March 19, 2014

Shadows is here!

Feebledweeb

 

Once upon a time there was a carrier company. . . . Let’s call it Feebledweeb.  It’s been around a long time.  I had a lively and robust, not to say ranting, dislike of it over twenty years ago, before I left the States.  Before I discovered the true range of global carrier-company incompetence, creative perversity and aggressive unhelpfulness.

Feebledweeb made both of us crazy—although Peter bears crazy better than I do—back at the old house, when we were living out in the sticks of the sticks and there was a lot more hard copy in publishing than there is now.  Feebledweeb at the time was, I believe, the only carrier that would pick stuff up in the sticks of the sticks of southern England and deliver it, more or less safely and in one piece, to a Manhattan highrise.  And vice versa.  Maybe.  With a following wind.

They did, however, make their services coughcoughcoughcough as difficult and unservicelike as possible.  They toyed with the concept of timed arrivals, and even at that they could never be pinned down to anything more exacting than before noon or after noon.  But that was still better than ‘some time in April, and if you’re out, we’re going to reschedule you without telling you for some date which may or may not be at least six months in the future, oh, you have a deadline?  You should have thought of that before you took your dogs on that totally gratuitous walk, shouldn’t you?  And what do you mean by being so self-indulgent and unprofessional as having dogs that need walking in the first place?  We may not reschedule you at all, you’re not our type.’  Which system is what they reverted to.  All day, any day, whatever, if you don’t like it you can hitchhike to the coast and swim to Manhattan.  But being cruelly imprisoned by a time frame of before or after noon was giving their drivers palpitations and random crying jags and Feebledweeb are totally committed to employee welfare.

Snarl.

And then Peter and I moved into town.  And there seems to have been rather a boom in carriers, some of whom are no worse than dire and unreliable.  But Feebledweeb, unfortunately, seems still to control the frelling transatlantic routes.

Now it will amaze you to hear this, but I am not the perfect client.  I want to believe that I mostly behave myself with Merrilee, but Merrilee’s subrights department has little cause to love me, and it would not stun me with flabbergastery that there’s a doll hanging by the neck in a corner of the subrights department with a pin through her heart and a banner reading ‘Robin McKinley’.  I lose things.  I don’t remember ever having seen things.  When I send things back it turns out I signed the wrong pages, or didn’t sign enough of them*, or I didn’t put the date on when I should have or did put the date on when I shouldn’t.  And then New Arcadia’s post office exploded and was removed and rebuilt using reject Lego in the back of the village grocery, you’re no longer allowed to bring your critters with you to keep you amused while you wait in the endless queue**, and I, having been a borderline*** post office user since I moved over here†, became, um, pathological.

Re-enter Feebledweeb.  Who will come to my house and fetch my botched, ill-signed documents, and cart them off to a subrights department across the Water, where they will be the cause of screaming and nervous breakdowns—only some of which will be because I screwed up (again).

Recently we’ve been having a nice little extended torment trying to get Feebledweeb to do what it says on the tin/envelope.  Subrights and I got all excited—briefly—because according to Feebledweeb’s web site, subrights could include a prepaid return envelope with the documents I’m supposed to deal with in some way other than the way I will deal with them, and I can just pop them in the return envelope and post them in an ordinary post box, and Feebledweeb will take it from there.

Yes, they will.  They will deliver it back to me again with large red marks and seals all over it declaring that I am a liar and a cheat and that I haven’t paid them and their dog is going to pee on my shoes††.  We gambolled through this amusing cycle, I think, three times.

Okay.  The next plan of action is that we are going to revert to the earlier system of their coming to my house to pick up the envelope of mangled documents.

Feebledweeb were supposed to come last Wednesday between ten and two [sic].

Nothing happened.  Nobody came between ten and two and there were no postcards through my door when I returned after belated gratuitous critter-hurtling [see above].

Subrights emailed me anxiously that they had spoken to Feebledweeb again and Feebledweeb would now come this Wednesday between ten and two.

