And to add to the joy of nations* Pav has done a u-turn and decided to finish being on heat after all. And is dripping thick gooey blood all over the landscape. ** What a good thing she stays in the kitchen at the cottage—on the lino. And for the moment there is No Rioting at the mews. For more than merely the sake of the carpets. Rioting might create excitement. At the moment while hellhounds are VERY VERY INDEED VERY interested in her rear end, they’ve always been far too interested in her rear end and this interest doesn’t seem to have mutated into anything alarming. Yet. There has been no singing in the small hours*** and no manifestations of Mr Hyde from either of my Dr Jekylls. Nor are Pav and I being followed around town by drooling swains . . . yet.†
The good news is . . . hellhounds have eaten three meals in a row.†† This is a first in some time.††† Last two days there has been some really epic melting down by the hellgoddess—not that it does any good.‡ It’s still not like three meals in a row means we’re headed back up out of the pit of despond and self-starvation again—the reason this bout has been so appalling is because every time they look they are coming out of it they slide back in again—but I will take what I can get.
The bad news is that I had (maybe) four hours of sleep last night, mainly due to Night Horrors‡‡ but also because Pav took exception to the herd of rhinoceroses trotting up the cul de sac at about seven a.m.‡‡‡ and barked her frelling little head off. SHUT. UP. I COULD USE A NICE FURRY HEARTHRUG YOU KNOW. For someone with ME my adrenals can sure spike it out there, given the (unfortunate) chance.
So . . . we’re waiting for the first lot of lab results. I took several unpleasant little bags and bottles to the clinic on Monday and ranted at length to one of the two senior vets. Who listened.§ I was told they should hear something by the end of this week, but I’m resigned to the almost certain fact that this is only the beginning. After all, we did all this six years ago with the hellhounds.
. . . I was planning to answer some of the comments on the Bad News thread plus respond to some suggestions I’ve had by email but I am so tired I’m not sure how many sentences I have left in me tonight. Water, which several of you have mentioned: I’m putting us back on bottled water, although water was about the first thing I thought of six years ago, and bottled water didn’t make any difference then§§, although if it’s a parasite that’s closing the door after the horse has hit the high road. It still gives me a faint spurious sense that I’m doing something. Electro/environmental sensitivity: I’ve thought of that too because I’ve wondered for thirteen years now what relationship that may have with the mutable beast that is ME.§§§ I’m hoping this is something they can see under a microscope.
The vet said they’d test for ‘everything’. I’m compiling a list and will measure his ‘everything’ with mine after we get these first results. And then I’ll try to decide what to do next. I agree that we’re probably looking at specialist diagnosticians here but . . .
. . . I’ll think about it tomorrow.
* * *
* This is one of Peter’s phrases. As, he says, is the one about you can’t call yourself a gardener unless you like to weed. I certainly remember first hearing that more or less the moment I moved over here—I’ve told you that his first official fiancé’s gift to me was a pair of secateurs, haven’t I?—and by extension then from Peter. But I hadn’t realised it originated with Peter.
I spent nearly three hours today weeding. Yes. It was good. Except for the standing on the plants you’re trying to save and the being clawed to pieces by your roses. As Peter also says, Roses don’t know who their friends are.
** Ah, nature. What a dratblasted dinglebrained system. This comes of creating a world in six days instead of taking your time in the planning stages and thinking things through carefully.
*** Except by me.
† Right now is when I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t want to meet up with Toxic Purulence Dog. We last saw him the day before Pav started dripping. Eeep.
†† Pav has eaten a small airplane hangar and a Honda Civic.
††† See this grey hair?
‡ If I threw thunderbolts like Zeus, this entire town would look like the surface of the moon.
‡‡ The kind where if you shut your eyes everybody dies. Ordinarily I sleep very badly in daylight and it’s a nuisance it gets light so early this time of year but lately I don’t think about turning my reading light off till the sun has taken over outdoors and is leaking through the curtains.^
^ Or the curtain-equivalents, as the case may be, as it is in my bedroom.
‡‡‡ This would be approximately an hour after I got to sleep in the first place.
