January 17, 2016

Shadows is here!

My Peter, lV

Writer and Seer: Peter’s literary works*

 

Now, for this next piece I need you to imagine that I’m voicing over the sound of a typewriter. It’s coming from up a stairway or behind a study door, and it sounds like this:

Chack-chack-chack-chak. (Pause for thought.) Chackchackchackchackchackchack…  

Peter did not have typist’s hands. He said his fingers were like a sculptor’s, thick and stubby**.  He typed from the elbow, two fingers, hitting the keys so hard that he could break them in ways that the repair people had never seen before.

He wrote books, but not only books. He wrote scripts for plays: amateur productions that we performed with our friends the Stuart-Smiths at their house at Serge Hill***; and for the highly-talented children’s opera group who performed in St James’ Church in London W11.  He wrote a screenplay for a TV series called Mandog, and drove our little Morris Minor as an extra in one of the chase scenes.

And he wrote poems. When he was re-roofing our large and leaky house at Bramdean††, he wrote poems about it on slates and hid them under the tiles for future generations to find.  He wrote a clutch of painful little poems after the tragic death of Mary Rose in 1988, and more when Robin crossed the Atlantic to join her life with his.  Many of these are in his collection The Weir.

But his books were the main thing. He would write two a year, one adult mystery, one children’s fiction, like a farmer rotating the crops in his field.  Often he’d start with just an idea, and no notion of where it would take him.  He said he could write a third of a murder novel without knowing who had killed whom or why.††† 

His imagination was bold, far-reaching and quirky. He would follow a story set in a Scottish Loch with one in sixth century Byzantium.  He wrote about the near future and also about the dawn of humanity. He did light romance in the General Strike and science fiction in an apartheid Britain where some skins were green.  He loved to set his stories in country houses like this one. And if when you’re looking around you see a drop of fresh oil on a weapon in a display case – that’s the clue!

His characters were complex, his prose rhythmic, his ideas tantalising. He would do nothing obvious or cheap. For him, all worthwhile moral questions were complicated and ambivalent. But he did not want to lecture his readers. He took them round the byways, through the wild woods of imagination, and if they came to ask themselves the sort of questions that he was asking – as it were, by accident –  that was all he could hope for.

He kept it up, for over sixty novels. That’s a gravity-defying career by all standards. They’re all still available – just go to Open Road Media – Peter Dickinson or find his website Peter Dickinson[Fixed – Blogmom] (Here we (*&^%$£”!!!! go again:  I can’t make the suckers live.  Time to call in Blogmom.  Apologies.]  Some of them won prizes. Tulku and City of Gold won the Carnegie in consecutive years. Others did not, but his quality was always high.  Have you tried The Last Houseparty? Ah, you should.

Phil and Polly remember accompanying him to Crime Writers’ Association dinners and rubbing shoulders with the greats like Harry Keating and Dick Francis.‡‡ James and I remember our excitement when he fell into a correspondence with Richard Adams (I think Peter was less than excited about this, actually).  He served as Chair of the Society of Authors. He went on lecture tours, he was awarded the OBE for services to literature.  But he was no highbrow.

He won prizes, he said, because his books were the sort that adults thought children ought to read.‡‡‡ He was ambivalent about that. He told an Exeter conference in 1970 that the danger of living in a golden age of children’s literature was that “not enough rubbish is being produced.”

And he added:

Nobody who has not spent a whole sunny afternoon under his bed rereading a pile of comics left over from the previous holidays has any real idea of the meaning of intellectual freedom.”

Back then that was fighting talk, and he had to defend it.  Which he did.  It wasn’t in his commercial interest, but it was what he believed.

So we thought we’d give you a bit of Peter’ essay “A Defence of Rubbish”. Here he is, the writer’s writer, the librarian’s favourite, up and fighting for children to be allowed what the hell they liked, even if, to the adult eye, it contained no value either aesthetic or educational.

…Third, I am convinced of the importance of children discovering things for themselves. However tactfully an adult may push them towards discoveries in literature, these do not have quite the treasure trove value of the books picked up wholly by accident. This can only be done by random sampling on the part of the children, and it is inevitable that a high proportion of what they read will be rubbish, by any standard. But in the process they will learn the art of comparison.

