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

22 thoughts on “NOOOOOOOOOOO”

    1. Omg – totally lol – so glad I wasn’t sipping tea whilst enjoying the dough Boy Jesus or I’d have been snorting it out my nostrils…
      Thank you for sharing
      And I so wish my RC childhood had memories like that one – cartainly had a colorful cast of characters from nuns we called Mother and -terrifying – Reverend Mother, and a lovely Irish priest named Father Tim who often said Mass in Latin half in the bag…

  1. Why wouldn’t bad words be allowed? It’s your blog. You set the rules. If you want to swear your head off, that’s up to you. If you don’t want us to swear our heads off, that’s okay, too. It’s your living room. You make the rules. Or consign the rule making to another party you trust to make fair and reasonable rules, but this, ma’am, is your nation-state. If you want it to be an amiable anarchy or benign dictatorship, that’s your choice.

    Great-Aunt Gladys has been *thinking* those words for decades; she didn’t reach her age without managing her feelings. Precocious ten year olds these days know the words, know the context, and can probably talk intelligently about the etymology. (At least my precocious ten year old niblings can. We GenXers could not be bothered to clean up our mouths just because we had babies. We had babies in need of care, and we kept having to do important life things during recessions.)

  2. ” 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.”

    Was that Duane? He’s the reason the UW Bookstore was able to get UK editions of Terry Pratchett’s books, which wouldn’t have been released in the US for another couple of years or so.

    –glinda, selfishly glad you’re posting/blogging/whatever-we-call-it-ing again

  3. Apologies if this comes up twice- my browser quit when I pressed post comment.
    I was saying that I say to my husband every now and again- ‘I AM watching my language, you should hear what I’m calling you in my head.’

    Have a blessed, meaningful and renewing Easter. … I wonder if Jesus ever swears. Because what we do to each other would be enough to drive him to it really. 🙂 I’m now making my self laugh imagining waking up on Judgement Day and his first words to me being ‘What the….?’ Luckily God has a sense of humour, or I’d be done for. (If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know he doesn’t!)

    Oh, I’m so glad you’ve got stories you still want to write. I can’t wait to read them!

    1. I have it on the very good authority of the best Bible teacher I ever had that Jesus did in fact cuss. When you realize that he called the Pharisee “white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones” when death was the most unclean thing going…yeah! Jesus called them “broods of vipers” when snakes were absolutely associated with sorcery. I understand and have lots of respect for your graciousness to “those” Aunt Gladyses and to 10 year old’s moms. You are amazing and I love every word you write, Robin. EVERY WORD.

  4. Ah, so many things to love in this post. An acknowledgement that the PNW includes desert. (*Waves* Proud product of the Oregon high desert.) The word “shitty” in italics. Cixin Liu. God is a woman.

    Winter is still here in northern Montana. I feel your pain.

    Loving having you back online—thanks for the posts!

  5. As a young boy I was given the Prince Caspian series and was told by my British Grandmother that reading it would make me into an upstanding British young man. As I was Canadian and not inclined to be upstanding she was quite disappointed but then so was my father who wanted me to be an Engineer when I grew up. My sister became an accountant and then a lawyer so at least one of us did their scholarly best. 🙂

  6. Also so very very glad to have you back online. All is not right in the world without a blog full of footnotes.

  7. I am so glad you’re blogging again! I’ve missed reading voice. All the best wishes the world and beyond have to offer to you and your sweet beasts.

  8. God bless everything about this post. The brokenness of the world is entirely shitty, and I think if more Christians talked about it like that, we might actually be able to have conversations about religion and whatnot without killing each other. And this might help, or might make it worse, what human actually knows how to talk about grief, but here it is. Taken from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which was indirectly quoting Tolkien, in regards to Easter: “Everything sad is coming untrue.”

    Yes, it’s a kids book, and yes, reading a storybook Bible sounds as uninteresting as reading an Ikea manual, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. The pictures are beautiful, and the imagery (particularly how she talks about the Gospel as the Secret Rescue Plan) is beautiful. I may have cried.