§ More than one of my animal-oriented friends don’t like my vets, and it’s perfectly true they’ve got some stuff spectacularly wrong. But they have virtues. One of them is demonstrated here: they listen. There’s no nonsense about they’re the experts and they know best and stop complicating matters by trying to tell them about your individual knowledge about your individual critter^. They’re also always available. Their emergency out of office hours phone answering system WORKS as I have way too much occasion to know. Rowan of the previous generation was accident prone, but her accidents only happened out of office hours and on weekends. And when you come to the end of the line and need to have someone put down—they come to you so your critter can die at home. And if this needs to happen on a Sunday afternoon, that’s okay too.
^ My loathing of most standard doctors is leaking through here
§§ I filter our drinking water at the cottage although it’s just one of the basic little charcoal dealies, and it wouldn’t protect us from anything serious. It’s doing something, because I like the taste better than what comes raw out of the tap. Peter doesn’t filter the water at the mews but he’s the only one of the five of us who does not have intestinal strangenesses.
§§§ I was nearly the last person I knew to go over to wifi, because I worried about all that extra signal washing around. But when everyone in your neighbourhood has wifi you’re swimming in the stuff anyway, so you might as well join the fun.
I HAVE JUST FRELLING ORDERED A FRELLING [YARN] SWIFT AND A FRELLING FRELLING NOSTEPINNE. Two days ago I didn’t know what a nostepinne was. I think I’ve seen the word somewhere and assumed I was too young/old and that ignorance might not be bliss but was probably better for the blood pressure and the too easily over-stimulated fantasy-writer’s imagination.* And then I brought up the yarn bowl question on Twitter the other night and someone else started talking about her nostepinne and I’m like whoa, are you sure you want to discuss this in public? **
Diane in MN
Does anyone out there have any useful guidelines for when you cut your losses and frog again and when you soldier on
A glance around my house would reveal that I can tolerate a lot of imperfection in some areas, but I HATE visible mistakes in my knitting and will rip (or tink, if I catch any soon enough) back to get rid of them. More than once, if necessary and if the yarn will take it, if I like the project.
I don’t think I’m a perfectionist about anything any more***. Spending a lot of time and effort at something you’re essentially pretty awful at—let’s say bell ringing—will do that to a person.† But I agree about actual errors. Part One of this particular project has only one really gruesome error which I think would disappear when I got to the seaming-up stage, supposing I got that far—and I left it in because I had NO idea what I had done and therefore no idea how to undo it. But especially on something that is, for me, relatively small-gauge, which is to say 4 mm needles [US size 6], and a non-stretchy yarn, which is this cotton-bamboo stuff I’ve made several baby bibs in and I like it but it’s not very forgiving, the—ahem!—slight variability of my stitch-making starts to show up over time and distance. I ripped out my first couple of bibs once each, but they ended up not too embarrassing.†† This New Secret Project is bigger and . . . well. So I’ve got to the end of Part One and put the wretched thing on a stitch holder—it’s getting so that every time I order yarn††† I automatically order another pair or packet of stitch holders‡—rolled it up and put it aside. I’ll think about it later.
Which leaves me with only ::urglemmph:: other unfinished projects and therefore of course I need to start something NEW!!!!
Which is going to be Manos del Doohickey—I’ve left the tag back at the cottage‡‡—and it’s mostly silk with some wool so it’s NOT VERY STRETCHY again, uh-oh‡‡‡, but I want to make myself a LARGE SQUARE (SOMEWHAT) WOOLLY SCARF. Because I’m tired of how difficult it is to find Large Square Wool Scarves. And the reason this is the particular New Project that leaped to mind—despite the small-gauge-unstretchy thing—is because it will be ACRES AND ACRES OF MINDLESS GARTER STITCH YAAAAAAAAAY. I’m always amused at these high-falutin’ knitters on Ravelry going on about how this or that pattern is too boring because there’s too much garter/stockinette/ribbing. I LOVE GARTER/STOCKINETTE/RIBBING. I tend to knit to calm down. I don’t want to have to think! I don’t want to have to memorize a frelling pattern! I don’t want to figure out why my sleeve-shaping decreases look like tiny stairs rather than a nice smooth line like in the frelling photos! I just want to keep looping the yarn around the needles!!!
But first I need to wind these wretched hanks into something I can use. . . .