Fourth comes a psychological point. Children have a very varying need of security, but almost all children feel the need of security and reassurance some time. One can often tell how happy or insecure a child is feeling simply by what she is reading. And sometimes she may need to reread something well known but which makes absolutely no intellectual or emotional demand. Rubbish has this negative virtue, and I would be very chary of interfering with a child who felt an obvious need of rubbish.

My fifth point is more nebulous. There is no proof, or even arguing about it. But I am fairly sure in my own mind that a diet of plums is bad for you, and that any rational reading system needs to include a considerable amount of pap or roughage—call it what you will. I know very few adults who do not have some secret cultural vice, and they are all the better for it. I would instantly suspect an adult all of whose cultural activities were high, remote and perfect.

I have to take the podium again to make my confession here. I spent a fair amount of my childhood re-reading football comics.  I was probably aware that I was being allowed to get away with it.  I had no idea at all that I owed it to his faith in intellectual freedom.

Books, Peter said, are like leaves. They fall from the tree that made them and for a little while they lie golden on the ground.  But very soon they are buried by the next layer of books, which of course are doomed to be buried in their turn.  It’s a melancholy but realistic reflection on how much of a monument a writer can expect from his own works.

But of course, the monument is not really in the book at all. It’s in the readers who found that treasure trove and were touched by what was in it.  Even if they can no longer remember the title or the author’s name.  And sometimes they do.  A few years ago I met a young writer who said: ‘Peter Dickinson? We had one of his books in the school library when I was twelve.  It was called The Gift. I loved it.’

The Gift. Ah yes. Thank you, Peter.  For that one too.

* * *

* by Peter’s son John, yes, that John Dickinson: Books by John Dickinson

He has a blog and a website, but they have been a trifle neglected: he says himself that do something about this has been top of the list for . . . er . . . quite some time.

And here is a BBC interview John did about Peter right after he died:  Peter Dickinson OBE

The bit about Peter starts eleven minutes in. Several people have told me it’s good. I haven’t listened to it—I can’t bear to—so don’t talk to me about it.

** Peter had gigantic hands. My hands are big enough I can only get into size large dishwashing gloves but he could swallow one of my hands in one of his.  Walking down the street holding hands we had to do it palm to palm like you do with a kiddie:  if we tried to lace our fingers together I’d dislocate my knuckles.  I’m wearing his wedding ring on a chain around my neck.^^  I could almost wear it as a coronet.

^ Trying to find dishwashing gloves that would fit him was epic. The holy grail was nothing on trying to find dishwashing gloves for Peter.

^^ Sigh. . . .

*** Hertfordshire. North of London.^

† Notting Hill. Next to Holland Park, as previous.^

^ . . . apologies to my English readers. But the majority of this blog’s readers are American and I’m making the assumption that they don’t know any more about English geographic niceties than I did thirty years ago.  About the Europeans, Australians, Asians, Africans, Antarcticans and Martians who read this blog I will not hazard a guess.

†† And he did a VERY GOOD JOB. It DID NOT LEAK in my era.

††† I’m pretty sure I’ve told the blog this story: Peter lived with me in Maine for a couple of months while I finished DEERSKIN before packing up to move to England (eeeeeeeeeep).  He borrowed my old manual typewriter [sic] and started typing (as above:  CHACK CHACK).  After a few days he gave me the first chapter of what would become THE YELLOW ROOM CONSPIRACY.  Since it’s the first chapter it’s not much of a spoiler to tell you that it ends with the two main characters saying calmly to each other ‘I thought you murdered so and so.’  I looked at Peter with very large eyes:  Wow!  What happens?  Who did it?  —I have no idea, replied Peter.

‡ Avington Park, where the memorial service was held, and which is so much more fabulous than its web site makes out. Some day when I’m feeling jolly and expansive I’ll tell you about finding it.

‡‡ I met Harold Pinter at one of these things. I didn’t take to him.  But then he didn’t take to me.  Harry Keating was a sweetie. 