Monday I received a phone call from a very pleasant, very fluent young man with a very strong Indian accent, confirming that Feebledweeb was going to be fetching a parcel from me today—Tuesday.  Er, I said.  Wednesday.  Tuesday, said the young man firmly.  Okay, I said.  Tuesday.  What time?  Noon to three pm, he said.  Fine, I said, in fact, great, and wrote it down.††

Ten minutes later the phone rang again.  This time it was a woman with an English accent.  Confirming that Feebledweeb is picking up a parcel from you tomorrow, she said.  Yes, I said, between noon and three pm.  Certainly not! said the woman.  You can ring up tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and they will give you your allocated time slot.  But— I said weakly, I have just been talking to someone at your call centre in India . . .

Ring tomorrow at nine, commanded the woman.  We never give out advance time slots.‡

I was downstairs and putting my tea water on at eight forty five this morning, I hope you’re impressed.  At 8:59 I rang the number the woman had given me.  Another woman answered and asked for my tracking number.  I gave it to her, watching an unmarked white van backing up the cul de sac and stopping in front of the cottage.  We have no record— began the woman, and there was a knock on the door.  Excuse me, I said, hope flaring in a sharp uncomfortable way, there is someone at the door.

I threw the door open . . . and there was a man in a Feebledweeb hoodie.  YAAAAAAAAAY,  I said, and thrust my envelope upon him.  I may have said one or two things . . . particularly because this is a guy I know.  Several of the regular drivers for the various carriers are regular enough that us (regular) customers say hi when we see them on the street.  FEEBLEDWEEB MAKES ME FRELLING NUTS, I may have said.  The guy held up his hands (my envelope in one of them), grinning.  You are not alone, he said.

He departed.  I picked up the phone and discovered . . . the woman had cut me off.  Never mind.  The package had gone.  And she rang back to say that the driver had just confirmed pick up and tracking number and all was well.

Five hours later I received an email from the subrights department saying that they had just got off the phone from Feebledweeb, re-verifying that one of their agents will pick up my envelope tomorrow, Wednesday, some time between ten and two. . . .

* * *

* I start to lose the will to live after about the ninety-third copy.  Why does the president of Dormidalump Multimedia Cupcakes and Related Pastry’s wife’s brother’s assistant’s hamster need a copy of the contract anyway?  I’m not sure I like the idea of CHALICE being turned into singing apple strudel, even if Merrilee did get a paragraph in there about how they had to use honey.  I should have held out for baklava . . . but that still doesn’t explain the hamster.

** It seems to me very sad that Pav may never have the fabulous experience of waiting in an endless post office queue.

*** Borderline as in personality

† THE POSTMISTRESS HATED ME.  SHE DID.  She also retired some years ago, but THE TRAUMA REMAINS.

†† Note that (a) the payment for this interesting process is coming out of the money that passes through Merrilee’s hands on my behalf and (b) apparently even if they believed they had been paid . . . they would still deliver it back to me again.  Because they can’t read.  Or because they can’t design forms that are readable.

††† He then asked me where I was from and acknowledged that he was Indian and calling from India. The thing that interests me though is that these overseas call centres have a very bad rep, which is mostly well earned, but allowing for the fact that Feebledweeb is messing him over as well as messing me over, the phone line was clearer than mine to Peter often is and he was intelligent and articulate and able to answer questions . . . off the sheet of bad info they had given him, but hey.

‡  Of course not.  OF COURSE NOT.

One of those days. Oh, another one.

 

 

As frequently referred to, I am Not Sleeping Well.*  I got up this morning at what is for me a not-unreasonable hour, had something semi-resembling breakfast, looked at the clock and decided to have a little lie down before I went off to have a cup of tea with Penelope at 11.  I wasn’t going to sleep because I don’t sleep, but I’m so ratblasted tired the idea of doing half an hour’s work was very unattractive.

I woke up at 10:59.  YAAAAAAAAH.

Fortunately Penelope** wasn’t doing anything else this morning and was willing to have me half an hour late.  Also, she’s used to me.

So I got home afterward and looked at the hellcritters and they all looked at me.  They gazed at me speakingly and what they were saying was YOU CALL THAT ONCE AROUND A CHURCHYARD EARLIER A WALK?***  WE WANT A PROPER HURTLE AND WE ARE GOING TO STARE AT YOU UNTIL YOU GIVE US ONE.