* * *
* I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I nostepinne in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.
Not all of Monty Python is totally deathless and mesmerising, in my cranky^ opinion, but I would have trampled a few grandmothers to have written that particular piece of dialogue. Although some of my attitude problem may be due to having a few issues with Monty Python. For some reason. I mean, it could have been Sir Rupert. For example.
Minstrel: [singing] Brave Sir Robin ran away…
Sir Robin: *No!*
Minstrel: [singing] bravely ran away away…
Sir Robin: *I didn’t!*
Minstrel: [singing] When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
Sir Robin: *I never did!*
Minstrel: [singing] Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out.
Sir Robin: *Oh, you liars!*
Minstrel: [singing] Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.
^ And easily grossed out. Just by the way.
*** Although I still want my socks to match what I’m wearing, even if nobody but me is going to see them. Or nobody but me, Peter and the hellcritters none of whom care. I care.
† Circumstances are not helpful. Last Wednesday due to the very mixed assortment of ringers who turned up for practise I rang ONCE. ONCE. I got a lot of knitting done. Speaking of knitting. On Sunday afternoon there were eight of us. Which meant we all had to ring all of the time. Which since most of us were the weak end was a trifle challenging for the ringing master and I was somewhat drily amused to note that I was being relied on to hold it together in a way that I would not have been if he’d had any choice. You know I would get to holding-it-together better sooner if I got more practise time in. Sigh.
†† And I finally asked one of the recipients if the thing, you know, WORKED? Because babies keep getting born, in the alarmingly incessant way of babies, and bibs are something I can, apparently, do. Yes, he said. It’s very chewable, and it goes through the washing machine fine.
††† Not that this would be often or anything
‡ And another frelling tape measure. What do I DO with tape measures?!? Is there a Tape Measure Planet like there is an Odd Sock Planet?
‡‡ Oh please. What is Google, chopped liver?
‡‡‡ McKinley, not that we expect you to be relentlessly intelligent or anything, but the two most outstanding unfinished projects^—which is to say well enough started to count as ‘unfinished’, which are First Cardi and First Pullover, are NICE REASONABLY LARGE GAUGE STRETCHY FORGIVING WOOL, you meatloaf, why don’t you go FINISH ONE OF THEM?^^
^ Plus legwarmers. I think I’m on my fifth pair. You know this weather may be my fault. It’s the middle of May, WE MAY HAVE AN OVERNIGHT FROST LATER THIS WEEK+, and I’m knitting legwarmers.
+ And I am not going to dig up my petunias/begonias/gladiolas/dahlias/osteospermums, so I hope they FRELLING COPE. Maybe I could lay some legwarmers over them.
^^ And the current not-given-up-on-yet Secret Project is also mostly wool.
Pav is cycling, or gyrating, through another phase of, Jeans legs and shoelaces, pulling on; and I mean PULLING. ON. —which is interesting when Mavis is walking her because Mavis tends to wear leggings. I happened to be there today when Mavis was trying to get her out the door and . . . it was pretty funny. Anyway. I am a silly person, I consider dogs to be entertaining companions with a slightly unfortunate take on acceptable social behaviour, and I seem to like the ones who don’t pop out of the womb dying to be trained to DO SOMETHING. One of my theories of surviving puppyhood is that puppies do in fact grow out of a surprising amount of their most appalling behaviour*, and you keep mildly insisting they learn where the end of their frelling extending lead is, that they come when called**, and that they sit when you tell them to***, and hey, you let as much of the rest of it go by as you can without losing any major body parts or pieces of architecture. So when Pav decided to take me for a walk this morning by my right pants leg I said fine, whatever. She in fact divided her attentions between the jeans-hem and the shoelace on that side. I didn’t think a lot about this because I knot my laces several times and a wodge that size resists being compressed past being untied again. Oh. Woe. When I got home again I discovered that she’d managed somehow to subvert the laws of physics and created a Whole New Category of Gordian knot, this one with eleven dimensions and a chorus line. I tucked the frayed dangling ends together somehow and pelted off in pursuit of the rest of my day . . .