‡‡‡ Ahem. He also won prizes for his murder mysteries.  Ahem.

It’s Friday, it must be handbells

 

Have I told you I’ve gone back into therapy because I Am Not Coping with Reality Very Well Right Now?*  I went in for an assessment a while ago but it took them some time to find a slot for me.**  I’ve seen Metis a few times now and like her—if ‘like’ is quite the word you want to apply to your shrink—and have some hope that she’ll crack me open like whacking off the top of your soft-boiled egg with an egg-spoon.***  But it’s still early days.  Yesterday she taught me a relaxation technique.  Chiefly it served to demonstrate that I do not relax.   Nadia could have told her this.  Sigh.†

But weekly therapy meetings are one more thing on the schedule.  And in the last fortnight I seem also to have been to three concerts†† and not merely done my standard weekly Sam duty but the frelling occasional-required long overnight duty which reduces you to a little pile of sticky ashes even if you’re healthy††† plus picking up an extra (late, not everyone’s favourite time of day for some reason) duty when someone went down sick at the last minute.‡

And of course there’s still monks.  And singing.‡‡  And the hellmob.  And the garden, which is booming into early summer.  And bell ringing, although tower ringing has taken a hit the last fortnight due to all the other excitements.  But handbells . . . it’s Friday.  There were handbells.‡‡‡

* * *

* I’m an American, we believe in therapy.  And my best friend is a New Yorker and everyone in Manhattan is in therapy, it’s a civic ordinance.  You want to live there, you need to sign up with a therapist before you try to find a place to live.  Your rental agreement or your mortgage application will have a query on it something like ‘Are you currently actively engaged in seeking self-development by way of a professional relationship with a psychotherapist whose name appears on this year’s list of Persons Licensed to Charge More Than $1000 an Hour which you gladly disburse for the Privilege of Discovering What a Hopeless Dolt You Are?’  You need to be able to fill in the ‘yes’ box.  Residents of the Tri-State Area are given a tax rebate for being in therapy, although it doesn’t run to $4000 a month.  Hey, what do you want, healthy, well nourished children and a car that runs^ or greater self awareness?^^

^ All the festering DRIVING involved in my proliferating life-enrichment programmes is a pain.  It’s worth it but IT IS A PAIN.  And while I’m both a careful and a law-abiding driver I do kind of yell a lot.  I had a Classic Robin Moment on my way to my last voice lesson.  I was late, of course, because I’m always late, and I got stuck behind this moron going thirty-five miles an hour in a SIXTY MILE AN HOUR ZONE.  I was not doing my singing voice any good in my description of his heritage and his likely future.  Then we hit town—I’ve tried going the back way and all that happens is that I get stuck behind tractors, and that doesn’t do my singing voice or my blood pressure any favours either—and the slow wiggly main road was made even slower and wigglier by the plethora of frelling LORRIES parked on it while they unloaded shoes and sausages and hammers and mattresses into all the frelling shops.  So you and your soon to be overheating car are ducking back and forth from one single lane to the other, depending on where the latest lorry is parked and you are getting later and later for your voice lesson and CRANKIER AND CRANKIER.  Now, despite my malevolent views of other drivers, I’m quite the—ahem!—Samaritan about letting other drivers in, especially in a situation like this one where we’re all suffering.  Well I’d got stuck behind the final lorry and no one was letting me into the other lane.  Guess who finally did.  Yep.  Thirty Five Miles an Hour in a Sixty Mile an Hour Zone Man.  I waved gratefully but I hope he doesn’t lip-read.

^^ Note that Metis’ practise does not charge £646 an hour.  Trust me, I would not be there.

** It’s a group practise.  I imagine them sitting around at their admin meeting and saying, okay, we have an axe murderer, a pathological collector of HP Lovecraft t shirts^, someone who thinks they’re Napoleon/Marie Stopes/Edward Cullen and a writer with writer’s block . . . and a chorus of voices reply eagerly, I’ll take the axe murderer!  I’ll take Lovecraft, AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS is the best novel of the 20th century!  I’ll take Marie Stopes! . . . Silence.  I am fully booked, says the person remaining.  I totally must shampoo the cat, and then sort the contents of the kibble bin by size.  Fluffy is so particular.  I can’t consider taking on a new client till someone else has been desperate enough to take the wri—I mean, probably not till next year.

