Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We may yet, Mr. Frodo


I was beginning to get worried. Days trickled by, and I was busy preparing for Thanksgiving, and adjusting to my new dayjob, and battling an oncoming cold, and... not writing.

All year I've been re-writing, expanding, fixing, adding, polishing, but not really exploring new territory. Even when I veered off in a new direction, the old, familiar path was there to look back on.

But with the end of chapter 15, I was out of the woods. Chapter 16 forms the frozen outskirts of an open landscape, ready for me to fill it with thorny palisades and single arrows and rosy stables and buried secrets and surprising conclusions. I've been looking forward to this! I should be chomping at the bit!

But I just couldn't get anything done. There was work to go to, you see, and turkeys to brine and headaches to nurse, and all sorts of excuses. But yesterday, the first, shaky little paragraph appeared on my screen, all the more precious for being hasty, since I only had a short hour before I needed to be at the shop. 300 ramshackle, wonderful words.

What a relief! We may get there yet, Mr. Frodo. We may.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Only thing missing is me

In the chair, that is, not in the fireplace. I'm feeling a bit under the weather, but who cares when I can sip tea and stare at dancing flames with a book in my hands? Not me!

Note to self: Must not dangle tasseled bookmark in front of pregnant, playful cat, at least not while it is inside of book. Pims, you find out where I was.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Small signs of cosiness to come

It's less than five weeks till Christmas. And surreptitiously, I've started preparing. Do you want to see the signs?

1. I'm eating clemetines and drinking spiced, sweet tea. The clemetines really are at their best right now, I find, come late December they're often bruised and too sweet. But now they are tart and juicy, and the perfect 'I have to think about this for a moment' writing snack.

2. Christmas presents for Lin and Kjeld and Aurora and Mum are already taken care of. The others are planned, if not bought yet.

3. I spend quiet moments perusing pretty Christmas magazines in my new favourite chair between the fireplace and the kitchen window.

4. I'm listening to December Child, my favourite not-quite-full-on-Christmas music. It's muted and calm with lots of cello and contrabass.

5. I light lots and lots of little candles, and keep them burning all day and all night.

6. And our own little Mary cat? She's eating and eating and looking good. This morning she woke me by climbing into my bed and placing four icy little paws on my tummy. Which made me yelp, of course, but she just blinked at me, as if to say: Hey. I'm pregnant. It's the least you could do.

7. I've finished chapter 15. Now only two more to go before the holidays. Yay me!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joy to the world

Today, I discovered that Pims' nipples are swollen. Which means that there really are kittens on the way, and that they should arrive on Christmas Eve.

We should name them Kevin and Carl Bertil and Sonja and Balthazar and Zuzu, and if there is a tiny one...well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November views

My spire is sharpening in the early winter sky, black and crisp against the luminous lilac. The forecasts say that frost will descend next week, with softening snow on the way.

But for now, the spire is a razor. Just like it was last November, when I spent a whole week staring at it from the chair in the sitting room, where I was trying to persuade my body to relax, to uncoil, to stop hurting. It couldn't, of course, since something was seriously wrong in my belly, so wrong that I would soon spend a week in a hospital bed. But I didn't know that, and so I watched the spire, and waited.

Twelve months on, and I am well. This afternoon, while the shadow spire watched me, I wrote some passages in my story that are beautiful, at least to me. I'm working. It's working. It feels like a miracle. Yet it's not the miracle I hoped most desperately for.

Same view, different girl, different November.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Just because my sister did

These lists are a little silly, but it does show tiny glimpses of me. Can I see some of you?

- Wallet
- Lip balm
- Blister blaster for tired feet
- Tram tickets
- Green notebook for good ideas

- The Dragon Egg
- My pile of cookbooks
- The fireplace
- The plaid kitchen armchair
- Pims' little blue food bowl

- Nigella's Christmas
- Chai tea
- The Tudors
- 'Yankee Bayonet' by The Decemberists
- Candles

- Learn to love getting up early
- Write a beautiful story and publish it.. (Here's hoping!)
- Live in New York for a while
- Decorate the Christmas tree the night before Christmas, and then wake my kids and take them downstairs to have waffles in front of the gleaming lights and baubles while the morning is still pinkish grey outside.
- Run a little café with my sister. We'd have home baked cookies and cakes, and very nice tea and coffee, and pretty interior that changed with the seasons, and wonderful music picked out by Lin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wouldn't it be cool.. be tall like this? Typical of my shadow, she always outdoes me.
Oh, and that's a hat, not an alien scull.

My visitor from Portland, Oregon

Look who came to stay! It's one of Laini's Ladies. She came in a big envelope with some of her beautiful friends, all ready to become Norwegians.

So I took the Cat Lady (and if this is what cat ladies look like, what are we dreading?) for a little stroll around my neighbourhood.

We hung with the ducks on the river (above), and visited my favourite little house on the Dragon Hill, where I would live if I could. For some reason, the image won't show, but the house is tiny, wooden and painted light blue, and it has wonderful cobbled steps and a horseshoe on the green door. The Cat Lady fit right in and agreed to move there as soon as we're impossibly rich.

And look, here she is in front of my Inspire!

Her inscription says: 'You can't own a cat. The best you can do is be partners.' How true.

Thank you, Laini! Now all you have to do is follow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The good girl

Pims was very patient with our election night vigil, sharing her seat with Lin's computer without much complaining. As a reward, we went for a walk along the river today.

She chased the ducks and pigeons, gleeful that she could make them fly away or scamper into the water. We even crossed the wooden bridge and tested her claws with some tree climbing, but then four crows decided they didn't want us there and yelled at us until we slunk back to our side of the river. They were quite persuasive.

We walked about for an hour, Pims in the lead with her tail held high. She didn't protest when we went back home, and now she is toasting her paws in front of the fire.

She is such a good girl, and has earned the kitten we will let her keep if she has one.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, you really did!

This is what I would like to do today.

And not just Obama, but the millions of Americans who voted for him, who dared to hope for something better and acted on it.

I no longer have to think of America as frightening, and of my friends who live there as besieged islands of reason and decency in a muddy sea of prejudice and religious fervour, where knowledge and science are silenced or exploited to support those prejudices and that fervour.

You're no longer a nation where education and books are frowned upon, where climate change can be edited out of reports and out of your leaders' lists of responsibilities with a pen stroke, and where truth is not based on facts, but something you 'feel in your gut'.

No longer.

I understand you today, America. For the first time in many years, I feel like I know you.

And that is worth one huge, intercontinental megahug.

Monday, November 3, 2008