Which culminated tonight in a FREEZING COLD CATHEDRAL† listening to Harry Christophers’ The Sixteen being unbelievable.†† If you like this kind of music, it doesn’t get better.††† But because of my little shoelace problem I couldn’t wear my sheepskin boots tonight: I was stuck with my drafty canvas All-Stars. I took my knitting, of course. And my hands were perfectly happy, knitting, and wearing a pair of Jodi Meadows’ fingerless mitts.‡
My feet are still cold.
* * *
* Sometimes several times
** The audible jingle of kibble in the hand is a perfectly acceptable training aid, including that when your hellcritter is too far away to hear it any more^ she will still respond to the sight of your wildly shaking hand. Which is only shaking to make the kibble rattle together, okay? Right.
^Well, I think. I have no idea how spectacularly acute dog hearing is.
*** I am really not doing this right because she so makes me laugh. Our ‘walk’ command which is to say walking on a short loose lead as opposed to official ‘heeling’^ is not one of our best tricks but unless the weather is unspeakably dire and/or the Wild Hunt is bearing down on us from behind I do make her ‘sit’ before she’s officially released . . . to practise learning where the end of her frelling extending lead is. Sometimes she sits beautifully—I think I’ve told you that she’s got it that ‘sit’ usually does get her something she wants, so she has started sitting spontaneously and hopefully when she thinks something desirable may be impending, like, you know, FOOOOOOOD—and sometimes she does not sit beautifully. Sometimes she just stands there and stares at me—because by this time I’ve got her chin in my hand and we are looking at each other. There’s nothing quite like being stared at by the miniature Mack truck which is a hellterror. We could be here a while, I say, at which point she usually does sit.^^
^ For some reason my fingers just typed helling
^^ She is so not the spirit and essence of obstinacy, the way the bull-terrier mythology runs. She’d much rather have a good time than demand her own way. You can see the wheels turning behind the little beady eyes: Oh drat the woman, she’s going to insist.
But, you know, obstinacy? I have grown up in a hard dog-ownership school. I have sighthounds. Although I don’t think it’s exactly obstinacy. When Pav stares at me and considers not sitting, she is thinking about laying her will against mine, she just decides against it because life is short. Sighthounds are all la-la-la did you say something? Sighthounds, as opposed to being born LONGING TO BE TRAINED TO DO SOMETHING are born autonomous. Which, as many working sighthound owners have pointed out, makes perfect sense in terms of the job they were bred to do: run things down and kill them. To do this successfully they have to be able to use their own judgement: their human may be miles away at the kill.
I SO NEED A SIGHTHOUND. The Border Collies can’t catch the little sods. (Unless a hare was very very unlucky where it was situated).
Well, what are you waiting for? GET A SIGHTHOUND. You are going to have to train it to come back to you—there is a lot of rather dreadfully amusing training text out there about getting a sighthound’s attention and convincing it that obeying you is a good thing to do. (Mine are perhaps the extreme end, but they are not at all unusual in being totally resistant to food as bribes, I mean, training rewards.) You want something from a good working line, but you’d know that. And for the rest . . . hares are tricky, but a (good working) sighthound will figure out a strategy. You build its confidence first by letting it catch lots of stupid bunnies. Chaos frelling caught the first (stupid) bunny he ever went after. Well weren’t we all very startled (especially the bunny).
And Mrs Redboots, this area is rotten with brown hares. This time of year you just about have to knock them out of the way with sticks, as well as have your hellhounds on short lead more than either you or the hellhounds appreciate when you’re out in the countryside where you’re supposed to be able to run around. We have thickets of hares, skylarks, and bluebells— and it’s been like this for the twenty-one-and-a-half years I’ve lived here—but all of them are endangered, so they say. We’ve also got dormice, water rats and otters, and I think some rather nice little wild orchids. I mean, I know we have little wild orchids, but I think they’re considered nice ones. It’s a good area. I like living here. I’ll like it better when the weather warms up.
† I seem to specialise in freezing-cold places of worship. This was not in the plan.
†† http://www.thesixteen.com/page/the-choral-pilgrimage-2013 I don’t get to their choral-pilgrimage tour every year, but more often than not. And now that Nina and Ignatius live in the area we can sometimes hoick Peter by the armpits and make him come along. As tonight.
