And yes, Carol, National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is nearly here and I will dash in and write something new during the month of November. Probably not a novel but maybe a novella. The company of writers is a wonderful thing. I have writing buddies (cool elegant friends with an eagle eye for glitches, as it happens) but writers like to hang out together and distract one another rather than write. Nanowrimo is perfect for stints of hasty writing and longer stints of making jokes and encouraging one another to go and write but not right now.
There are baby owls nesting in an oak tree down the road, fluffy and wide-eyed. I can’t stay away.
Just had some nasty but expected bills delivered by the new postman. Who is a 10-year-old boy who can scarcely read. I am hoping he is helping his father during school holidays, because South Africa has an unspeakable history of using child labour in defiance of international human rights agreements. Nobody at the local post office is answering my calls.
For those of us who can’r resist well-written landscape, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Pacific Edge:
Despair could never touch a morning like this.
The air was cool, and smelled of sage. It had the clarity that comes to southern California only after a Santa Ana wind has blown all haze and history out to sea – air like telescopic glass, so that the snowtopped San Gabriels seemed near enough to touch, though they were forty miles away. The flanks of the blue foothills revealed the etching of every ravine, and beneath the foothills, stretching to the sea, the broad coastal plain seemed nothing but treetops.
And then there is the world’s most useless hangover recipe book, with complicated knuckle-grating remedies for six kinds of hangover, welcomed only by sophisticated social drinkers with a teeny headache from one too many sherries:
The Broken Compass, (confusion, restlessness, fear and loathing) demands “spicy comfort food to reignite your passion for life”, such as devilled kidneys on toast. The Sewing Machine, (makes you feel as if you’re being stabbed in the head) calls for something “soothing and comforting”, such as the Elvis Presley peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich. The Atomic demands “hearty” recipes such as cardamom porridge with spicy apple sauce.
The book is sure to sell, but is it any use? Personally, I’ve never had a hangover worthy of the name that would let me zest a lemon, as required for Crawford’s lemon and demerara sugar pancakes, or slice fish and coat the goujons with breadcrumbs, as in his fishfinger sandwich.
As for those six types of hangover . . . many of us get them all rolled into one, like Bertie’s friend Catsmeat. The sight of him, Bertie notes, occasions “pity and terror in the bosoms of those who wished him well”. Does that sound like a man who’s ready to crush some cardamom pods?
A good day to be sober! My neighbour has a small Australian frangpani tree covered in scented yellow blossoms. The fragrance makes me dizzy.