Nooooooooooooooooo.* There is a rumour that winter may yet return, here in southern England where one lost, bewildered snowflake makes us all panic.** That it might come back this weekend. April Fool! Arrrrrrrgh! Let’s hope it’s just an April fool with a very long intro.
If I miss any of the Easter services at Abbey at the End of the Universe*** I will be a little puddle of unshriven misery. I’m a late-convert Christian as, again, readers of the old blog know&, and I take my Lent and my Easter very seriously, in fact I find the whole of Easter with all that death and torture and betrayal and unimaginable loneliness and despair frankly terrifying and I don’t want to do it alone, huddled up by the Aga with the hellpair and the snowdrifts banking against the windows. The monks make it even more terrifying, but it is very cathartic that way, and by the time you’re stumbling back to your car after the night Mass on Saturday&& you’re a new person. It helps if you’ve done a proper preparatory clear-out for Lent&&& and of course I’m incapable of anything resembling clearing out, but . . .
. . . Chaos and I are recently back from our country walk and it didn’t just rain on us it sleeted and HAILED. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
* * *
* I’m not doing too well with the calm thing and the less emphasis thing. Oh well. There’s always next year.
** Um, the Pacific Northwest is not just Seattle and Puget Sound. Parts of it get tons of snow (Paradise for instance gets about 50 to 60 feet every year). Some of it is desert.
Oh, Mt Rainier! Sorry, I knew that. Where record-breaking snow is standard op. Also about the deserts. Seattle is my default because if I had ever been going to leave the east coast I’d’ve moved to Seattle. I did think about it^. Also, the uni bookstore ordered in MILLIONS of copies of SUNSHINE for my tour stop there, and not only was it a lovely audience who bought a surprising number of those millions, but the even lovelier man who ran it asked me to sign ALL of the remainder because he was sure he could sell them. Never has writer’s cramp felt better. And, furthermore, he did sell them.
^ Before Peter. And England. Here I stay. I hope.
*** AKA Holy Restaurant at the End of the Universe, gluten-free wafers a speciality. Now, here’s the thing. I eat no cereal grains any more, not just the gluteny ones. Slip a few grains of rice in the salad or oatmeal flakes^ in the crunchy seed mix and I am ill. But I ingest gluten-free wafers of unknown cereal origin every week and there are no repercussions.^^ Maybe the Catholics are right about transubstantiation.
^ All forms of oats are especially bad. So much for my Scottish heritage.
^^ Or if there are repercussions, they’re lost in the general uproar. It’s not like any of my body parts and organ systems just function.+
+ Including the BRAAAAAAAIN. Er, what?
& Frell, frell, frell it frell. I still haven’t imported any footnote symbols. There are about a gazillion of them here in Word, I just keep forgetting. Anyway. I had a rather spectacular conversion experience 12/9/12, which gave me a year to get used to God, who adapts to what her children need and appears to me as female, and hanging out with Jesus, who I accept as a historical bloke but then the offspring of God was adapting to the time and might be more gender fluid under other circumstances—you may be beginning to understand why I find it difficult to find a congregation I am comfortable in, even if the occasional priest or monk can cope with me—ANYWAY, I had a year to get used to the believer shtick before Peter had his first stroke and it all started to unravel badly here below. And I want to say that to any nonbeliever I realise it makes no sense because the obvious question is so why doesn’t God fix all the shit?+, and I don’t know why not, but I might not still be here if I hadn’t had God, Jesus and a few saints and angels (and monks) to lean on and turn to and SCREAM AT these last few years. And while there are moments when your losses and your energy levels gang up on you and say, oh, stick a sock in it, will you? Just lie down and die and get it over with . . . um, actually, I have stories I still want to write, so I’d like to stay on a while yet please.
+ (bad words, don’t know if they’re allowed on here)
In my real life I use more bad language than there is bad language. Hey, there are scientific studies# that say that swearing lessens pain! And some of us find life painful.## Mostly I rely on the old faithfuls that Shakespeare would probably recognise, but if I can’t find a phrase exquisitely apropos to the current situation I WILL MAKE SOMETHING UP. AND IT WILL BE RUDE. But in public, including this blog, eh. I might feel differently if I didn’t know a lot of Great-Aunt Gladyses### and precocious ten-year-olds read my books, and therefore might have a look at this blog: I don’t want to ruin anybody’s day accidentally, and that includes the anxious parents of the precocious ten-year-olds. If I want to knock you down and throw your laptop in the swamp and accuse you of biologically unlikely antecedents, that’s different. But random swearing still bothers a lot of people, so I try not to swear randomly. I do, however, reserve the right to say that the last few years have been shitty. Because they sodding well have been. Shitty.
# But don’t get me started on ‘scientific studies’, peer reviewed double blind blah blah blah. I’m a practising lay homeopath, and I’m tired of being bashed by bozos who think that ‘scientific studies’ are the only way you ever learn anything real and true and even more tired of the endless revelations about the bias and screw-ups of the scientific-study industry.
## Especially the way some of us go about it. If you have a long-legged, long-armed, twitchy, fidgety, clumsy person living in a very small house full of stuff including hellbeasts, THERE IS GOING TO BE PAIN. Mind you, the long legs are good for stepping over obstacles when you see them in time and the long arms are good for reaching things on the tops of the shelves that run up ALL THE WAY TO THE CEILING . . . which in fact I can’t reach, which is what stools were made for.~ But I bought this cottage partly because the ceilings are higher than normal which is at least one more bookshelf and definitely worth having.
~Including whole new levels of possibilities for pain.
### A Great-Aunt Gladys is someone who finds E Nesbit and Frances Hodgson Burnett risqué.~ And for any real Great Aunt Gladyses out there who read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie~~ and Armistead Maupin~~~ and Cixin Liu~~~~ and Alison Bechdel~~~~~~ my apologies. Great-Aunt Gladys has been a troubling presence in my life since BEAUTY first came out when I was twenty-five, looked sixteen, and was patronised so badly by her in her regiments that I considered changing careers to short-order cook. Listen, it’s my usual thing of overlooking the good and obsessing about the bad. MOST of my readers at ALL points of my career~~~~~~ have been fine, and many of them have been delightful and charming and thoughtful and everything a neurotic and over-reactive author could want, if she’d stop looking around for something nasty to happen.
~ And not just racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. It doesn’t stop me rereading them with love, but I do quite a lot of cringing too.
~~ Yes. I had to look up the spelling.
~~~ No, I didn’t have to look up the spelling but I did anyway.
~~~~ And since I’m reading THREE BODY PROBLEM I didn’t have to look up the spelling because it’s lying right here.
~~~~~ Yes, okay? One of the Really Cute Guys in . . . um . . . I think it was ninth grade, was named Bechtel and having painstakingly learned to spell it I can’t stop spelling it that way forty-odd years later. [soon to be new footnote symbol HERE]
[soon to be new footnote symbol HERE] And no, I did not do that cheezy girly thing of writing ‘Mrs Joshua Bechtel’ all over my notebooks, which I thought was unbelievably creepy and anti-feminist even then, and I’m not at all sure I even knew feminism was a thing, but I knew that all the interesting characters in LOTR were blokes.
~~~~~~ Since I decided against short-order cook
&& This is one of the things I love about the Anglicans. They only keep him dead about twenty-four hours. Dead on Friday^, alive Saturday night, yaaaay.
^ Although even the monks call it ‘Good’ Friday. I don’t care that dying was the gateway to eternal life, it wasn’t just dying it was horrible dying, and I say it’s Black Friday. Add it to the list of my heresies.
&&& And I don’t mean giving up chocolate