I took all three of them out together.  MISTAKE.  This is the thing about hurtling three hellcritters at once:  if anything goes wrong you are stuffed.  My insane and ridiculous plan is that I should eventually be able to give them one hurtle a day together and one separately.†  What chiefly went wrong today is that hellterror was POSSESSED BY DEMONS.  As we’ve been going out together pretty steadily recently I thought we might CONCEIVABLY be, you know, shaking down.  No.  Wrong.  She hucklebutted in about six directions simultaneously, made Darkness cry, and tied all of us up in her frelling lead . . . and this immediately in front of some damned oaf eating his lunch on one of the church benches and trying not to laugh.  The next time I have to play late catch-up with the morning hurtle we will revert to shifts.††

Darkness was so traumatised by the experience of being hucklebutted at that he couldn’t bring himself to eat his lunch.  He just couldn’t touch a morsel.

I think I managed to get a little work in here somewhere before frelling handbells.  Niall innocently asked me if I minded ringing the 5-6 (I’ve mostly been ringing the 3-4 for a long time now)—I should know better than ever to believe Niall when he’s trying for innocent.  The ratbag made me call a touch.†††  Three times.  Just to prove I could.  I don’t know why this was a successful experiment‡ but unfortunately it was and will therefore doubtless be repeated.  During tea break I was also outed by frelling Niall as having gone to New Arcadia practise last Friday‡‡ whereupon Jillian said, ooooh, let’s make her come tonight.

I was weak.  I went.‡‡‡  And all this Forza and Fustian ringing is having an effect.  They had enough fancy visiting ringers tonight to do a bit more than usual and I was dubiously offered a chance to ring Stedman Triples.  I kept my line when some of the better ringers went off theirs.  Nyah nyah nyah.

* * *

And on another subject entirely, do you know that Seamus Heaney died?  A mere lad of 74.  Much too soon.  If you don’t know his work—or even if you do—here’s a place to start.  Never mind the bogus ‘Ten Best Poems’ nonsense:  these do give you a genuine taste of why you’ll want more.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/10276092/Seamus-Heaney-his-10-best-poems.html

* * *

* CAN’T IMAGINE WHY.  I’m not neurotic or anything.  Or paranoid.  I don’t think that gigantic international financial corporations are pissing on me from a height or anything.

** Those of you with helplessly retentive memories, and I pity you, really I do^, may recall that Penelope got her blog name because she is so often a Bell Widow while Niall is out ringing.  This is not strictly accurate.  In the first place, she makes him stay home in the evening occasionally^^ and in the second place when he goes on a ringing holiday week during which a bunch of the true nutte—I mean, a bunch of the dedicated go en masse to some piece of country with a lot of bell towers in it, spend all day bouncing over bad roads and arguing with their satnavs punctuated by ringing at three or four different towers—so like what I did a fortnight ago, only day after day after day after day—he wants her to go with him.  There’s another one of these interesting opportunities coming up soon and she’s saying Nooooooooooo I want to stay hooooooooome. . . .

^ HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

^^ I believe she has been known to hide his laptop.  With the bell ringing software on it.

*** Those of us of the male gender who have to pee every five feet had barely got started.

^ You know you could give us cramp in delicate regions by this callous behaviour.

† Superfluous leg stretches and last-turn-around-the-churchyard negotiable.  Which is to say I mostly cravenly leave the hellterror at home for the latter.  The advantage of there being very few other people (and dogs) around at our last-turn time is offset by not being able to see what she’s eating.

†† Despite the NOISE she makes when she’s being left behind after having already waited a monstrously long time.  I am clearly leaving her in the hands of bullie-hating fiends with hot pitchforks and pawscrews.

††† You usually start learning to call from the 5-6 for reasons you really don’t want to hear explained.

^ Yes, I could explain it.  Which is pretty alarming.

‡ My Brain Was Taken Over By One That Works.  Film at eleven.

‡‡ I told you this, didn’t I?  I went specifically to speak to one of the other ringers who’d let me have his seat at the funeral and I’d been too distressed by what we were all there for to remember to thank him properly.

‡‡‡ You know I’d been worrying about not getting enough ringing this month when lots of towers cancel regular practise while everybody’s at the beach or hiking up Everest.^  I rang two funerals and a wedding last week.  I rang three tower practises this week, plus frelling handbells, and I’m ringing another wedding tomorrow.  If I were a less hardened individual I could be getting blisters.

^ You know there’s now a queue?

