It’s been another fabulously gorgeous SHIRTSLEEVE day and . . .
. . . I’m not in a very good mood. In the first place . . . yurk, where do I start ‘in the first place’? Okay, top contenders for ‘in the first place’:
1. Speaking of fabulously gorgeous shirtsleeve weather WE’RE GOING TO HAVE FROST AGAIN OVER THE WEEKEND. And I have several brand-new trays of snapdragons and diascias sitting around waiting hopefully to be planted. As well as a few dahlia tubers that have been planted in pots* and will therefore join the frelling kitchen queue this weekend . . . Not to mention the petunias, begonias, geraniums, hippeastrums, sweet peas etc that have been out there a while already, when they aren’t cluttering up the Winter Table and the kitchen floor. And if I don’t get my glads in soon they won’t bloom till . . . after the first frosts this autumn.
2. Hellhounds are eating about one meal in three. Sort of. It’s hard to tell because I’ve cut back to about half rations . . . and they’re still playing a sort of hopscotch game the rules of which are opaque to me, where one of them may eat one meal/day while the other one doesn’t eat at all, or one of them will eat one third of this meal and two thirds of the next while the other one finishes the first meal and has two and a half mouthfuls of the next. Their ribs look more like toast racks every day. And as I have just been telling Darkness, who ate none of his lunch and has deigned to eat about two-thirds of his (half-size) supper, if I weren’t worrying about their making themselves ill, I’d just frelling let them starve themselves into a citation from the RSPCA. Fine. Let the RSPCA try and get the little ratbags to eat. How am I supposed to know:
(a) When they’re just being total little scum-sucking ticks and
(b) When they’re going to go over the line into making themselves ill?
I want to know BEFORE we reach (b), okay? Meanwhile the recycled kibble levels are getting extreme and eventually you have to throw it out. £££££££. Not amused. Not amused at all.
3. The hellterror has the runs. No, she has the fountains.
3b. The hellterror is also coming into her first heat. JOY. I don’t know if these two items of interest are in any way connected. I have known bitches who suffer bowel irregularities while they’re on heat but this is a little . . . ultimate. Hellhounds are not, fortunately, the slightest bit interested in local hormonal mayhem—at least not so far, but she’s not in full, you should forgive the term, torrent yet either—and maybe the first puppy heat causes maximum internal uproar and minimum exterior captivatingness? Dunno. But if she’s planning on having excretory melodrama every heat, she’s not going to keep her ovaries long enough to have a litter. Stay tuned.
The good news, such as it is, is that none of this is bothering her in the slightest. She’s the same manic little furball as usual.
4. The ME is biting me. Hard. Still. All this sunny shirtsleeve weather in the garden has been lovely, and the whole sudden change of season thing stuns normal healthy people too, and it may take them a few days to find their summer rhythm**. And the plants don’t care if you’re moving kind of slowly.*** But. . . .
4b. I’ve officially quit the Muddles . . . again. Damn. But I haven’t got the stamina for those two and a half hour rehearsals and I feel a little less than enthusiastic about exposing my never-a-strong-point lungs to that air in that church when I’m coming off flu; furthermore there isn’t time for me to learn the music, now, before the next concert. I don’t know what I’m going to do about singing; I am NOT giving up my voice lessons, but it feels dumb and silly not to be doing something with what I’m (theoretically) learning, and at my level of ability that’s some kind of undemanding group. And undemanding-group choices in this area are limited.
4c. Having cut back significantly on the amount of time I spend on the blog† . . . I probably haven’t cut back enough. I don’t like the feel of this go of the ME: I don’t like the glint in its steely little eyes. I think that look it’s giving me is telling me that the Muddles is only the beginning. I think I am going to have to do more hacking and hewing. This is sure to hit bell ringing . . . especially because of all the driving to this and that tower, and driving is always my most obvious weak point. At least the blog I can do on the sofa/kitchen table/bed.
Maybe I can knit more.
Maybe I can READ more.
But . . . sigh.††
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* Large pots. Dahlia tubers tend to be large.
** Especially if it keeps going away and dropping everyone back in their fleeces and flannels again.
*** Yoo-hoo! Over here! Don’t forget us! We’re hungry/thirsty/an impenetrable jungle too!
† And GREAT GROVELLING REPEATED THANKS to all you guest-post providers who help with this.
