Alfrick saying that there was no contemplation before the night prayer, which was furthermore early . . . but this morning I was booted, spurred and caffeinated to bolt for Sunday [Anglican] Mass at the monks’, but by the time I had to leave it was still below freezing and I didn’t like the look of the roads. At. All. So I didn’t go. And I didn’t go to St Margaret’s tonight either for the same reason.† I’m beginning to feel like an eremite.
But I darned a sock.††
What with the last fortnight’s undesirable adventures, I’ve kind of lost track of where I am rattling through forum comments. So if I’ve responded to any of these already I hope I’m saying more or less the same things. This may be boring for you, but anything else would be very disconcerting to me.
Tall, thin, spiky shadow? Like, um, rose bushes? Rosebushes that SALUTE? Well, maybe there’s a breeze in there.
No, no, it’s the hob. It’s got to be the hob.
But what’s the hob going to do? They’re not warriors, are they? Maybe it could trip somebody, er, something, er, whatever is coming.
I think rose-bushes of apparently supernatural origin can probably do whatever they put their pointy little minds to. I wouldn’t trust Rose Manor’s own roses—the ones that can survive anything, even Cold Valley winters, and who eat children and small dogs when they can get them—not to have an agenda. And hobs . . . now I know I said something like this before . . . hobs protect their homes. That’s what they’re for. That’s what they do.
|bethanynash wrote on Sat, 07 December 2013 22:18|
|I hadn’t even considered the idea that the tall spiky shadow could be the hob… what does a hob look like? Is the hob tall? Would a hob salute?|
I think we’re in anything-can-happen territory here.
Yep. Got it in one. For a storyteller like me the fun is in taking a tradition or a fairy tale or a bit of folklore . . . and giving it a pink feather boa and a pair of All Stars, so to speak. Again, as I keep saying, I don’t do this deliberately, but when a story—or a hob or a dragon or a vampire or whatever—speaks to me, speaks to me rather than some other storyteller, it’s because THEY WANT THE BOA.
I learned a new word: “deliquescing”!
It’s a good one, isn’t it? It’s been one of My Words for some time. Vellicating, however, I’d forgotten about, till I saw it somewhere recently and thought, oh! I should use that!—especially since I’m twitchy myself.
What I’m wondering is, how will this experience affect Kes’ next volume of ‘Flowerhair’? As in, personal experience (blood, the sheer physicality and awfulness of violent death, which is expressed so well here) informing her writing.
We-ell . . . your life and your fiction have a strange relationship to each other. It’s as I’ve ranted in other contexts: yes, readers know a lot about me, the author of the story, but they don’t know what they know. I’ve never written about being a military brat, living five years in Japan where I clearly did not belong, and then coming back to America and finding that it wasn’t home any more . . . anywhere but here in the blog. But my particular experience of being an outsider—most authors feel like outsiders in one form or another, I think; it helps channel the storytelling—entirely informs my writing. But you can’t tell from my stories that I lived five years in Japan when I was a kid.
And . . . my own experience of extreme situations is that the last thing I want to do is stuff them in my fiction†††—which is what Kes says: nightmares that she doesn’t put in her stories. Flowerhair might retire and . . . er . . . open a florist’s. ‡
* * *
* Your average cotton-with-a-little-spandex or equivalent isn’t worth the bother unless they’re really favourite socks, especially since they’re probably going thin all over at the same time. But nice heavy socks, like the wool oversocks I wear this time of year—they deserve respect, and darning when necessary.^ I used to have a darning basket but it got kind of intimidating.
^ Not least in my case when I find some wool socks I can bear to wear, even over one or two pairs of cotton socks+, I want to keep them as long as possible.
+ Yes. My shoe size goes up in the winter.
** Somewhat depending on how you feel about things like darning socks. Or washing the kitchen floor which I did a couple of days ago.^ I actually kind of like all that fussy domestic stuff. It’s the time it takes I object to. And as I have said frequently, if I have an urge to tidy I’m unlike to waste it on the mere house^^: I’ll go out in the garden and thrash around there. Unless, of course, it’s zero degrees out there. In which case I may wash the kitchen floor.
^ You’d never know it. I have three dogs. Sigh.
^^ The house with three dogs
*** This includes throwing some of them violently across the room and then picking them up and putting them in the ‘Oxfam’ bag. Hey, they have been processed, and they’re now ready to depart my living space.
† Driving is always kind of a marginal activity for me, because of the ME. And although Peter stopped driving several years ago, he blocks the cold wind of reality in other ways. With him mostly out of action I’m feeling even less heroic (and more cold) than usual.
†† Life in the very very slow lane: I’ve forgotten how to do fiddly daily shopping—partly because Peter likes doing it^ and partly because I grew up in a culture that does once a week mega-shops. So I went to mini-grocery number one for lettuce and Peter’s GUARDIAN, and they had the lettuce but not the GUARDIAN. So I heaved a deep sigh, but I’ve already failed Peter once in the newspaper category this week, and a GUARDIAN man can only read the TIMES so often before he starts throwing silverware at the wall, and I walked to the far end of town^^ to mini-grocery number two where I bought the last Sunday GUARDIAN^^^ . . . but it wouldn’t have done me any good to go there first because they didn’t have any lettuce. Store managers get together to plan this kind of thing, right?
^ Takes all kinds
^^ Which takes about thirty seconds. It is, however, uphill going home.
^^^ Which is to say OBSERVER, for those of you who care. I have no idea why the Sunday GUARDIAN is called the OBSERVER.
††† Maybe in a decade or two. Or three.
‡ . . . although I doubt it.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.