Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
the great book resting
Books are like Christmas turkeys in more respects than might immediately be apparent. They take some preparation; there's always more stuffing (in my case historical research) than will neatly fit; and once you've finished, they need to rest. My latest work in progress, currently called The One, is now at the resting stage. Sometimes I look at it, careful not to disturb. It must relax before my final attack with the carving knife. If I tell you that once it comprised 92,000 words and has been shorn to 72,000, you'll see I'm nifty with the carver. On school visits, readers never believe that the delete button is a writer's best friend. Perhaps it's one of those lessons, like avoiding harem trousers, that you have to learn for yourself.
Summer has come, and possibly gone, here in Glasgow. Abandon sun, all ye who enter here. I comfort myself that our weather is probably better for the skin.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
the sun cometh
I'm writing this in the garden. Can't believe it. The sun makes me look like a lobster but feel a million dollars. Finally, not two pairs of socks but no socks. I'm in heaven.
But gardens, eh! We want them. We claim to love them. But all those weeds. All that straggly grass. All those chores than need doing. I've decided to go wild with mine and, like Quintin Crisp with the dusting (after 5 years or so you no longer notice it) just let it do what it wants to do. I'm telling myself this is good for the environment. After all, don't butterflies like nettles?
Friday, April 23, 2010
eruptions, elections and every day stuff
So what with the eruption and the UK election, there's a lot to think about at the moment. On the volcanic eruption, I think it's wonderful to see how many people who profess to be 'green' have flown away on holiday. But will the disruption make us think twice about booking more air tickets, just in case the Unpronouncable's friend decides to blow whilst we're all at the beach? I doubt it! Getting stuck abroad is a bit like having a baby: you forget the pain quite quickly and before you know it, there you are again ...
On the UK election, the TV debates are watchable only from behind the sofa. Why is it that even when alone, I still cringe and feel terribly embarrassed when our wannabe leaders say ridiculous things. Gordon Brown, for example, said that no punishment was too great for those who manipulated their expenses. Knee-capping? Hanging? Firing squad? I believe he himself had quite a bit of money to pay back. Should he go in for a bit of public flagellation?
But spring is spring here in Glasgow, and I'm on a book surge. What's not to like about today!
Labels: volcanoes and elections
Thursday, March 18, 2010
spring in the air yourself, archdeacon
Hello to Shannon and Leesa and all the 6th graders from McCulloch Intermediate School in Dallas! Courtesy of Catherine Balkin (Catherine@balkinbuddies.com at www.balkinbuddies.com), we had a great online live webchat last week. Such a peculiar feeling, speaking from my old meatsafe of a study in Glasgow. Our upgraded modem (thanks, BT) meant that there was no echo, no delay. I was talking about historical novels Blood Red Horse, Blue Flame and How the Hangman Lost His Heart, set in 12th, 13th and 18th centuries respectively, through truly 21st century technology. Never has the past met the future so happily. And Blackberry made an unscheduled appearance. She wasn't very stellar. She needs practice.
Today spring is springing in Glasgow, but just when the worst of the cold is over, we're wondering about insulation. I know, I know. In an old house like this it won't bring the bills down (whatever the purveyors of installation say); nor will we feel any benefit, except, possibly, upstairs (although most of the heat escapes through the cupola); nor will insulation increase the value of the house. So why do it? As a family, our carbon footprint is tiny (one car, seldom used; about one flight each a year, and not every year). I suppose it feels like giving the house a nice cosy thermal jacket as a present. How mad we all are! I expect my insulation moment, like so many other moments, will pass.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
the world's not an oyster, but a screen
I'm just signed up for my first U.S. on-line author chats, through the incredibly enterprising Catherine Balkin. www.balkinbuddies.com This means that the world and I can get together, without either the world or I leaving our own homes. Such is the miracle of modern technology. It will be an interesting experience for all of us, and of course for our dogs, who will doubtless want a virtual walk on part in proceedings.
It's freezing here. I have on: a thermal vest; a silk vest; a long-sleeved t-shirt (thick); a jersey (thicker and hooded - hood firmly up); and a giant cardigan knitted from the wool of giant, not-even-a-blizzard-will-floor-me sheep. Why is it that legs are never as well kitted out as tops? I'm wearing two pairs of socks, naturally, and a pair of boots, but I can't say my feet are even remotely warm.
My husband emails: why not turn the heating on?
I email back: your study has heating, but my study's the one with no heating, remember?
He: bad luck.
Even the dogs have deserted me. They're staring hopefully at the boiler. I think when it clicks on and that blue flame leaps, they may, literally, shout 'thank God!'.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
and something else
An unexpected joy this week has been reading a very good book about a very bad place. I recommend The Badness of Ballydog by a glorious Irishman called Garrett Carr. Mr. Carr knows a thing or two about fish finger factories, taxidermy and the quare ways of folk. I'd like to meet him one day. I think he is a man possessed of secret things, with whom it would be good to share a bottle of something smooth and peaty.
Well, my dears, said old Mrs. Rabbit
Thank you to Camille and Lois, for your comments. It's hard to believe there's snow in Texas, but then it's hard to believe that even I, who am pretty hardy, am this winter conducting a secret love affair with a new electric blanket. Sometimes I don't even switch it on. Just lying on top if it, knowing I could, is enough of a joy. It has an automatic turn off, too, so you don't even have to worry about falling asleep and being fried, like bacon.
Now - Twitter. It's so kind when people say they would follow me if I tweeted. But I'm concerned about being a bore. On a minute by minute basis, my life is just a life. If I have any great thoughts, I try and keep them for my books and I don't think you'd really want to know about my laundry or shopping. I mean, even I don't want to know about them. And when I do want to shout something for all the world to hear, it's usually rude - like 'what's with people who feed other people's dogs in the park? They should be walloped!' or 'why don't people waiting in queues to pay GET THEIR BEASTLY PURSES OUT BEFORE THEY REACH THE TILL?' So, until I can be sure I won't tweet in rabid capitals, I'm resisting.
Off into the town now, to pick up my poor MacBook pro. It produced the dreaded screen of death last Saturday. My rejected iBook G4 was very smug. 'That'll teach you,' it said, as it sturdily cranked into action. I've been very nice to it. Porridge for both of us for lunch today.