†† And I am NEVER going to try to write an outline on Microsoft Word again. ARRRRRRRRGH. I can hardly wait to see what WordPress does to my attempts to outflank bloody Word’s idea of how to write an outline. . . .
It’s the fourth of frelling April in southern frelling England and IT’S SNOWING. It’s been snowing off and on all freaking day, and all three of my hellcritters have been unusually possessed by demons* as, I want to believe, the result of the cold, and not because their essential anarchic nature is emerging at last.** I took the hellhounds out to Warm Upford because Wolfgang’s tank needed filling again*** and while we weren’t going to waste a country walk, we weren’t exactly ambling along enjoying the beauties of nature and tender green burgeoning spring either.† The snow isn’t lying, exactly: it’s a twinkly suspended fog, and sometimes it’ll be icing-sugar on the ground for a while, and then it sort of goes away, since melting doesn’t seem the really pertinent verb in the circumstances. There will be black ice on the roads tonight.††
And to make it perfect, this fourth of April in southern England when it’s SNOWING? I received a big box of baby plants today. My lurgy is a lot better—although I was barking like a hellcritter after only a half hour’s conversation with Hannah tonight—but I’m still a little slower even than usual getting out of bed in the morning with all this crud in my sinuses weighing me down. I heard the courier van backing up the cul de sac BEEP BEEP BEEP and heard when he stopped outside my cottage, but he didn’t come to the door so I thought, excellent, since the only thing he could have been bringing me was baby plants—and turned over and went back to sleep.††† So the baby plants he’d brought me had also been sitting in the FROZEN COLD FOR SEVERAL HOURS before the Wall Man, who comes and scowls at the irremediable Wall Situation occasionally, to prove, I suppose, that he still cares, said, when I was out chasing the hellterror round the little kitchen-door courtyard, Did you get your package? WHAT PACKAGE? WHY DIDN’T THE DRIVER PUT A CARD THROUGH THE MAIL SLOT? WHY DIDN’T HE DELIVER THEM TO JAMAICA, WHERE IT’S WARM? Whiiiiiiiine.
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* Since some level of demon-possession is to be expected in hellcritters
** Note that it is harder to trap a roly-poly hellterror between your legs than it is one with a waist and hipbones. I was trying to have a, you know, conversation with another obsessed dog person^ and Pav was all, Me! Me! Me! I’M here! Dorcas was saying that the chief function of pet dogs was to make you laugh and Pav has certainly got that cornered.
If Southdowner is reading this I know she’ll take me to task, but I’m not sure there’s a practical difference between your dog ‘knows it’s been bad’, which human-style thinking dog trainers come down on you like a ton of anvils for, and ‘knows what it’s been doing is going to piss you off’—which is real life, however you want to frame it. Darkness, who’s the one with the what-I-would-call a conscience will sometimes flag having misbehaved when I wouldn’t have noticed, by creeping grovelling up to me.^^
Just like I’m not sure it matters if your dog thinks in the human terms of winding you up when it does things that wind you up. It, or in this case she, is looking over her shoulder as she does them and displaying that fabulous hellterror sproingy bounding thing which I suppose is common to all dogs and particularly all puppies, but it looks more like nanny-nanny-boo-boo on a hellterror than it does on a hellhound. I’m pretty sure Pav has figured out that I (mostly) won’t mess with her if she just picks things up and carries them around, it’s not till the jaws start grinding that—out on a hurtle—I crank her in and attempt to remove the undesirable item. And I swear she looks over her shoulder at me when she starts chewing not because she ‘knows’ this will ‘wind me up’ but because life isn’t sufficiently exciting at this moment in time and this is a way to make me ENGAGE. Arrrrgh. Slightly adapting something Southdowner has told me I’ve started carrying a pocketful of loose treats on our hurtles and if she ‘drops’ the item without fuss—which means among other things that I have a hand free to pluck the blasted treat out of my pocket—she gets a treat. I swear professional dog trainers have at least four arms, not to mention lightning reflexes. One way or another however it means that Pav and I share high quality relationship-enhancing time on our hurtles.