††† I’ll take a grown-up soprano over a kiddie soprano any day. I realise this is heretical, but I don’t much like child sopranos. They sound sort of squishy and creepy. You need some weight of both years and size to bring it off—to my ear.
‡ http://www.jodimeadows.com/?page_id=804 No, Jodi made mine. I am an unadvanced beginner, and I don’t do cables.
I’m frelling ILL. I’ve got some kind of head-cold-flu thing. It’s all that hanging out in freezing-cold chapels with monks.*
A while ago on the forum Mrs Redboots asked for the ‘go-to’ homeopathic remedy for a head cold. There isn’t one. But I’ve been meaning** to use the question as an excuse to give you a(nother) little disquisition, not to say harangue, about first-aid homeopathy.
One of the great strengths of homeopathy, as well as its chief central frustration, is that it’s so INDIVIDUALISED. Barring Arnica, which works, often amazingly, for almost all blood-and-bruising injuries, there isn’t much else that is one size fits all. The two remedies I carry teeny-tiny bottles of in my pocket are Arnica and Aconite. Aconite is the go-to remedy for shock and fear, and one of the guidelines about using it is that if you’re in a situation where someone is freaked out enough for you to be giving it to them, you should probably take it too because fear is contagious. You’re first on the scene at a traffic accident? While you’re waiting for the ambulance, give anyone who’s injured Arnica***—but give everyone present Aconite.
But most things you have to choose a remedy that suits the individual. I’m pretty sure I’ve done my little tap-dance about this before: if, say, you are treating five people (or you have five friends who ring you up because they know you’re a homeopathy wonk) for flu, chances are very good you’ll be recommending three or four—or five—different remedies.† All five of your friends are achy and feverish and fluey, but if you ask them what’s bothering them the worst, one of them will say the headache and sore throat, one of them will say the sneezing and streaming nose, and one of them will say the nausea and photophobia. That’s three different remedies.
And even for ‘acute’ prescribing like this you have a better chance of hitting on the right remedy if you know something more about them than the symptoms of flu. Do they tend to be fussy and particular or are they easy going slobs? Are they usually hot people or cold people (when they’re not ill)? Do they like warm rooms or fresh air? Do they prefer company or solitude? Arsenicum album, for example, is chilly, persnickety, cranky, fearful, restless even when they’re ill and prone to burning pains (if their noses run, it’ll burn their upper lips). You’re going to nail an Ars alb more on the ‘mentals’ than on the fact that they’re wobbly and sneezy. Allium cepa has a runny nose that burns the upper lip, Gelsemium is wobbly and Rhus tox is restless and fearful. They’re all flu remedies.
The best thing to do is buy a homeopathic first-aid book and a first-aid kit to go with it, and start experimenting. And I recommend you begin this exercise while you’re feeling well. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to prescribe when you feel like something a bull terrier puppy has spent the last several hours chewing on. Unfortunately homeopathy books go in and out of print really fast and the ones I learnt on and can recommend aren’t necessarily available any more. Don’t even bother with amazon. There are homeopathic on line bookshops however and the two that I use,
are both run by friendly helpful people—and they ship overseas. I’m sure there are good homeopathic bookshops in whatever country you live in as you read this, it’s just these are the ones I know, and they are, not surprisingly, in the UK. Looking at Minerva’s ‘introductory’ category I can recommend any of these:
Miranda Castro, Complete Homeopathy Handbook
Colin Griffiths, The Practical Handbook of Homeopathy
Henrietta Wells, Homeopathy the Modern Prescriber
David Gemmell, Everyday Homeopathy
The latter two are possibly a little shorter and less intimidating than the first two, although it’s the Castro that first made me a homeopathic obsessive.