Fun with your critters

 

 

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot and I’m wearing shorts.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  It’s too hot, I’m wearing shorts, if I put you on my lap my legs will break out in large prickly red splotches, and if I put a towel or a sweatshirt over my legs it kind of ruins the shorts part, okay?  Also, dog body temperature is higher than human, which is not attractive in this weather.

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  Why don’t you go play with a nice toy?

Hellterror and hellgoddess engage in staring match.  Hellterror eventually heaves deep sigh of sadness, disillusionment and crushedness and wanders off, channelling Eeyore with every dragging, melancholy step.  Hellgoddess warily goes back to her book.*

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

::Rustling noise::.

Hellterror comes prancing back, bearing her trophy, and settles down on her nice comfy floor-padding blanket at the hellgoddess’ feet to enjoy it.

Hellterror:  Have a shoe.

Hellgoddess briefly presses fingers to forehead.  She lays her book down.**

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat shoes.

Removes shoe, while hellterror looks at her through her eyelashes.  Wags tail.  Hellgoddess puts the sacred All Star back under the bookcase by the front door with its 1,000,001 friends.***

Hellgoddess offers toy that has found favour at other times.  Hellterror accepts it listlessly.

Hellgoddess goes back to her book.  Warily.  Hellterror rests her head on boring toy and contemplates options.

Hellterror trots off purposefully.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Hellterror returns bearing another trophy.  The scene as before.

Hellterror:  Have another shoe.

Hellgoddess doesn’t bother with the finger-pressing this time, although she does heave a deep sigh.  She sighs much more deeply than hellterror because her lungs are bigger.†  Also her lungs are very well developed because of all the hurtling.

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat shoes.

Removes shoe.  Offers a different toy that has found favour at other times.  Hellterror lets off a glare with her evil little varminty eyes that would knock Jericho’s walls down without benefit of trumpet, but the hellgoddess is made of sturdy stuff.

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

::Different rustling noises::

Hellterror:  Got a sock.

Hellgoddess:  You aren’t allowed to eat socks either.  Or bras, knickers or t-shirts.††

Hellterror:  Want a lap.

Hellgoddess:  ALL RIGHT.  ALL RIGHT.†††

Hellhounds:  Zzzzzzzzzzz.

* * *

* No, the one I was reading.

Gwyn_sully

I’ve been reading some rather good cheezy science fiction.  But I’m not going to tell you what, because I would be fallen on in a body and pummelled to death for disrespect.

If I promise not to pummel you to death will you tell? I could use some good cheezy sci fi, and I’m not attached enough to anyone to get offended at their being put in such a category.

I read that when it came in and thought, okay, how am I going to do this?  Anagram?  Smoke signals?^  But I’m going to do a book rec on it, so all is well except for the part when I admit that as far as I’m concerned a Classic of the Genre is cheezy science fiction, it just happens to be good.  Hey, I write cheezy fantasy, wizards, dragons, enchanted swords, retold fairy tales, the occasional vampire and so on.  It just happens to be—ahem—good.

^ DM?  Please.  Besides, mine is turned off and I don’t want to know how to turn it on.

** Carefully.  I’m near the end and it’s very exciting.

*** There are more upstairs in the bedroom cupboard.  With the yarn.  There are even more in the attic.

† Hellterror is tiny.  Southdowner has been around kind of a lot this week^ because she’s visiting her family on the south coast, and we’ve met both Monster Scone and Super-Monster Fruitcake.  Fruitcake is ENORMOUS.  Fruitcake is probably twice the hellterror’s size.  I like tiny.  Tiny means I can still tuck her under one arm and go shopping.  Tiny is, of course, relative, and twenty-seven pounds starts to weigh kind of a lot after a few minutes, especially if it wriggles, although thanks to all that dedicated holding of baby puppies, it’s actually pretty good about not wriggling.  But southdowner was talking about a semi-non-confrontation she’d had recently with Scone, and had simply picked Scone up out of the target zone while the idiot owner harrumphed about how his dog was friendly and the dog demonstrated body language of a less than friendly sort.  I had one of these semi-non-confrontations today, when I saw a Jack Russell-y type dog get all low-bodied and intent and . . . I picked the hellterror up.  Isn’t yours okay? said this idiot owner, while his dog held its tail out stiff as a frelling poker and its head low and menacing.  Mine is okay.  Oh yeah? I didn’t say, and kept moving.  I’d’ve been staggering pretty quickly if I’d been carrying Scone or Fruitcake.