^ Although her obsession runs to spaniels
^^ Chaos will come and grovel randomly just because I’m the hellgoddess. This has its practical applications, however, as today, when I let them off lead for the first time in a while because first Chaos’ leg and then Darkness’ back has been an issue and unless the footing is good I’m just not going to risk it. So we had several weeks of frustration exploding into motion. They usually make a gigantic circle around me, which is preferable but unenforceable; today they just frelling lit out. YIIIIIIIIIIIIII. I went pelting after them, trying to pretend that’s what I wanted to be doing and I was still totally in control . . . and they were still just about visible on the horizon when they finally stopped to check back with me. HEY GUYS, I said, somewhat breathlessly, slowing instantly to a nonchalant walk. HOW’S IT GOING? And Chaos, bless his crazy little neurons, came lolloping back to me at half speed, which is still somewhat faster than mortal, and then took off again after Darkness, but now they shifted into giant circle mode, and my blood pressure and intimations-of-disaster levels dropped accordingly. Note, however, that no one had better be lame tomorrow. Including me.
*** Life was simpler when my home tower was a short pedestrian sprint away and I hadn’t discovered monks yet.
† Fortunately I saw the brown hare before the hellhounds did, drat the creature. Brown hares are confident in their belief that they are the fastest land mammal in Britain^ and behave accordingly, which is to say they’re cavalier little beggars and they may be the fastest wild land mammal in Britain but a careering sighthound can catch one—and before it was made illegal, not infrequently did—and I don’t want to see this historic feat re-enacted, including the ‘yanking Robin’s arms out of their shoulder sockets’ part. And if one of them ever decided to mosey carelessly into a field I’ve just let the hellhounds off-lead in . . .
†† I’d been planning to go to the monks’ tonight but they’ve probably got snowdrifts. You probably need an ice axe to get into their car park.
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 . . . ?
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* 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.
It is brutal out there. Even the hellterror was willing to scamper back to the house early, although it’s always difficult to tell with the hellterror, since she knows when I put her back in her crate she gets a handful of FOOOOOOOOD which salves the wounded (hyperactive) spirit. I went to the Maundy Thursday [Anglican] Mass at the monks tonight** and I took my sitting-still-in-the-cold blanket because I went early, as usual, for a little silent contemplation before the service began. I was expecting there to be a proper congregation today but I wasn’t expecting the jugglers and the dancing elephant.*** The lights were already on when I arrived and monks in an assortment of party frocks were rushing around setting up. I wrapped myself in my blanket and prepared to practise focussing despite distractions—it takes a lot of concentration to ignore a dancing elephant—but even by the time the service started I was thinking, I don’t believe the heat is on at all. I know they don’t have a lot of money, maybe they turn their central heating off on the Ides of March and if that means frost on the soup and hypothermia in the congregation, so be it. During the standing-up bits I was hoping we could sit down again—and I could rewrap my blanket—before my knees started audibly knocking together. †
It also went on rather a while. This would have been fine—and Easter is the biggest event in the Christian year, bigger than Christmas, so you’re expecting services to be a little extra elaborate††—if it weren’t for the creeping frostbite. I should have brought a bigger blanket. I should have brought a duvet. I should have brought a self-heating dog.
And then at the end the monks get various things up on poles and platters and march firmly down the aisle and out of the chapel—chanting all the while—and we get up and follow them. Good thing someone has been here before and knows the drill. It’s not like the monks’ web site has any useful information like what happens during service.
So we all troop out of the church and into the DARK and the FREEEEEEEZING COLD and I wrap my blanket around my shoulders, praying for a miraculous sirocco, and we file into a tiny little chapel away from the main block of the abbey. I don’t think the monks’ abbey is all that old, but this hidey-hole looks like something the desert fathers might have used (speaking of siroccos). Perhaps it is, and was brought, stone by stone, from Egypt in Early Gleep A.D. The monks set up the bits of whatever they’d brought and then left us there. Not having realised there was going to be Silent Contemplation built into this service, I’d been attempting to be pious for about two hours at that point and when various other cravens starting creeping out . . . I crept out too. And went home to feed hellcritters and reassure my husband I hadn’t taken holy orders. And to warm up.