Helios Pharmacy does kits:
Ainsworth’s is the other well known homeopathic specialist pharmacy, but their kits are all stamped NOT AVAILABLE IN THE UK which is pretty unhelpful. This is another fact about homeopathy: it’s permanently under fire by ConMed and its allies, chiefly Big Pharma, although frequently disguised as Wanting What’s Best for Humanity. Apparently at the moment this is preventing Ainsworth’s from selling its kits at home. I’m not going to go there, the Bash Homeopathy movement makes me furious. Homeopathy is not bunk and it’s not placebo, okay? And there is evidence that it works, it’s just it’s not very good at publicising itself, and the entrenched party line is very good at burying it. I’ve been using homeopathy for about a dozen years and I’m afraid I pay as little attention to the political rows as I can, which is in fact irresponsible of me, but life is short at best and my fuse is too short and ranting is tiring and doesn’t do any good. Homeopathy isn’t for everyone and I’m not saying it is, but anyone who wants to tell me that it’s all water and snake oil and I’m a poor sad deluded fool will be shot at dawn, okay?
PS: I was going to start tonight’s entry by saying that there is a go-to remedy for that first all-is-not-well icky sensation of an oncoming cold or flu virus, but I’m not sure it’s obtainable in the UK: Oscillococcinum. It’s not listed as a remedy from either Helios or Ainsworth’s ††. I have a remedy machine†††, I make it. If you google it it seems to be available here and there, but the problem with here and there is knowing whether it’s the real thing . . . or water and snake oil. Homeopathic remedies can be fake just like almost anything real can be recreated as a knock-off fake. Hannah says however that it’s so popular in the States at the moment you can get it at ordinary drugstores, and apparently it’s the real thing because it works. My system is that I start taking it about once an hour or, if this is happening overnight, every few hours, till the symptoms either go away or become a pattern I can prescribe on. Which is what I did last night. I’m still clearly ill, but I made it to tower practice at Fustian tonight and what really matters . . . ?
* * *
* I will start taking two blankets. And a hat. I suppose it’s possible that we’ll eventually have spring and, you know, summer. When it’s, um, WARM?
** Believe it or not I keep a list of all the forum questions and comments I want to answer. It’s usually quite a long list. This plan has mostly gone the way of Ask Robin, but it might be worth re-asking something on the forum that you were actually hoping for an answer or at least a reaction to.
*** Arnica can save lives. Don’t move them or do anything silly with a badly injured person—but do give them Arnica.
† A proper epidemic will probably respond to a specific remedy or progression of remedies, but that’s for the big boys and girls, not small time amateur wonks like me. Common or garden variety plagues that are two a penny every winter—if you treat enough of them, you may see a pattern. If you’re just helping people make first-aid choices you may not. Three kids in the same family may need three different remedies, for example—or the three kids in one family may all need the same remedy but the three kids in the family next door that they caught it from need a different remedy. Yes. You have to stay alert.
†† And if you want a taste of the way the Other Side talks about homeopathy, look it up on Wiki. Any time I need reminding that Wiki is unreliable, I think about the way they treat homeopathy.
Mine is old, and was a lot cheaper. Also I was in (homeopathic) college at the time, and a bunch of us got together and took advantage of the group rate. Which was a lot cheaper than today’s group rate. A machine does cost a bomb—there are other ones than the Sulis—but if you use homeopathy at all seriously it earns back really fast. I use mine at least every week, and some weeks every day.
I’ve told you, haven’t I, that PEG II ends possibly even worse than PEG? Slightly depending on your definition of ‘worse’.
Ummmm. No. I don’t think you had. And if you had I had BLOCKED IT OUT. Thanks.
One of us is doing a certain amount of blocking anyway. Like I’m blocking the whole trilogy thing. THERE ARE TWO BOOKS LEFT. AND I HAVE TO REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST ONE. BECAUSE THERE’S A FIRST ONE. Arrrrrrgh. I was reading a snarky review somewhere of someone else’s first book of a trilogy, and the snarky reviewer was saying how tired she was of authors feeling they have to produce trilogies and that this one is already failing to support the length. Well, I can’t speak for the length-supporting—and I’m sure some authors, possibly desperate to earn a living*, which does happen, silly us for quitting our day jobs, have signed up for a trilogy for the ‘paid three times’ aspect—but some of us don’t choose to write trilogies, trilogies choose us. One might almost say mug us.
I didn’t mean to finish anything on a cliffhanger. The end of PEG was supposed to be the end of part one. The end of PEG II was supposed to be the middle of PEG II. I don’t do time, I don’t do distance, I don’t do length or word count. . . . I am Not of This World. Which explains a lot really.
I blame KES for your growing fondness for cliffhangers.