And, you know, ha ha ha ha ha and everything, but the aggressive off-lead dog problem depresses the frelling frelling out of me.

^ I’ve been getting a few Remedial Hellterror Owner lessons.  Some of this adolescence thing has been worrying me a little.+  If there are any long-time, naively believe they have some clue dog owners out there thinking of branching out into terriers, be aware that terriers are a whole different life form.  All that standard training and response stuff with other dogs?  Doesn’t work with terriers.  Oh.

+Oh my God, have I BROKEN her??

†† Hellterror’s distressing fondness for dirty laundry—that is, the hellgoddess’ dirty laundry—makes me wonder if I should try wearing new toys before I give them to her, to make them more attractive.  The laundry issue is ongoing, since the laundry bags live in a heap among the bevy of dwarf appliances under the stairs at the cottage.  There isn’t any other place for them to be.  And hellterror appears to have learnt to untie drawstring bags.

††† The funny thing is that I did not break out in itchy red splotches.  Either there’s a seasonal thing going on—she’s pretty low to the ground, and she runs through a lot of grass—or I’m adapting to the third dog I live with.  Her body temperature is still too high for August however.

‡ abigailmm

Chaos and Darkness are the most beautiful dogs, period, I have ever seen. If I knew anything about keeping dogs, and if I thought I could physically manage to exercise them, I would look for some of my own.

If you’re serious, it would be worth contacting your local greyhound rescue and asking about middle-aged couch potatoes.  Older dogs are harder to place so they would love to hear from you, and a good rescue will know their dogs pretty well and could suggest one or two of the couch-potato-iest.  It’s a myth that retired greyhounds need huge amounts of exercise.  Individuals vary, but older retired racers mostly have done all that and are looking for the sofa stage of existence and a little regular gentle ambling outdoors and your company indoors is adequate.  You do have to remember that they can hit top speed in a couple of bounds if they choose to, so you have to be ALERT out walking them.  I have mine on extending leads, but they’ve been with me their entire lives which works both ways—I’m used to watching them for rocketing-off symptoms and they know how long their leads are.  If I ever bring a retired greyhound home it will be on a short, non-extending lead for a long time.  Possibly the rest of its life.

My guys are of course not greyhounds, they’re whippet cross deerhound.  And whippets aren’t quite small greyhounds, there are some differences in detail:  personally I find whippets the more beautiful, but there are some 100% eye candy greyhounds out there just longing for an ordinary, non-racing-kennels home.

Audiobooks, continued

 

 

Last night’s frelling chapter?  It got LONGER.  Not that this is unfamiliar behaviour from something I’m trying to write* BUT EVEN SO.  So no, I haven’t got to the end of it.  So today’s blog is Short Wednesday in a Week of Shorts.**

Now about audiobooks.  You need to remember that I have a bad attitude . . . toward almost everything.  I have a powerful native gift for cranky anyway but it’s also a kind of self-protection.  After you’ve rendered yourself a gibbering . . . thing that gibbers*** trying to write your story THE VERY BEST YOU ARE CAPABLE OF while despairingly aware that it’s not good enough† . . . you then have to sit back and pretend to relax WHILE THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY DOES ITS BEST TO DESTROY THE FRELLER.  Well, that’s how it feels.  To me.  I told you I had a bad attitude.  But no one has your vision of your story—they can’t.  And the whole ‘what sells’ thing makes pretty much everyone involved cranky, and at some point, and preferably before your editor has decided to have you killed, you have to let them get on with it.  I can’t take the strain, pretty much, which is why I get farther and farther out of the whole publishing biz world.  Here’s my story, I say at intervals.  Um.  I hope you like it.  I hope you publish it.  And I hope what you do to it in the process doesn’t make me want to retrain as a Dyno Rod Woman.††

So.  Audiobooks.  I know they are a Good Thing in theory.  I even listen to them myself occasionally—not my own, mind you, but other people’s.  I entirely agree it’s a good way to get some knitting done.  But my experience of being audiobooked is a little aggrieved.