^ ::whistles::

*** Personally I scramble my eggs.  But Peter does the egg-spoon trick.

† Note to self:  Metis and Nadia must never meet.

†† If Jackie Oates http://www.jackieoates.co.uk/live-dates/ comes anywhere near you and/or you have a friend who is willing to do the driving, speaking of driving,^ and unless you are one of these poor sad creatures who doesn’t get good folk music, go.  And listen especially closely to the newly arranged and adapted 21st-century lyrics to A Cornish Young Man, which are delicious.

^ Fiona and I found a new yarn shop.  I was doing pretty well+ till I made the mistake of checking out the sale bin again.  I had thought on the way in that the Yarn Pet percentage might be a little perilous but at that point I had a whole shop to be endangered by and adrenaline was running high.  And I then managed (mostly) to resist the breathtakingly gorgeous single-skein small-local-indie-dyers gauntlet, chiefly because I have some self-protective resistance to spending more than a New York City shrink’s hourly rate on a one-off that there isn’t even enough of to make a scarf.  A fichu maybe.++

AND THEN I WENT BACK TO THE FRELLING SALE BIN.  Alpaca is evil.  Especially when it is mixed in big fat fluffy skeins with merino.  You can frelling hear it purring when you cradle it in your arms.+++

+ I say nothing about how Fiona was doing

++ If you’re small and flat-chested.

+++ Dogs purr too, you know.  At least every dog I’ve ever had purrs when it settles in your lap.  Whether it fits in your lap or not.

††† And/or stay up late and don’t do mornings anyway.  Although some annoying person^ has pointed out that I do do mornings, I do a lot of mornings, I just do the, you know, little end.

^ I never name names on this blog but this particular person is very annoying about handbells.+

+ What do you mean you can’t ring handbells tomorrow, the next day, the day after that and three times on Madnessday?  —GO AWAY.  YOU’RE RETIRED.  SOME OF US ARE STILL WORKING FOR A LIVING# AND FURTHERMORE MAY POSSIBLY DO OTHER THINGS IN THEIR SPARE [SIC] TIME THAT AREN’T HANDBELLS. ##

# Or at least staring despairingly at an empty computer screen regularly.

## Aren’t . . . handbells? this person murmurs brokenly.

‡ And this potent sacrifice was absolutely worth it for the barrage of brownie points thus accrued.  I can probably spill scalding coffee on the director/the fancy new computer/the delicately poised for heightened reactivity electronic fire alarm and no one will say anything.

‡‡ Your Body Is Your Instrument I Wish I Had Taken up the Guitar When I Was a Teenager Like Everyone Else Did.  Nadia told me the last time I was beating up Batti Batti O Bel Masetto to skip the allegro, which has all those frelling runs in it AND goes up to a high B.  Last time, as I recall, I did leave it alone.  This time I was idly leafing through it again when a little light went on and I said, Hey!  It’s a B flat!  I can (usually) get to B flat!  —So, occasionally, late at night^, when my voice is feeling all relaxed^^ and warm and willing I sing the allegro.  I can’t frelling sing and play the piano at the same time, but I do have a finger poised to hit that B flat to make sure I’m hitting it, if you follow me.  I usually am, in my squeaky un-self-confident and death-defying-not-in-a-good-way way^^^.

And next time through I can’t hit G.  I can always hit a friggleblasting doodahing G, give me a flapdoodling BREAK.  Yes, I can always hit a G, except right after I’ve hit an A sharp/B flat and my voice says NO WE DON’T DO THAT and shuts down.  That’s SHUTS. DOWNArrrrrrgh.  And then it’s back to Edwardian parlour ballads till it forgives me.  ARRRRRRGH.

^ Or in a little morning hour

^^ Sic

^^^ Yes I can hear the unglefrakking difference when Nadia manages to persuade me to float down from above a note rather than ramping up at it from underneath like a guerrilla attack on a dangerous enemy.  Sigh.  Sometimes I’m very flat indeed.  Sometimes I just . . . sound like I’m attacking an enemy I’m terrified of.+  SIGH.

+ I also indulge in a concomitant worry that St Margaret’s will decide they’re not that desperate for singers at the evening service.

‡‡‡ And brownies.  I had told Niall firmly that if there were no brownies I would remember a prior engagement.  What prior engagement? said Niall suspiciously.  Well, I forget, I said, there are brownies, right?

Nice Things*

HERO won the Newbery thirty years ago.  Thirty.  How scary is that.

Anyway some silly person thought it might be amusing to interview me on the subject.  Fortunately they sent me a list of questions which enabled me to choose questions I could, you know, answer.  The Tor list a few weeks ago was way too full of pop-culture questions I couldn’t answer;  this one was full of state-of-the-YA-book-world questions and I HAVE NO CLUE.  I read what I read when I read it, because I saw it on the library shelf, because another unsteady crag of books at the cottage overbalanced and cannoned across the room and I had an ‘oooh, shiny’ reaction, because someone recommended it/sent me a copy, because the Kindle ebook was too cheap to ignore.  At the moment I’m reading a Barbara Hambly I seem to have missed (cannoning crag), catching up on the Dana Stabenows that have come out since I wandered away from murder mysteries about a decade ago (you have to pass through the mystery section at the library to get to the F&SF section), OUTPOST which is a post-apocalyptic thriller by new writer Adam Baker (I DON’T READ POST-APOCALYPTIC THRILLERS but I picked it up off the library shelf and liked the first few pages—especially that a male thriller writer should start his first novel writing sympathetically about a fat woman) and QUIET by Susan Cain, The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking** (cheap Kindle, but I was going to read it anyway)***.  I’ve just finished SCULPTOR by Scott McCloud (amazing graphic novel, an early copy arrived unsolicited in the post, THANK YOU First Second Books) and have started THE HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, BIPOLAR DISORDER AND OTHER MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS by two homeopaths I’ve been reading for years, and am about halfway through HOMEOPATHY FOR TODAY’S WORLD by another homeopath I’ve been reading for years.   Not a YA in sight.  Not this week.  Ask me next week.  I’m trying to remember the last YA I read—Jacqueline Wilson’s MY SISTER JODIE, possibly, but she’s not even YA:  she’s kids.  She’s real stuff, real life for kids, and I love her for it. †

Anyway.  Don’t ask me about any state of any book world, because I won’t know.  But here’s an interview with me on the subject of winning a Newbery and, you know, writing stories and stuff.

http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/01/guest-interview-open-road-media-chats-with-robin-mckinley-about-her-career-and-winning-the-newbery-award-for-the-hero-and-the-crown †††

 * * *

* Alcestis’ funeral went off very well, I think.  The speakers knew what they were doing, and Alcestis had an interesting life and so no struggling for material was necessary.  There were even some good laughs.  There were photos of her all over the walls which I couldn’t bear to look at—Admetus has promised me a private showing some time—and the day was clear and lovely and not too cold, and the track down to the tree she’d chosen to be buried under was not too muddy.  She’d said she’d chosen it for the view, and it has a good view:  but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that everything about the funeral was to her plans and instructions;  I could hear her saying that she’d chosen that tree and this view.

There was a Land Rover to take anyone who didn’t want to struggle with the footing—and the hill—and that included Peter.  The car followed us down to the gravesite, but preceded us going back up again, which meant I went frelling HARING up the blasted hill so Peter didn’t have to sit around in the empty café wondering if I’d fallen into a ravine or something.  I should have just gone in the car too.

** I ranked 18 out of 20 again on the standard introvert test:  the only questions I have to answer ‘no’ to are, do my friends find me self-effacing and laid back? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA and, would I rather die than do public speaking?  No.  It’s not that big a deal.  Which I’ve told you before always makes me feel like someone else is living in my body with me.  This personality should not be able to do public speaking but it/we can.

