BEFORE I FORGET (HAVING ALREADY FORGOTTEN, BECAUSE I’M WRITING THIS HEADING HAVING ALREADY WRITTEN THE REST OF THE POST) I AM NOT REPEAT NOT GOING TO THE SFWA CONVENTION WHERE THEY WILL GONG ME IN ABSENTIA WITH THE GRAND MATRIARCHY THINGUMMY.
. . . Because I am a little old lady with ME who furthermore is fairly freaked out by the viral fug out there & may never go anywhere again—which suits me pretty well, I have too much to do at home—& I also presently have a dog that needs two & a half hours a day walking, if you want to call frantically scrambling after him yelling his name walking. Yes, I know, there are dog walkers for hire, but your dog is supposed to take you for walks & GWHPs . . . well, one of his intake (I’ve told you he’s a rescue) was BANNED from the local best-value best-run dog walking & day care establishment for being too boisterous, & by what I’ve seen of her Genghis would leave her standing at the gate in the boisterousness championships.
So anyway, back to where I started . . .
. . . SORRY. I stopped even reading the Robin McKinley’s Blog messages, I’m afraid, from all you people saying, What happened??? You only just STARTED the blog again & you’ve ALREADY re-disappeared?
Yes. True. Sorrrrrrry. Bottom line? Technology. That’s why I haven’t been posting. Very much hammered home ow ow ow by the fact that I’ve been stressing my ME-addled brain to FINISH THE BOOOOOOK I’ve been working on . . . well, approximately since Peter died, which is 2015. Although it took me till about two years ago to settle back into writing steadily. When did SHADOWS come out? No, don’t tell me. I know, it’s been a while. Life gets in the way. But right now Microbloodystupid 365 continues to be the bane of my existence & around the time I stopped posting here again I realised it was because I couldn’t be funny about it any more. I hated it too much. It is the worst piece of software dreck I have ever had the misfortune to encounter . . . while at the same time my Rotten Apple iPhone 13 mini is the worst piece of hardware dreck I have ever had the misfortune to encounter, & it was all overfrellingwhelmingly too much. My blog posts are mostly based on, first, what is happening now & second, what is happening now that I can be funny about—or at least honest. I didn’t want to have ANYTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF MY TECH* & spending the extra hour(s) to write blog posts when I could be sitting ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOM/HOUSE/TOWN with a piece of hard copy in my hands, you know, a book—a book written by somebody else—was the clear winner.** What brain I have had available for interfacing with disgusting repulsive technology really had to go to finishing the book. Young Beowulf has perhaps found ways around the worst of the disgusting-repulsive which is hope for the future but meanwhile . . .
THE NEWS IS I HAVE SENT THE BOOK TO MERRILEE. YESSSSSSSSSSS. & while all the Difficult Conversations are still to come, she, my highly professional in all the ways I’m not including a few I’ve never heard of & would run screaming if I did, agent of over 40 years, confirms that it’s a book, which is the main thing. The yes perhaps I could re-learn to sleep at night?? main thing.
Whereupon the ME slammed me to the floor & sat on me & is still sitting on me. Humming a little tune & filing its nails. & making hilarious little jokes about having a GWHP to keep up with.
But there is a new McKinley book in some kind of prospect. I’m not sure what to tell you about it yet, however, because to start with it is waaaaaaay out of my usual territory. It’s not fantasy, for example, & if you’re reading this post in proper order, which means reading the footnotes where they are MARKED & not where they are on the literal/virtual page***, you’ll already know it’s laid in some kind of as-real-as-I-can-make-it real-time this-world 1969. Most of you will also know that the whole publishing process takes FOREVER & because this is a departure for me this book will probably take more of a forever than usual. For now I’ll give you the working title: ONE YEAR DIARY.
More later. But I hope I’m back blogging. Again. & now I’ll finish reading the Robin McKinley’s Blog emails. Blushing in shame as required.