  9. (We need an ability to “like”, “+1”, “applaud”, or whatever on comments. Naturally all of the blog readers are eloquent and full of fascinating witticisms.)

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was baffled by “Good” Friday. There was nothing “good” about it. Every one of Jesus’ 12 best friends betrayed him. He was whipped and hung, his possessions looted. Christian terminology needs some serious reworking (saved? saved from what?) 🙂

  10. Congratulations on the new blog. It is fine to hear from you again!

    Presently I am in the vicinity of a wood stove, best thing to lie next to it and take a nap. Outside there is snow from a sudden snowfall yesterday, covering the first allium ursinum which I had made plans for, but it made me think of a favorite sentence: ‘A few inches from my books the garden in snow.’

    I am very sorry to hear about Darkness!

  11. “There is a rumour that winter may yet return, here in southern England where one lost, bewildered snowflake makes us all panic.”

    I don’t like the look of Monday’s forecast but so far it’s been *just* rain over here in Kent. That’s *just* in the sense of several downpours and more due. I’ve got fondant on all the hives or the poor bees would starve, as they can’t fly/forage in nearly solid airborne water and their winter stores are just about gone. 🙁

  12. I’m reading the Three Body-Problem too!

    I’m also a long-time blog reader who hasn’t posted on the comments since your original livejournal blog (I was, er, the second person on your first post.) I used to (nerdily) go around checking websites of my favorite authors to see what was new, which is how I found your blog so fast. So when your blog was missing, I kept checking back looking for it. When it first came back on without a full title, I got got afraid someone had taken your address. Glad you’re still here!

    It’s been a regret of mine that I never got involved in the comments, especially when I saw what a great community you’d built. It’s also been a regret that I’ve never written you an actual letter about how much your books have meant to me over the years, so this awkward public blog comment will have to suffice for the moment. Your stories have helped me through a lot of hard times, and as I’m having another one at the moment, it’s wonderful to “hear” your voice again. I’m glad you’re doing ‘ok,’ knowing ‘ok’ has many levels/layers under the circumstances.

    Awkwardly backing away to return to lurking…

    1. Some of the things you said here are true for me too. I’ve recently read the Three Body Problem (must re-read it soon because it was so mind-blowing). I’m a lurker too. I’ve never read the comments, and have often wished I could tell Ms. McKinley what her books have meant to me at various times in my life. I like her powerful female characters.
      Before I go back to lurkdom, I MUST express my love for Sunshine. I’ve read it so many times I’ve lost count, and recommended it as an incredible book about vampires that was published long BEFORE books about vampires were popular. I bought the new hardcover when it came out (even tho I had a perfectly good, well loved PB ) because, hey, it’s Sunshine, plus an incredible NEW IMAGE of her on the cover! Sunshine and Les Miserable are my two favorite books of all time.
      I read somewhere that the likelihood of a sequel is slim, (sad face), and if there was she was most intrigued by Mel. I started paying a lot more attention to Mel and he’s pretty cool too. I still hope the story gods give her more to write about in Sunshine’s world.

  13. “um, actually, I have stories I still want to write, so I’d like to stay on a while yet please.”


    I too hope winter doesn’t come back to southern England. I’m heading to London for a weekend to join my husband, who’s been commuting there in 2 and 3 week chunks since December. He’s come back with some really great British curses.

  14. “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.”

    I’ve been thinking about this paragraph ever since I first read this blog entry several day ago, and I just really wanted to say: I know this feeling SO well, when the M.E. combines with depression (in my case) and exhaustion – but on a purely selfish level, as a reader, I want you to know that I SO want you here to keep on writing more gorgeous stories, which mean so much to so many people (very much including me on my own bad days) and which really, really matter.

    Obviously my own personal desires are not the issue at hand! But if it helps at all on bad days to know that there are lots of people in the world really hoping for you to keep going and write more stories, then I want to chime in and be an representative example of that for you. *hugs*

    And I hope you can find lots of comfort and fluff and anything else to help you keep going on those bad days.

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