In my experience the audiobook company rarely wants to mess with you:  you’ll only complicate their lives.  And possibly vice versa.  For example, I was once given a choice of three readers.  I listened to the clips they sent me and . . . hated them all.   After much writhing and doorsill chewing I chose the least ghastly . . . who turned out to be unavailable.  The company chirpily informed me that they had taken an executive decision . . . and hired the one (not that I had told them this) I loathed the most.  I never listened to the result.  I’ve never listened to any of my audiobooks.  I don’t want to know.

SShadow

I was surprised by the narrator’s pronunciation in The Blue Sword (mostly of Damarian words . .. .

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.  They probably are mispronounced.  Don’t tell me.

 Corlath doesn’t have quite the same power when read in a female narrator’s “man voice,” but I suppose there’s nothing to be done about that.

Sigh.  Yes, I think that part’s true.  And I never think having different voices in what is essentially a read-aloud works.  Either you have to semi-stage the thing or you have a single reader-aloud, and you have to hope they can adapt enough to the varying demands of the story.

EMoon

You might reassure Peter that Audible are serious and actually want assistance from the writer, as they get complaints when listeners don’t like the voice, or feel it gets an accent or characterization wrong.

Noted.  Dubiously.  It’s a nice thought.  But I am a frelling Audible subscriber and . . . they don’t always get it right by a long shot.   And how many of us have to complain before they rerecord something they’ve got wrong?

A voice actor I know casually commented that actors like input from writers…they want to convey the feel of the language (and especially when they have a good writer’s work to present. The same voice actor was voicing some badly-written romances and said it was driving her crazy.)

I wish all us like-minded professionals ever were on the same bandwagon at the same time.  I keep hearing fairy tales of things like actors who want input from writers and I’m like . . . what?  Peter has had contacts from some of his translators too, wanting more info about stuff they’re finding hard to translate (mind you I think Peter is unusually challenging, both for reading aloud and for translating).  Not me.  I don’t really want to know about the quality of my translations either . . . since there’s not a frelling thing I can do about it/them, either than gnaw my own flesh till I bleed.

Diane in MN

I’m a big fan of audiobooks; it’s nice to think that authors get some input into the way their work is going to sound.

AAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH.  See previous.

Gwyn_sully

Having a good reader makes such a difference!

Doesn’t it just.  Yes.  A good readaloud is like suddenly finding yourself in a warm bath with a glass of cold champagne within reach somewhere you aren’t going to knock it over at the end of a hard day.  Although you’re probably knitting or having Lap Socialisation with a hellterror or possibly hurtling, the warm-bath-with-champagne effect is discernible.

I’ve listened to books by authors I’ve never heard of before simply because they were narrated by someone I like. Since I tend to get into reading ruts it’s a good way to get me to branch out a bit.

Hmm.  I’m comparatively new to audiobooks–and still in the Ooooh!  Must listen to this next! stage.  I’ll have to add this concept to the list.

. . . . See, I’m not hopelessly hopeless and negative and close-minded and CRANKY.  Just nearly.  Especially when I’m being driven crazy by a self-extending chapter.

Back to the frelling grindstone.

* * *

* Let us not forget that the PEGASUS TRILOGY^ started as a short story.

^ Note that if it turns out to be more than three books I’m going to sign up with the Witness Relocation Programme and move to Mars.

** And speaking of shorts it’s supposed to get HOT again this weekend.  NOOOOOOOO.  I was just beginning to get used to wearing long trousers again.  Also although it’s cooler the so-called air is thick as a brick.  Total headache weather.  Not ideal among other things for thrashing mutinous chapters into obedient coherence.

*** ‘Idiot’ doesn’t really fulfil the gibberingness of it.  You want a whole treeful of angry howler monkeys or the despairing crowd at the end of Stave One of A Christmas Carol when Marley’s ghost goes to join the supernatural throng.

† It might also bear repeating, with some reference to last night’s blog . . . those of you with stories in progress that you just can’t manage to do what you want/need to do with . . . remember the brain and heart energy thing.  If you’ve got a busy life, a demanding job, maybe a family with a few kids or six dogs or a horse farm or something . . . it may not be that you have no skill or talent for writing.  It may be that you’re too tired or too elsewhere-demanded to do well by your story (or your poem or your four-storey welded-steel sculpture) too.

†† And we aren’t going near any question of reviewers.

Short Wednesday*

 

Angelia

Be sure to set your meeting times with your advisor at the same time as some activity you wish to avoid. That way you can truthfully beg off by saying you have a prior engagement.

