January 29th, 2016

(no subject)

This is one of those classic Australian years where the one season runs through the gamut of the McKellar poem. We have rain here in Canberra and terrific thunderstorms and everyone I know who is even a little weather sensitive is paying for it, bigtime. Even the friends who normally don't even notice these things are cancelling recreational activities and being miserable. We have no fires here, though: Tasmania has them. Geelong has floods. So friends and family are dealing with very different circumstances depending on where they live. And this is the Australian summer. Nothing new here.

My good news is that I've done all but 3 hours work on the book on history and fiction writers and in 2 weeks time I'll do the final bit of work (for right now things are being finalised in the UK) and then it will move to production. Every publisher has their processes and every time I learn it anew.

I get the edits for Secret Jewish Women's Business very soon, I'm told, and apparently they're not heavy. This is because I was deeply unhappy with it and asked friends for beta opinions. When the wonderful (and patient!) Milena Benini gave it a seal of approval, I decided it was down to a final edit and did that, then sent it to my publisher. This is why it only took light edits now. Thank you, everyone involved, for it's much easier for me to write a strange novel than one that almost fits within genre constraints. There were reasons for this novel to be a bit more normal, and you'll see them when you read it.

So, in three weeks, the worst of both will be done, with luck. And next week teaching begins. And I've done a bit of new writing, because Anne of Green Gables made me realise some terribly important things about how we manifest gender. Important to me - something other people know all too well. That's the thing - it's not enough to know intellectually, one has to understand. it's not at all enough that my friends are very wise: I have to start developing my own wisdom.

I do not know how the story of an abused orphan learning how to look enough like everyone else to pass in a small society helped me internalise, but it did, and I am very grateful to LM Montgomery for this. It's a bit unexpected, though. I was expecting that Joanna Russ would do what LM Montgomery did, but it was my childhood I needed to reconfigure to understand, not my teen years. In theory, reconfguring one's understanding is easier if there are books that walk one through when one is a child, but we lack enough of those books still, and even if we had a squillion of fabulous narratives about diverse children's lives, we'd have to process them internally, and there's no knowing what will trigger learning for a given individual. I've now put Anne Shirley in the novel, for this reason and for about three others.