*** It’s even better than I’d hoped.  The problem with the current fashion in popular science is that certain of the tropes MAKE ME NUTS, like the way everyone the author interviews has to have their clothing and their twinkling eyes described.  Cut to the chase.  I usually object to the author writing him/herself into the story constantly too but in this case it works a treat because Cain is writing as an introvert in an extrovert-preferring world.  I was reading an article in TIME recently^ about the internet-fueled explosion of grass-roots sharing, bartering, selling.  One of the fastest growers in this market is car pooling and the author remarks blandly and cluelessly that of course commuting in company is preferable because driving by yourself is SO BORING.  There speaks the unthinking extrovert.  Driving is bad enough without having to make frelling conversation.

^ Mind you the magazine could be anything up to years old.  Speaking of unsteady crags of reading material.

† Um . . . actually I do remember the last YA I read.  It’s by a VERY FAMOUS WRITER and I HATED IT.  IT WAS BLISTERINGLY FRELLING TERRIBLE AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY IT WAS EVEN PUBLISHED AND I WILL NEVER READ ANOTHER BOOK BY THIS INCOMPETENT CREEP OF AN AUTHOR EVER AGAIN.

†† And there’s also this, which several more people have sent me links to since Open Road first pointed it out:

http://time.com/3650304/writers-favorite-ya-books/

And it’s lovely, and I know I’m being a black hole of negativity but . . . she read it when she was eight?  I know precocious preteens read it all over the map and that’s great, the sooner and oftener girls growing up get told that girls do things too^ the better, but EIGHT?  She was precocious even as precocious goes.  And this fills me with dread and trembling for a whole fresh onslaught of angry eight year olds and their teachers, parents and librarians telling me that HERO is too hard for children.  Well yes, it is.  It’s not for children.  I got entire classrooms of kids writing me letters of protest when HERO’s Newbery was new:  the Newbery does say children’s literature.  I hope maybe that people reading the TIME article will go, oh, wow, well, she grew up to be a writer, so she was probably a precocious reader, and the headline does say YA novels . . . Listen, everyone, it’s really depressing getting bashed for something you wrote for any reason^^, but it’s extra depressing when you think, guys, if you’d only waited a few years. . . .

^  I’ve said this a gazillion times on the blog, but when I was a Young Writer Starting Out I assumed my generation of writers would have totally solved the Active Protagonist Gender Bias.  This hasn’t happened.  There are still a lot of frelling wet girls out there, including in books written recently.  So we still need heroines that do their own dragon-whacking.  Aerin has plenty of company . . . but not enough company.  Okay, you following generations of writers.  Get with the programme.^

^ Although I’m preaching to the converted on this blog.  Fans of Elsie Dinsmore or Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa are not subscribers.

^^ Except sheer jerkitude.  ‘I didn’t finish your stupid book because I wanted to read endless mushy romance when they stand around staring into each other’s eyes for chapters and chapters and the dragon was REALLY BORING!’ +

+ You’d be surprised.  Except for the ‘mushy’ this is nearly word for word.

††† The bio is about forty years out of date.  I will ask them to let me bring it up to 2015.^  And I don’t put commas before ‘too’.  That’s a copyeditor following house style.

^ YAAAAY.  They did.  Thank you!

 

 

 

 

A Little Light Relief

 

 

 

 

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2015/01/the-pop-quiz-at-the-end-of-the-universe-robin-mckinley

 

 

They had a little trouble with my footnotes for some reason.  Do you know ANYONE ELSE who has EVER had a little trouble with my footnotes?  ::hums a little tune::  They also left out the hellterror in the intro, which I will do my best to prevent her from finding out or she would hunt them down and eat . . . all their sandwiches.  And their shoes.  And possibly their desks and their computers.  Certainly their mobile/cell phones.  And their coats.  And . . .

Highlighting missing footnotes in pink which saves getting HOPELESSLY ENTANGLED in explanations.  And a couple of nonessentials I’ve kept in just in case there are any OCDs out there# who are worried about the accuracy of the footnote sequence. 