::falls down laughing::

Ringlets

The prior does sound very scary! are you going to share some more about your meeting with him?

It would help if he were shorter.  I was thinking that there is already Scary Man at Forza** but at least he’s short.  SO I SCARE EASILY.  THIS IS NOT NEWS.  But even in the interests of witnessing which is another awkward part of this Christianity package deal I’m not sure that aside from privacy issues there’s much to tell you that would make sense in public:  one on one tends to be that way for a reason.  Oh, well, speaking of awkward and public:  one of the things we talked quite a bit about is community.  This is another thing that walking across that threshold—or being prodded over it by a Son of God who feels you’ve been goofing off long enough—lands you in.  Community.  It’s not that there aren’t legitimate vocations for walling yourself up in a narrow cell and spending the rest of your life praying and having bread and gruel poked through a slot at intervals*** but these are rare and it’s not what I have.  I have the common or garden variety belief system endowment, which includes the belonging to a community requirement.  Eep.  Ugh.  I don’t like people in groups.  My natural lack of talent for relating in groups is of course enhanced, not to say aggravated, by doing something intensely self-involved and solitary for a living.  New skills.  Blugh.  New frelling skills.  So we talked about coping strategies.

Nat

Ah… you see, the faithful avoid Microsoft at all costs and worship at Apple!

You Apple-istas puzzle me.  I have an iPhone and an iPad . . . and they’re just as frelling frelled as anything PC, just differently.  Indeed, the archangels are coming tomorrow chiefly to strive with Astarte the iPad, not the PC laptop, which has mysteriously decided to work again, possibly because it heard me making the appointment with the angels.  Which means I need to go to bed so I can perform some facsimile of functional awakeness before noon tomorrow . . .

* * *

* Also frelling frelling frelling frell.  SUPERSHARP KNIVES ARE OVERRATED.  Sure, the as one might say cutting edge professional chef with the magic wrists and the reputation, probably needs a supersharp knife for his angelhair cabbage or her baroque-candelabra cantelope—or the poor sweating sous-chef producing cucumber posies to disguise the fact that their delivery of tiger nuts and fractal cauliflower^ has been hijacked by harpies—but us ordinary oafs at home?  I agree that blunt knives are a hazard because of the way they ricochet and gouge chunks out of the plaster/cupboard/your arm, but just manual-sharpener-quality sharp knives are splendidly adequate.  I was ordering a bunch of standard kitchen-supply stuff from a web site shop I use about twice a year and since the arrival of Pav I seem to be spending an unholy amount of time chopping things and I had decided I would like a second little paring-or-thereabouts-sized knife.  They had one of these supersharp things on sale so I bought the freller.  It arrived in its own sheath.  And it’s a good thing too since it cuts things from several feet away.  You’re still getting the chicken out of the refrigerator and there’s a faint whistling noise and you’re bleeding.  I need all these fingers in their original confinguration, thanks.  You can’t wash it unless you want to turn your kitchen sponge or dishcloth into a mop head.  You can nervously hold it under hot water for a while.  And watch it trying to slice water.  It hisses if I open the drawer it’s in.  All I wanted was another paring knife.  I probably need a special license if I want to dispose of this menace, and SAS operatives are expensive.  Keeping critters is a never-ending saga of astonishment and peril.^^

^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/weird-vegetables_n_3210027.html#slide=2408323 May I just say I’ve only never heard of two of them, that I regularly eat most of them except samphire which is disgusting, I’m a dedicated fan of fractal cauliflower and sunchokes, and that I don’t miss fiddleheads at all?

^^ Like the fellow with twenty-four spikes in his face who came over to tell me how gorgeous Pav is and how much he likes bull terriers.+  Oh.  Ah.  Well, that’s nice. —Does he take them out at night?  How does he EAT?  What happens if he wants to kiss someone?++  Does sneezing hurt?

+ This encounter happened in the New Arcadia churchyard.  There was a group of blokes chatting.  I didn’t look at the other ones.

++ They run away?

** At least I didn’t bleed on any bell ropes tonight.  Or at least I didn’t get caught bleeding on any bell ropes tonight.

*** One hopes that there is sufficient allowance and arrangement for certain refuse and debris egress as well.  I still worry about laundry.

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The freelance writer is a man who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley