i am at fault in various respects

I should be writing about Novell, but I am not. I remember having a long argument with Grant in about 1996, at one of the big Blanche summer picnics in the Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Sunshine, jacarandas, ibises. I affirmed that Novell was a dead company walking, and he said that it was not. These days people pay me to be wrong about such things, while he’s an international DJ. So it goes.

Last night Sumana reminded me that I haven’t seen Rabbit Proof Fence yet, making me a traitor to my people.

At the Day of the Dead, Jeremy said: “Claire stared down Death! She had a staring competition with one of the Deaths, and he blinked first. It is not her time!”

She has a cold and her nose is blocked, which she hates. When thus distressed, she likes to make what I like to call the Worst Noise In The World (WNITW). It’s not as loud as you might think, but it’s beyond unbearable nonetheless. It’s an irritable, keening “EEEEeee,” with the clear implication that wrongness has taken root and that I am to blame. It makes your flesh creep; in fact, what your flesh would like to do, ideally, is creep away out of earshot and huddle under a soundproof bunker somewhere. Then there will be a pause, for breath, in which you hope against hope that she’s fallen peacefully asleep, but know in your sinking heart that this is not the case. Then the WNITW continues, slightly higher and louder. It’s a bit like listening to a giant mosquito that is also kicking you energetically in the ribs.

The WNITW annoyed the cat so much that she bit me on the elbow, clearly agreeing with Claire that I should be held responsible. The cat is especially peeved about the weather. The unseasonably hot October meant she hasn’t grown a winter coat yet, so she has to fluff out her summer silk in a doomed effort to keep warm. She looks like one of the soot-creatures in My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away, but with teeth and malevolent green eyes. When she sits on me crossly, I can feel the cold pads of her paws through my jeans.

And then of course the cat starts to purr and the snot-nosed brat grins at me gap-toothily, and my woes are washed away.

I am having no end of trouble with my Nanowrimo novel, which I thought would be easy, more fool me. It’s set from 1877-1917, and I don’t want to introduce any of the verbal anachronisms that set my teeth on edge in, say, the cheesy sub-Georgette Heyer Regency romances that I never read on the sly in second-hand bookstores, why are you looking at me like that? Ahem. But the effort to remain authentic to the period seems to have squashed any spark of life out of my characters; they are dull and flat. I know it’s possible to write vibrantly about the past: the Aubrey-Maturin books and A Suitable Boy are two of my references for this project. I think I’m insecure about the quality of my research, and that in trying too hard not to do anything wrong, I’m preventing myself from doing anything right.

Well. Here is the grindstone, and here is my nose. What a strange phrase that is. Why would anyone want to grind their own nose?

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