* * *

*  I like footnotes.  I’m not sure I can think without footnotes any more.  I never was good at joined-up thinking.  . . . Yes, Tor has provided a lovely long list of questions to choose from, but way too many of them are based on a knowledge of pop culture, and my idea of pop culture is Bryn Terfel singing Sweeney Todd.  I have to answer what I can.^

^ Also, that ratbag David Tennant has already pinched All Stars for his Doctor Who incarnation, so I can’t answer the one about what my Doctor Who signature costume element would be. 

** I don’t remember yesterday too well, let alone blogs or interviews from years ago.  I can safely guess yesterday involved dog walking^ and eating chocolate however.

^ Known in this household of three four-legged fur factories as ‘hurtling the hellmob’.

[*** See answer 3, below:  this refers to frelling]

† hellmob = two whippet/deerhound crosses, one mini bull terrier

[†† Also see answer 8, below:  this is about getting what you want]

††† But about getting what you need, that’s why I grew up to write about heroines.

‡ You don’t know Creeping Jane?  http://mainlynorfolk.info/joseph.taylor/songs/creepingjane.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKIECgIW1rA

 Speaking of heroines.^

^ They could have given her a more gallant name however.

‡‡ I can so imagine Diana getting into automatic writing though.  Given her sense of humour I don’t entirely envy the person chosen as channel but . . . ::waves pen hopefully over blank sheet of paper^ and looks around::

^ I suppose there’s no reason you couldn’t channel onto a computer screen but it’s so, you know, realistic.  Who wants to be ordinary about Channelling from Beyond?+  I feel there should be long flowing skirts involved too.  If you’re a bloke you can wear a tabard or something.

+ Especially not channelling Diana Wynne Jones, who had epic conflicts with her technology.

‡‡‡  Horses aren’t pets.  And neither are dragons^.  Neither is Narknon [BLUE SWORD], although I suppose Fourpaws [ROSE DAUGHTER] is—just.  Majid in SHADOWS is not.  In my experience Maine coon cats rarely are.

^ And Lois [DRAGONHAVEN] as a baby was a NIGHTMARE.  Not ideal at all, unless you have a dangerous martyrdom complex.

§  And CHALICE and SUNSHINE are essentially Beauty and the Beast too. Oops. Well but it’s such a good story.  I don’t want to give it up too soon.

* * *

# Who, me?

Pub day

 

Those ebooks you’ve been waiting for?  Today’s the day. . . . * 

Robin McKinley Ebooks

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY.**  ::Confetti::  Fireworks?  Sure.  Why not.  Also fireworks.  And champagne.  Definitely champagne.

And if you forget, splendid Blogmom has put a permanent link in the right sidebar. ***

* * *

* Not that I want to lower the level from high exquisite thought-provoking literature that provides deep and astonishing insights into the paradoxical mind and authentic heart of humanity^ or anything like that but WE FINALLY HAVE A DISHWASHER AGAIN.  That is, the kind with a door in the front and a mains plug in the rear and lots of SHELVES in between and you PUT YOUR DIRTY DISHES in it and CLOSE THE DOOR and TURN IT ON . . . and go back to your book or your knitting or your piano^^ with a happy sigh.  I AM SO TIRED OF WASHING DISHES BY HAND.  Especially the part about redoing all the ones that Peter thinks he’s already washed.  Arrrrrrrgh.

^ Plus dragons, vampires, sighthounds, rosebushes etc.

^^ Also FINALLY I had a voice lesson today+ THAT WAS NOT A DISASTER.  This is the first non-disaster since the house move, I think, and the gruesomely long summer break during which I FORGOT EVERYTHING I HAD ONCE KNOWN and found myself incapable of relearning any of it in a strange new sitting room++ which was way too SMALL so I was making TOO MUCH NOISE. +++

+ Yes.  It’s usually on Monday only Nadia’s car broke.

++ Except it wasn’t strange!  It wasn’t new!  It is lovely friendly Third House and I am a MORON!#

# This is not news, of course.  Especially when applied to singing, knitting, bell ringing, etc.

^^^ I’m still making too much noise but I’m getting used to making too much noise.#

# Eeep.

**  Also YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. ^

^ I’m not sure how you go about wrapping ebooks and putting them under the Christmas tree, but please try.

*** YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY BLOGMOM.

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