* * *
* which as of yesterday includes my washing machine ARRRRRRRGH. I should be grateful that it almost drained its last load & left only a puddle in the bottom of the drum, rather than gallons of water all over the utility room floor. But I put it on ‘spin only’ in an experimental manner & there was a slightly larger puddle after it finished spinning. Uh oh. Now I get points for this, I have (almost) all those mostly useless How To Use This Expensive Thing You’ve Just Bought Which Is Specified Way Over Anything You Want, It’s Just That’s How Everything Is These Days & In This Interconnected Era+ pamphlets & I HAVE the one that applies to this washing machine. Yay me. & ‘troubleshooting’ says, Check that the drainpipe is not twisted before you start phoning 1,000,000 plumbers until you finally find one who agrees to come, & may or may not do so in fact, by which time you have run out of clean underwear. Okay. I managed to drag said washing machine out from under its stainless-steel countertop++ & . . . the flexy drainpipe that I can see disappears behind the sink & the second washing machine [sic]+++ . . . & I cannot freaking BUDGE said second washing machine ARRRRRRRRRGH. Angelic stepson is stopping round tonight to see if being longer-limbed, male, & 20 years younger can shift the freller.++++ & then I get to start phoning plumbers.
+ A friend recently said, Why do I WANT to pull out my iPhone while I’m sitting in my office & tell my washing machine to turn on?
++ Have I told you yet about going up a shirt size after a couple of years of wrangling a German Wire Haired Pointer?~ Who needs a gym membership? Go adopt a large unruly dog.
~ & if I have, apologies. But one of the many, many, many= things that makes me CRANKY is the whole hushed-sympathetic-pity that seems to be the standard good-guys attitude toward us oldies. Yes, some of us are luckier than others & some of us learned early that we had to work at this whole health & functionality thing== but I’d say more of us are not going gentle into that good night than are & a few more bracing articles on doing really dumb stuff like adopting GWHPs after retirement age would be a pleasing counterbalance to being constantly reminded that We Are Not As Young As We Used to Be. WE KNOW THAT. FRELLING GLORY DOODAH WE KNOW THAT. & if we find ourselves needing a chairlift some day, we will address the question.
There will be more on this general subject in The Flying Piano. There probably already has been more. If you have a chip-on-shoulder personality, you just change &/or refresh your chips occasionally.
= many many many manymanymanymany etc
== I really object to being grateful for several million allergies & the drooling ME monster, but I acknowledge a certain resentful recognition that some of the educational value has had a positive effect.
+++ Yes. I have no dishwasher & no tumble dryer but I have two washing machines. I don’t know how other people with hairy pets cope. I bought the second washer when I had two mere medium-sized hellhounds, although that was as much about the size of the bedding as the hairiness. A two-dog bed will not fit in your normal washing machine. & even sighthounds shed & I liked not having to run about three ‘refresh’ cycles to get rid of the blasted dog hair so it didn’t mat all over my t shirts~. I had NO IDEA about true hairiness however. Pav’s fur was super short—shorter than the hellhounds’, which had a little leftover deerhound-DNA length here & there though it was all silky—but she was plushy, & I remember vividly that when I was living with my stepson & his wife & sweeping the front hall every day~~ I not only had a half full dust pan every day~~~ but it was nine-tenths mini bull terrier hair & only one-tenth Cocker Spaniel hair from their dog. If you look at a curly Cocker & a sleek bull, which one would you think sheds more??
& ONE German Wire Haired Pointer can shed for England. Or Scotland, in this case. Good grief.
~ A dog-hair matted t shirt PRICKLES when you try & wear it. I don’t care if it’s clean freshly laundered dog hair.
~~This demands its own footnote, since anyone who knows me knows I don’t sweep floors, let alone every day. The nine months I lived with them= they were busy being gentle & kind to this whacked out foreigner that their nearest & dearest had married & then thoughtlessly left a widow, so they refused to give me any, you know, chores. So I, flailing rather, took on sweeping the long hall. It’s a long thin house—another typical Scottish Victorian, although mine is the double-front detached style & theirs is the goes-back-forever terrace style. Theirs, BTW, is a lot grander than mine, with etched glass & fancy fireplace surrounds & frilly bits in the corners, which I may also have already told you?—& the front hall is a trifle epic.
= & I’m sure I haven’t reiterated sufficiently that YES WE’RE ALL STILL SPEAKING TO EACH OTHER.
~~~ Yes all right I did sweep back in Hampshire. But not every day.
++++ I do try to acknowledge my physical limits when I must.
** Except that it isn’t. Genghis is now used to the idea that anywhere I sit down, he can sit there with me. I think I’ve told you?, I’ve bungie-corded two of the kitchen-table chairs together so we can share, although sharing in practise means he gets to stretch out comfortably & I get to wedge my butt in the small gap left by his tucked-up belly, since apparently pointers have a common ancestor with sighthounds & display a similar under-line. If he were bull-terrier shaped I’d be in trouble.+ But the point is if I want to get up from the kitchen table, which is where the laptop & several tottering piles of reference books are++ & go somewhere else, he will wait a reasonable-by-GWHP-standards time & then come after me. If I am, for example, sitting in what is supposed to be my office, & may yet become such some day+++, experimenting with software the patient Young Beowulf has provided me with temporary samples of, he will stand there in OUTRAGE because my old desk chair was not acquired with a future GWHP in mind & there isn’t actually room for a second chair even if I could find one of the same general shape & height. & I don’t know if this is GWHP or almost-five-year-old-rescue-when-I-got-him lack of a common language but the only way I’ve convinced him to stay off the sofa(s) is by sitting on the floor with him. Which begins to feel a little silly . . .
+ Pav was a mini. She & I fit on ONE chair. Although it had arms she could drape herself over when she was so inclined.
++ Not always reference books as you might expect to define them. MR James Collected Ghost Stories is top of the nearest heap at the moment. HOWEVER. LET ME SAY THAT I WILL NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER WRITE A HISTORICAL NOVEL AGAIN. EVER.# I don’t know how any writer stands the flipping strain.## It is also not a historical-novel as you know it, any more than my reference books are standard, but it is laid in 1969 & that was seriously another world.
# I should so take this sentence out. I mean, tempting fate, what? Yeah. How DESPERATE am I to get a blog post written? If I put in a few more EVERs I’m there. & I can save the rest of this over-long one for another day & post.
## I mean the ones who bother to try & get it right. Ahem. I’ve always been CRANKY about people in the 1800s saying things like ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ in chapter 3 but this reaction has become pathological in the last two years & there may be a smudge on my beautiful wallpaper from the number of books thrown across the room. & before anyone brings up THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD I did say in the afterword that it wasn’t meant to be historical, merely historically unembarrassing if possible, because Robin Hood is a tale that is & has been told & retold & rerereretold down through the centuries, & the whole retold for current audiences thing is not only the purpose but it gives you the reteller a lot of slack.~ But if you’re trying to write a book GENUINELY in a given time period then you’d better flipping well have giant tottering piles of reference books looming at you everywhere. ~~ I’m not sure if it’s better or worse to be able to remember the historical period in question.~~~ It’s probably worse in my case because I’ve always had a flaky memory—I said 45 years ago when BEAUTY came out that I’ve never been good at facts. The boring ones I want to run away from & the interesting ones I want to use as springboards to tell stories—& some time around then I also confessed that I could not bend, at least not without snapping bits off, my flaky mind around the concept of the, you know, non-mutability of the passage of time. Neither of these stalwart pillars of my la-la-la personality has changed, & the more time I’ve lived through, the more mutable the whole mess seems to me to get.
~ This is the basis of most of my arguments about how to read the Bible. I don’t think I would have got on very well with any of the patriarchal thugs who wrote most of it.
~~ & if you’re lucky an obsessive librarian friend who LIVES to do goofy bits of arcane research. I probably OWE her another historical novel. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
~~~ Aside from making you feel even older than you manifestly are.
### & then again, maybe not. Aside from dog seating issues, if you have an Aga & you live in Scotland, you like to stay near it. Although I have a very nice WOODSTOVE in my office, & it’s a small room. Um. Stay tuned. If you can stand it. This blog may get very very boring with me staying at home all the time.