The Time Thief by Linda Buckley-Archer
Snake Agent by Liz Williams
Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
Chalice by Robin McKinley
Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher
Free-Range Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carrolly Erickson
Palace Tiger by Barbara Cleverly
The Damascene Blade by Barbara Cleverly
L. M. Montgomery: Gift of Wings by Mary Rubio
Charlie Bone and the Shadow of Badlock by Jenny Nimmo
A Wood Engraver’s Alphabet by G. Brender à Brandis
Knitting for Dummies by Pam Allen
Things I Learned From Knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
I just wanted to share this little fact with you: Life is okay. In fact, it is verging on Downright Good.
The gathering at the Fearsranch was much lower-key that initially advertised. First of all, there were three or four people missing, which made things so very much easier for me. And second, everyone was tired, it being the end of a week and after long amounts of travel on pretty much everyone’s part. The fact that every single individual I met in person for the first time was Made of Good Stuff helped immensely, too. Everyone was Made of Win. I expected this of Bodhifox, my main reason for being there, who felt exactly the same in-person as he does in his journal and over e-mail, but I didn’t have more than a passing familiarity with the others and no expectations whatsoever (beyond “eep people I do not know”). So Made of Win was a good thing. And my flatlining wasn’t as much of a handicap as I’d feared.
There was food. There was drumming. There was cask-strength Macallan. There was a lovely huge bonfire. There was good sleep. There was glorious sun, and breakfast, and discussions about house building (and oven-building and erecting mead halls and rebuilding the front porch), and sad goodbyes said. And there is photographic evidence plus summary and another decent summary the likes of which I don’t have the brainpower to pull off.
Pretty much the only bad thing that happened was I somehow flipped my knitting around and knit three or four rounds before realising it. I pulled the circular needles out and discovered that my swatch had lied to me (with great huge lies! I will never trust yarn again!) and if I had in fact finished the hat the way it was dear Mousme would be wearing it around her shoulders instead of her head. So I pulled the whole thing apart and cast on forty less stitches, and now I have five inches of hat and just made my first ever decrease! Had the Dreadful Thing occurred at home I would have gone ballistic, but the combination of being exhausted and happy and being elsewhere made everything all right.
We’re making pulled barbecue pork for dinner, and feeding a couple of friends whom we called on the off chance they were free (this will never work — you are? yay!). We came home from the Fearsranch with perry (pear cider, with which I am in love), and there is beer now too. I intend to bake Brie. No, I don’t understand it in the least. I’m exhausted. I should be comatose and unable to function. But somehow the night out with excellent people and the subsequent breakfast revived me. HRH and I are considering monthly or bi-monthly Friday night escapes, if they’re this good. And when you get home it’s only early Saturday afternoon, so you still have half a day plus another whole day of weekend.
And now I am going to go knit some more. I wonder if I’ll get to the double-pointed needles part of the project today. At this rate Mousme will certainly have the hat by Yule, and possibly much earlier. (Yes, I was worried about that before. But removing forty stitches from a round makes things progress so much faster.)
In brief? Ungood.
Not that anything horrible has happened. In fact, taken individually, the events of the past week have ranged from acceptable to downright excellent. Good rehearsals, fabulous concert, wonderful group cello lesson, awesome guest lecture, kickass edits/rewrites handed in for the forthcoming book, decent handling of freelance assignment, good private cello lesson, phenomenal revelation concerning the non-fic music essay collection and subsequent deluge of wordage, unbelievably good buy of a new winter coat this morning plus the boy had his haircut and charmed folks in the bookstore afterward as usual. Lots and lots of stuff done.
No, it’s all those things piled on top of one another. One or two would have been fine. I’ve worked so much this past week that I’m very close to burnt out, and all the regular stuff was still going on too — groceries, laundry, tidying, meal-preparation, caring for small child when he’s home, and so forth. I ran out of patience and sense of humour three days ago and have been running on empty ever since. I’m irritable and snappish. The constant checking of what time I need to be where, with whom, and carrying what equipment and/or supplies has really gotten to me. I haven’t slept well a couple of nights. Between the cracks of sunlight there is mostly Doomful Gloom outside. I wrenched my back last Friday and it’s not getting better. HRH and I are out of town tonight and tomorrow in order to meet an online friend, and what was originally a cosy little gathering ballooned into a horde of strangers I don’t know, which isn’t helping my dangerously low energy levels and instinctive desire to find a small dark hole and cover my head with a duvet.
It’s odd to realise that the actual holidays are going to be less crammed with stuff than this past week has been. No wonder I’m exhausted.
I will share with you instead the Unbelievably Good Buy of the New Winter Coat this morning. HRH bought me a lovely fluffy periwinkle blue down-filled coat last Christmas and I adore it. But it’s just too much for pre-winter wearing and the warmer winter days. My black wool coat is seven years old and beyond brushing and dry cleaning now; it just never gets to the neat stage, let alone the polished stage. I fell in love with a horrendously expensive red wool coat last year and couldn’t afford it in my wildest dreams. I found something similar this year for a quarter of the price that fit beautifully, but I still didn’t feel that I could afford it at the time. Today it was supposed to be on sale at thirty percent off. When I took it to the cash it ended up being fifty percent off, so I walked away with a new tailored cut, double-breasted, knee-length, red wool coat with an empire waist (and black buttons!) for sixty dollars. I kid you not. Today, life loves me. I wish I loved it back the way it deserves.
I am currently baking the cake part of the Evil Chocolate Tortes for tonight’s feast. I do wish I was looking forward to this gathering more than my energy is allowing me to. I just feel mostly flatline-ish.
All I need to do is proofread this assignment, which means tinkering with it because I always second-guess myself, and then it’s done. So naturally I am dawdling and doing everything except what I ought.
In other news, damn, but “Gaudete” sounds awesome on the cello! It hits all the ringing tones.
ETA @ 16h30: Done, done, done, handed in and gah.
I just crashed through a huge, thick wall of writer’s block and made a freaking enormous discovery.
Harpsichord Dreams is not one but *two* different music-essay/narrative non-fiction books. Specifically: one about the function of music in my life, and one about my life with cello.
This is both good and bad. On the one hand, it opens up an entirely new avenue to explore, down which my mind and fingers are already racing (holy sudden wordcount, Batman). On the other hand, it means I have yet another project to add to the roster, yet another unruly child to discipline and manage and feed.
For now I’m going to keep them under the same rubric and classify them as the same book/project. Very soon I’ll have to split the file in two, though. I don’t want to because it will feel like hacking half of Harpsichord Dreams away and the resulting total word count will make me sad. Maybe I’ll rename it, something like “The Narrative Non-Fiction Music Duology” and report the word count of each, then report a combined total word count. Anything to avoid sending my writer-self into morose despair. I mean, of course I know the words are all still there but just in two places instead of one. It’s like having two ten-dollar bills instead of a twenty-dollar bill. My writer-self, however, like most other writer-selves, is easily dismayed and must be
coddled humoured supported.
When my brain has finished spewing rough stuff about the second incarnation of this project, I think I’m going to give it a break and turn back to the delicate work needed to tie up Orchestrated. Finishing that was my primary goal for this month, after all. And we all know that there’s nothing like a major primary goal to get the projects you’re not focusing on to multiply and demand attention.