It’s the other way around. The end of PEG was a big, Oh well hey moment, even though I knew a lot of people would hate me for it.** Writing KES is an interesting experience*** not least because of the 800-or-so words per episode set-up and the need to create some structure out of the situation. Eight hundred words doesn’t give you much opportunity for momentum. Itty-bitty cliffhangers are a way to make the story feel like it’s moving forward.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
So have I missed something, does Pegasus II have a pub. date yet, that you are already anticipating reader’s reactions?
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH. I HAVEN’T WRITTEN IT YET.† I’m anticipating reader reactions because PEG II also ends on a cliffhanger and I know what the end of PEG got me. And if you ever browse around in the blog pre-PEG you may come across one of the occasions when I warn you that PEG has a Frodo-was-alive-but-taken-by-the-Enemy ending. Readers frequently surprise me but some things can be successfully assumed. Like that cliffhangers make a lot of readers cranky, especially when they’re not expecting it.††
Remind me to have her crate off the kitchen table and on the FLOOR before that [that the hellterror is too heavy to lift] happens
I’m sure she’d be happy to leap up on the table without you lifting her.
Yup. She will soon. She can’t quite bound reliably up on the chair from the slippery kitchen floor, and then she doesn’t have enough spring without a run at it to boing it from the chair into the crate. But she’s now busy making me feel ENORMOUSLY GUILTY because the minute I put her on drugs and started feeding her more she’s having an unscheduled growth spurt. Ask me how I know this (she says, rubbing her aching arms†††). Sigh. . . .
* * *
* Scary publishing story? Here’s a scary publishing story for any of us who aren’t J K Rowling or E L James—and for you/us readers. I tweeted it a little while ago but for anyone who doesn’t immediately click on every link, here it is again: http://stephanieburgis.livejournal.com/311674.html
Books are not widgets. They are not one size fits all. Another one of similar dimensions produced by another company is not a suitable substitute. And it is not okay that the big guys are playing hardball with the little guys’ livelihoods and future careers because they can.
I would like to believe that when this gets sorted out both sides, who are, in fact, in the book business which does, finally, depend in some fashion on authors, will make some good on the books and writers that are being squeezed now. But do I believe it . . . ?
** And I have—or anyway had, since I tend to delete them—the email to prove it. What continues to fascinate me however is the number of people who seem to believe that was the ending. I know I don’t write series or sequels and that I may even have made a slight doodah about the fact that I don’t write series or sequels, but it genuinely never OCCURRED to me that anyone wouldn’t recognise a cliffhanger when they saw one. Also . . . have I ever ruined one of my heroines’ lives and left her in a crumpled heap on the floor? Maybe some of these people have never read any of my other books and don’t know my reprehensible tendency toward the Technicolor sunset finish. I grant that some books end more Technicolorful than others^, but do you really think Sylvi and Ebon are parted for life? Please.
^ I still get furious, appalled or gravely disappointed mail about the end of SPINDLE. These readers and Ikor should get together. They could start a club.+
+ I’ve said this before. But I think it again every time I get one of these letters.
*** Especially the part about HAVING NO IDEA WHERE IT’S GOING. I know most of the immediate future, aside from the way every story changes in the process of writing it down, and I have some idea about some things farther ahead (or sometimes farther to one or another side), and I recognise as you might call them hot spots where there’s more story if I can wiggle what is there already around and get it aimed in the right direction, but mostly I have to trust to the extremely alive critter that KES is, and hope it/she continues lithe and frisky. I AM OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. I DON’T DO SERIALS.
† I’m in the early No, no, nooooooo phase, including the Huh? What? I wouldn’t have put this in if the story didn’t promise me there was a reason NOW WHAT THE MANGY TICK-INFESTED FRELL WAS THE REASON?^ This is a not uncommon phase mid-story but I’m not used to having some of it out there in public already.
^ Distant sound of story, giggling.
†† Not to worry. Much. There will be a Technicolor-ish sunset ending. Eventually. I think.
††† Although I can still tuck her under one arm because she puts her feet in my pockets. Southdowner warned me about this. . . . But really it’s a useful talent. Usually. Except when she uses it to trampoline herself out of your grasp.