And this is only the beginning. I’ll go back for service tomorrow—I’m pretty freaked out about Good/Black Friday: I know he rose and everything, but they still killed him and he still died—and then Saturday night there’s a vigil. I might sign on for the vigil if I had the faintest clue what it entailed. . . . ††
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* And apparently this bloody weather is going to last another three weeks. Mid April and HARD FROST every night?!?!? Even in Maine by mid-April you can expect some nights to stay above freezing. I finally potted up my sweet peas today, poor things, they’ve been living on the edge the last ten days or so—or off the edge, when the cardboard box they arrived in disintegrated at an inopportune moment and I had sweet pea seedlings all over the floor.^ Unlabelled sweet pea seedlings: the plastic cell-packs are labelled, not the plant plugs, which all look alike. Arrrrrgh. I originally assumed that this weather would go away within a day or two, so I took the lid off but left the seedlings, in their teetery plastic trays, in the nice stable flat-bottomed box. I hadn’t realised how much run off there had been from watering them till the cardboard bottom fell out. ARRRRRRGH. Anyway it’s really been too cold to put greenhouse-raised tender seedlings outdoors even during the day and the sweet peas have spent a good deal of time in the kitchen sink, to no one’s satisfaction. Or propped up against the kitchen door, which is at least glass—the sink doesn’t get a lot of sunlight—with a towel against boreal drafts and my wellies holding the teetery plastic packaging upright to further general dissatisfaction.^^ I am grateful that I decided to cut my losses early—the only things I can reliably get through the winter indoors are geraniums, with an honourable mention for begonias^^^—so I left most things where they were,# jammed my windowsills, and had a relatively cope-with-able commuting indoor/outdoor jungle this year. It’s about to become not cope-with-able however, since it now includes a large tray full of dazed sweet pea seedlings## . . . and another box of tender plants arrived today.
I’m trying to tell myself that nurseries need the space they’re freeing up by sending you your plants at the scheduled time, however undesirable that schedule has become. What I’m really thinking is you morons. Most of us don’t have greenhouses## and we don’t want to see this stuff till we can start hardening it off to live outdoors.
^ Fortunately the hellterror was in her crate.
^^ Including putting them back in the sink any time the hellterror is loose.
^^^And a dishonourable mention to so-called hardy fuchsias. I lose ’em every dratblasted winter+ so this winter, ha ha ha ha ha, I decided to bring a couple of ’em indoors. They’re doing great. Hey. Guys. You’re supposed to be hardy. You’re supposed to live outdoors over the winter. That’s live.
+ Don’t talk to me about drainage or I will become violent
# And by some bizarre miracle a few snapdragons are still hanging on. I doubt they’ll survive another three weeks of this however SIIIIIIIGH.
## Which spent SEVERAL HOURS OUTDOORS today during a BREAK IN THE CLOUDS THAT WAS ALMOST SUNLIGHT. On the shelf under the kitchen window—speaking of life on the edge—which should be almost warm, with the Aga throwing heat at the glass from the other side.
### Greenhouses you could actually grow stuff in, anyway. Mine gets almost no sunlight. It’s a sort of glass-paned tool shed. Makes you wonder what was on my predecessor’s mind when she sited it there.
** I might add that the day did not get off to a good start when I was woken up three times by parcel-delivery people demanding signatures for parcels that did not need signing for.^ Each time this happened I reset my alarm because I seriously need some sleep, with the result that I didn’t get up till nearly . . . um . . . late. I was wakened a fourth time by the hellterror taking noisy exception to some other dog barking in the neighbourhood. Moan.
^ Including first-pass page proofs for SHADOWS. Ugggggggh. That parcel is even marked DOES NOT NEED SIGNATURE. We have been here before . . .
*** Or the Spanish Inquisition, but then nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
† At least I didn’t—or anyway I think I didn’t—mess up taking communion tonight. Arrrrgh. It’s all very well as Aloysius says that Anglicanism is big and comprehensive enough^ that there’s a niche somewhere for almost everyone, but this also means that the way service is run may differ spectacularly from one church to the next—and I don’t know what the frell I’m doing anyway. So you get the run-down in a brisk, no-nonsense, nothing-to-be-afraid-of way from some long-time Anglican friend and then you go to the monks and yaaaaaaah.^^
^ Except about women bishops
^^ I was talking to Gemma about this. Gemma is Catholic. She says that one of the things she likes about Catholicism is that Mass is said the same everywhere. You don’t have to worry about it. You can pitch up in England or France or Outer Mongolia, and if it’s Catholic Mass, you’ll know where you are and what’s going on.
†† Possibly including jugglers and dancing elephants
††† It’s too late to ask the monks: they’re being silent till Easter, and Aloysius doesn’t know.
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. . . .
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* 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.